Published on December 30th, 2010 | by Jeremy Bloom3
GOP Rep Bob Inglis: Chinese Will Eat Our Lunch on Clean Energy, Climate Change
The bad news: He lost his Republican primary to a Tea Party-backed candidate who will take his place in Washington next week.
“To my free enterprise colleagues, whether you think it’s all a bunch of hooey, what we talk about in this committee — the Chinese don’t, and they plan on eating our lunch in the next century, working on these problems,” Representative Bob Inglis (R- SC) told his House colleagues. “We may press the pause button for a few years, but China is pressing the fast-forward button.”
Inglis had been a staunch conservative throughout his career, with a 93.4% lifetime rating by the American Conservative Union. But he was also a proponent of clean energy, particularly hydrogen, and was the cosponsor of the BRIGHT Energy Savings Act of 2007 (H.R. 1705) that mandated the Federal Government switch from incandescent bulbs to CFLs or other energy-efficient bulbs.
He also sponsored a carbon tax bill, calling it the best way to push innovation. He wrote about it in a 2008 New York Times op-ed with Ronald Reagan’s supply-side economics guru Art Laffer:
“We need to impose a tax on the thing we want less of (carbon dioxide) and reduce taxes on the things we want more of (income and jobs). A carbon tax would attach the national security and environmental costs to carbon-based fuels like oil, causing the market to recognize the price of these negative externalities.”
He’s trying to get his co-sponsor on the bill, fellow-conservative Jeff Flake (R-AZ), to re-introduce it in the new Congress.
“The certainty and transparency of a carbon tax that is revenue-neutral will drive innovation much faster than the uncertainties of carbon trading,” he said. “That kind of accountability is a bedrock conservative principle. Actually, it’s even a biblical principle.
“Individual consumers acting in their own self-interest will create a marketplace that will efficiently drive down prices and do what we’ve done with the telecommunications and computer industries,” he said. “The genius of America is that people seeking to make money will innovate quickly.”
With the GOP takeover in the House he would have been the chair of the House Energy and Environment Subcommittee. Instead, he’s going home to his Northern Greenville County farm. Which is too damn bad; we could use him in Washington right now.