“Before you get mugged by reality, take out an insurance policy. It’s the Reagan way.”
Former Secretary of State George P. Shultz is urging climate change doubters to at least take out an insurance policy when it comes to carbon emissions and climate change. Shultz argues for sustained support for energy research and development and a carbon neutral carbon tax.
In an opinion piece in the Washington Post Shultz described the process President Reagan went through in addressing the hole in the ozone layer in the 1980’s. While many scientists at the time described the growing damage to the ozone layer from chlorofluorocarbon chemicals as potentially catastrophic, many doubters objected to the government taking action.
President Reagan, despite his conservative anti-regulation tendencies decided to take a pragmatic course and brought all sides into the discussion to create an action plan, because doing nothing risked disastrous consequences. Reagan encouraged industry to get involved and the DuPont corporation responded by developing a replacement set of chemicals that could be manufactured in a reasonable time and at reasonable cost.
With industry on board President Reagan was able to successfully push for the Montreal Protocol in 1987, which is widely regarded as the most successful international environmental agreement in history.