(Physics Today, Oct/2016)

If you look at Trump’s fiscal plan…you have got an overall spending approach and tax proposal that would severely limit the amount of investment the government could put into science. In contrast, Clinton hasn’t advocated policies that would reduce the federal budget, either by curtailing spending or cutting taxes.

Democrats have favored federal support for applied research, whereas the GOP generally believes it should be left to the private sector.

At least two S&T (Science and Technology) publications, “Scientific American” and “Wired”, have come out strongly against Trump. Both have traditionally steered clear of political endorsements. Republicans William Ruckelshaus and William Reilly, former administrators of the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), back Clinton. In a joint statement released in August, they said Trump “has shown a profound ignorance of science and public health issues embodied in our environmental laws”, whereas Clinton “is committed to reasonable science-based policy”. An open letter signed by the leaders of 145 technology companies warns that Trump “would be a disaster for innovation”.

Trump’s attitude on climate change is pretty telling in that he immediately dismisses it as a political statement without seeming to have any interest in getting to the bottom of the issue.

During a May rally in West Virginia coal miners, Trump lamented the elimination of ozone depleting propellants from hairsprays. “I said wait a minute, so if I take hairspray and if spray it in my apartment … you’re telling me that it affects the ozone layer? … – I say no way folks, no way.

I believe in science, Clinton said … “I believe the climate change is real and that we can save our planet while creating millions of good paying clean energy jobs.”

Trump’s announced energy policy focuses on achieving energy independence [by] saving the declining coal industry and encouraging increase in oil drilling … He promised to scrap unnecessary regulations and encourages the reapplication to build the keystone XL pipeline, which Obama rejected … Trump has voiced disdain for renewable energy and energy efficiency. In April, 2012 he twitted, “not only are wind farms disgusting looking, but even worse they are bad for people’s health”.

Clinton laments in her campaign materials that Federal spending on R&D as a share of GDP today is lower than before 1957 launch of Sputnik1. Clinton told: I strongly support the free exchange of ideas and data, peer review, and public access to research results … which can help protect science based policy decisions from undue influence from special interests. “

David Kramer, “The Candidates’ Positions  On Climate Change and Energy Policy”, “Physics Today”, Oct/2016, pp.25-6.