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Author Topic: Energy Topic - Testing The Waters  (Read 23992 times)
dylanquigley
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« on: April 09, 2012, 07:44:40 PM »

I've gotten a fair amount of support from various folks about this so far. Everyone gets to talk about what they want, the lit is endless and awesome and the debates are nuanced and intelligent. I still get to talk about social justice and environmental racism but Kearney still gets the Russia DA (if he can put down the new Zizek book long enough that is). The lit and political climate have both changed significantly since the last time(s) we debated this.

The major concern I anticipate is that many of the current debaters debated an alternative energy topic in high school four years ago. So far all the current debaters I've talked to were still enthusiastic about debating energy again but I want to ask this question to a broader audience. People debating next year: what do you think? Does the ground repetition from high school turn you off to this topic?
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dstanfield
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« Reply #1 on: April 09, 2012, 08:08:50 PM »

I would also want avoid repeating the same mechanism since energy has frequently been been debated by our community.  As long as a new/diverse mechanism could be found I think energy is a great topic direction.
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Ryan Galloway
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Posts: 119


« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2012, 08:10:30 PM »

Dylan, what do you think of energy taxes as a mechanism to debate energy?  I think the incentives/permits debate has been done before, but forcing the aff to increase taxes on oil, gas, carbon, etc might work.

Your thoughts?

RG
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cramhelwich
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Posts: 67


« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2012, 08:53:21 PM »

tbh, I am a bit puzzled by the arguments against revisiting known, good topic areas. I think that there is some consensus that we chose a relatively poor mechanism the last time the NDT/CEDA community debate an energy mechanism (04/05), and the debates were still good because the lit was strong.

I favor having an energy "problem area" on the ballot. Many Gopher debaters do too.

dch

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Ermo
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« Reply #4 on: April 09, 2012, 09:15:19 PM »

..but Kearney still gets the Russia DA (if he can put down the new Zizek book long enough that is).

He finished that book 90 minutes ago and put it down. It's derivative literature for the rest of the evening.
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austinlayton
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« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2012, 10:29:10 AM »

Personally, I am a fan of running an energy topic back. Obviously the literature is good and the mechanism would need to change.

I think the problem with the topic process is that we formulate a topic without a years worth of research and pick a topic that does not align with the literature. I think this was evident in most of the previous topics ("democracy assistance" was hard to define, immigration avoids debates about amnesty, "role and mission" was also hard to define). Given that we have already done research on energy, it can only help the topic formulation process.

To all the people who think we wouldn't learn new material because the topic has already been researched:
1) Changing the mechanism avoids that
2) Debaters are getting better -- we will explore the topic further, make better arguments, and be able to show our improvements of debaters
3) Judges will be better, more informed about the topic -- that can only make for better debates and discussion
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dylanquigley
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« Reply #6 on: April 10, 2012, 11:03:31 AM »

I agree wholeheartedly with you, dch, that revisiting proven successful topics is great and this discussion here shows why. We already have so much institutional knowledge to help the mechanism selection process and avoid major pitfalls.

I did not debate the previous college energy topic and coached only a little on the high school one so I don't have very strong opinions about mechanism yet. My first impulse is that I don't want to include positive incentives - didn't seem to go all that well on the high school topic and is not contrary enough to current policy. But if you make that the CP ground to something like taxes, is the lit balanced enough so that the taxes mechanism has advs that the incentives cp + politics 2nr cant easily dismiss? I'd really like to debate taxes but I need to do more research.

I look forward to talking with more older and brighter minds about it as we go forward. Just the fact that we can have conversations like this at this early stage is, I think, a great argument for why we should be able to design a great energy topic.
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Whit
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« Reply #7 on: April 10, 2012, 11:15:19 AM »

Some breadth could be added by saying something like:
"increase taxes on and/or decrease subsidies for 'traditional fossil fuels'"

...or ideally there would be a sweet well-defined term that captured both of those actions without letting in a host of tiny affs.

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Ryan Galloway
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Posts: 119


« Reply #8 on: April 10, 2012, 11:28:48 AM »

I think the taxes mechanism can go beyond energy and incorporate some of the arguments that Kevin is making about income inequality.  The mechanism is one that has not, to my knowledge, been the focal point of any college or hs topic, which is strange because of the importance taxation has in everyday life, both for its revenue raising potential as well as its ability to serve as a deterrent to unwanted behavior (i.e. pollution).

RG
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Malgor
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Posts: 220


« Reply #9 on: April 13, 2012, 11:34:05 AM »

agree energy overall is a sweet topic, though with each passing year solvency gets a little harder to win. 


disagree with the taxes thing as a mechanism to address it. it's a big policy idea but a very small part of energy policy.  of course as i've already told Galloway in talks at the ndt, in general the mechanism of just raising taxes leaves a lot to be desired in my opinion.  and i'm sorry but the carbon taxes aff....yikes.
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kilakevthekevdogkilionare
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« Reply #10 on: April 21, 2012, 04:55:43 PM »

This is a question on solvency, I'v never debated the College Energy Mandate topic, but I have debated the Alternative energy incentives topic in high school.  An example of a typical high school aff would be USFG increase Production Tax Credit to Windmills.  The aff would then have solvency that says production tax cred will incentivise people to build windmills, windmills solve the advantage area, an impact.  Since I have no knowledge of the Mandate topic in college, I don't want to falsely think this Mandate topic could be similar to the incentives topic.  Some questions I have are
1) Based on the mandate topic is it plausible to have an aff that has the USFG mandate ppl use an alt energy, or would it have to be the USFG mandates less use of oil, coal, ect.?
2) Is the neg lit on the question of whether or not the USFG can successfully mandate something better than the aff lit.  And would you say its really better or just is it just a debate.
3) on the mandates topic was there neg lit that said companies would rather take the financial hit of the mandate (like lets say the aff's enforcement was sue or tax companies) rather than make alt energy
4) was there neg lit that said enforcement (through takes, suing, ect) would collapse the econ?
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stables
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Posts: 334


« Reply #11 on: April 24, 2012, 12:04:49 PM »

by Ana Nikolic Policy &  Dylan Quigley with Special Thanks to Scott Segal Founding Partner Policy Resolution Group at Bracewell & Giuliani &
Josh Zive Senior Counsel Policy Resolution Group at Bracewell & Giuliani.

* Energy Topic Paper 2012.pdf (343.72 KB - downloaded 4409 times.)
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Gordon Stables
Assistant Dean for Student Affairs
Director of Debate & Forensics
Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism
University of Southern California
jzhawk
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Posts: 52


« Reply #12 on: April 24, 2012, 12:15:39 PM »

agree energy overall is a sweet topic, though with each passing year solvency gets a little harder to win. 


disagree with the taxes thing as a mechanism to address it. it's a big policy idea but a very small part of energy policy. 

Could not disagree with both of these positions more.

1)  There are great solvency cards being written everyday for a wide range of energy related arguments.  Warming may be getting harder to win from a solvency perspective, but there is such an expanse of arguments beyond warming.  As Ana's topic paper astutely points out, the development of shale gas plays, which has really only occurred int he last couple of years, has fundamentally changed the energy policy discussion.  It is not in the same place it was in two or tree years ago.  New problems and new solutions have been found, and there about a billion great cards on both sides right now.

2)  Taxes are large a part of energy policy. Enormous and central part of the current literature and policy documents.  However, while taxes may be a necessary part of comprehensive energy discussion, they are not sufficient to access the range of issues that are much more regulatory in nature. 

2)
 
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lgarrett
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Posts: 53


« Reply #13 on: April 24, 2012, 12:43:45 PM »

I might have missed the boat on something, but if the topic requires the AFF to increase production or use doesn't that require actually solving to be topical? Or is establishing a policy with that intent sufficient to be topical? The paper mentions that there are only so many ways to increase domestic production, but how does this impact T debates? Can teams win on T if they prove no risk of an actual increase?

I like the paper and think the paper makes a good argument that domestic production has changed the nature of the debate since the community last visited it. I also believe limiting the energy areas is a good remedy to not having one static mechanism like incentives or regulations.
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jzhawk
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Posts: 52


« Reply #14 on: April 24, 2012, 12:48:00 PM »

I might have missed the boat on something, but if the topic requires the AFF to increase production or use doesn't that require actually solving to be topical? Or is establishing a policy with that intent sufficient to be topical? The paper mentions that there are only so many ways to increase domestic production, but how does this impact T debates? Can teams win on T if they prove no risk of an actual increase?
 

1)  This sort of argument is historically very diffcult to win.

2) Your concerns could be addressed with a wording construction that is something like "adopt a policy to substantially increase..." as this would make the wording aspirational.
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