The GuardianThe Guardian

The 1977 White House climate memo that should have changed the world

By Emma Pattee

14 Jun 2022 · 5 min read

Editor's Note

The Guardian reports on the failures of the White House in 1977 to address the climate crisis.

In 1977 Star Wars hit movie theaters, New York City had a blackout that lasted 25 hours, and the Apple II personal computer went up for sale. It was also the year that a remarkable one-page memo was circulated at the very highest levels of US government.

Years before the climate crisis was part of national discourse, this memo outlined what was known – and feared – about the crisis at the time. It was prescient in many ways. Did anyone listen?

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