CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- During his second stint in Congress, Bob Inglis said Tuesday, his concerns about climate change grew.
The South Carolina Republican visited Antarctica twice, as part of congressional delegations. Those trips, he said, played a central role in convincing him about the validity of scientific research that global warming poses increasingly major risks to humanity and all forms of life around the world.
Inglis served three U.S. House terms between 1993 and 1999, then lost a bid for the Senate. He served another three House terms starting in 2003, and served as the ranking Republican on the House Science and Technology Committee's Subcommittee on Energy and Environment. But he lost his 2010 bid for re-election.
"I got tossed out of Congress because of my position on climate change," Inglis said during a visit to The Charleston Gazette newsroom on Tuesday. On Monday, he spoke at a West Virginia Boys State meeting at Jackson's Mill, near Weston.
During his unsuccessful 2010 re-election campaign, Inglis said, "people asked me what I was doing by working with the enemy."
Inglis is the director of the Energy and Enterprise Initiative, founded last July at George Mason University. The institute aims to explore and promote conservative solutions to America's climate change and energy challenges.
Today, he travels the around country speaking about threats from climate change and how to reduce carbon emissions.
"Today, I don't do political work, since the Energy and Enterprise Initiative is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. But I support free-enterprise solutions on energy and the climate," Inglis said. "I spend most of my time visiting campuses where I talk to Republicans, energy clubs, business schools, federalist societies and on talk radio stations."
Inglis believes carbon emissions will drop in part because "renewable fuels are not used up, while fossil fuels are getting to be used up."
"We have to find a way to produce power cleanly," he said. "It is hard to figure it out.
"States like West Virginia are also moving into natural gas. But a lot of jobs at those companies are not filled by local workers," Inglis said.
Inglis also spoke about massive shifts in job opportunities, not only in energy industries, but in other economic sectors as well.
"South Carolina was a major producer of textiles and tobacco. But we went under the bus. We were lucky that BMW came in and created 6,000 direct jobs and 19,000 suppliers' jobs."