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GOP ex-lawmaker: Facts will ‘overwhelm’ GOP opposition to climate change

Former Rep. Bob Inglis (R-S.C.), who is trying to build support for a carbon tax, said the facts on global warming will “overwhelm” GOP resistance to climate change action and alter the party’s stance.

“What we have been doing so far is sort of shrinking in science denial and holding onto shaky ideology that really will be overwhelmed by the facts,” the former GOP lawmaker said in an interview broadcast Sunday.

“You can hold back the facts only for so long and eventually they overwhelm you,” Inglis said on Platts Energy Week TV. “I think that is happening on climate change. The science is pretty clear.”

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Inglis, who was vanquished by a conservative upstart in his 2010 primary, this month launched a new initiative at George Mason University to promote what he calls market-based, conservative solutions to energy and climate challenges.

“I think that eventually the champions of free enterprise, which is who conservatives are, who Republicans generally are, will rise to the occasion and come forward with real solutions here,” he said.

Inglis backs a “revenue-neutral” carbon tax under which taxes on emissions would be offset by reductions in other rates.

“Right now we tax income, labor and industry, but we don’t tax the negative externality associated with the burning of fossil fuels,” he said.

Under his plan, subsidies and tax breaks for various energy sources — including green energy — would go away, but carbon-heavy fuels would see the costs of emissions included in their price.

“If you attach the negative externalities, the hidden cost, to those fossil fuels, then the economics would be set right for the challenger fuels to succeed in a fair competition,” Inglis said.

This post was updated at 3:01 p.m.