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They Knew by James Gustave Speth
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They Knew

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They Knew by James Gustave Speth
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Aug 23, 2022 | ISBN 9780262545099

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“A rousing condemnation of a system bent on short-term gain against long-term health.”
Kirkus Reviews

“Drawing on first-hand knowledge from his time as chair of the US Council on Environmental Quality during the administration of president Jimmy Carter (1977–81), and his founding role in several major environmental non-governmental organizations, Speth gives a clear and concise account of the scientific evidence available to successive US presidents and Congresses over five decades. He provides a chilling description of the gulf between the safer course of action recommended by scientists and advisers, and the reality of federal policy.”

“Working pro bono [for Juliana v. United States], Speth produced a lengthy report tracing nearly 60 years of federal action on climate change and fossil fuel development. That report is the foundation for this book. Parts of the story have been told before… but Speth’s volume covers a broader period of time, says more about federal encouragement of fossil fuels, and as befits a legal filing, is richly documented.”

“The road to climate hell has long been paved with deniability. While climate scientists over the past half century have amassed evidence that the use of fossil fuels is bringing about environmental disaster, US presidents and congresses have been steadfast in looking the other way. The publication of this well-researched, damning examination and indictment of federal policies will make it impossible to assert ignorance ever again.”
—Yale Alumni Magazine

They Knew is a must-read, because this book is not so much ‘history’ as it is a window into the present, in which the pressures from the fossil fuel industry and the processes of government collide. The more we can see what they knew then, the greater the possibility that we can contend with what we know now.”
—YES! Magazine

“Gus Speth’s new book is an enlightening and infuriating academic masterpiece, a detailed history of the US federal actions and inactions on climate change, a biting indictment and fascinating read.”
Udo E. Simonis, Journal of Environmental Law and Policy

Table Of Contents

Introduction ix
Julia Olson and Philip Gregory

Author’s Note xxvii

The Speth Expert Report for Juliana V. United States 1
Overview 3
1 Climate Science Knowledge the Carter Administration Inherited 7
2 The Jimmy Carter Administration (1977-1981) 13
3 The Ronald Reagan Administration (1981-1989) 41
4 The George H. W. Bush Administration (1989-1993) 59
5 The William J. Clinton Administration (1993-2001) 85
6 The George W. Bush Administration (2001-2009) 99
7 The Barack Obama Administration (2009-2017) 115
8 The Donald J. Trump Administration (2017-2020) 133
9 Conclusion 151
Appendix: The Procedural History of Juliana 157
Julia Olson and Philip Gregory
Qualifications of the Author 167
Abbreviations 169
Reader Access to Exhibits 173
Notes 175
References 219
Index 249

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