Regarding the July 5 editorial “For science’s sake,” on the court decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to uphold the Environmental Protection Agency’s climate actions:
The editorial correctly pointed out that Congress has been ignoring climate change for a long time. It is worth recalling just how long.
I was chair of President Jimmy Carter’s environmental quality councilfrom 1979 to early 1981, and we issued several reports laying out the science of climate change and calling for strong action to limit the buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. We even knew enough back then, more than 30 years ago, to put a number on the amount of carbon dioxide that should be allowed to build up in the atmosphere, a number significantly below the unsatisfactory limit often discussed today.
The reasons for inaction have varied over time, shifting from the original invisibility of the problem to today’s widespread denial in the Republican Party. But one consistent factor has been the appalling irresponsibility of the fossil fuel industry, which is still using its great power every day to move our country in exactly the wrong direction. One day there will be a major effort to hold it accountable for the huge damage it is causing.
James Gustave Speth, Strafford, Vt.