President Reagan's model on addressing climate change

Friday, February 26, 2010; A24

The Post deserves kudos for the Feb. 22 editorial "Climate insurance." Although it may not be recognized as such in today's political landscape, the prudent approach called for by The Post is a decidedly conservative one.

In the 1980s, scientists were sounding the alarm about ozone depletion. Just as today, there were skeptics claiming that the problem was not real. Thankfully, President Ronald Reagan ignored those skeptics -- some of whom were in his own administration. He acted on the science, which was far less solid than current knowledge about climate change, and pushed through the Montreal Protocol treaty, which began to phase out ozone-depleting chemicals.

Today, our ozone layer is healing because Reagan took prudent and decisive action to address the threat based on the best available science at the time. He did not wring his hands and wait for evidential certainty that might have come too late.

Reagan understood that to be a true conservative, you also have to be a good steward -- a fact that those who claim to be emulating him today seem to have forgotten.

David Jenkins, Oakton

The writer is vice president for government and political affairs at Republicans for Environmental Protection.

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