The memos, stamped “confidential” and kept under wraps for years, portray a White House eager to assert U.S. leadership on climate change. Global warming will have “profound consequences,” one document warns, and the United States “cannot wait” until all scientific questions are resolved before taking action.
The source of the memos: Not the Obama White House, but policy advisers to President George H.W. Bush.
The memos were among several formerly classified documents from the Bush and Reagan administrations obtained under the Freedom of Information Act and released on Wednesday by the National Security Archive. The documents portray senior officials in the two Republican administrations pressing for an aggressive response to international environmental issues of the day — including, during Bush’s term, climate change.