What do Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, George Bush, and George W. Bush have in common?
Yes, OK, obviously they were all Republican presidents. But now there’s something else that ties them all together.
EPA administrators who worked for all of those presidents have come out in support of stronger actions on climate change, co-signing a powerful op-ed in The New York Times supporting Barack Obama’s climate plan and arguing that “the United States must move now on substantive steps to curb climate change.”
Here are some highlights from the op-ed, which was written by William D. Ruckelshaus, Lee M. Thomas, William K. Reilly, and Christine Todd Whitman:
The costs of inaction are undeniable. The lines of scientific evidence grow only stronger and more numerous. And the window of time remaining to act is growing smaller: delay could mean that warming becomes “locked in.”
A market-based approach, like a carbon tax, would be the best path to reducing greenhouse-gas emissions, but that is unachievable in the current political gridlock in Washington. Dealing with this political reality, President Obama’s June climate action plan lays out achievable actions that would deliver real progress. He will use his executive powers to require reductions in the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by the nation’s power plants and spur increased investment in clean energy technology, which is inarguably the path we must follow to ensure a strong economy along with a livable climate. …
Rather than argue against his proposals, our leaders in Congress should endorse them and start the overdue debate about what bigger steps are needed and how to achieve them — domestically and internationally. …
We can have both a strong economy and a livable climate. All parties know that we need both. The rest of the discussion is either detail, which we can resolve, or purposeful delay, which we should not tolerate.
Mr. Obama’s plan is just a start. More will be required. But we must continue efforts to reduce the climate-altering pollutants that threaten our planet. The only uncertainty about our warming world is how bad the changes will get, and how soon. What is most clear is that there is no time to waste.
The op-ed also states that there “is no longer any credible scientific debate about the basic facts” of global warming. But, then, nobody should need a bunch of former EPA chiefs to tell them that.