President Richard Nixon's inner circle worried about the effects of global warming more than 30 years ago, according to documents released by his library yesterday. Future Democratic star Daniel Patrick Moynihan in 1969 urged a global system of monitoring carbon dioxide, and worried that CO2 would rise 25% by 2000. "This could increase the average temperature near the earth's surface by 7 degrees Fahrenheit," he wrote. "This in turn could raise the level of the sea by 10 feet. Goodbye New York. Goodbye Washington, for that matter."
Moynihan received a response in a January 26, 1970 memo from Hubert Heffner, deputy director of the administration's Office of Science and Technology. Heffner acknowledged that atmospheric temperature rise was an issue that should be looked at. "The more I get into this, the more I find two classes of doomsayers," he wrote. "One group says we will turn into snow-tripping mastodons because of the atmospheric dust and the other says we will have to grow gills to survive the increased ocean level due to the temperature rise." Nixon established the EPA and approved the first Earth Day, April 22, 1970.