Obama and McCain Take 14 Question Science Test

Washington, DC (September 16, 2008)- Both presidential candidates say that if they are elected in November, they will fight global warming by reducing carbon dioxide emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2020, using methods that include a cap-and-trade system, but then their positions begin to diverge. The candidates gave answers in response to 14 questions posed by a new organization ScienceDebate2008 that is attempting to raise the profile of science in this presidential election.

Democratic nominee Senator Barack Obama of Illinois says his administration would put the United States on track to cut carbon emissions 80 percent by the year 2050. “I will restore U.S. leadership in strategies for combating climate change and work closely with the international community,” Obama says.
On the other hand, Republican nominee Senator John McCain of Arizona says his administration would aim for a reduction of at least 60 percent below 1990 levels by the year 2050. He does not mention international engagement but promises a $5,000 tax credit to every customer who buys an American zero-emissions car.
“We are grateful for both senators’ detailed responses,” said Matthew Chapman, president of the initiative. “Now we hope the candidates will want to discuss their differences. Science Debate 2008 and its partners once again extend an invitation to both candidates to attend a televised forum where these vital issues can be discussed in front of a broader audience.”
ScienceDebate2008 is a citizens initiative started by six people last December. Signers now include nearly every major American science organization, the presidents of most major American universities, and dozens of Nobel laureates and top American CEOs.
The 14 questions address energy policy, national security, economics in a science-driven global economy, climate change, education, health care, ocean health, biosecurity, clean water, space, stem cells, scientific integrity, genetics, and research. “Most of America’s major unsolved challenges revolve around these 14 questions,” said Shawn Otto, CEO of the initiative. “To move America forward, the next president needs a substantive plan for tackling them going in, and voters deserve to know what that plan is.”
The 14 questions were developed from over 3,400 questions submitted by more than 38,500 signers of the ScienceDebate2008 initiative. The questionnaire is a joint effort led by ScienceDebate2008, with Scientists and Engineers for America, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine, and the Council on Competitiveness, among others, together representing more than 125 million Americans.
A national poll, commissioned by Research America and ScienceDebate2008 and conducted in May by Harris Interactive, shows that 56 percent of respondents strongly agree and 29 percent somewhat agree that the presidential candidates should participate in a debate to discuss how science can help tackle key problems facing the United States, such as health care, climate change and energy.
“This is not a niche debate,” said Craig Barrett, chairman of Intel and one of the supporters of the Science Debate initiative. “Without the best education system and aggressive investments in basic research and development we will become a second rate economic power. We expect the candidates for president to take this very seriously.”
Related Resources:
Environmental News Service- Obama and McCain Take 14 Question Science Test