22 June 2011, 08:16 BST
In a breath of fresh air given current Republican denial of the reality of climate change, former Republican congressman Bob Inglis (R-SC) says he's forming a conservative coalition to address climate change.
Inglis was pushed out of office by a more conservative Tea Party candidate last fall. He served for six terms as a middle-of-the-road conservative - he says the Republican party is being overly influenced by a populist rejection of science. And that position, he says, is out of line with what it means to be conservative.
"Conservatives typically are people who try to be cognizant of risk and move to minimize risk. To be told of risk and to consciously decide to disregard it seems to be the opposite of conservative," Inglis told Greenwire reporter Jean Chemnick.
Inglis says he hopes to have an effect on the 2012 presidential and congressional elections, but admits his message could take two election cycles to take hold with conservative voters.
While in Congress, Inglis voted against the Waxman-Markey climate change bill. But he noted at the time that his vote was in opposition to the cap-and-trade model of the legislation, and not the climate science.
"We're looking for ways for the free enterprise system to solve the problem, rather than having big government do it," he says.
Inglis, who served on the Energy and Environment subcommittee as ranking Republican, saw the writing on the wall during his tenure - his peers were already working to eliminate regulations to control emissions.
At the time, he cautioned that preventing action would put the US at a competitive disadvantage to countries like China who "are pressing the fast forward button" on developing their clean energy industries.