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Author Topic: Energy Production and Use Topic - Topic Committee Working Groups  (Read 28907 times)
stables
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« on: May 17, 2012, 01:31:16 AM »

Greetings all. Thanks to everyone who wrote controversy papers for providing us with such a wonderful set of options. We are very fortunate to have so much great community input.

We are now proceeding with wording work for the energy topic. I know there was some confusion last year, so I want to be very clear about what happens next.

We have a winning controversy paper which is the guding document for our work. We will work to answer questions it left unresolved and try to review its approaches. We are not, however , revisiting its fundamental conclusion that the goal of the topic should be to encourage affirmative teams to advocate for an increase in the production and/or use of domestic energy resources.

We on the topic wording committee are very much open to any wording papers from anyone in the community that provide suggestions on how to frame that controversy. There is real, meaningful choice about how we proceed and we are very eager for your input in what ballot options are presented to the community for the next vote.

We will place any wording papers on our agenda for the Lexington meeting that are received by Tuesday 5/29.

We also recognize that the topic selection committee possesses an important responsibility to ensure that there is a slate of options. We have decided to organize into three working groups. Each group needs community input and research support. I will outline the groups, their basic charge, and the committee members helping to coordinate work. If you are interested in helping, please either reply to this thread or contact these folks individually.

Again, we are open to other work and other approaches. This is just the minimum we feel the committee should explore in order to be ready to frame a slate of wordings when we meet in Lexington.

Please let us know if you have any questions, suggestions or comments. Thanks!

Group 1 - What type of domestic energy resources?
Coordinated by Heather Walters & Adrienne Brovero

Questions:
- Should the resources be individually listed or grouped using unifying terms (fossil fuel, renewable, etc.)
- If they are listed individually, are they better terms (petroleum, bio-fuels, seem to have some minor wording questions).
- Are there concerns about including any of the types?
- Should the topic include both fossil fuels and renewables?

Group 2 - How should production and / or use be increased?
Coordinated by Kevin Kuswa and Eric Morris

Questions:
 - Assess the utility of the term "production"
 - Assess the utility of the term "use"
 - Assess the utility of the term "development"
 - Do we believe reducing regulations should be included?
- Is a broader change with a minimal action/floor (e.g. "including reducing restrictions") good/viable/true to lit?
- Production/use/development terms need to take into consideration the T discussion in the CEDA-F thread - i.e. can the aff enact change that *might but won't necessarily* increase production, etc. ??

Group 3 - What sector of energy production or use?
(i.e, the "for transportation and / or electricity generation" phrase)
Coordinated by Kathryn Rubino and Gordon Stables

- Are these sector limits effective to allow for the type of debates suggested in the paper?
- If these sectors are deemed useful, are these phrases optimal?
- Does "establish a policy" provide any assistance here?
- Is there a way to suggest that the energy should be use-able by the general public? (not the USFG or DOD only)

I do think there will be other smaller work, but I think focusing on these three areas is optimal.

Other important questions:

- The benefit of finding a better way to deal with the "substantially" issue
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Gordon Stables
Assistant Dean for Student Affairs
Director of Debate & Forensics
Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism
University of Southern California
gonzo405
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« Reply #1 on: May 17, 2012, 09:15:21 AM »

Thought on the substantial issue. I'm sure it's been considered, but I'd be a proponent of defining it in the resolution be setting a minimum floor. A few arbitrary examples from previous years and this year would be:
Increase the number of visas by at least 50,000.
Increase democracy of assistance by at least twenty-five million dollars
Increase domestic energy production by at least 30%
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kevin kuswa
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« Reply #2 on: May 17, 2012, 01:56:16 PM »

If folks are interested in group 2 research, please contact ermo and i (ermocito at gmail dot com, kevindkuswa at gmail dot com).  we could use your help for sure.

if you are interested in helping, let us know if you more interested in general research in the sub-group or would want to pursue one of the specific questions.  we're dividing things up along the lines suggested in Gordon's matrix:

GROUP 2 (II):
A.  "Object of the Increase"
1) "production"
2) "development"
3) "use"
4) ** other--Send us your suggestions here even if you are not interested in doing research on it yourself.
5) combination...and/or

B. Reducing Regulations / restrictions
1) include?
2) if include, how... "at least by"
3) "including"
4) "and"

C) Minimal action beyond the restriction/regulation question

D) The overall issue of policies that have intention, but not promise ("might" reach the goal)

E) other issues that arise and are not directly covered by other groups


Let us know--hope to hear from you,  kevin
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tcram
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« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2012, 10:07:20 AM »

Thought on the substantial issue. I'm sure it's been considered, but I'd be a proponent of defining it in the resolution be setting a minimum floor. A few arbitrary examples from previous years and this year would be:
Increase the number of visas by at least 50,000.
Increase democracy of assistance by at least twenty-five million dollars
Increase domestic energy production by at least 30%


Simply speaking as a potential voter on this one question, if choosing between two wordings on a ballot where 'substantially' or a specified quantity is the sole difference, I would want to see evidence upfront in the various wording papers that the quantity reflects the literature adequately and is an actual theme that is debated by energy experts (as opposed to simply suggested by a few, or mentioned in passing context as an example of what could be done), for the simple fact that I fear more for what such a construct does to hamstring the aff than I fear what debating marginally small affirmatives like toasters does to the neg.  So if anyone doing topic work takes up that particular banner, I think 'is it a controversial sub-element' should be a core principle.  Of course, if it is controversial, there would be neg cards against that mech (hence a pic for the neg), but I think that pic is inevitable given enough creative cherry-picking and high-lighting and I would be more interested in whether the aff has a robust set of evidence-based answers that actually assume the choice being considered.
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kevin kuswa
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« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2012, 10:14:52 AM »

"increase the percentage of domestic energy use" might be a middle ground allowing for a debate over what that means, still requiring meaningful shifts to domestic sources of energy, but not giving the numerical specificity ground all to the neg.  good point. kevin
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antonucci23
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« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2012, 10:56:12 AM »


Simply speaking as a potential voter on this one question, if choosing between two wordings on a ballot where 'substantially' or a specified quantity is the sole difference, I would want to see evidence upfront in the various wording papers that the quantity reflects the literature adequately and is an actual theme that is debated by energy experts (as opposed to simply suggested by a few, or mentioned in passing context as an example of what could be done), for the simple fact that I fear more for what such a construct does to hamstring the aff than I fear what debating marginally small affirmatives like toasters does to the neg. 

Agree.

When's the time in the last five or so years that the small aff hobgoblin has just been devastating?

I've found that affs like toasters usually
a. have terrible advantages
b. still link to politics and Ks
c. remain exceptionally vulnerable to a number of CPs because there isn't sufficient literature to defend their process.

There were link uniqueness problems on MENADA, but that wasn't a function of the word "substantial."

Might this be a solution in search of a problem?
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Whit
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« Reply #6 on: May 18, 2012, 07:00:42 PM »

I think the bigger problem/concern (and one that I think some of this wording biz is getting to) is that the government can't really increase the use/consumption of energy in a really meaningful way. I mean sure you could have the government do things that require energy use, but that isn't what the community voted for. The concern is, I think, going to be over mandates vs incentives...or both (and what types of wordings get at that literature).

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jzhawk
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« Reply #7 on: May 21, 2012, 08:28:54 AM »

 
[/quote]

 

When's the time in the last five or so years that the small aff hobgoblin has just been devastating?

 
[/quote]

When is the last time it was ever devastating?  The threat of small Aff's has always been overstated, even in a pre-K world.  i have to believe that in the world of the K they would be much harder to execute.

I would be vary wary of a numerical role int he topic.  There is a debate over numbers, but it occurs almost exclusively in the next of the CES/RPS.  And in that world,a small tweak to the % one way or the other would always be a very difficult Cp strategy to deal with.


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jzhawk
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« Reply #8 on: May 21, 2012, 09:01:53 AM »

I think the bigger problem/concern (and one that I think some of this wording biz is getting to) is that the government can't really increase the use/consumption of energy in a really meaningful way. 


iThis is not really true.  Most fuel consumption is for electricity generation, and governmental policy massively impacts the fuel mix for generation, whether directly through things like CES/RPS, or indirectly through emissions controls or limits on exploration and development. In fact, on of the more lively debates at the heart of energy policy right is whether and how this administration is trying to drive coal out of the future fuel mix and replace that capacity in the short term with natural gas and the long-term with alternative fuels.

As for transportation fuels, things like the RFS and CAFE standards provide similar drivers for directing the types of fuels used.

A topic that required the increased use of fuels other than [foreign?] petroleum or coal would have a substantial literature base.
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Whit
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« Reply #9 on: May 21, 2012, 09:26:11 AM »

Yes.

My point wasn't that the government doesn't affect energy use, but that the government itself doesn't DO most of the use (I guess the military uses a lot of fuel and government buildings use a lot of electricity...but that's not the point).

What I was getting at is that the res will have to include a modifier to the word 'use' (ie...encourage, mandate, require, incentivise), because the use that is being targeted is most likely the public sector's and not the government's.

With a modifier, there are AFFs like RPS, PTC, C&T. Without a modifier, there are only federal buildings and military AFFs.



 
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Hester
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« Reply #10 on: May 21, 2012, 11:15:11 AM »

Yes.

My point wasn't that the government doesn't affect energy use, but that the government itself doesn't DO most of the use (I guess the military uses a lot of fuel and government buildings use a lot of electricity...but that's not the point).

What I was getting at is that the res will have to include a modifier to the word 'use' (ie...encourage, mandate, require, incentivise), because the use that is being targeted is most likely the public sector's and not the government's.

With a modifier, there are AFFs like RPS, PTC, C&T. Without a modifier, there are only federal buildings and military AFFs.

if the resolution includes "its" as part of the sentence "The USFG should increase its use/production" then the problems Whit has brought up will be in play for sure.

the topic paper actually use old-school wording in its first reference to any resolution wording: "The USFG should establish a policy substantially increasing...". "Policy" language used to be common in our resolutions, and there's a particular function it would play for next year's resolution. Absent that direct object ("establish a policy" or "adopt a policy"), the immediacy of "the USFG should" to the "increase" verb phrase may give credence to interpretations that the plan's increase in domestic energy use/production MUST be mandated by fiat (which could either occur within the USFG jurisdiction of federal lands or military consumption OR be a really hardline government intervention into the economy), rather than "incentive"-based policies. For example, a Plan that had the USFG eliminate regulations which discourage coal usage in electricity doesn't technically "increase use" (it merely creates the conditions whereby that behavior is more likely, but doesn't require such behavior) BUT it could definitely be described as a "policy to increase".

we have lots to discuss at the topic meetings. looking forward to seeing everyone there.
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jzhawk
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« Reply #11 on: May 21, 2012, 12:44:49 PM »


 
if the resolution includes "its" as part of the sentence "The USFG should increase its use/production" then the problems Whit has brought up will be in play for sure.

the topic paper actually use old-school wording in its first reference to any resolution wording: "The USFG should establish a policy substantially increasing...". "Policy" language used to be common in our resolutions, and there's a particular function it would play for next year's resolution. 

All of this (especially the old school part).  I think it it is worth noting that energy policy is one of relatively few areas where the term "policy" is actually debated in the literature and the lack of a coherent "policy" is important.  it is part of why i would be hesitant to force the division of ground based on incentives v. mandates.  I do not think that is really where the debate is right now in policy circles.  it mis more about whether government should, through any combination of mandates and incentives, force a change in the fuels used to generate electricity or power motor vehicles.
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kevin kuswa
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« Reply #12 on: May 21, 2012, 02:33:14 PM »

Yes, there are a lot of (wording) elements to put together surrounding a simple electron.  The discussion of "energy policy" is rigorous in the literature and I think it's a good phrase to include even though my group is not researching that in particular.  Using "energy policy" will help the negative a bit on topicality and with links and will appropriately link to what the USFG can and should do.  I agree that the incentives vs. mandate consideration may be overstated and we will hopefully find a way to encourage a shift to domestic energy sources without having to specify a cumbersome list of how that occurs, although the various mechanisms may provide some variety to the topic wordings.  The controversy paper's hunch about "use" seems accurate--a tough word to pin-down, leading back toward words like "production," "generation," "development," or even "deployment."  Of course there are some subtle difference between a construction that says "production/generation of domestic energy sources" and "domestic energy production/generation," even though the distinction is minor and perhaps not very important.  Still looking at life-cycle charts to try to focus the wording on the "preparation of various energy sources" and not on the actual use or consumption of those sources, even though the two are linked and maybe the latter could be discussed along with the former.  Clearly, though, the former (being production) is the core of the controversy paper.  Share your thoughts--they help.  Thanks, Kevin
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kevin kuswa
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« Reply #13 on: May 21, 2012, 02:37:54 PM »

oh--one other thing at this point--the States CP will be strong pretty much no matter what the wording is (even through the controversy paper has some good evidence on federal lands/jurisdiction).  it's a good debate, though, and both sides have some good literature-based arguments.
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stables
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« Reply #14 on: May 22, 2012, 02:22:11 AM »

Here is a wording proposal, titled  "Reduce Restrictions and Increase Incentives Mechanism Wording Paper" by Dave Arnett and Andrea Reed. Thanks to them for their work and for agreeing to host the topic meetings!

* Reduce Restrictions - Arnett Reed.docx (82.38 KB - downloaded 1753 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
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