Bush and Kerry discuss their positions on science

In the latest issue of the journal Nature, President Bush and John Kerry each respond to 15 questions about science and related topics. Because the responses are written, neither candidate sounds like himself — there are no Bushian malapropisms or Kerryan layered qualifiers — and for the most part they simply regurgitate campaign-trail boilerplate. However, there are revealing differences, particularly on global warming. When asked, Bush acknowledged that it is a “serious long-term issue,” but then said the following: “In 2001, I asked the National Academy of Sciences to provide the most up-to-date information about the science of climate change. It found that considerable uncertainty remains about the effect of natural fluctuations on climate and the future impacts climate change will have on our natural environment.” This is, at best, misleading. The NAS reported overwhelming consensus that humans are responsible for climate change and that it is a problem worth worrying about. Or, as Kerry put it, “The scientific evidence is clear that global warming is already happening and rising levels of global warming pollution are making the problem worse.”