Science and the GOP Platform

Republicans unveil their quadrennial list of policy positions, and it toes the party line on some science issues while upping support for others.

By | August 31, 2012

Thesilverus" > Wikimedia, Thesilverus

Global warming research and tax payer-funded alternative energy development get short shrift in the recently released 2012 Republican Party Platform, while the GOP calls for further support for stem cell research (as long as it doesn't involve human embryos) and neuroscience. Approved and released on Tuesday (August 28), at the start of the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida, the document outlines the party's current position on a number of issues affecting the country. While science policy isn't central to the platform, it is mentioned in several places. ScienceInsider was kind enough to comb through the 50-page statement and point out some of the key mentions of science policy. Here are just a few of the highlights:

Support for life science

The 2012 GOP platform maintains the party stance on opposing human embryonic stem cell research, but expresses support for federal funding of other biomedical research, especially neuroscience that seeks treatments for neurodegenerative disorders and adult stem cell research.

Energy and environment

It seems as though the GOP has backed off from its pledge to address climate change and wean the country off of fossil fuels as espoused in its 2008 platform and promoted by Senator John McCain (R-AZ) and his running mate Sarah Palin as they campaigned against Barack Obama. The 2008 document mentioned cutting greenhouse gases, reducing the demand for fossil fuels, and awarding millions of dollars to scientists who find ways to solve climate change challenges, but the 2012 platform excises nearly all of that verbiage. Instead, it trumpets the need to further develop domestic fossil fuel sources, opposes carbon cap and trade schemes, and calls on Congress to limit the Environmental Protection Agency's ability to regulate greenhouse gasses as pollutants—an authority recently upheld by a US federal appeals court.

The 2012 platform also ditches language from the 2008 stance that indicated a role for tax payers in funding the development of alternative energy sources. Instead, the 2012 platform emphasizes a "market-based approach for renewable energy sources."

R&D tax credit support

Though it’s not exactly the third rail of American politics (both Democrats and Republicans have long called for the R&D tax credit to be made permanent), the GOP platform calls for the government to enshrine tax breaks for research and development at the country's companies.

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Avatar of: Paul M. Stein

Paul M. Stein

Posts: 1457

September 1, 2012

Welcome back to the nineteenth century, y'all.

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