There's at least one thing President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney can agree on: Science is pretty awesome.
In response to a collection of 14 of the most pressing science policy questions facing the country over the next four years -- topics as diverse as space exploration, energy, climate change, vaccinations, food safety and more -- the two candidates for president expressed strong support for the sciences.
“Sound science is crucial to good public policy,” said Mitt Romney. The current president agrees wholeheartedly.
“Our policies should be based on the best science available and developed with transparency and public participation,” Obama said.
But beyond that, the two could agree on no aspect of science, according to answers posted Tuesday on ScienceDebate.org. The site, founded four years ago by Shawn Lawrence Otto, worked with many of the major science organizations in the country to gather the science questions and pose them to the candidates.
Climate change was an especially divisive area, with Romney acknowledging that the planet is warming, yet advocating caution.
“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,” he said.
He said there was a lack of scientific consensus on the issue and wanted to see continued debate and investigation within the scientific community. Obama, on the other hand, advised continued action in the face of climate change.
“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,” he said.
“I will continue efforts to reduce our dependence on oil and lower our greenhouse gas emissions while creating an economy built to last.”