Ronald Reagan – U.S. President 1981-1989

“You are worried about what man has done and is doing to this magical planet that God gave us. And I share your concern. What is a conservative after all but one who conserves, one who is committed to protecting and holding close the things by which we live.”
Speech to National Geographic Society 1984

“This is what we leave to our children. And our great moral responsibility is to leave it to them either as we found it or better than we found it.”
Speech to National Geographic Society 1984

“If we’ve learned any lessons during the past few decades, perhaps the most important is that preservation of our environment is not a partisan challenge; it’s common sense. Our physical health, our social happiness, and our economic well-being will be sustained only by all of us working in partnership as thoughtful, effective stewards of our natural resources.”
Remarks on CEQ Report, 1984

Margaret Thatcher – British Prime Minister 1979-1990

“For generations, we have assumed that the efforts of mankind would leave the fundamental equilibrium of the world’s systems and atmosphere stable. But it is possible that with all these enormous changes concentrated into such a short period of time, we have unwittingly begun a massive experiment with the system of this planet itself.”
Speech to the Royal Society Sept. 27, 1988

“It is mankind and his activities that are changing the environment of our planet in damaging and dangerous ways. The result is that change in the future is likely to be more fundamental and more widespread than anything we have known hitherto. Change to the sea around us, change to the atmosphere above, leading in turn to change in the world’s climate, which could alter the way we live in the most fundamental way of all.”
Speech to UN General Assembly, 1989

“We need our reason to teach us today that we are not, that we must not try to be, the lords of all we survey. We are not the lords, we are the Lord’s creatures, the trustees of this planet, charged today with preserving life itself—preserving life with all its mystery and all its wonder. May we all be equal to that task.”
Speech to UN General Assembly, 1989

“We must remember our duty to Nature before it is too late. That duty is constant. It is never completed. It lives on as we breathe. It endures as we eat and sleep, work and rest, as we are born and as we pass away. The duty to Nature will remain long after our own endeavors have brought peace to the Middle East. It will weigh on our shoulders for as long as we wish to dwell on a living and thriving planet, and hand it on to our children and theirs.”
Speech to 2nd World Climate Conference, 1990

“But the threat to our world comes not only from tyrants and their tanks. It can be more insidious though less visible. The danger of global warming is as yet unseen, but real enough for us to make changes and sacrifices, so that we do not live at the expense of future generations.”
Remarks on CEQ Report, 1984

George H.W. Bush – U.S. President 1989-1993

“We can reverse the errors of this generation, mindful of the next. All of us have been given a trust, a trust that lies in the stewardship of our planet. In this, we must not fail.”
Michigan Campaign Speech, 1988

“Those who think we are powerless to do anything about the greenhouse effect forget about the White House effect. As president, I intend to do something about it.”
Michigan Campaign Speech, 1988

“While it is clear we need to know more about climate change, prudence dictates that we also begin to weigh impacts and possible responses. We simply cannot wait—the cost of inaction will be too high.”
Internal Bush Admin. Memo, 1989

“We all know that human activities are changing the atmosphere in unexpected and in unprecedented ways,”
Speech to Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 1990

George W. Bush – U.S. President 2001-2009

“The issue of climate change respects no border. Its effects cannot be reined in by an army nor advanced by any ideology. Climate change, with its potential to impact every corner of the world, is an issue that must be addressed by the world.”
Remarks in advance of European Trip, 2001

“Let us create a new international clean technology fund, which will help developing nations like India and China make greater use of clean energy sources. And let us complete an international agreement that has the potential to slow, stop, and eventually reverse the growth of greenhouse gases.”
2008 State of the Union Address

“The United States is committed to strengthening our energy security and confronting global climate change. And the best way to meet these goals is for America to continue leading the way toward the development of cleaner and more energy-efficient technology.”
2008 State of the Union Address

James Baker III – Secretary of State, Bush 41 / WH COS Reagan and Bush 41

“As the national debate over climate change continues, the Republican Party can have a climate plan that showcases the full power of enduring conservative convictions and embodies the principles of free markets and limited government.”
Climate Leadership Council Press conference, 2017

John McCain – U.S. Senator 1987-2018 / 2008 GOP Nominee for President

“Some urge we do nothing because we can’t be certain how bad the (climate) problem might become or they presume the worst effects are most likely to occur in our grandchildren’s lifetime. I’m a proud conservative, and I reject that kind of live-for-today, ‘me generation,’ attitude. It is unworthy of us and incompatible with our reputation as visionaries and problem solvers. Americans have never feared change. We make change work for us.”
Address at Center for Strategic and International Studies, 2007

“The debate has ended over whether global warming is a problem caused by human activity. Consequently, we can and must act now to solve the problem, or else we will bequeath a dangerous and diminished world to our children and grandchildren.”
Boston Globe op-ed

“For all of the last century, the profit motive basically led in one direction — toward machines, methods, and industries that used oil and gas. Enormous good came from that industrial growth, and we are all the beneficiaries of the national prosperity it built. But there were costs we weren’t counting, and often hardly noticed. And these terrible costs have added up now, in the atmosphere, in the oceans, and all across the natural world. They are no longer tenable, sustainable, or defensible.”
Oregon Campaign Speech, 2008

“Whether we call it “climate change” or “global warming,” in the end we’re all left with the same set of facts. The facts of global warming demand our urgent attention, especially in Washington. Good stewardship, prudence, and simple commonsense demand that we to act meet the challenge, and act quickly.”
Oregon Campaign Speech, 2008

“We have many advantages in the fight against global warming, but time is not one of them. Instead of idly debating the precise extent of global warming, or the precise timeline of global warming, we need to deal with the central facts of rising temperatures, rising waters, and all the endless troubles that global warming will bring. We stand warned by serious and credible scientists across the world that time is short and the dangers are great.”
Oregon Campaign Speech, 2008

“If we don’t address this issue, I am very much afraid about what the world is going to look like for our children and grandchildren.”
Interview with The Guardian, 2017

Matt Gaetz – U.S. Congressman (R-FL) 2017 –

“I don’t think there’s a scientific debate left to be had on if it is happening. I also think history is going to judge very harshly climate change deniers, and I don’t want to be one of them. I want to work together with Republicans and Democrats on bi-partisan solutions to climate change.”
Green Real Deal Press conference, 2019

“Global Warming is real, humans contribute, and it has real impacts on how the military will operate, both now and into the future.”
Op-ed NW Florida Daily News, 2019

“I recognize the obvious science of climate change. I didn’t come to Congress to argue with a thermometer.”
Green Real Deal Press conference, 2019

“Our military leaders have concluded that the climate change is real, and affecting our military right now. This is not a distant possibility — it is a present reality. The straight-shooters from the Pentagon that we trust with our soldiers’ lives have told us that this is a significant concern for them when they plan for the future. It is our job in Congress to listen, and to take the steps we must in order to lessen our impact on our climate.”
Op-ed NW Florida Daily News, 2019

Lindsay Graham – U.S. Senator (R-SC) 2003 –

“There is a growing consensus on our side that man-made emissions are contributing to global warming, that the ‘green deal’ is absurd, and we should be able to find a more appropriate solution to the problem.”
Interview with Fortune, 2019

“The Green New Deal is kind of a ridiculous proposal, but denying the problem is equally as bad.”
Interview with The Hill, 2019

“What I want to do is show that I’m a Republican who believes the greenhouse gas-effect is real, that climate change is being affected by man-made behavior and try to find technological solutions.”
Interview with The Hill, 2019

“I think man is contributing significantly enough that we should do something about it.”
Interview with The Hill, 2019

Mitt Romney – U.S. Senator (R-UT) 2018 – 2012 GOP Nominee for President

“There’s no question that we’re experiencing climate change and that humans are a significant contributor to that. In my view, the course forward is going to require innovation and technology breakthrough because nothing I’ve seen is going to reverse the warming trend other than that.”
Interview with The Hill, 2019

“We better hope it’s man-made, because if it’s not we’re in trouble.”
Conversation with Lindsay Graham, 2019

George P. Schultz – Secretary of State, Reagan

“For the sake of our children and grandchildren, I believe it is imperative that we set forth a climate solution that embodies long-standing conservative principles.”
Climate Leadership Council Press conference, 2017

“…the globe is warming and that carbon dioxide has something to do with that fact. Those who say otherwise will wind up being mugged by reality.”
Op-Ed Washington Post, 2015

“We all know there are those who have doubts about the problems presented by climate change. But if these doubters are wrong, the evidence is clear that the consequences, while varied, will be mostly bad, some catastrophic. So why don’t we follow Reagan’s example and take out an insurance policy.”
Op-Ed Washington Post, 2015

“…let’s level the playing field for competing sources of energy so that costs imposed on the community are borne by the sources of energy that create them, most particularly carbon dioxide. A carbon tax, starting small and escalating to a significant level on a legislated schedule, would do the trick. I would make it revenue-neutral, returning all net funds generated to the taxpayers so that no fiscal drag results and the revenue would not be available for politicians to spend on pet projects.”
Op-Ed Washington Post, 2015

Lamar Alexander – U.S. Senator (R-TN) 2003 –

“I believe climate change is real. I believe humans are a major cause of it, and I think a new ‘Manhattan Project for Clean Energy’ is something that most Republicans could support, and I would hope most Democrats could too.”
Interview with Politico, 2019

Lisa Murkowski – U.S. Senator (R-AK) 2002 –

“It is a fact when we see habitats changing because temperatures are warmer,” Murkowski said. “It is fact when sea ice that is multi-year ice is no longer in place where it has historically been. Working toward our energy future, we must be reducing emissions that contribute to climate change.”

Frank Luntz – GOP Pollster

“55% of GOP voters under 40 are ‘very or extremely’ concerned about their party’s position on climate change. In the listening sessions, we heard real anger that leadership has ‘ceded the issue to the Dems.”
Polling Memo, 2019

“Three in four American voters want to see the government step in to limit carbon emissions – including a majority of Republicans (55%). Voters’ concerns simply aren’t being adequately addressed – by the president or Congress.”
Polling Memo, 2019

John Kasich – Governor of Ohio 2011 – 2019

“We’ve finally reached a tipping point. Scientists, business leaders, 13 federal government agencies — including the Defense Department — and most of our allies around the world are convinced that climate change is happening and that strong, concerted actions are needed to minimize its effects. Not all our political leaders have come on board with that consensus, but denial is no longer enough. The time has come for people who understand the need to be good stewards of our economy as well as our environment to put forward a responsible program.”
Op-Ed USA Today, 2019

Mark Sanford –Governor of South Carolina 2003-2011

“This is an issue where there really is consensus within the scientific community. There’s a larger debate on what to do about it, and that’s a much more complex debate, but it’s like with Alcoholics Anonymous, if you don’t even recognize the fact that you have a problem, you’re never going to address the problem.”
Interview with The Atlantic, 2017

“…it is to me illogical to say ‘I believe in the miracles of science in terms of what it can do for our bodies at hospitals like Johns Hopkins, but then say ‘I don’t believe in science when it concerns the earth.”
Interview on MSNBC, 2019

Francis Rooney – U.S. Congressman (R-FL) 2017 –

“We’ve done some polling. Even in the very conservative area I represent, over 70 per cent of the people I represent think the government needs to do something about climate change.”
Interview Financial Times, 2019

Brian Mast– U.S. Congressman (R-FL) 2017 –

“…it’s important that we take climate change very, very seriously because the threats that are posed by that are very serious. I’m just not a person that believes we should be turning a blind eye to it.”
Interview with The Atlantic, 2017

Ryan Costello – U.S. Congressman (R-PA) 2015 – 2019

“For Republicans to be the party of the future, we need a plan to protect the planet. With the early impacts of climate change plain for all to see in extreme weather patterns, it is high time for the GOP to renew its proud legacy of environmental conservation by proposing market-based climate solutions.”
Op-Ed. Wall Street Journal, 2019

T.S. Eliot – Conservative Poet / Author

“A wrong attitude towards nature implies, somewhere, a wrong attitude towards God.”
Christianity and Culture, page 48

Russell Kirk – Conservative Author / National Review Editor

“If men are discharged of reverence for ancient usage, they will treat this world, almost certainly, as if it were their private property, to be consumed for their sensual gratification; and thus they will destroy in their lust for enjoyment the property of future generations, of their own contemporaries, and indeed their very own capital.”
The Conservative Mind, 1953

Rod Dreher – Conservative Author / Journalist

“As it turns out, the ecological catastrophe Kirk feared that would be the consequence of our impiety appears not to be one of radically diminished resources, but of potentially catastrophic climate change. It comes from an arrogant refusal by a modern consumerist society to accept limits on its desires. Kirk’s idea of the “eternal society” evaporates before the insatiable demands of the Everlasting Now.”

A green Christian conservative, USA Today, April 24, 2006

You can find additional conservative environmental quotes on the CRS website’s Conservative Quotes page.