Remember when Republican leaders took climate change more seriously?

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To hear today’s crop of Republicans tell it, concerns about climate change are simply part of a nefarious scheme hatched by socialist Democrats and pointy-headed scientists to ruin America’s free enterprise system.

But it didn’t used to be that way. Not so long ago, the White House was in the hands of Republicans who took climate change and other environmental matters more seriously. For all their other faults, these GOP leaders recognized that the problem of global warming was real and that action was required to deal with it.

Consider THIS:

The memos, stamped “confidential” and kept under wraps for years, portray a White House eager to assert U.S. leadership on climate change. Global warming will have “profound consequences,” one document warns, and the United States “cannot wait” until all scientific questions are resolved before taking action.

The source of the memos: Not the Obama White House, but policy advisers to President George H.W. Bush.

The memos were among several formerly classified documents from the Bush and Reagan administrations obtained under the Freedom of Information Act and released on Wednesday by the National Security Archive. The documents portray senior officials in the two Republican administrations pressing for an aggressive response to international environmental issues of the day — including, during Bush’s term, climate change.

The assertive posture contrasts with the positions taken this week by leading Republican presidential contenders, several of whom publicly mocked Obama’s efforts to secure an international climate treaty in Paris. The GOP-controlled House voted Tuesday to block the administration’s signature regulation to cut greenhouse-gas pollution from U.S. power plants.


A 1987 memo showed Reagan White House officials pushing back against members of Reagan’s own Cabinet in arguing for a strong treaty safeguarding the thin band of atmospheric ozone that protects the Earth from harmful radiation from space. “Many regard this issue as the most important priority on the global environmental agenda,” John D. Negroponte, then a State Department assistant secretary for the environment, oceans and fisheries, wrote to then-Secretary of State George P. Shultz.




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