04 September 2012

Romney vs. Obama in the ScienceDebate

A group called ScienceDebate.org -- sponsored by the AAAS, NAS and Council on Competitiveness -- asked both US presidential candidates on a range of questions related to scientific topics to which they have now posted replies.

A lot of the replies are just campaign boilerplate, but there are a few items of note. Most significantly is the fact that Mitt Romney's reply on climate change is far more substantive than that from President Obama -- call me surprised.

Economic growth and technological innovation, not economy-suppressing regulation, is the key to environmental protection in the long run. So I believe we should pursue what I call a “No Regrets” policy — steps that will lead to lower emissions, but that will benefit America regardless of whether the risks of global warming materialize and regardless of whether other nations take effective action. 
Somebody on that campaign is channeling The Climate Fix;-)

Since I took office, the U.S. is importing an average of 3 million fewer barrels of oil every day, and our dependence on foreign oil is at a 20-year low. We are also showing international leadership on climate change, reaching historic agreements to set emission limits in unison with all major developed and developing nations. There is still more to be done to address this global problem.
Seriously? "Reaching historic agreements"? Historically inconsequential maybe. For those single issue voters focused on all things climate, the Obama campaign's response says: "You''ll vote for me no matter what pablum I give to the ScienceDebate." Slap!

The election certainly won't swing on issues related to climate, much less science. One reason for this of course is that there isn't really much difference between the candidates on most issues of science -- at least not as expressed in the answers provided to ScienceDebate.org -- both candidates love science, innovation, education, healthy food, clean water, science free from politics and an open internet.

I'd be surprised in a single US citizen changes their vote based on the replies. They are interesting nonetheless. Have a look at their answers here.

Postscript: And in case anyone is curious, I am voting for the incumbent.