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Science Debate 2008

By: Dr. Jeff Masters, 7:06 PM GMT on February 11, 2008

The issues of global warming and climate change are important to many voters, yet the media has done a poor job asking the U.S. presidential candidates about these topics. In a study quoted by The Boston Globe, in 2007 the major TV networks asked presidential candidates 2,679 questions. Of those questions, only three were about global warming--the same number of questions that were asked about UFOs. With the presidential race narrowed down to four main candidates--Hillary Clinton, Mike Huckabee, John McCain, and Barack Obama--it's time that the candidates' views on climate change be given more attention. To address this need, the four major candidates have been invited to participate in Science Debate 2008, a verbal debate to be held on April 18, 2008, at Philadelphia's Franklin Institute. The debate is cosponsored by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the Council on Competitiveness, the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. Nearly 100 leading American universities and other organizations have signed on to promote the effort, along with many prominent scientists, writers, and members of Congress. The debate is designed to discover the candidates' views on many science-related topics, such as climate change, clean energy, health care, science education and technology in schools, scientific integrity, GM agriculture, transportation infrastructure, the genome, data privacy, intellectual property, pandemic diseases, the health of the oceans, water resources, stem cells, conservation and species loss, population, and the space program.

We need your help to make this debate happen! Contact the campaigns of the candidates to ask them to participate in the debate, sign a petition to approve of the debate, or write a letter to the editor of your local paper. Chris Mooney, who authored the excellent 2007 book, Storm World: Hurricanes, Politics, and the Battle Over Global Warming, is one of the leaders of the initiative, and has posted links one can use to help with these tasks, in his blog, The Intersection. Thanks for helping out!

Jeff Masters


The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.