A Republican believer in climate change is out to convert his party

Younger Republicans, though, sat up and took notice. At two colleges here, students mostly agreed that something had to be done to rein in spiraling greenhouse gas emissions. Many of the self-described conservatives said they were eager to learn more.

That’s how it goes when you are talking to Republicans about climate change. A recent poll showed that just 31 percent of party members across the country accept what is an overwhelming scientific consensus — that global warming is caused by human activity. And surveys show the topic is not a top-five priority, even among Democrats.

“For some people, it’s the first time they have heard about this in a small setting from a Republican, a member of the tribe, presenting a different point of view. And that creates some dissonance for them,” Inglis said, in the sort of understatement that typified his two-day tour here. “If all we do is create that movement, that’s something.”

With a barely audible chuckle, he added, “It wouldn’t hurt if we picked up a few supporters, too.”


Why would anyone listen to climate change ruminations from a deposed congressman, eight years removed from office?

With President Donald Trump’s administration expressing skepticism on global warming, and Democrats lacking the votes in Congress to advance legislation, some climate change activists believe their only hope is to convince Republicans to join the fight. And the best people to do that convincing may be other Republicans like Inglis.

University of Connecticut researchers found this spring that Republicans — not Democrats or even climate scientists — were more effective in persuading doubters to give up their climate change skepticism. Republicans might be perceived as more believable on the issue, because they are willing to take a political risk, the authors said.