EarthSky Communications has joined 57 universities and other organizations in a major effort to mount a presidential debate on science, technology, and the economy.
‘Science and engineering are responsible for half of our nation’s growth in GDP over the last 57 years, and have come to impact every aspect of our lives, our economy, our health, our environment, and our decision-making processes. No other debate topic can claim anything close to that impact on voters’ lives,’ said Shawn Lawrence Otto, a spokesman for Science Debate 2008 and one of the debate’s organizers. ‘Collectively, the signers of this initiative represent millions and millions of American voters.’
The effort is co-chaired by Congressmen Vern Ehlers, R-MI, and Rush Holt, D-NJ, and is being championed by Bart Gordon, chair of the House Science & Technology Committee. It includes several former and current presidential science advisory council members from both major political parties, and more than 12,000 scientists, engineers, and concerned citizens, including dozens of Nobel laureates and other top scientists and engineers, university presidents and business leaders. It is cosponsored by the AAAS and the Council on Competitiveness.
‘It’s a new, global, low-cost knowledge economy. Dealing with that is going to be a pretty major policy question for the next president – one that affects the pocketbook of every American,’ said Otto. ‘When you add global warming, the healthcare crisis, biotechnology, and transportation, it starts looking like many of the major issues the next president will face are not being seriously debated.’ Otto said the group will announce a date and location and formally invite the candidates in early February 2008.