From The Top American Science Questions: 2012. Which starts with:
“Whenever the people are well-informed,” Thomas Jefferson wrote, “they can be trusted with their own government.”
Well, that’s you yanks totally f*ck*d then, ha ha. Not that we’re any better off. still, at least we manage to believe in evolution and we’re not a pile of religious fanatics :-).
So anyway, enough random insults, what do Da Man and Dah Challenger haz to say?
First off, lets look at the question
Climate Change. The Earth’s climate is changing and there is concern about the potentially adverse effects of these changes on life on the planet. What is your position on cap-and-trade, carbon taxes, and other policies proposed to address global climate change—and what steps can we take to improve our ability to tackle challenges like climate change that cross national boundaries?
Hmm, its a so-so question. You can read it as accepting the std.science – it doesn’t explicitly ask them to comment on the actual science, and the last bit pretty well only makes sense once you accept it as real. It gives the candidates a chance to accept the science and focus on policy, which is good.
Climate change is the one of the biggest issues of this generation, and we have to meet this challenge by driving smart policies that lead to greater growth in clean energy generation and result in a range of economic and social benefits. Since taking office I have established historic standards limiting greenhouse gas emissions from our vehicles for the first time in history. My administration has made unprecedented investments in clean energy, proposed the first-ever carbon pollution limits for new fossil-fuel-fired power plants and reduced carbon emissions within the Federal Government. 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. I will continue efforts to reduce our dependence on oil and lower our greenhouse gas emissions while creating an economy built to last.
Obama’s statement is shor, so I quoted it in full.
Doesn’t discuss the science at all, which in the context of what he says counts as acceptance, good. Has done something and intends to do more, good. Is fiddling around with various things instead of going for a carbon tax, bad. I’m dubious about the oil claim – that’s probably more about recession and substitution, neutral. Pushes international leadership, hmm, nice intent, hasn’t really played out, and is the wrong way to go (should be a carbon tax), neutral.
I am not a scientist myself, but my best assessment of the data is that the world is getting warmer, that human activity contributes to that warming, and that policymakers should therefore consider the risk of negative consequences. However, there remains a lack of scientific consensus on the issue — on the extent of the warming, the extent of the human contribution, and the severity of the risk — and I believe we must support continued debate and investigation within the scientific community.
Sentence one is almost “fair enough” but notice the equivocation: hasn’t said how much warmer, hasn’t said what human’s contribution is, hasn’t said that he accepts the std.science. Indeed, he has implicitly rejected taking, say, the IPCC view on board by saying that “my best assessment of the data is…” (my bold). Romney isn’t competent to assess the data – this is fairly close to the dumb America fallacy. I think this has been carefully crafted to avoid offending the wackos too much, neutral.
Then he continues there remains a lack of scientific consensus on the issue – this is just std.denialist tripe, bad. Support continued investigation – could be taken as a sop to the scientists (“shut up a bit and we’ll give you more grants”) but I doubt that will actually show up in the real budget numbers, neutral.
[P]olicymakers should therefore consider the risk of negative consequences – good, in itself, though vague. Lets read on. “Ultimately, the science is an input to the public policy decision; it does not dictate a particular policy response” – fair enough, and worth saying.
President Obama has taken the view that if global warming is occurring, the American response must be to slash carbon dioxide emissions by imposing enormous costs on the U.S. economy.
No, again, he’s slipped back into std.bollocks. Furthermore he’s doing the tedious political trick of attacking his opponents views, not putting forward his own, bad.
We’ll skip a bit now, as his statement is long and repetitive.
I oppose steps like a carbon tax or a cap-and-trade system that would handicap the American economy and drive manufacturing jobs away.
I disagree with this. Its good he’s prepared to put his viewws on the line, but they are unreasoned and unreasonable, bad. I think I ought to note “a new wave of investment in nuclear power” – I’m ambivalent about that, but potentially good.
No surprises I’m sure: Obama is the clear winner. But his policy is weak, so its not a ringing endorsement.
* mt on Pierrehumbert on Paul Ryan on global warming
* Didn’t Cameron just appoint a sceptic to DEFRA?
* Obama, Romney “Playing Games” with Environmental Disaster – via John at Eli’s
* mt thinks I’m being too literal