John F. Kennedy was warned about “climate control” in February 1961, becoming perhaps the first American president to learn about people’s impact on planetary temperatures.
The warnings never stopped. Every president since then has been exposed to similar scientific findings. Sometimes it was called “climatic change,” other times it was “air pollution.”
The history of cautionary messages with the West Wing is documented in hundreds of records submitted in Juliana v. United States, a court case against the federal government. The files show an arc of steadily improving climate science and a clearer picture of damages, even as presidents diverged on how to address the problem.