Adam and the Big Bang


This is another piece from the bloggers over at the Vatican Observatory.


Noah’s Ark has been re-built, right here in Kentucky.  It just opened to the public this summer.  It is supposed to bring in many tourists who will see something from Genesis on a Kentucky landscape.  The Kentucky Ark will probably generate plenty of the usual discussion of science versus traditional belief systems—that is (from an astronomy perspective), The Big Bang versus Genesis. Some years back in the Communicating Astronomy with the Public Journal, two authors, Martin Griffiths and Carlos F. Oliveira, wrote a contribution to that usual discussion. Their article, “The Big Bang—a Hot Issue in Science Communication,”* portrayed the communication of ideas from science that challenge traditional belief systems as “an ideological war that is worth the fight.”  They said— The Big Bang theory strikes at the heart of human philosophical and cultural meaning, uprooting a secure humanity from a known place in the Universe to one of unimaginable smallness, adrift in the unfathomable sea of space.  This is … Continue reading →

Source: Adam and the Big Bang

2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 11


These are the responses of the 2016 Presidential candidates to the fourth of the twenty questions posed to them earlier.

I posted the responses to Question #1 at (concerning innovation) at “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 1”.

The responses to Question #2 (concerning research) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 2″.

The responses to Question #3 (concerning climate change) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 3″.

The responses to Question #4 (concerning biodiversity) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 4″.

The responses to Question #5 (concerning the Internet) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 5″.

The responses to Question #6 (concerning mental health) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 6″.

The responses to Question #7 (concerning energy) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 7″.

The responses to Question #8 (concerning science and mathematics education) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 8″.

The responses to Question #9 (concerning public health) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 9″.

The responses to Question #10 (concerning water) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 10″.

I hope that you will take the time to look at these responses and offer your own thoughts.  My own thoughts and analysis are at the end of the post.

  • Nuclear Power

Nuclear power can meet electricity demand without producing greenhouse gases, but it raises national security and environmental concerns. What is your plan for the use, expansion, or phasing out of nuclear power, and what steps will you take to monitor, manage and secure nuclear materials over their life cycle?

Hillary Clinton (D)

Meeting the climate challenge is too important to limit the tools available in this fight. Nuclear power – which accounts for more than 60 percent of our zero carbon power generation today – is one of those tools. I will work to ensure that the climate benefits of our existing nuclear power plants that are safe to operate are appropriately valued and increase investment in the research, development and deployment of advanced nuclear power. At the same time, we must continue to invest in the security of our nuclear materials at home, and improve coordination between federal, state, and local authorities. We must also seek to reduce the amount of nuclear material worldwide – working with other countries so minimize the use of weapons-grade material for civil nuclear programs.

Donald Trump (R)

Nuclear power is a valuable source of energy and should be part of an all-the-above program for providing power for America long into the future. We can make nuclear power safer, and its outputs are extraordinary given the investment we should make. Nuclear power must be an integral part of energy independence for America.

Jill Stein (G)

Nuclear fission technology is unsafe, expensive, and dirty from the mining of uranium to the disposal of spent fuel. As such we will end subsidies to the nuclear industry immediately and phase out nuclear power over a 10-year timeline. Existing nuclear waste will be handled with onsite dry cask storage of high-level waste into perpetuity. No transport of nuclear waste.

My thoughts

Well, this is even shorter than the answer for water.  As it happens, Trump’s answer is part of the answer but it is incomplete.  Stein offers part of the solution as well but it is also incomplete.  Neither one of the them even comes close to addressing the other side of the question, the national security one.

Clinton’s answer is the only one addresses the same fears that lead to Stein’s answer (the limitation of nuclear material because terrorists can get it).

The answer is that nuclear fission is not the answer, nuclear fusion is.  But to get to nuclear fusion, you have to go through fission.  Second, I will not deny that there have been problems with nuclear power plants but, to the best of my knowledge, the problems have arisen from human error, not from the power plant technology.

What does that imply?  Training and making sure that individuals are not pushed to the limits of their endurance for the sake of the bottom line.  Maintenance issues must also be high priority (problems at some of the plants have come from minimal maintenance budgets).

Nuclear fusion will be one of the answers to the question of energy problems.  Whether or not, we like it, nuclear energy is a part of the path to that end.  it will require a commitment that this country has not been willing to make and none of the candidates wants to make either.  It will also require, as so many other topics, a greater increase in educational funding and a change in priorities about where our tax money goes.

2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 10


These are the responses of the 2016 Presidential candidates to the fourth of the twenty questions posed to them earlier.

I posted the responses to Question #1 at (concerning innovation) at “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 1”.

The responses to Question #2 (concerning research) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 2″.

The responses to Question #3 (concerning climate change) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 3″.

The responses to Question #4 (concerning biodiversity) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 4″.

The responses to Question #5 (concerning the Internet) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 5″.

The responses to Question #6 (concerning mental health) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 6″.

The responses to Question #7 (concerning energy) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 7″.

The responses to Question #8 (concerning science and mathematics education) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 8″.

The responses to Question #9 (concerning public health) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 9″.

I hope that you will take the time to look at these responses and offer your own thoughts.  My own thoughts and analysis are at the end of the post.

  • Water

The long-term security of fresh water supplies is threatened by a dizzying array of aging infrastructure, aquifer depletion, pollution, and climate variability. Some American communities have lost access to water, affecting their viability and destroying home values. If you are elected, what steps will you take to ensure access to clean water for all Americans?

Hillary Clinton (D)

Chronic underinvestment in our nation’s drinking and wastewater systems has sickened and endangered Americans from Flint, Michigan, to Ohio and West Virginia. Outdated and inadequate wastewater systems discharge more than 900 billion gallons of untreated sewage a year, posing health risks to humans and wildlife life, disrupting ecosystems, and disproportionately impacting communities of color. In addition, many struggling communities around the United States have limited or no access to clean, safe water.

We will invest in infrastructure and work with states, municipalities, and the private sector to bring our water systems into the 21st century and provide all Americans access to clean, safe drinking water.

Climate change is also triggering changes in weather patterns, including the increased prevalence of long, hard droughts that pose a dire risk to the health and prosperity of American communities, particularly in the West. The federal government must become a better partner in supporting state and locally-led efforts to improve water security. To that end, we will create a coordinated, multi-agency Western Water Partnership to help fund water efficiency, consideration, and infrastructure modernization projects across the region, including significant new investments in water reuse and reclamation.

We will also work to bring cutting edge efficiency, treatment and reuse solutions to our nation’s water challenges by establishing a new Water Innovation Lab. The Lab will bring urban water managers, farmers and tribes together with engineers, entrepreneurs, conservationists and other stakeholders to develop practical and usable technologies and strategies that can be deployed by local water utilities, agricultural and industrial water users, and environmental restoration projects across the country.

Donald Trump (R)

This may be the most important issue we face as a nation for the next generation. Therefore, we must make the investment in our fresh water infrastructure to ensure access to affordable fresh water solutions for everyone. We must explore all options to include making desalinization more affordable and working to build the distribution infrastructure to bring this scarce resource to where it is needed for our citizens and those who produce the food of the world. This must be a top priority for my administration.

Jill Stein (G)

We need a national comprehensive water plan.

Clean water is a human right. The Green New Deal’s focus on infrastructure will help prevent future poisoned drinking water crises like that in Flint, Michigan.

Rejuvenating the federal Superfund program will help clean up the polluted drinking water of millions of Americans.

My Thoughts

For a topic as important as this one, each of the candidate’s response is remarkably brief.    One of the most important topics for this planet is fresh, drinkable water.  And yet, Trump offers nothing, Stein speaks of rejuvenating the federal Superfund and Clinton suggests two more committees are needed at this time.

Personally, I would like to know who came up with Trump’s answer that making desalinization work.  It is a viable and feasible alternative but it won’t get fresh water to the interior portions of the country.

I don’t think that rejuvenating the Superfund will help with water problems.  My knowledge of this fund was that 1) it deal with landfills, which may or may not have infiltrated water supplies and 2) it didn’t work that great.

Both Stein and Clinton understand the need for new infrastructure but there is nothing innovative in the solution.  You can’t use generalities or superlatives when what is need are new pipes.  And the one thing that we have learned from Flint is that we need new materials to make the pipes out of, not traditional iron pipes.  Many cities are doing this at this time but it will take more than new committees.

Any investment in the infrastructure of this country is going to require funds and the question arises where are we going to get those funds?  There has to resetting of national priorities that says monies for construction and innovation must take precedent over monies for destruction.

2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 9


These are the responses of the 2016 Presidential candidates to the fourth of the twenty questions posed to them earlier.

I posted the responses to Question #1 at (concerning innovation) at “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 1”.

The responses to Question #2 (concerning research) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 2″.

The responses to Question #3 (concerning climate change) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 3″.

The responses to Question #4 (concerning biodiversity) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 4″.

The responses to Question #5 (concerning the Internet) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 5″.

The responses to Question #6 (concerning mental health) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 6″.

The responses to Question #7 (concerning energy) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 7″.

The responses to Question #8 (concerning science and mathematics education) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 8″.

I hope that you will take the time to look at these responses and offer your own thoughts.  My own thoughts and analysis are at the end of the post.

  • Public Health

Public health efforts like smoking cessation, drunk driving laws, vaccination, and water fluoridation have improved health and productivity and save millions of lives. How would you improve federal research and our public health system to better protect Americans from emerging diseases and other public health threats, such as antibiotic resistant superbugs?

Hillary Clinton (D)

America has witnessed enormous successes with some of its major public health initiatives, such as smoking cessation and water fluoridation. Yet, we have a long way to go to strengthen the public health system to provide adequate protection for our communities. Recent events like lead contamination in drinking water in Flint, Michigan, development of antibiotic resistant microbes, uncontrolled spread of Aedes mosquitos that spread tropical diseases like Zika, Dengue and Chikungunya, the growth of opiate addiction, and the continuing need to address HIV make clear the shortcomings of our public health system and the urgent need for improvements.

But despite these threats, we are not investing in public health preparedness and emergency response the way we should to keep our families and communities safe. A 2015 study found that spending on public health had fallen more than nine percent since 2008. And uncertain long-term budgets leave our public health agencies dependent on emergency appropriations—meaning that when Congress fails to step up, communities are left without the resources they need, vaccines languish in development, and more people get sick.

That is why as President, I will create a Public Health Rapid Response Fund, with consistent, year-to-year budgets, to better enable the Centers for Disease Control, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, state and local public health departments, hospital systems, and other federal agencies to quickly and aggressively respond to major public health crises and pandemics. I will also ensure that our government has strong leadership and is organized to better support and work with people on the ground facing public health challenges.

In addition, we need to do more to boost our preparedness for biological threats and bioweapons; to support research for new diagnostic tests, therapeutic treatments, and vaccines for emerging diseases; to build capacity in public health departments; to train the next cadre of public health professionals and ensure that public health and environmental health practices are standard to the educations of medical students; and to provide resources for states and local governments to plan for complex, multi-faceted public health threats, like the impacts of climate change, and build more resilient communities.

Donald Trump (R)

The implication of the question is that one must provide more resources to research and public health enterprises to make sure we stay ahead of potential health risks. In a time of limited resources, one must ensure that the nation is getting the greatest bang for the buck. We cannot simply throw money at these institutions and assume that the nation will be well served. What we ought to focus on is assessing where we need to be as a nation and then applying resources to those areas where we need the most work. Our efforts to support research and public health initiatives will have to be balanced with other demands for scarce resources. Working with Congress—the people’s representatives—my administration will work to establish national priorities and then we will work to make sure that adequate resources are assigned to achieve our goals.

Jill Stein (G)

A “Medicare for All” single payer healthcare system would place health as the bottom line rather than industry profits, which is fundamental for improving public health.

A “Medicare for All” system would:

  • allow health data to be aggregated on a population-wide scale (much of it is currently held in secret as proprietary information by private companies like health insurers) so that trends and outbreaks could be monitored.
  • permit assessment of the health needs of the entire population to be determined so that priorities could be set based on areas of need and funds could be given to institutions that would focus on solutions to priority areas.
  • drive public policy to pursue a greater public health and preventative approach because having a healthier population would save money.
  • cover every person living in the United States and would remove financial barriers to care. This means that people with infectious diseases and other conditions that impact the population would have access to care when they need it.

My Thoughts

Trump’s non-answer answer makes an interesting comment about limited resources.  The implication of what the answer that he provided is that we will continue to spend massive amounts of money in areas such as military and security.  This answer shows that, no matter what rhetoric he offers, he doesn’t care about the people, choosing to say/indicate/imply that we have to get by with less.

Stein’s answer is a little better than Trump’s simply because she recognizes the need for health care in this country.  But it doesn’t address the question.  Perhaps her plan is buried in the details but that is not evident in the answer.

As in previous answers, Clinton provides a very comprehensive answer.  But I wonder the funds will come from and if she is willing to cut the military and security budget to fund her proposals.

Patriotic Citizenship at its Best


From a colleague (posted with his permission20884151-road-in-the-beautiful-garden-stock-photo-garden-landscape


Tom Morris (www.TomVMorris.com)

A few years ago, after 9-11, when everyone was debating patriotism and what it is, I wrote a little essay called “The Everyday Patriot: How to be a Great American Now” and privately printed it for friends and clients. One of the main themes was that patriotism isn’t about nationalism or xenophobic jingoism. It’s not an us-versus-them mentality. It’s not essentially a polarized form of thinking and feeling at all. Not at its best. It’s rather a matter of cultivating the garden we’re in, for the greater good of all. And it’s about voting every day—with our time, attention, energy, and thoughtfulness. That allows us to vote better when the ballot box is available.

Citizenship isn’t the remote, airy abstraction that it’s come to be for most of us. It’s an essentially participatory role. We’re not supposed to be on the sidelines, appraising those on the field and either cheering in support or booing. We’re supposed to be on the field of action ourselves, engaged in the big game.

Consider what’s going on in Charlotte right now. Patriots don’t riot against their neighbors. Engaged citizens find a way to make their voices heard without ripping up their own gardens and destroying their own communities. But we’ve forgotten our duties. If we think of government at all, it’s either as a drain on our resources or an institution we can call on for help. But in a democracy, we all are the government at its most fundamental level. That’s the most basic truth of self-government. That’s why I pick up litter when I’m out on a walk. The little things add up. It’s also why I write a representative when I think action needs to be taken. And I don’t do nearly enough. Most of us don’t. We need to cultivate the garden more.

So today, perhaps let yourself dwell on that image. Our garden needs tending. Just remember the old adage: Great gardeners live in beautiful places because they make them so. And go vote every day.

2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 8


These are the responses of the 2016 Presidential candidates to the fourth of the twenty questions posed to them earlier.

I posted the responses to Question #1 at (concerning innovation) at “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 1”.

The responses to Question #2 (concerning research) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 2″.

The responses to Question #3 (concerning climate change) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 3″.

The responses to Question #4 (concerning biodiversity) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 4″.

The responses to Question #5 (concerning the Internet) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 5″.

The responses to Question #6 (concerning mental health) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 6″.

The responses to Question #7 (concerning energy) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 7″.

I hope that you will take the time to look at these responses and offer your own thoughts.  My own thoughts and analysis are at the end of the post.

  • Education

American students have fallen in many international rankings of science and math performance, and the public in general is being faced with an expanding array of major policy challenges that are heavily influenced by complex science. How would your administration work to ensure all students including women and minorities are prepared to address 21st century challenges and, further, that the public has an adequate level of STEM literacy in an age dominated by complex science and technology?

Hillary Clinton (D)

In 2020, estimates show there will be 1.4 million computer-science related jobs in the United States, but current projections show we only have 400,000 computer science graduates to fill them. Less than one in five high school students has ever taken a computer science course; only seven percent of our country’s high schools offer Advanced Placement courses in computer science; and less than 40 percent of high school graduates have taken a physics course. We must do more to provide our students and workforce with the skills they need to get hired and advance in their careers.

Every student should have the opportunity to learn computer science by the time they graduate high school. I support the Obama Administration’s “Computer Science for All” initiative. And I will take steps to increase investment and scale instruction and lesson programs that help improve student achievement or increase college enrollment and completion in computer science fields. These steps will help prepare the diverse tech workforce of tomorrow. At the same time, we need to expand the pool of computer science teachers so that we train an additional 50,000 CS teachers in the next decade.

Strong STEM programming in every public school is critical to our nation’s success and to reducing economic and social inequality. But today, less than 40 percent of high school graduates have taken a physics course, and the lack of STEM programming is even more pronounced in schools with high concentrations of students of color. We will support states, cities, and charters in developing innovative schools, like Denver’s School of Science and Technology and the Science Leadership Academy of Philadelphia, which have demonstrated success at engaging underrepresented populations in science and technology.

Beyond high school, we need to do more support the Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic-Serving Institutions, and other Minority-Serving Institutions that train a large share of scientists and engineers of color. In addition to making it possible for every student to attend a four-year public college or university debt-free, we will create a special fund to support low-cost, modest-endowment HBCUs, HSIs, and MSIs. And we need to make sure that a four-year degree is not the only pathway to a middle-class life, including in technology and engineering careers, by supporting high-quality apprenticeship programs and training.

Donald Trump (R)

There are a host of STEM programs already in existence. What the federal government should do is to make sure that educational opportunities are available for everyone. This means we must allow market influences to bring better, higher quality educational circumstances to more children. Our cities are a case-study in what not to do in that we do not have choice options for those who need access to better educational situations. Our top-down-one-size-fits-all approach to education is failing and is actually damaging educational outcomes for our children. If we are serious about changing the direction of our educational standing, we must change our educational models and allow the greatest possible number of options for educating our children. The management of our public education institutions should be done at the state and local level, not at the Department of Education. Until more choices are provided in our cities, those who tout their concern about educational outcomes cannot be taken seriously.

Jill Stein (G)

Education is critically important to the future of our world. Here is how we will ensure that our students receive the best education possible:

  • Guarantee tuition-free, world-class public education from pre-school through university.
  • Abolish student debt to free a generation of Americans from debt servitude and eliminate economic barriers to higher education.
  • Protect our public school systems from privatization.
  • Replace Common Core with curriculum developed by educators, not corporations, with input from parents and communities.
  • Restore arts, music and recreation to school curriculums.
  • Ensure racially inclusive, sensitive and relevant curriculums.
  • Recognize poverty as the key obstacle to learning. Ensure that kids come to school ready to learn: healthy, nourished, secure and free from violence.
  • Increase federal funding of public schools to equalize public school funding.

My thoughts

Trump’s answer reflects the business model of conservatives and is a plan of economic discrimination.  His term of choice is, in my opinion, “code” for charter schools.  Charter schools are attempts by conservative to justify the economic discrimination that currently dominates our educational process.

Trump’s answer also shows his usual lack of knowledge.  The Department of Education doesn’t really do all that he and conservatives in general think it does (such as forcing Common Core on the schools – Common Core was created by the states in cooperation without Federal government involvement).  In the end, his answer, which really does not address the topic, suggests continuing and expanding the present situation, which will make things worse.

His argument that the present system doesn’t work is partially true but the solution is not more fragmentation as he suggests but rather making sure that every student has the same opportunity (which is not necessarily the case at this time).

The thing that surprises me the most about Stein’s answer is that she doesn’t address the need for increased science and mathematics support.  This is surprising because of her own background.  In fact, her answers really didn’t address the question.

Her statement about Common Core shows a lack of knowledge about how it was created or, perhaps, even it is.  Granted, there needs to be greater input from parents and the community but if the goal of Common Core is the development of a set of skills that all students will have, this transcends community boundaries.  I am also wondering what parents can input into curriculum discussions that are beneficial and not ideologically driven.

There is also a bias in her comments about Common Core that is also reflected in her previous answers that, to me anyway, borders on conspiratorial.

There is nothing wrong about bringing back arts, music, and recreation but where is the money coming from and how does that apply to the question?  I agree in principle with the comment about tuition-free education but how does that apply to pre-college education?

Clinton put, in my opinion, a little more into computer science than was practical.  I say that because while there probably is a demand for more tech support, what is needed is an understanding of how to use computers and technology.  Our model right now does little to support creativity and innovation.

Also, there is no indication that any of the candidates noted the lack of funds for paying teachers, especially STEM teachers.  Admittedly this is a bias on my part, because of my own background, but if you want to improve the process you have to make sure that you have the best possible people and that you are paying them appropriately.  If you want a market-based approach, you have to pay STEM teachers a bit more than normal (and that will shake up the teacher unions, I know).

2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 7


These are the responses of the 2016 Presidential candidates to the fourth of the twenty questions posed to them earlier.

I posted the responses to Question #1 at (concerning innovation) at “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 1”.

The responses to Question #2 (concerning research) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 2″.

The responses to Question #3 (concerning climate change) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 3″.

The responses to Question #4 (concerning biodiversity) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 4″.

The responses to Question #5 (concerning the Internet) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 5″.

The responses to Question #6 (concerning mental health) are at  “2016’s Top Presidential Science, Engineering, Tech, Health & Environmental Questions – Question 6″.

I hope that you will take the time to look at these responses and offer your own thoughts.  My own thoughts and analysis are at the end of the post.

  • Energy

Strategic management of the US energy portfolio can have powerful economic, environmental, and foreign policy impacts. How do you see the energy landscape evolving over the next 4 to 8 years, and, as President, what will your energy strategy be?

Strategic management of the US energy portfolio can have powerful economic, environmental, and foreign policy impacts. How do you see the energy landscape evolving over the next 4 to 8 years, and, as President, what will your energy strategy be?

Hillary Clinton (D)

The next decade is not only critical to meeting the climate challenge, but offers a tremendous opportunity to ensure America becomes a 21st century clean energy superpower. I reject the notion that we as a country are forced to choose between our economy, our environment, and our security. The truth is that with a smart energy policy we can advance all three simultaneously. I will set the following bold, national goals – and get to work on Day 1, implementing my plan to achieve them within ten years of taking office:

  • Generate half of our electricity from clean sources, with half a billion solar panels installed by the end of my first term.
  • Cut energy waste in American homes, schools, hospitals and offices by a third and make American manufacturing the cleanest and most efficient in the world.
  • Reduce American oil consumption by a third through cleaner fuels and more efficient cars, boilers, ships, and trucks.

My plan will deliver on the pledge President Obama made at the Paris climate conference—without relying on climate deniers in Congress to pass new legislation. This includes:

  • Defending, implementing, and extending smart pollution and efficiency standards, including the Clean Power Plan and standards for cars, trucks, and appliances that are already helping clean our air, save families’ money, and fight climate change.
  • Launching a $60 billion Clean Energy Challenge to partner with states, cities, and rural communities to cut carbon pollution and expand clean energy, including for low-income families.
  • Investing in clean energy infrastructure, innovation, manufacturing and workforce development to make the U.S. economy more competitive and create good-paying jobs and careers.
  • Ensuring the fossil fuel production taking place today is safe and responsible and that areas too sensitive for energy production are taken off the table.
  • Reforming leasing and expand clean energy production on public lands and waters tenfold within a decade.
  • Cutting the billions of wasteful tax subsidies oil and gas companies have enjoyed for too long and invest in clean energy.
  • Cutting methane emissions across the economy and put in place strong standards for reducing leaks from both new and existing sources.
  • Revitalizing coal communities by supporting locally driven priorities and make them an engine of U.S. economic growth in the 21st century, as they have been for generations.

Donald Trump (R)

It should be the goal of the American people and their government to achieve energy independence as soon as possible. Energy independence means exploring and developing every possible energy source including wind, solar, nuclear and bio-fuels. A thriving market system will allow consumers to determine the best sources of energy for future consumption. Further, with the United States, Canada and Mexico as the key energy producers in the world, we will live in a safer, more productive and more prosperous world.

Jill Stein (G)

Our Green New Deal plan prioritizes a rapid transition to 100% clean renewable energy. Our energy strategy will also include:

  • Enact energy democracy based on public, community and worker ownership of our energy system. Treat energy as a human right.
  • Redirect research funds from fossil fuels into renewable energy and conservation. Build a nationwide smart electricity grid that can pool and store power from a diversity of renewable sources, giving the nation clean, democratically-controlled energy.
  • End destructive energy extraction and associated infrastructure: fracking, tar sands, offshore drilling, oil trains, mountaintop removal, natural gas pipelines, and uranium mines. Halt any investment in fossil fuel infrastructure, including natural gas, and phase out all fossil fuel power plants. Phase out nuclear power and end nuclear subsidies. End all subsidies for fossil fuels and impose a greenhouse gas fee / tax to charge polluters for the damage they have created.

My thoughts

Continuing the trend, Trump’s answer is no answer at all.  He offers nothing in the way of how the goal of energy independence can be achieved.  Stein’s answer depends a lot on timing.  While I agree in principle with the concept of removing fossil fuels from the picture, it requires more than simply developing alternative energy sources.  This would require, among other things, the development of transportation networks that do not require fossil-based fuels.  I don’t believe that the infrastructure for her plan exists.

I give Clinton credit – she recognizes the need for the development of multiple alternative energy plans while phasing out the present reliance on fossil fuels.  In addition, she noted that need for more efficient use of fossil fuels.

This question is perhaps the most important of all the questions simply because of the impact energy and energy resources have on policy and life.