Bob Inglis: the Republican who believes in climate change | Environment | guardian.co.uk
[Inglis] Coal-fired electricity causes 23,600 premature deaths each year in the United States. There are over 3 million lost workdays. Those are real and quantifiable costs that aren't attributed to the cost of electricity at my meter. And so I'm blissfully unaware of the true cost of my electricity. And since it appears so cheap, I don't innovate because there's no reason to innovate. I live in South Carolina – I could have a solar hot water heater for example, but I don't have one. Anyone altruistic would put one on their roof. I would like to be altruistic, but I've got two kids in college, and I can't afford to be altruistic. But if the meter started reflecting the real cost of electricity, I would look at things differently.
[Q] Can you describe your own evolution from being a denier of climate change to someone who is deeply concerned about it?
Inglis: My first time in Congress [1993-1999], I was very dismissive of climate change and said, "Oh, well, this is imagination." I had a very successful press conference pillorying the vice president [Al Gore]. And I was in Congress for six years, and then I was out for six years and in those six years, my children started to grow up. My son, my oldest of five kids, was voting for the first time in 2004 when I was running again, and he said, "You know, dad, I'll vote for you, but you have to clean up your act on the environment." I had this new constituency, an important constituency, because they could change the locks on the doors. My son and his four sisters all felt the same, and his mother did too.
Inglis: It was in 2006. Amazingly, I got to go to Antarctica twice. I went to Antarctica and saw the evidence.