Republican congressman says climate change sceptics will intensify attacks if recent weather is flaunted as evidence
Climate change contrarians will dig in even deeper if campaigners try to use recent extreme weather like wildfires, drought and heatwaves as a call to action, a Republican global warming heretic has warned.
Bob Inglis, a former South Carolina congressman behind a new global warming thinktank, is an endangered species as a Republican who believes in climate change.
The recent freak weather does provide powerful evidence of the dangers of climate change, and could break through the GOP’s wall of denial, he said. But scientists and campaigners need to go easy on the doom.
“The thing that would not be helpful is for anybody associated with climate change action to be wagging their finger in Colorado and Texas or wherever it’s hot saying, ‘See I told you so,’” Inglis said in a telephone interview.
“That is the worst possible thing for anybody wanting climate action to do because then you engender the predictable response of, ‘I will show you. I will not budge an inch.’”
Inglis learned the lesson the hard way, losing his seat in Congress in 2010 to a Tea Party challenger in part for his belief in climate change. It was, he says now, “my most enduring heresy”.
His new venture, the Energy & Enterprise Institute at George Mason University, is aimed at getting conservatives on board for action on climate change.