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The Republicans promise to end the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) "war on coal" and encourage its safe development. While it is true that the EPA has issued new greenhouse regulations that discourage the burning of coal to produce electricity, the industry is fading chiefly because it cannot compete with cheap and abundant natural gas.
The GOP platform also vows to "restore scientific integrity to our public research institutions and remove political incentives from publicly funded research." That sounds good, but regulators have a knack for ginning up science to support whatever policies their agency happens to want. The platform also pledges to reform the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) so the agency "no longer wastes U.S. taxpayer and innovators’ resources" on red tape and legal uncertainty in order to "ensure that the U.S. remains the world leader in medical innovation." After all, increasing FDA risk aversion has slowed drug development and escalated the costs of getting new therapies to patients.
Saving the best for last, while the GOP platform refrains from calling it a hoax, the term "climate change" appears just twice in the entire document. Both times it is cited only as a way to ridicule the Obama administration’s claim that a warming globe is a national security issue. Without bothering to address the scientific evidence for man-made warming, the GOP platform promises to "oppose any and all cap and trade legislation" and "to prohibit the EPA from moving forward with new greenhouse gas regulations." But even if the GOP were to acknowledge that the man-made warming is occurring, that would not commit the party to implementing draconian carbon rationing policies.
Finally, the GOP platform does make this stirring declaration: "Liberty alone fosters scientific inquiry, technological innovation, entrepreneurship, and information exchange." At least we can all agree on that, right?
Next week, I will take a look at what the Democratic Platform has to say with regard to science and technology policy.