Needed: A Bipartisan Congressional Committee on Climate Change

Bob Inglis, former Republican congressman from South Carolina, has stepped up with an imaginative proposal for House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy: if House Democrats, as promised, form a select committee on climate change, Inglis suggests, McCarthy should appoint creative GOP members who “are ready to enter the competition of ideas” rather than deniers and skeptics who reject climate science despite all the incontrovertible evidence of it.

Among the ideas science-friendly conservatives could bring to discussions of climate change and how to mitigate it are pricing mechanisms to foster energy innovation, a robust system of accountability to reveal the real costs of various fuels (“no more socializing soot, no more free polluting” Inglis says), and a carbon tax paired with dividends paid to citizens.

If Republican appointees to the committee bring smart, market-based solutions to the discussion, Inglis argues they can make an invaluable contribution. But if McCarthy appoints deniers and skeptics, he adds, they will simply “deepen the caricature of the GOP” as a party out of step with reality.

Perhaps our local Congressman Mike Gallagher would be a useful addition to this effort. He’s part of the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus in the House of Representatives, and could bring a real Great Lakes perspective to the committee’s deliberations.

Inglis is clear-eyed about the dangers of climate change. From the freak rains of recent hurricanes to the West’s raging wildfires to the exploding population of bark beetles and their damage to the timber industry, the evidence is everywhere.

He hopes the GOP will decide to be part of the solution. So do I.

Betsy Rogers

Sister Bay