As administrators of the E.P.A under Presidents Richard M. Nixon, Ronald Reagan, George Bush and George W. Bush, we held fast to common-sense conservative principles — protecting the health of the American people, working with the best technology available and trusting in the innovation of American business and in the market to find the best solutions for the least cost.
That approach helped us tackle major environmental challenges to our nation and the world: the pollution of our rivers, dramatized when the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland caught fire in 1969; the hole in the ozone layer; and the devastation wrought by acid rain.
The writers are former administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency: William D. Ruckelshaus, from its founding in 1970 to 1973, and again from 1983 to 1985; Lee M. Thomas, from 1985 to 1989; William K. Reilly, from 1989 to 1993; and Christine Todd Whitman, from 2001 to 2003.
However, readers’ comments to this joint piece by GOP adherents are sometimes strident:
… Global warming is a myth. The former Reds are now the Greens. This is just another attempt to impose socialism on the basis of junk science. A carbon tax is the dream of every socialist.The sooner the GOP rids itself of these RINOs the better.
… For heaven’s sake. I can’t believe that this theory is still alive. Not only did it stop warming twelve years ago, it has been cooling for five. REAL climate science in Russia and Norway conclusively shows that we are entering a long, very cool phase. Global warming is a sham and a scam. Stop this nonsense!
… Wait. The problem is not climate change denial. From the arguments I’ve had with right wingers, they claim that the climate change is “natural” not human-caused. So they say there is no point in trying to fix it. Confront that one, please.… Here’s an abbreviation of the op-ed. If it’s useful, please share it: We must address climate change now, say four leaders from past Republican administrations. There is no longer any credible scientific debate about the basic facts, they write in an Aug. 2 NYTimes op-ed. Our world is warming. Sea level is rising. Arctic ice is melting faster than predicted. The cost of inaction is undeniable. A carbon tax (or another market-based approach) would be the best path…but that’s unachievable in our current political gridlock.