Thatcher, Reagan and Bush Senior Supported Global Warming Action
As Republicans try to re-write their history and pretend that Global Warming is some sort of liberal hoax, it is important to remember that the GOP was not always the party of anti-science hacks (well at least not completely). The next time you hear some Republican claim to be a conservative, ask them why they hate Reagan, Thatcher and Bush senior. Of course, I am pointing to the blinding hypocrisy of the GOP on this. But worse, I am pointing to the fact that even in the 80’s it was clear even to conservatives, that there was a problem. That problem has only gotten worse in the last 30 years.
It is also important to remember that the first serious reports on Global Warming to an American president from the National Academy went to President Johnson in 1965!
Then President Reagan thought it was bad enough that he issued this Joint Statement after the Moscow Summit:
June 1, 1988
In accordance with the understanding reached during the U.S.-Soviet summit meeting in Geneva in November 1985, and confirmed at the Washington summit in December 1987, Ronald W. Reagan, President of the United States of America, and Mikhail S. Gorbachev, General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, met in Moscow May 29 - June 2, 1988.
Global Climate and Environmental Change Initiative
The two leaders expressed their satisfaction with activities since the Washington summit in expanding cooperation with respect to global climate and environmental change, including in areas of mutual concern relating to environmental protection, such as protection and conservation of stratospheric ozone and a possible global warming trend. They emphasized their desire to make more active use of the unique opportunities afforded by the space programs of the two countries to conduct global monitoring of the environment and the ecology of the Earth’s land, oceans and atmosphere. They underscored the need to continue to promote both bilateral and multilateral cooperation in this important area in the future.
Ronald Reagan issued this statement in his letter to the speaker of the house from Jan 1989, just after he left office:
To continue the significant progress we have made in cleaning up the environment, I recommend a $153 million increase for the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulatory, research and enforcement programs. I also recommend an increase of $315 million for the Superfund hazardous waste clean-up program in order to maintain the program’s momentum and support a stronger enforcement role.
Because changes in the earth’s natural systems can have tremendous economic and social effects, global climate change is becoming a critical concern. Our ability to understand and predict these changes is currently limited, and a better understanding is essential for developing policies. The budget proposes a coordinated and effective Federal research program on global change. This budget is accompanied by a report by the Committee on Earth Sciences that describes this program and its strategy.
Of course, cap and trade started as a Reagan initiative to end acid rain. McCain and Palin ran on it, as ” a sound conservative, free market solution” (it does have the lineage of Reagan and was implemented by Bush Senior). Then their corporate masters told them not to believe it anymore.
The problem in the 1980s was that American power plants were sending up vast clouds of sulfur dioxide, which was falling back to earth in the form of acid rain, damaging lakes, forests and buildings across eastern Canada and the United States…The basic premise of cap-and-trade is that government doesn’t tell polluters how to clean up their act. Instead, it simply imposes a cap on emissions. Each company starts the year with a certain number of tons allowed—a so-called right to pollute…But global warming had also registered as front-page news for the first time that sweltering summer of 1988; according to Krupp, EDF and the Bush White House both felt from the start that emissions trading would ultimately be the best way to address this much larger challenge.
President Bush Sr. signed the Framework Convention on Climate Change aimed at preventing further global warming in 1992.
Here is no lesser light than Margaret Thatcher talking about AGW. She says things that are no different than Al Gore! I think we will let her say it in her own words, this is from her address to the UN in 1989.
AN EARLY ALARM
“While the conventional, political dangers - the threat of global annihilation, the fact of regional war - appear to be receding, we have all recently become aware of another insidious danger. It is as menacing in its way as those more accustomed perils with which international diplomacy has concerned itself for centuries. It is the prospect of irretrievable damage to the atmosphere, to the oceans, to earth itself.
What we are now doing to the world, by degrading the land surfaces, by polluting the waters and by adding greenhouse gases to the air at an unprecedented rate - all this is new in the experience of the earth. It is mankind and his activities that are changing the environment of our planet in damaging and dangerous ways.
The result is that change in future is likely to be more fundamental and more widespread than anything we have known hitherto. Change to the sea around us, change to the atmosphere above, leading in turn to change in the world’s climate, which could alter the way we live in the most fundamental way of all. That prospect is a new factor in human affairs. It is comparable in its implications to the discovery of how to split the atom. Indeed, its results could be even more far-reaching.
The evidence is there. The damage is being done. What do we, the international community, do about it?
In some areas, the action required is primarily for individual nations or groups of nations to take. But the problem of global climate change is one that affects us all and action will only be effective if it is taken at the international level. It is no good squabbling over who is responsible or who should pay. We have to look forward not backward, and we shall only succeed in dealing with the problems through a vast international, co-operative effort.
The environmental challenge that confronts the whole world demands an equivalent response from the whole world. Every country will be affected and no one can opt out. Those countries who are industrialised must contribute more to help those who are not.
The work ahead will be long and exacting. We should embark on it hopeful of success, not fearful of failure. Darwin’s voyages were among the high-points of scientific discovery. They were undertaken at a time when men and women felt growing confidence that we could not only understand the natural world but we could master it, too. Today, we have learned rather more humility and respect for the balance of nature. But another of the beliefs of Darwin’s era should help to see us through - the belief in reason and the scientific method.
Reason is humanity’s special gift. It allows us to understand the structure of the nucleus. It enables us to explore the heavens. It helps us to conquer disease. Now we must use our reason to find a way in which we can live with nature, and not dominate nature.
We need our reason to teach us today that we are not - that we must not try to be - the lords of all we survey.
Ms. Thatcher would have made a terrible Dominionist, now wouldn’t she?
Here she is speaking on Youtube.
The GOP was not always the party of anti-science and it was not always quite as completely owned by the oil companies and fossil fuel interests. This was also the case in England. Love her or hate her, no one ever owned Ms. Thatcher.
The biggest point, which I don’t want to get lost, is that 60 years ago, it was clear to many scientists that AGW is a serious problem. By 50 years ago, the President had been alerted. 20-30 years ago, the data was good enough that people like Reagan, Bush and Thatcher weren’t arguing with it.
The science now is utterly iron clad.
Perhaps 40 years ago, there was still some room for legitimate debate about AGW becoming a major problem - and then only some room. Once Milankovitch cycles were understood in the Seventies and ice core and proxy data combined with Keeling curves, the debate of if it was happening or not and if we were causing it, really began to close.
There was perhaps still some room for calling for more research (just to be sure the effects would be bad enough to warrant serious action) in the early 80s. By the time James Hansen first testified to Congress in the late 80s, there was really not any major doubt left as to the basic science.
As of now, the only people who deny it are paid propagandists for corporate interests, their hacks, their pet politicians and of course the deluded masses who believe those lies and think that this is somehow a Democratic issue only.