Former six-term Rep. Bob Inglis (R-S.C.) said he hopes his coalition will become a factor in the 2012 presidential and congressional elections -- and beyond. He said the view embraced by many Republicans that human emissions are not a major contributor to global warming is out of step with what it means to be a conservative, given that most scientists say the reverse is true.
"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 said in a telephone interview.
He said his coalition would seek to change that, even if the message takes a while to stick.
"What I hope to do is be a part of an effort that calls conservatives to return to conservatism and to turn away from the populist rejection of science," Inglis said. He conceded that he expects this message to take at least two election cycles to take root, given today's political climate.
"I would welcome that," said Rep. Charles Bass (R-N.H.), adding that there is a group of Republicans that would support action on climate change.
"I've been a proponent of a climate change agenda for the Congress," Bass, a rare Republican moderate, said.