Bucking their party’s trend toward climate change denial, some Republicans are promoting energy policy reforms as both imperative and
congruent with conservative principles.
A feature broadcast on NPR’s All Things Considered focused on two Republicans urging action on climate change. Former South Carolina Rep. Bob Inglis, now head of the Energy and Enterprise Initiative at George Mason University, promotes a free-market approach to addressing energy production and consumption. He argues that wind and solar are cost-effective alternatives to coal and gas when the full price of fossil fuels is considered, including health hazards from coal-burning power plants and rising insurance rates in response to extreme weather events linked to global warming.
Concerned about mercury emissions during her pregnancy, Michele Combs founded Young Conservatives for Energy Reform. The organization focuses on national security issues of oil dependency as well as on health and economic issues. Affiliated with the Christian Coalition, Combs has set up house parties to educate people throughout the country.
Inglis sees such work as congruent with the Republican tradition of thrift. “It’s not conservative to waste stuff,” Inglis says, “and to cause somebody else’s kids to go on the sands of the Middle East to fight for that stuff that we’re wasting.”