Tuesday, July 10, 2007

John Edwards interviewed at Scienceblogs

The interview is here, and blorg commentary here. Some random thoughts:

On who actually answered the questions - it was an email interview, so was it actually Edwards who responded? I'd ask this question if it were Bush, so it's fair to ask here. You decide your own trust level, I guess, but the language style sure sounds like Edwards when he talks. FWIW, I ran some text through Gender Genie, and it scored the author as male.

On politicized science - Edwards says "As president, I will ensure that government professionals charged with the collection and analysis of scientific data--from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to the EPA--are insulated from political influence. Period."

He's trying to make a clear and simple distinction between himself and Bush. That's fine, but he needs to go on and advocate some of the solutions that have been proposed by the scientific community. Even saying something like "no political litmus test for scientific appointments" would be helpful.

Corporate farms and ethanol - he says "We need a farm bill that supports family farmers, but eliminates the massive subsidies that flow to corporate farms with high incomes. Corporate farms making more than $250,000 a year should not get our tax dollars."

That also needs details - it could be dramatically good, or it could be loopholed ($250k net revenue on a per parcel basis?).

"Millions of ethanol-ready cars are on the roads, but only about 600 of the 169,000 gas stations have pumps for E85, a blend of ethanol and gasoline. We will require oil companies to install ethanol pumps at 25 percent of their gas stations and require all new cars sold after 2010 to be "flex fuel" cars running on either gasoline or biofuel."

I'm not convinced yet that corn ethanol is the pure evil that many enviros think it to be, but it's no great thing either. I guess I'm undecided whether this is a useful bridge to cellulosic ethanol.

On manned space exploration versus real science - "We need a balanced space and aeronautics program. We need to support solar system exploration as an important goal for our human and robotic programs, but only as one goal among several. And we need to invite other countries to share in a meaningful way in both the adventure and the cost of space exploration."

Oh well. I think Dems will be only marginally better that Republicans on this, mainly by keeping the stupid Bush-to-Mars budget from intruding any further on the NASA science budget.

On climate change - he wants a 20% carbon reduction by 2020. That's very good to have a short term plan, which I think is more important than the 80% reduction by 2050. The baseline year though is 2010, so the 20% reduction probably takes us back only to mid-1990s levels. The other stuff about selling cabon credits to fund renewables research is great.

(Cross-posted at JohnEdwards.com.)

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