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US elections: the candidates on climate

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This week on Nature Reports Climate Change, we have a series of news features on the US elections, looking at where the presidential candidates stand on energy and climate. We submitted questions to both campaigns on the key issues – such as whether the US should accept international binding targets before China and India to how they would balance tapping domestic oil reserves with reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Obama replied to our request with unique answers, but the McCain campaign declined to respond. McCain’s stance on the issues is taken from the information on the Republican platform. The full Q&A with the candidates is here.

Reporter Amanda Leigh Haag also takes also looks at how the presidential candidates – and their running mates – have fared on climate and energy policy to date, and on the challenges that the newly inaugurated president will likely face in pushing legislation through Congress.

What is clear is that whoever wins the White House will face a daunting list of challenges in making climate change a priority on both the home front, and internationally. Not least of these will be the short lead in time to negotiating a successor to the Kyoto Protocol, while facing pressure to push federal legislation through Congress.

And for a look at how some of the broader issues in science are playing out in the presidential campaigns, there’s a whole special issue of Nature [subscription] dedicated to the US election. The package includes features on how John McCain and Barack Obama developed their stances on science; where they might take the country if elected, and how the next president could bring radical shifts to America’s major research entities. Columnist David Goldston challenges the accepted wisdom about the role of the presidential science adviser, and a Books & Arts special asks eminent academics which science book the next US president should read. Also available to download is a series of podcasts on science issues in the elections.

Olive Heffernan

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