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This American Moment: Pushing climate change reform across political divides

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Bob Inglis, former Republican congressman from SC
Bob Inglis, a former Republican congressman from South Carolina, spoke about conservative solutions to climate change during the University of Minnesota's annual Kuehnast Lecture on Oct. 12, 2016.
Elizabeth Dunbar | MPR News

Former South Carolina Congressman Bob Inglis was once a climate-science denying Republican. He now thinks very differently, and has said his refusal to treat climate science as accurate was more motivated by politics than by scientific evidence. 

"I represented probably one of the reddest districts in the reddest state in the nation," Inglis said. "And so Al Gore was for it and therefore I was against it."

Part of the difficulty was trying to learn everything he needed to know for his first few years in Congress. 

"I had a friend who represented New Haven, Connecticut and he said being sent to Congress is like being sent to Yale University to take every course they offer in the first year you're there," Inglis said. "So some courses you take pass-fail so I took climate change pass-fail. Al's for it, I'm against it. Next course."

Inglis' time in Congress came to an end after he publicly spoke about believing in climate change and proposing a carbon tax. Inglis didn't let that stop him. He founded republicEn, a nonprofit committed to teaching conservatives about climate change.

Inglis talked to MPR News host Kerri Miller about religion, climate, and politics as a part of the "This American Moment" series. 

You can listen to the full discussion using the audio player above.