Science Debate 2008: 14 questions the candidates should answer about science and America’s future

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By J. Drake Hamilton, science policy director, Fresh Energy

Is America losing its competitive edge in science, medicine, engineering, and energy? According to a June 2008 poll conducted on behalf of Scientists and Engineers for America, 85 percent of Americans want Presidential candidates to debate science issues. Voters want public policy decisions to be based on science. And voters are more likely to vote for a candidate who will tackle climate change.

Will candidates discuss—in detail—policies to confront global warming and build a new energy economy? Will this be an innovation presidency?

A new citizen-led initiative named Science Debate 2008 is calling for a presidential debate on science. It has the support of nearly every major American science organization, dozens of Nobel Prize winners, business leaders, and the presidents of over 100 major U.S. universities. From over 3,300 potential questions submitted for consideration, the leading organizations agreed on the top 14 questions the candidates should answer. They crafted questions broad enough to allow for wide variations in responses, but sufficiently specific to help guide the discussion of many of the most important unresolved challenges currently facing the United States.

Take a look at the questions, and start asking them of candidates for president and for congress. Let’s help make sure we know every candidate’s positions on climate policy, renewable energy research and deployment, and other critical issues in the new energy economy.

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