Ex-GOP Congressman and Reagan's Economic Adviser Call for a Carbon Tax

Former Rep. Bob Inglis (R-SC) was one of the last of the old guard congressional Republicans; you know, socially moderate, fiscally conservative, and observant of science. He lost his seat in 2010 after getting creamed in the primaries by an ascendent member of the new guard—partly because he refused to renounce his agreement with the scientific fact that human activity is causing global warming.

Now, he's teamed up with one of Ronald Reagan's economic advisers, Art Laffer, to form the Energy and Enterprise Institute, and plans on lobbying for conservative approaches to addressing climate change. Their Big Idea—tax carbon, not income. And get rid of all subsidies for fuel, period.

They're advocating for a scheme that's rather similar to the one favored by renowned NASA scientist Dr. James Hansen (with whom I once discussed these ideas on the Dylan Ratigan show). No sitting Republicans have expressed support for the initiative, and neither Inglis nor Laffer expect any of them to do so anytime soon—the climate change is too toxic an issue in the conservative zeitgeist, they reason. Grist has an interview with Inglis that delves more deeply into the philosophy behind the project.

The whole endeavor may seem rather ineffectual and perhaps in vain now, but it's encouraging to see some outspoken conservative support for addressing climate issues. Momentum has to start building somewhere; it might as well be with a congressman from South Carolina and one of Ronald Reagan's favorite policy wonks.

Tags: Global Climate Change | Global Warming Effects