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TOPIC COMMITTEE => Archive => 2012 - 2013 Topic => Topic started by: stables on May 17, 2012, 01:31:16 AM

Title: Energy Production and Use Topic - Topic Committee Working Groups
Post by: stables 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
Title: Re: Energy Production and Use Topic - Topic Committee Working Groups
Post by: gonzo405 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%
Title: Re: Energy Production and Use Topic - Topic Committee Working Groups
Post by: kevin kuswa 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
Title: Re: Energy Production and Use Topic - Topic Committee Working Groups
Post by: tcram 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.
Title: Re: Energy Production and Use Topic - Topic Committee Working Groups
Post by: kevin kuswa 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
Title: Re: Energy Production and Use Topic - Topic Committee Working Groups
Post by: antonucci23 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?
Title: Re: Energy Production and Use Topic - Topic Committee Working Groups
Post by: Whit 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).

Title: Re: Energy Production and Use Topic - Topic Committee Working Groups
Post by: jzhawk 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.


Title: Re: Energy Production and Use Topic - Topic Committee Working Groups
Post by: jzhawk 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.
Title: Re: Energy Production and Use Topic - Topic Committee Working Groups
Post by: Whit 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.



 
Title: Re: Energy Production and Use Topic - Topic Committee Working Groups
Post by: Hester 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.
Title: Re: Energy Production and Use Topic - Topic Committee Working Groups
Post by: jzhawk 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.
Title: Re: Energy Production and Use Topic - Topic Committee Working Groups
Post by: kevin kuswa 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
Title: Re: Energy Production and Use Topic - Topic Committee Working Groups
Post by: kevin kuswa 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.
Title: Re: Energy Production and Use Topic - Topic Committee Working Groups
Post by: stables 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!
Title: Re: Energy Production and Use Topic - Topic Committee Working Groups
Post by: kevin kuswa on May 22, 2012, 08:44:11 AM
Good work, Dave and Andrea!  Lots of good evidence in here and some solid topic wordings.  A few initial thoughts:

1. we may be able to avoid some of the and/ors.
2. "source" might be better than "resource"--not a big deal, but something to look into.
3. your elegant wording corrects for this, but the first wording allows for any reduction in restrictions while the incentives have to be substantial.  Moving substantial in front of both will help that.
4. The biggest question here is with "production" and "use"--especially if you can do either.  Production can be limited, but there is a big debate there.  Generation may be better--maybe a combination of words like development, generation, and deployment.  "Use" is the one we need to really look at--it could lead to some unintended areas, but it is nice and broad like we are looking for...possibly a good term, just needs a bit more thought.
5. Not sure the domestic sources need specification, but this is a good list if so.

The intent of reducing obstacles and incentivizing is PERFECT--great stuff there and thanks for the head start.  This will undoubtedly make the process better and more accurate overall.  Keep us posted with more evidence/thoughts/etc.
Title: Re: Energy Production and Use Topic - Topic Committee Working Groups
Post by: rwevans on May 22, 2012, 10:59:15 AM
Increase domestic use?

Domestic:  of or pertaining to the home, the household, household affairs, or the family (dictionary.com)

"The United States Federal Government should establish a policy substantially encouraging the production and / or use of domestic energy resources."

Only way to be topical in to increase use/production of the energy resources found in the home.  

"The USFG should substantially reduce restrictions on and/or substantially increase incentives for the domestic production and/or domestic use of one or more of the following: oil, coal, natural gas, nuclear power."

Don't even get me started on domestic production of natural gas.

Edit
Not only that, but given this wording rural electrification in Tanzania, Peru, Haiti or any other country is topical.  

Also:

Energy:  the capacity for vigorous activity; available power: I eat chocolate to get quick energy. (dictionary.com)
Resource:  a source of supply, support, or aid, especially one that can be readily drawn upon when needed.  (dictionary.com)

Increase use or production of domestic energy resources means increase production and/or consumption of food in the home.  Community gardens?  Family farms?  Meals on wheels.  Fast food tax!!!  

And sonme evidentiary support:

Higher rates of obesity are likely to be found in those with the lowest incomes and the least education, particularly among women and certain ethnic groups.11–13 Some authors have viewed this association, with hunger and obesity co-existing side-by-side, as something of a paradox.14 This apparent paradox may be explained by the relatively low cost of energy dense foods,9,15 the high palatability of sweets and fats associated with higher energy intakes,16 and the association of lower incomes and food insecurity with lower intakes of fruit and vegetables. Recent observational studies have found that dietary patterns and obesity rates vary between neighbourhoods, with living in a low-income or deprived area independently associated with the prevalence of obesity and the consumption of a poor diet. Such associations have been consistently reported in countries such as the UK,20–24 The Netherlands,25,26 Sweden,27 Australia,28,29 US30–32, and Canada33. It has been suggested that this may be due to a process of ‘deprivation amplification’,34 whereby exposure to poor quality food environments amplifies individual risk factors for obesity such as low income, absence of transport, and poor cooking skills or knowledge. Environmental influences on diet are partly considered to involve two pathways: access to foods for home consumption from supermarkets and grocery stores, and access to ready made food for home and out-of-home consumption (e.g. takeaways, restaurants). In this commentary we review and assess the role of these two elements of the local food environment in producing the patterning of obesity by socioeconomic status.

http://ije.oxfordjournals.org/content/35/1/100.full
Title: Re: Energy Production and Use Topic - Topic Committee Working Groups
Post by: whwatson on May 22, 2012, 11:17:56 AM
This seems like a better version of the "more elegant" wording example in Andrea and Dave's wording paper:

The United States Federal Government should establish a policy encouraging a substantial increase in the production and / or use of ... <insert energy resources, list of resources, etc.> 

My concern at this point with "reduce restrictions" and "increase incentives" (aside from its alliterative properties) is that is seems that it's two topics in one - reduce restrictions for domestic fossil fuel production and increase incentives for nuclear (and/or renewable) energy.  Personally, I'd rather have one or the other...

Nice work Andrea and Dave - an enjoyable read.

Title: Re: Energy Production and Use Topic - Topic Committee Working Groups
Post by: Hester on May 22, 2012, 02:50:23 PM
Thanks to Andrea and Dave for getting their work out to everyone in advance and for doing an excellent job with the paper.

i have a tangential question that is raised by their work, but is really separate from it and more philosophical in nature and i'm guessing will be a substantial issue during the topic meetings:

When explaining why they didn't include renewable energies in their resolution, it is stated "renewable energy will be an inevitable part of the topic either as a disadvantage or counterplan. Making this negative ground seemed to make the balance of ground more coherent so negatives wouldn’t be debating oil and solar good."

My question is not directed specifically at Dave and Andrea as much as it is directed at those who might agree with the position i'm about to question -

If one concedes that renewable energies will have to be researched regardless of whether they are included in the resolution (by becoming NEG ground under that scenario), what is the benefit of making sure "negatives wouldn’t be debating oil and solar good"? Other than research burdens, what does it mean for NEG ground to be "more coherent"?

Since we don't follow the four-person team model in our debate community (each team will have AFF and NEG rounds), won't each team have to research "oil good" and "solar good" (and the answers to these) regardless of whether renewables are included in the resolution? If so, the "added research burden" seems marginal at best. And since the AFF plan that 'does both' is susceptible to the "Pick One" CP, there's not a significant non-risk strategic advantage that only the AFF gets by including fossil and renewable energy sources in the resolution.

once it's conceded that renewable energies have to get researched whether they are strictly AFF ground or not - the argument to exclude them from the resolution boils down to "that ground is too good for the AFF and too hard to debate for the NEG." which is a claim with obvious implications. but having both non-renewable and renewable sources in the resolution doesn't seem to add to research burdens or significantly tilt strategic ground toward the AFF otherwise. or am i missing something? (definitely possible)

open to explanations that persuade me otherwise...
Title: Re: Energy Production and Use Topic - Topic Committee Working Groups
Post by: whwatson on May 22, 2012, 03:33:36 PM
Thanks to Andrea and Dave for getting their work out to everyone in advance and for doing an excellent job with the paper.

i have a tangential question that is raised by their work, but is really separate from it and more philosophical in nature and i'm guessing will be a substantial issue during the topic meetings:

When explaining why they didn't include renewable energies in their resolution, it is stated "renewable energy will be an inevitable part of the topic either as a disadvantage or counterplan. Making this negative ground seemed to make the balance of ground more coherent so negatives wouldn’t be debating oil and solar good."

My question is not directed specifically at Dave and Andrea as much as it is directed at those who might agree with the position i'm about to question -

If one concedes that renewable energies will have to be researched regardless of whether they are included in the resolution (by becoming NEG ground under that scenario), what is the benefit of making sure "negatives wouldn’t be debating oil and solar good"? Other than research burdens, what does it mean for NEG ground to be "more coherent"?

Since we don't follow the four-person team model in our debate community (each team will have AFF and NEG rounds), won't each team have to research "oil good" and "solar good" (and the answers to these) regardless of whether renewables are included in the resolution? If so, the "added research burden" seems marginal at best. And since the AFF plan that 'does both' is susceptible to the "Pick One" CP, there's not a significant non-risk strategic advantage that only the AFF gets by including fossil and renewable energy sources in the resolution.

once it's conceded that renewable energies have to get researched whether they are strictly AFF ground or not - the argument to exclude them from the resolution boils down to "that ground is too good for the AFF and too hard to debate for the NEG." which is a claim with obvious implications. but having both non-renewable and renewable sources in the resolution doesn't seem to add to research burdens or significantly tilt strategic ground toward the AFF otherwise. or am i missing something? (definitely possible)

open to explanations that persuade me otherwise...

possible explanations...?

a) desire for topic coherence (i.e. too complicated/messy to promote fossil fuels and renewables)

b) fears of bidirectionality (this was an issue on ME constructive engagement when I wrote a security guarantee-only topic wording paper that allowed Affs that offered formal security guarantees to Israel...)

c) the Neg research burden claim that you've outlined

Perhaps the energy area authors - Ana, Zive, etc. - can chime in on this issue.
Title: Re: Energy Production and Use Topic - Topic Committee Working Groups
Post by: Malgor on May 22, 2012, 05:54:25 PM
if the topic only has the USFG increase fossil fuels, excluding alternative energy from the debate, we will successfully have created an entire community advocating that the government roll back energy policy 20 years.  still waiting for any sources outside of the lobbying and conservative think tank industries that actually believe this is the core question of US energy policy. 
Title: Re: Energy Production and Use Topic - Topic Committee Working Groups
Post by: kevin kuswa on May 22, 2012, 06:03:44 PM
i don't think we need to specify the list of energy sources.

if we do, we should use renewables and non-renewables in the list.

The controversy paper clearly states:

"In conclusion, our strong recommendation is to include some form of renewable and nonrenewable sources on the ballot of potential resolutions. Including a limit on the types of energy can serve as a clarifying function, but Dylan and I do not think this should be an “only fossil fuels” or an “only renewables topic.”"

The list in Dave and Andrea's paper includes nuclear which is a gesture to the need to have some reach within a list, but there is a big debate over whether nuclear is renewable or not (uranium is limited, etc.).  Some very good cards contend that nuclear is renewable (arguing that ultimately no power source is "infinite"--even the sun), and other authors make a persuasive case that nuclear energy is not a fossil fuel and is not a renewable energy source either--it is its own animal.

We'll continue to flesh this out, but given the controversy paper and what hester and malgor are correctly pointing out, it seems like we should either leave the potential sources of energy wide-open or include renewables and non-renewables on the list.  We also need to find phrasing that avoids R.E.'s hilarious and insightful criticism of the implications of "domestic use."  Stinky already :)

good conversation.

Title: Re: Energy Production and Use Topic - Topic Committee Working Groups
Post by: tcram on May 22, 2012, 10:22:39 PM
Another possible argument for a 'consistent theme': there is some (not necessarily always significant) effect on how translatable research is to different sides and circumstances; things are rarely as simple 'good/bad' and we do a lot more than produce files that reflect referendums on different issues and sub-issues.  The policy context and the question framing the issue places a limit on easily otherwise 'inevitable research' can pay dividends for debaters.  Granted, I think those barriers are diminished in an all paperless world when work can be more easily re-directed to account for new situations.

An argument I would float out there for including renewables is the simple utility of having a parachute built into the topic.  A narrow option is all fine and good until our narrow option becomes pretty awful.  Would I trade greater unpredictability to not being shackeled to an idea that grounds out after a month?  Well... I don't know, the unpredictable or bi-directional (which is to not even speak of TRI-directional...) are certainly scary, but after courts, immigration and democracy assistance I would certainly entertain the thought.  If we can make a judgment that there are indeed healthy literature bases that could sustain a ff only topic, perhaps that choice makes more sense.  But I am still not entirely sold on either the general direction of production/use uniqueness for fossil fuels or the nature of the literature (please don't confuse that with saying there are no debates to be had on those areas...I certainly think there are).
Title: Re: Energy Production and Use Topic - Topic Committee Working Groups
Post by: whwatson on May 23, 2012, 07:26:03 AM
Alternative wordings to avoid T randomness (i.e., you aren't household farting) could include "national energy production/use" or "energy production/use nationwide" aren't phrases that appear in the literature... 

"domestic energy production/use" appears to be a phrase of art in the literature.  Common alternative phrases include "total energy production/use" and "U.S. energy production/use/consumption."

"increase domestic energy production/use in the United States" or "increase in U.S. energy production/use" might create another problem - seems to allow single project or single area of the country Affirmatives...

I'm not particularly worried about the T concerns related to domestic, but exploring alternative wordings is worth pursuing if it results in precise wordings that are also consistent with the lit base.
Title: Re: Energy Production and Use Topic - Topic Committee Working Groups
Post by: BrianDeLong on May 23, 2012, 08:53:28 AM
if the topic only has the USFG increase fossil fuels, excluding alternative energy from the debate, we will successfully have created an entire community advocating that the government roll back energy policy 20 years.  still waiting for any sources outside of the lobbying and conservative think tank industries that actually believe this is the core question of US energy policy.

I agree with Malgor and Hester here. I imagine or I at least hope the community at large would NOT want a purely unidirectional pro-fossil fuels topic.

A few concerns about fossil fuel production/use dominated topic:
1) if we focus on increasing production and use, do we miss the depth of the efficiency debate?

2a) Most middle of the road literature seems to advocate a mixed approach. Are we risking severing great solvency literature and topic mechanisms located in the comprehensive national energy policy literature? The risk is that affirmative teams will have to rely on the proliferation of small affirmatives that fail to solve the core advantages. A pipeline affirmative, for example, would have to rely on less than sustainable advantages to beat topic counter plans and advantage thumpers.
2b) We risk throwing out RPS, Cap and Trade, CAFE, and other relevant and timely core of energy policy debates for the purpose of "consistency."

3a) Fossil Fuel Uniqueness: Clean coal research is happening now by the industry and government. Coal usage is happening now and will continue unless the government changes course. Thus, how key is government involvement to assist with the transition to clean coal? Outside of some tek leadership, trade (all likely resolved by the status quo funding), and suspect environmental advantages, what unique advantage to we obtain with Federal clean coal leadership/involvement?

4) In terms of the T debate for domestic "use": I fear a bad T debate over whether an affirmative can ONLY focus on the increase of "use" of X fuel. If a comprehensive policy on say, natural gas cars, includes quality control mechanisms that increases the price of a X fuel's use, is this extra-topical? Mandates that include technology restrictions against natural gas leakage could be an example. A topic that includes "use" as the end, may mean affirmatives are constrained to the least efficient and dirtiest forms of the fuels use.

Conclusion: If we fail to include renewables, efficiency, and/or cleaner technologies I think we will look back at this topic at the end of the year and think about a missed opportunity. I would put it near the level of increase federal control of Indian Country.
Title: Re: Energy Production and Use Topic - Topic Committee Working Groups
Post by: whwatson on May 23, 2012, 10:10:46 AM
if the topic only has the USFG increase fossil fuels, excluding alternative energy from the debate, we will successfully have created an entire community advocating that the government roll back energy policy 20 years.  still waiting for any sources outside of the lobbying and conservative think tank industries that actually believe this is the core question of US energy policy.

I agree with Malgor and Hester here. I imagine or I at least hope the community at large would NOT want a purely unidirectional pro-fossil fuels topic.

A few concerns about fossil fuel production/use dominated topic:
1) if we focus on increasing production and use, do we miss the depth of the efficiency debate?

2a) Most middle of the road literature seems to advocate a mixed approach. Are we risking severing great solvency literature and topic mechanisms located in the comprehensive national energy policy literature? The risk is that affirmative teams will have to rely on the proliferation of small affirmatives that fail to solve the core advantages. A pipeline affirmative, for example, would have to rely on less than sustainable advantages to beat topic counter plans and advantage thumpers.
2b) We risk throwing out RPS, Cap and Trade, CAFE, and other relevant and timely core of energy policy debates for the purpose of "consistency."

3a) Fossil Fuel Uniqueness: Clean coal research is happening now by the industry and government. Coal usage is happening now and will continue unless the government changes course. Thus, how key is government involvement to assist with the transition to clean coal? Outside of some tek leadership, trade (all likely resolved by the status quo funding), and suspect environmental advantages, what unique advantage to we obtain with Federal clean coal leadership/involvement?

4) In terms of the T debate for domestic "use": I fear a bad T debate over whether an affirmative can ONLY focus on the increase of "use" of X fuel. If a comprehensive policy on say, natural gas cars, includes quality control mechanisms that increases the price of a X fuel's use, is this extra-topical? Mandates that include technology restrictions against natural gas leakage could be an example. A topic that includes "use" as the end, may mean affirmatives are constrained to the least efficient and dirtiest forms of the fuels use.

Conclusion: If we fail to include renewables, efficiency, and/or cleaner technologies I think we will look back at this topic at the end of the year and think about a missed opportunity. I would put it near the level of increase federal control of Indian Country.

the controversy paper itself seems to privilege energy production over energy efficiency, does it not?

04-05 "greatest hits" Affs might or might not be consistent with the controversy paper...but they might be with particular wordings that emerge from the topic meetings - we'll have to wait and see

renewable energy promotion also has uniqueness issues - public and private investment in RE has and will continue to increase in the US

"establish a policy" seems a broad enough term to address concerns in #4

the world will not end if a fossil fuel production wording is put on the ballot and the community will not shame itself for having it as an option...

Title: Re: Energy Production and Use Topic - Topic Committee Working Groups
Post by: jzhawk on May 23, 2012, 12:48:55 PM
if the topic only has the USFG increase fossil fuels, excluding alternative energy from the debate, we will successfully have created an entire community advocating that the government roll back energy policy 20 years.  still waiting for any sources outside of the lobbying and conservative think tank industries that actually believe this is the core question of US energy policy. 

I certainly do not want to get  in the way your willingness to make broad generalizations about people and professions you do not know or understand, but this argument is every bit as inaccurate as it is self-righteous.

The core question of energy policy is unquestionably where the US will derive its electricity and/or motor fuels from. This is something that people on both sides agree about, and the question is what the fuel mix should be, and how to induce transitions from one type of fuel to another. Now, if you read my posts I have actually been arguing that topic could focus on driving fuels away from the two largest sources of energy, coal and petroleum for the electricity and transportation sectors respectively.  Now, i suspect that Andrea and Dave have flipped that based on concerns about inherency and uniqueness (and Ana and Dylan took the same stance), of course, none of those  four people are lobbyists or work for conservative think tanks so i am not sure what your point was.

Perhaps you can set aside your obvious and poorly informed disdain and propose an energy policy wording that would better suit your concerns?
Title: Re: Energy Production and Use Topic - Topic Committee Working Groups
Post by: jzhawk on May 23, 2012, 12:59:42 PM


We'll continue to flesh this out, but given the controversy paper and what hester and malgor are correctly pointing out, it seems like we should either leave the potential sources of energy wide-open or include renewables and non-renewables on the list.



I know am but a lobbyist with no interest in actually assisting with this process, but I shall endeavor to participate in the discussion. I made this point in a back-channel to ErMo, but if you want to debate alternatives I am not sure that you want use the simple renewable/non-renewable dichotomy.  A coherent and long-term energy policy designed to replace coal/petroleum in their respective sectors would likely require significant gas use in over the next two decades, as gas burns remarkably efficiently and cleanly, is abundant, and the renewables aren't up to snuff right now to carry baseload capacity. This is not some sort of agenda driven argument from me, as gas has been what the environmental movement has been pushing for as a tool to shut down older coal generating facilities.

I think you might benefit from a focus on something like replacement or alternatives to coal/foreign oil (not sure oil fits well, honestly) for generation of electricity for residential, industrial, or commercial purposes in the U.S.  as it would focus discuss on the concept of replacement, which is the crux of the debate.

My concern about the general increased production approach (and this is a conenr I raised with Ana when I reviewed the controversy paper) is that outside of oil there really isn't a significant debate increasing the production or use of coal.  there is a debate how much to reduce coal use or, upgrade facilities, do cogeneration,e tc. , but a policy actually increasing coal production would be greeted in policy circles with shock by people on all sides of the issue.
Title: Re: Energy Production and Use Topic - Topic Committee Working Groups
Post by: BrianDeLong on May 23, 2012, 01:44:59 PM
the controversy paper itself seems to privilege energy production over energy efficiency, does it not?

Josh Zive's argument about how there are few advocates for energy "production" in terms of increasing coal use hints at what I am getting at here. While I agree the topic paper focuses much in terms of production, we have to at least recognize that in a market of energy an increase comes at the cost of reduction elsewhere. I don't think it would be bad to include coal in the topic, I actually think it was an under researched issue during the reduce FF consumption topic. But if we're going to discuss replacing coal or making it better with clean coal so it is a more sustainable (environmentally) option for the future than we should probably recognize the need for efficiency based mechanisms.

the world will not end if a fossil fuel production wording is put on the ballot and the community will not shame itself for having it as an option...

I receive your snarkiness well and wear it with pride. I was probably a little overdramatic in bringing up the Indians topic. Sure an all "non-renewable" fossil fuel option can be on the ballot, but I (and I hope others) will be more interested in a non-FF exclusive resolution.

Here's a quick poll or way you can test whether issues of new non-ff resources should be included in the topic. Go to your University's energy and policy professors department(s)/school. Take a quick scan of their vitas and see what they are writing about. At SPEA, every professor who claims expertise in energy is zeroing in on sustainability in use and production, renewables, and carbon. While this may just be the school that our debate program is housed, I am willing to bet that the vast majority of academic based research will be in a similar vein.

I wouldn't want to exclude these discussion and their advancements since the last time we debated some of the cases from 05 - from my perspective it IS the debate.
Title: Re: Energy Production and Use Topic - Topic Committee Working Groups
Post by: dylanquigley on May 23, 2012, 01:48:33 PM
I'm sorry I don't have the time currently to be more active in this discussion but I did feel like I needed to chime in quickly on one point. It is inconceivable to me that any potential wording derived from the topic paper that Ana and I produced would not include, as a significant component, renewable energy. I do, however, understand there is a good discussion to be had about whether the inclusion of wind, solar, biofuels etc. should be though a list of varying lengths on the slate or the use a broader term.
The paper explicitly defended a large, bidirectional resolution where aff flexibility was paramount. Based on Gordon's advice at last years wording meeting, we tried to be as direct and explicit as possible about the paper's wording mandates so as to avoid community dissatisfaction with the outcome of the meeting. If I thought there was any chance of a potential wording derived from our paper that did not include renewable energy I would not have supported it and I am positive it would not have received our teams vote. I do not think this is something that should be open to debate at the wording meeting.
Title: Re: Energy Production and Use Topic - Topic Committee Working Groups
Post by: jzhawk on May 23, 2012, 01:53:43 PM
Brian,

I think it is pretty clear that i agree with your general point about the role of alternative fuels in the debate.  However, efficiency is a much stickier thing.  I do think it would dangerously expand the topic to open to door to policies directed at retail energy consumers. (and I mean dangerous--nice people (not lobbyists) would suffer)  This is a whole world of policy options (from appliances to HVAC, etc.) that is enormous in scope, there are not great Neg arguments or cards, and the literature is lop-sided because of retail sales going on.  

I think focusing on energy policy on terms of fuels for electricity generation and/or transportation gets you the real core of the the policy discussion with the massive expanasion from opening up to ways to encourage consumer efficiency.  
Title: Re: Energy Production and Use Topic - Topic Committee Working Groups
Post by: Malgor on May 23, 2012, 02:48:27 PM
if the topic only has the USFG increase fossil fuels, excluding alternative energy from the debate, we will successfully have created an entire community advocating that the government roll back energy policy 20 years.  still waiting for any sources outside of the lobbying and conservative think tank industries that actually believe this is the core question of US energy policy. 

I certainly do not want to get  in the way your willingness to make broad generalizations about people and professions you do not know or understand, but this argument is every bit as inaccurate as it is self-righteous.

The core question of energy policy is unquestionably where the US will derive its electricity and/or motor fuels from. This is something that people on both sides agree about, and the question is what the fuel mix should be, and how to induce transitions from one type of fuel to another. Now, if you read my posts I have actually been arguing that topic could focus on driving fuels away from the two largest sources of energy, coal and petroleum for the electricity and transportation sectors respectively.  Now, i suspect that Andrea and Dave have flipped that based on concerns about inherency and uniqueness (and Ana and Dylan took the same stance), of course, none of those  four people are lobbyists or work for conservative think tanks so i am not sure what your point was.

Perhaps you can set aside your obvious and poorly informed disdain and propose an energy policy wording that would better suit your concerns?

First of all, we both thrive on ideological generalizations-i just admit it.  But all that side, I think you are missing the actual focus of my questions-where is the evidence.  a question that has been out there for over a month now and never answered.  debate relies on evidence, and maybe i'm in the minority here (god help us if I am), but I don't feel comfortable with a topic area where, despite numerous requests, the advocates have been unable to produce any peer reviewed or academic evidence.  It has all some from industries explicitly arguing for their own self interests, lobbyists explicitly arguing for the self interests of said industries, or heavily biased think tanks. 

I would have the same problem if all the cards on renewable energy came from such sources-oh wait, they do!  the only reason I'm not concerned is because I know from the last two topics, and my own research, that there is a lot of academic and peer reviewed research on renewable development as a solution to the energy crisis.  So far virtually all of the evidence positing further fossil fuel production as a core energy policy has come from institutions that at one point or another (some of them still do) promoted climate denial in the face of an over 90% consensus in the scientific community. 

My point is that you are right, in washington DC they are very concerned with fossil fuel production.  My point is that is largely the product of a very successful economic investment that slants the debate in that favor.  You claimed that "no one seriously talks about cap and trade" in an earlier post.  I agree, no one in WASHINGTON seriously talks about cap and trade, because they are so disconnected from the academic community.  I don't want a topic that grants that convergence outright.  It's academically bankrupt, and further increases a form of insularity that is already well-represented in the debate community.
Title: Re: Energy Production and Use Topic - Topic Committee Working Groups
Post by: jzhawk on May 23, 2012, 03:23:46 PM
I'm not sure why you are focused on answering an argument that I am, quite explicitly, not making.   I do not know how much clearer I could be that I think that the debate over the transition to alternative fuels is an essential, if not the essential, part of an energy policy debate.  As for ideological generalizations, please spare me.  I have not pretended to have any ability to opine on you or your ideologies.  I barely know you, and while I did spend a good deal of time coaching and in academia I would not pretend to be in a position to make a judgment about what you thrive on.  Similarly,  you have no idea what I thrive on (because the answer is BBQ, video games, and my son's youth hockey games).

Your entire premise of some sort of silencing wall between the academic and policy communities is both incorrect and irrelevant.  The notion that academic research is not influenced by the policy debate in WASHINGTON (capitalized so as to not marginalized your contempt in any manner) and the policy debate influenced by academic research is absurd.  I have spent the last decade engaged in this policy debate for a wide range of interests--including emerging and alternative fuels and technologies and am confident that I am familiar with the literature you refer to generally.  I spent the decade and a half prior to that in the academic world and coaching debate.  I do not know how you imagine that legislative and regulatory advocacy works, but when a significant study or analysis is produced or released it is part of my job to read, understand, and be able to use the arguments in such studies (maybe this process sounds familiar to policy debaters).  

Look, Ana and Dylan wrote the controversy paper.  They did so on their own time and own dimes.  It required a significant amount of time and energy.  They did not have any sort of agenda, nor were they pushed by people like me.  You may not like their choice of evidence, but there is nothing stopping you from posting any of the evidence that you refer to obliquely online.

As for cap and trade, The problem is that you are confusing enemy policy with emissions control policy.  Emissions control is a limited tool that does not allow one to acces the vast array of tools available to create real and effective transitions in the fuel mix.  Cap and trade is effectively a fall-back strategy because political realities have made actual energy policy debates unlikely to be productive.  It is what you are complaining about.  That is why I am encouraging college debate to embrace an opportunity to debate energy policy writ large, and not focus on emissions control which has been used a blunt, and largely ineffective tool for crafting a coherent energy policy because of political expediency.

I shall end by returning to the core question.  What is the wording you would like?
Title: Re: Energy Production and Use Topic - Topic Committee Working Groups
Post by: AbeCorrigan on May 23, 2012, 04:05:17 PM
As an fyi for those who haven't really ventured into the topic literature and somewhat in response to malgor's post; there are a lot of 'fossil fuel/nuclear power' affs (including several not written or advocated for by top hat sporting oil barons). For example, the brooking's institute had this idea for a natural gas aff that would add 'natural gas' into the 'renewable fuel standard' (http://www.brookings.edu/research/testimony/2012/04/26-energy-greenstone). They also seem to meet the standard for "independent/peer reviewed."

Two additional (if somewhat contradictory) answers to what seems to be the 'fossil fuel propaganda' da. 1.) We are all already flunkies of the fossil fuel industry. Cars, plastics & a grip of other stuff we take for granted are all fossil fuel based and to pretend like any existing alternative energy technology could be found as an immediate replacement to everything fossil fuels are used for seems fairly unlikely. While some people will obviously err towards more conservative affs, I don't think a 'yes' fossil fuels topic requires the affirmative to unconditionally defend the oil lobby. An affirmative could just as easily generate more less the same set of pragmatic defenses of the fossil fuel industry the affirmative is always able to generate when forced to defend something objectionable to our liberal sensibilities; say that fast change is bad & the affirmative takes pragmatic steps in the right direction. These are not hard cards to find.

2.) There are good k aff's under a 'fossil fuels' exclusive topic. There are a number of potentially objectionable regulations that unfairly target 'the periphery,' there are a number of alternative process that could be incentivized that make traditional fossil fuels way nicer to various groups/the environment, & there are certainly things to be said about changing the ways we think about existing fossil fuels in ways similar to the critical evidence i've seen in more traditional energy k affs like solar power.

Basically, there's a debate to be had & the potential for a very interesting and nuanced look at energy policy beyond just the 'peak oil' and 'cap & trade' debates we've been through before.
Title: Re: Energy Production and Use Topic - Topic Committee Working Groups
Post by: andreareed on May 23, 2012, 04:52:26 PM
Malgor (et al?)- just a quick question.  Are you advocating that there be no wording option on the ballot that contains an increase in fossil fuel production component or just that all (or a majority of) the options should not include it? 

I am curious from a topic writing process perspective.  Gordon can correct me if I'm wrong, but its my understanding that we moved from an "area paper" process to the "controversy paper" process because of the  several recent times where the community ended up with topics in the opposite direction that was proposed in the area paper (Indian Country and China).  Love it or hate it, the community voted for "increase domestic energy production/use" not "energy" generally.  Consequently, our proposed wording includes FF production because the controversy paper included it.
Title: The replacement concept (jzhawk)
Post by: Ermo on May 23, 2012, 05:09:49 PM
I think you might benefit from a focus on something like replacement or alternatives to coal/foreign oil (not sure oil fits well, honestly) for generation of electricity for residential, industrial, or commercial purposes in the U.S.  as it would focus discuss on the concept of replacement, which is the crux of the debate.

I am quite interested in feedback, here or by email (gmail: ermocito) about how others feel about the "replacement" concept - as pertains to coal, and also as pertains to oil importation. I suspect a resolution involving both would have a short stem and a LOT of clarification on each leg of the and/or.

A coal leg could be "an energy policy to (substantially) replace coal as (the primary) fuel for (thermal) power plant electricity generation" - it would have a huge 'substantial' built-in, since coal is over 40% of the mix, and natural gas is just under 25%. http://www.eia.gov/electricity/monthly/epm_table_grapher.cfm?t=epmt_1_1
If the scope of change makes the topic seem too narrow, we could retreat back to the more comfortable "substantially replace."
We could also have sectoral options - residential, commercial, industrial, transportation - although that allows smaller cases which reduce coal ONLY in one sector, not in all / on balance.

An oil leg could be "an energy policy to (substantially) replace imported oil as (the primary) fuel for transportation"

It would be possible under a replacement topic to specific replacement options - or to leave those open ended. It does generate a certain directionality (reduce coal / reduce imported oil) while retaining a certain bidirectionality (increasing nuclear could be topical, but topical affs could pick something else and replace BOTH coal and nuclear to some extent). If the replacement options (natural gas, nuclear, domestic oil, wind, biofuels), you might end up with a topic that had the "and/or" stem in the middle and the "one or more" replacement list at the end. Or, you could specific DIFFERENT replacements for oil than for coal, and get something that would compete with the Europe topic on length.

I view replacement as one of many possible angles on the mechanism, and I'm curious whether people (a) like the replacement concept and (b) would want to help group "B" either looking at it in more detail - or, heck, even finding better options to avoid a 'replacement' resolution!
Title: Re: Energy Production and Use Topic - Topic Committee Working Groups
Post by: tcram on May 23, 2012, 05:43:48 PM
Re: Andrea- I am not concerned about a topic that has options to increase FF use/production. I would be comfortable if it appeared on every ballot option. I have great discomfort at ANY ballot option that excludes increased production/use of non-FF energy sources, for reasons Quigley points out- I didn't think I was ever voting for a 'FF/nukes only' topic.

Re: Ermo- I unfortunately cannot assist in the exploration, but is it possible that a mechanism that is sufficiently broad on the 'production' end access the replacement debate by virtue of an effect of a plan?  It seems that if an aff can topically bring natty gas or other electricity sources online, a fairly predictable outcome would be less coal usage.  Maybe those with more experience with the replacement lit can speak to whether that is sufficient or whether it really does require specified replacement mechanisms (I feel like 7 is a good number and lets anchor it on the word 'enact').
Title: Re: Energy Production and Use Topic - Topic Committee Working Groups
Post by: Malgor on May 23, 2012, 06:13:27 PM
Look many things are being conflated.  And yes I understand i use general terms like 'fossil fuel lobby' and there are nuances, they can't all be 'evil' etc.  Not my point.  My point this entire time, which I have repeated more than once, is that the evidence presented in favor of that part of the topic only comes from those sources, and that is a bad literature base to construct what may be 1/2 or more of a topic over.  that's it.  I don't care if people want to argue conservative positions-there wouldn't be radical positions without those conservative ones to argue against.  I only mention the ideological leanings because the RESULT of those leanings is a lit base that is not ideal or optimal.

It's frustrating that i keep repeating this point, and then i get a lot of blowback, none of which addresses a question i will pose again:  how important is the "increase FF production (namely all the affs advocating a rollback of environmental restrictions)" in the academic debate over energy policy?  not the websites from the mining industry.  not energy lobbying groups.  if Zive's post is true, that washington and academia are much more interrelated than i believe, then it shouldn't be so hard to produce this.  But in the topic paper and now the first wording paper, there is a near universal absence of the high quality, peer reviewed, academic sources that we should base debate around.  I'm not even claiming that it doesn't exist, just that I have not been presented with it despite the fact that it's an area some have said the entire topic could be, while others say it would be at least half of a topic.   What is so unreasonable about this request?

That is my concern.  I don't sit in judgment of your job, i merely pointed out examples of how many organizations that work in lobbying have very slanted views on what constitutes sound research etc.  I would think the easiest way to end the conversation is to produce a some good peer reviewed sources that give us a starting bibliography.  Again, the only reason I don't find it necessary for the alternative energy side is bc of the recency of that being a focus of the topic.

Andrea, I am only against the construction of any resolutions on the ballot that do not include renewable energy.  I do think your interpretation of the committee might be off, but that is because there has been confusion over that before.  My understanding is they have leeway, but they prefer to stick to the controversy.  I think any wording option that makes the issue of new energy production a big part of the topic is fine.  others may think that it has to be a mechanism that 'directly mandates it' or whatever (topicality issues have already been mentioned on that note).

I definitely think the worst possible topic we could make would be one that only does one or the other, something dylan reiterated and that zive has said several times would not be as good as a topic that combines the two as a bridge fuel.  There are some pragmatic FF affs, but  lots of the cards are from lobbyists complaining about how pesky environmental regulations prevent them from accessing as much sweet sweet money as they would like.  In my experience, topic segments dominated by that style of evidence/argument are often best placed under the negative arsenal bc of conditionality and the block.

Let me get back to my diablo3...errr, vigorous environmental protesting.....



Title: Re: Energy Production and Use Topic - Topic Committee Working Groups
Post by: jzhawk on May 23, 2012, 08:22:11 PM
I get what you are saying, and let me try to address it more clearly.  I don't think we are that far away from each other on substance.

First, I think your standard of academic and peer-reviewed literature in the context of the energy policy debate is not really reasonable for many key questions.  There is scientific, academic research on the impacts/harms debate, and on the limited technological feasibility debate.  However, many of the most important questions on larger fuels questions are not whether a particular fuel mix is feasible, but what is required to have a fuel adopted and what the ancillary costs associated with a transition might be. These are not academic questions and many of the purportedly peer-reviewed reports on these questions really just end up being wholly reliant on non peer-reviewed advocacy pieces created by one side of the policy debate or the other.

I do not think, however, that this is a genuine problem.  Arguments from one side of the debate or the other are not wrong because they were created by participant in the battle.  They can be subjected to the same process of testing, criticism, etc. as any other literature because ultimately it is the strength of their warrants that will make them work or not.  For example, there was and is a vigorous debate over whether the government is slow-walking off-shore permits in the GOM.  There is no "true" answer to this debate and sorting through both sides of the debate has a value and makes for good debates because both sides marshall facts, analysis, etc. for their arguments.  It isn't as simple as decrying environmental regulations writ large, but turns on distinctions regarding different types of drilling, risks, permitting, etc. that makes for good debates.   In my experience, having a deep reservoir of advocacy conducted on both sides is a good thing, and is preferable to relying on academic research strictly, as that research often side-steps the thorny implementation choices that are the essence of a policy debate.

Next, I partially agree with you.  I think a mix of fuels is essential.  I also do not think there is a vibrant literature basic for easing restrictions on things like coal production and use.  The debate on coal is really about whether it should be replaced in the fuel mix, and if so by what and at what pace.  Now, there is a debate about increasing domestic oil production (off-shore, for example) and domestic natural gas production (something that most environmental groups know is necessary to be able to clamp down on coal).  And, there is a big debate about how to increase production of fuels/power from other sources (nukes, wind, solar, etc.).  These are each very different policy debates and the reason I think an old-school energy policy type topic that requires an objective like replacement or something might be good because aff's could pick a focus on different types of replacement strategies.  For an example of this, compare something like the Pickens plan for natural gas to things like CES proposals such as the one recently pushed by Senator Bingaman.  The coal stuff, in the end, I think works best as negative strategy because that is really how the literature has been written.

I guess, in the end, you might just be fighting the same battle Harris fought (and lost with me for years), asking me to get get some cards.  Ultimately, I will leave the actual research to others, but I am comfortable knowing that there is great Aff literature on all of the replacement options to coal for electrcity and foreign oil for autos, and solid negative for both.  However,  I would recommend that if you want to see examples of the depth of the substantive debate on these issues it is a good idea to look at the regulatory docket for the EPA MATS rule, the NSPS rule for GHGs (comments will be submitted and public by the end of June) and the public debate over BOEMR's regulation of GOM drilling.  Oh, and the Fracking debate is evolving on a daily basis, which will keep that discussion vibrant.

I'll ask Ana to post some links to some examples of these things (she is also working a full time job, so we do the best we can).

Title: Re: Energy Production and Use Topic - Topic Committee Working Groups
Post by: kevin kuswa on May 24, 2012, 12:47:59 AM


R: The USFG should establish an energy policy that substantially increases the percentage of energy production and generation from domestic energy sources.
Title: Re: Energy Production and Use Topic - Topic Committee Working Groups
Post by: kelly young on May 24, 2012, 07:48:58 AM
In the belief that floors are good and ceilings are bad for a topic:

R: The USFG should establish a[n] [national] energy policy and it should include a substantial reduction in restrictions on and/or substantial increase in incentives for the domestic production and/or domestic use of one or more of the following: [oil, coal, natural gas, nuclear power].

Or,

R: The USFG should establish a[n] [national] energy policy and it should include a substantial increase in the percentage of energy production and generation of one or more of the following: [oil, coal, natural gas, nuclear power].

Notes/Questions: Perhaps based on Josh's comments, coal should not be on the list? Not sure if "national" needs to be included to modify "energy policy".

Advantage:
* Allows for efficiency standards, fuel replacement, natural gas transition into renewables and other solutions listed in many solvency articles people are concerned will be excluded while still maintaining a baseline action that provides predictable ground.
*broadens the topic to allow more affirmative flex

Disadvantage:
* affs can offset increases in FF with other elements of the energy policy
* Broadens the topic - not only for ground concerns, but perhaps moves too far from original topic (I don't think this is the case from Josh's discussion, but perhaps).

I'm not really wed to any of this - take it, leave it, change it. Just seems to combine one of the better parts of the constructive engagement topic - the floor - with this topic.
Title: Re: Energy Production and Use Topic - Topic Committee Working Groups
Post by: jonahfeldman on May 24, 2012, 10:43:04 AM


R: The USFG should establish an energy policy that substantially increases the percentage of energy production and generation from domestic energy sources.


Here are my concerns with the "establish an energy policy that" style of resolution:

1) Effects. 

Some of the core aff's that people seem interested in would have a hard time demonstrating that the result of their action would necessarily be an increase in production/generation.  Removing restrictions on offshore drilling, for example, could likely result in only a minimal increase in production, or even hypothetically no increase or a decrease.  That should be a solvency debate not a topicality debate because determining the plan's effect on production/generation by non-governmental actors is very difficult to establish in a decisive way that creates a predictably limited resolution.

The issue isn't so much whether the aff is a substantial increase or not, because that's difficult to establish on all topics, but whether the aff has guaranteed an increase at all.  Compare to the past two topics.  On immigration you could point to the number of visas available as a mandated increase even if nobody decided to apply for those visas.  Increasing democracy assistance meant increasing the amount of assistance offered even if the recipient refused or it did not increase democracy even a little bit.  What equivalent could you point to on an "establish an energy policy that" rez?

2) Mandates.

If an "establish an energy policy that" style of resolution is chosen I feel very confident saying that the T argument described above would decisively shape the direction the topic takes.  Consider the topicality arguments that dominated aff choice on the nukes topic and the constructive engagement topic.  This T argument is better than both of those.

That means that aff's will have to mandate a substantial increase in production/generation.  I believe that offers a choice of a) increasing USFG production/generation or b) requiring industry to increase production/generation.  That removes a lot of aff's that the topic paper wants us to debate about and leaves a limited and unsavory selection for the aff to choose from.

***quick preempt.  You may think that #2 takes out #1 because aff's could say that the topic would be crappy, for the reasons described in #2, if the aff had to mandate.  However, negatives would be successful in proving that the issues with effects would be way worse than the issues with mandates.  Judges are quite willing to chose a bad interpretation over a REALLY bad interpretation and almost all of the time an overlimited interpretation is selected over an underlimited interpretation.

My conclusion is that elegance is overrated (I know, I know, I'm usually so elegant, but....).  We shouldn't be choosing a topic because it looks pretty, we should be choosing a topic because it is the most likely to generate debate over the issues that we want to debate about.  We should word a resolution that speaks in specifics to what the USFG should be doing instead of crafting topics that speak to the result of the plan.  Energy policy is not in and of itself enough of a limiting phrase.  We need to present options that are the parts of energy policy we want the aff's to do. 

In a somewhat tangential rant I have no idea why people find the phrase "and/or" overly confusing.  It offers a choice: either or both.  What is so difficult about that?

We should include renewables.

Title: Re: Energy Production and Use Topic - Topic Committee Working Groups
Post by: PHayes on May 24, 2012, 11:33:38 AM
Setting aside the question of which energy sources to include and focusing on potential solvency mechanisms, I believe we should focus on wordings that achieve the intent of the topic paper while excluding affirmatives that are BOTH problematic and outside of the paper's intended scope.  This means the first question, in my mind, is whether there are any such affirmatives (i.e., what cases are we trying to limit out with terms like "increase incentives" "reduce regulations" "substitution" "development" "percentage", etc. (if any), and are these cases actually problematic?)

In addressing this question, I think it's helpful to consider from an economic perspective the types of actions affirmatives would be allowed to mandate under a broad, unfettered "increase production and/or use" topic, and then work our way backwards towards a topic wording.  I see 6 general categories:

1.  Removing barriers or impediments to competition by the favored energy source (mostly supply side)

This includes anything that removes legal and regulatory barriers and impediments to competition, which would create new incentives to enter
particular markets and result in substitution in the fuel mix.  This is allowed by the "reduce regulations" language, although from an economic perspective "reduce regulations" seems redundant with "increase incentives,"  as removing a barrier to entry is by definition creating an increased incentive to enter.

 2.  Subsidizing supply (supply side)

This includes actions that lower the cost of production/subsidize production, such as plans to increase producer revenue (grants) and plans subsidizing production by decreasing capital costs (interest rate subsidies), investment risk (loan guarantees), tax burdens (tax credits), etc.  From an economic perspective, these all involve a wealth transfer from the USFG to the favored producers, and they all increase incentives for production and use, and therefore result in substitution, by lowering the cost of production of the favored energy source.

3.  Subsidizing demand by subsidizing use of the favored energy source (demand side).

This includes actions that would seek to alter consumer behavior via demand side subsidies promoting the favored energy source (tax credits for putting a solar panel on your roof, etc.).

My impression is that these first three categories are clearly within the scope of the topic paper, and that it's the next three categories
that contain cases that are potentially outside the scope and that should be addressed with limiting language IF we find them problematic
from a competitive standpoint.

4.  Impeding competition by alternatives to the favored energy source (supply or demand side)

A tax on oil imports is a good example, as it would create the same incentive to purchase domestic energy as a subsidy, a price differential, and would result in substitution for the same reason. Other examples include Renewable Portfolio Standards (which effectively exclude certain types of energy from competing to meet a portion of demand), cap and trade, a carbon tax (which creates an incentive/produces substitution by creating a price differential) feed in tariffs and more.

I haven't seen any discussion on this front, but in my view some of these actions (like a tax on oil imports), seem outside of the intended topic area while others seem within (RPS).  In addition, some of these case areas open up new topic directions by making the topic bidirectional as an economic matter (For example, a tax on oil imports would create incentives for the substitution of domestic oil for foreign oil, and therefore would be topical under most wordings.  But it would also increase overall domestic prices for both foreign AND domestic oil, decrease overall oil use and promote efficiency, etc., all of which is counter to the economic direction of the other case areas listed above, as well as those described in the topic paper.  See, e.g., http://connection.ebscohost.com/c/articles/6078642/oil-import-tax ("The article emphasizes the benefits of imposing tax on U.S. oil imports. A tariff on imported oil could increase the price of energy in the U.S. while reducing the price of oil in the world markets.")

5.  The production and/or use of energy by the USFG (mostly demand side, but potentially supply side as well).

For example, the DOD could increase its purchases of domestic energy, solar energy, etc., which would provide the most direct incentive to produce   a particular form of energy, a direct cash incentive paid to producers.  I feel that, as a general matter, some of these cases are outside of the scope of the topic paper, and some are the source of the "small case" fears some have voiced (e.g., have the USFG build toasters).  But others go to the heart of the topic as the USFG is the country's largest energy consumer and arguably has the power to move the market in some areas.  (And at the same time, no one wants a topic that limits Affs to this category of cases.)

6.  Increasing demand by promoting private economic activity unrelated to the production of energy

I think we can all agree this is outside of the topic's intended scope.  But I don't see how this is excluded by "incentives" language given that every case is going to be effects topical in any case, and increased need is a core economic incentive, although the "substitution" and "national energy policy" language may reach here.

Personally, I'm okay with a broad topic.  But if the community wants to limit beyond simply stating "a policy intended to increase production and/or use," I think we should identify what cases we're worried about and make sure our wordings track those concerns.  I also think we should stay away from terms that don't draw the intended limits and/or establish a percentage requirement that is either meaningless or has a meaning that isn't based in the literature.

Specifically, if we identify problematic case areas, I suggest we consider wordings that limit out these cases  by focusing on the underlying economics rather than somewhat arbitrary categories and percentages.  For example, if we found some of the case areas in the above-mentioned categories 4, 5 and 6 problematic, we might address the issue by wording the topic as follows:

“R: The USFG should increase the production and/or use of _____________ by enacting a policy to decrease the cost of producing and/or using _____________.”

A wording like this would allow affirmatives to remove substantial barriers to entry because increasing supply is the same from an economic perspective as decreasing price, it would allow them to provide substantial supply side subsidies and decrease the cost of production, and it would allow them to provide substantial demand-side subsidies by subsidizing the favored energy because this also decreases the cost of use.

Plans that increase incentives to use a favored energy source by impeding a competing energy source, however, would be debatable.  For example a tax on oil imports would clearly increase the cost of use without directly impacting the cost of production.  RPS in the short term may increase prices (or it wouldn't be necessary to mandate substitution because the market would be doing it already), but there are arguments that RPS would decrease costs in the long run by supporting economies of scale, shifting to an energy source free from price spikes, etc.  Cap and trade, carbon tax, feed in tariffs etc all fall along this same spectrum.

Also, I think this approach would help exclude cases that have the USFG engage in small scale energy production/use projects because such projects wouldn't affect the cost of production and would actually increase the cost of use a microscopic amount by increasing demand.  But at the same time it would allow action through the USFG that's significant enough to bring down costs (i.e., if the USFG consumed enough of a particular type of energy to ramp up economies of scale and decrease the long term cost of production, or if the USFG produced enough of a type of energy to decrease the market price, etc.)

Again, I have no idea whether I'm directing my comments to the cases that people are seeking the exclude.  The above is just an example.  Bottom line, I would ask anyone who wants to add a limitation to a straightforward "increase" topic to begin by explaining what cases they want to exclude with language like "incentives," etc. (maybe the answer is none), and why they think these cases are problematic. And if there is a body of problematic cases, I would suggest we consider crafting limitations like the above, i.e. limits that focus on the underlying economics of the problematic cases.  "Decrease cost" is just one example, there are a number of ways this could be done.
Title: Re: Energy Production and Use Topic - Topic Committee Working Groups
Post by: jzhawk on May 24, 2012, 01:09:00 PM


 


Here are my concerns with the "establish an energy policy that" style of resolution:

1) Effects. 





I understand this argument, but I think the effects argument actually is relatively easy to deal with in practice.  First, it can be solved grammatically by substantially "to" for "that"  This makes the resolution a question of intent. Aff's would have to be able to explain how their policy is designed to accomplish the specified ends, giving the negative predictable ground, and would not be able to no-link or link-turn arguments premised on accomplishing that end.  Further, in aspirational resolutions I have never seen a problem with affs becoming effects non-topical as a result of losing arguments as a debate progresses.

I also think there is value in the community returning to a debate over the word policy.   There is extensive literature about what an energy policy is, whether the US has actually had an energy policy in the past three decades, and distinguishing energy policy from specific acts of policy that are related to energy. 

Maybe this is just the old T debater in me, but the debate over what constitute a policy is  T debate that has value, a literature base, and gives teams he ability to argue for limits on the resolution without placing a straight-jacket ont he resolution that removes options for affirmative creativity. 

I guess in the end I struggle with the notion of just listing the specific policies you want to debate.  Seems like to do this would require an exhaustive knowledge of what is in the literature and an ability to predict where the literature could go in coming months.  If mistakes are made they would be irreparable.  However, a policy based resolution could build in flexibility and allow the contours of the resolution to be debated and adjusted in practice.  This is my memory of how the trade topic went down back when I was pup, and I do not remember it being an unpleasant experience.  T debates grounded in topic literature can be very good things.
Title: Re: Energy Production and Use Topic - Topic Committee Working Groups
Post by: jonahfeldman on May 24, 2012, 02:40:53 PM
Josh, let me say first how much I appreciate your involvement in the topic creation process.  I think it is super healthy for all-star debate alumni, like yourself, to stay connected to the community and share with us the expertise you've garnered outside of debate.  Thanks for caring and for being a part of this.

However, there are some things you've said that I don't agree with or understand:

"the effects argument actually is relatively easy to deal with in practice.  First, it can be solved grammatically by substantially "to" for "that"  This makes the resolution a question of intent."

Making the resolution a question of intent amplifies all the problems I listed in the previous post because it's impossible to prove what someones intent is.  My intent in this post is to attract the eye of a music producer to fund my aspiring hip-hop career.  How would you prove that it isn't?  I'm not sure how the neg wins any T debate if the aff just has to say that their intent is to increase production/generation.  I'm having difficulty conceptualizing what evidence would look like that proves the intent of a policy and I'm not sure how someone could possibly take a look at an intent based resolution and figure out what is and isn't topical in any kind of predictable manner.

"Further, in aspirational resolutions I have never seen a problem with affs becoming effects non-topical as a result of losing arguments as a debate progresses."

Dude, I'm gonna be honest, I do not know what an aspirational resolution is.  I don't think we've had one in a while.  Does the aff have to aspire to do something?  If so, that sounds terrible.  

You cite the trade topic as an example of a topic that was broad but didn't have T problems.  Was that the topic from 1990 - 1991?

RESOLVED: That the United States should substantially change its trade policy toward one or more of the following: China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan.

If that resolution were adopted today it would make everyone in the debate communities head explode simultaneously.  Debate has changed in the past 20 years and as a result T debate has changed.  The size of information available to debaters today and the speed at which that information can be accessed is a game changer.  As a result there needs to be very specifically crafted resolutions or else there will be a) a billion different aff's that are unintended and unexpected causing lop sided debates and a push towards more generic strategies and b) overreactive T violations which force the topic into unintended and unwanted directions.

The last little b) is perhaps the most important.  Despite the best intentions of the topic committee we have to understand that the topic we want is not always the topic we get.  There needs to be an awareness of how topicality debates will go down at tournaments.  You need to trust me that at this moment in time in debate the effects argument will be a monster if we choose an intent/aspirational topic and it will make the topic not as good as it should be.


"I also think there is value in the community returning to a debate over the word policy.   There is extensive literature about what an energy policy is, whether the US has actually had an energy policy in the past three decades, and distinguishing energy policy from specific acts of policy that are related to energy."

I think this is your best argument and a very reasonable claim.  Let me be very clear, I am not opposed to the use of the term energy policy.  I am opposed to a resolutional wording in which "energy policy" is the only limiting term in an intent based topic.  I have two concerns about using energy policy to limit an intent statement:

1) I am skeptical about the quality of debate that can occur over what is and isn't energy policy.  You say that there is a lot of literature about what is and isn't energy policy, and I am happy to defer to your expertise on that subject, but I would like to look at the ev and see if it would match up with the mechanics of modern day T debate.  I would love to look at any evidence you could provide.  My guess is that it will be just as difficult as defining other terms of art like "democracy assistance" or "constructive engagement."

2) This doesn't prevent the effects T argument.  It just means that neg's will say that topical aff's have to be energy policy that mandates an increase, which bring us back to square one.

"Maybe this is just the old T debater in me, but the debate over what constitute a policy is  T debate that has value, a literature base, and  gives teams he ability to argue for limits on the resolution without placing a straight-jacket on the resolution that removes options for affirmative creativity."


There can be a middle ground.  I'm more concerned with having the resolution define USFG action than I am with spelling out every single detail of what the aff has to do.  If the resolution were to say things like "Substantially increase tax credits for the production/generation of natural gas" it would clearly define the mechanism and course of action but leave some aff creativity.  I think we should pick and choose some primary categories of incentives and regulations and list those.

There's all different kinds of aff creativity.  The treaties topic only had 5 cases but there was lots of different aff's and I don't think people felt too restricted.  When you have a huge area like energy there can be creativity in advantages and nuance of implementation even if there is not creativity in mechanism.

It's true that we don't have absolute knowledge of the literature at this moment but that's as much a DA against your topic ideas as it is against mine.  You cannot at this moment predict all the different directions that people can go with the term "energy policy."  We take the information we have available to us, harness the impressive research power of the debate community before the topic meeting, and do our best to figure out what the best means are for increasing the production/generation of fossil fuels and renewables.  I bet we will be pretty close.

Title: Re: Energy Production and Use Topic - Topic Committee Working Groups
Post by: jzhawk on May 24, 2012, 02:52:31 PM
That's all completely fair, Jonah.   i was just trying to make the best arguments I could think of to keep the discussion going.  As long as some flexibility is retained in the topic you probably are able to swallow my best arguments.

At its core, one thing that I have thought about some of the recent topics is that did not leave enough ground for strong literature b-based topicality debates.  I know that T debates are often thought off as lame distraction by the hard-core policy people and hegemonic silencing missions by other communties but learning how to identify linguistic ambiguities and debate about differing interpretations where ambiguities exist was a process that has been more beneficial to me in my legal and po,icy work than any other aspect of debate.  I would love to see a topic that allows those debates to occur.

But, in the end, I will defer, of course, to the conclusions of those you actually in the fight.  It has been a long time since I was actively involved in debate (but not 20 years, dude) so i recognize my limits.  I'm sure y'all will figure it out, and in the end I'll just be the fat old guy who visits the NDT and wonders why the kids aren't talkin' like they used to.  /sigh/

 :)
Title: Re: Energy Production and Use Topic - Topic Committee Working Groups
Post by: whwatson on May 24, 2012, 03:15:10 PM
I'm sorry I don't have the time currently to be more active in this discussion but I did feel like I needed to chime in quickly on one point. It is inconceivable to me that any potential wording derived from the topic paper that Ana and I produced would not include, as a significant component, renewable energy. I do, however, understand there is a good discussion to be had about whether the inclusion of wind, solar, biofuels etc. should be though a list of varying lengths on the slate or the use a broader term.
The paper explicitly defended a large, bidirectional resolution where aff flexibility was paramount. Based on Gordon's advice at last years wording meeting, we tried to be as direct and explicit as possible about the paper's wording mandates so as to avoid community dissatisfaction with the outcome of the meeting. If I thought there was any chance of a potential wording derived from our paper that did not include renewable energy I would not have supported it and I am positive it would not have received our teams vote. I do not think this is something that should be open to debate at the wording meeting.

That's quite helpful.  My cursory reading of the energy production paper, along with Andrea and Dave's work, led me to believe that an all fossil fuel energy production topic wording was possible.  Looks like my reading was wrong - my bad, folks.
Title: Re: Energy Production and Use Topic - Topic Committee Working Groups
Post by: kevin kuswa on May 24, 2012, 03:37:05 PM
No firm commitment to any of these directions--just trying to be careful and encourage feedback.  Three quick comments to Jonah's post, although I would not at all be opposed to changing some of the wordings to read something more like this:

R: The USFG should substantially increase the percentage of energy production and generation from domestic energy sources.

1. Topicality is still very important and I am not sure the "amount of information explosion" argument you make against Zive really means we should not have thorough topicality debates as much as we used to--those debates are important and educational.  The risk of trying to "write our way out of topicality" is that we limit aff creativity and make the wrong call on the types of affs we try to prescribe.  In addition, if it matters, most former debaters who attend law school speak VERY favorably of the training they received through topicality debates.

I think we would agree that there are good and bad ways to debate topicality.  ENERGY POLICY is a good way to debate T.  From having already read about 20 good cards debating the phrase "energy policy" and its meanings (those will be in the wording documents), we can really dive into that literature.  This is a good way to limit cases that are only peripherally related to the topic and do not meet a contextual definition of energy policy.  Questions about energy policy are CENTRAL to what the USFG does in this realm (especially when compared to the states and localities) and we should not be afraid of that debate.

If "energy policy" is not a good path, we can take that clause out of the topic, but so far the evidence I have found points to leaving it in.

2. "That" or "to" can be debated in a helpful way--it's about the policy and what it does.  We do "policy debate"--we can debate this.  Don't think that just because an affirmative is not explicity a policy that it will somehow solve more immediately or directly.  "Effects" is too simplistic for this debate over how energy policy works and the ways a particular energy policy governs the many tools we use to implement our energy objectives.

3. You are against "policy" because it is too amorphous but you like "and/or"?  That thought process should be switched.  Using "and/or" creates two conditional wordings in the place of a single topic and is a sign of confused topic writing, not confusion over what "and/or" implies.  Sometimes the use of "and/or" can help, but it should not be thrown in every time we see cards on something like "mission" and "role" and are too lazy to sort out the best answer or to simply talk about both.  We rely too much on "and/or" and can usually do better.  This is not a blanket refusal to entertain a conditional construction with a slash that most students of grammar would oppose, only to be cautious when relying on it so heavily.

4. Agreed on renewables--and so does the controversy paper :)

In some ways, I think we disagree a bit on wording styles but we both are seeking the wording that gets to the core areas we are hoping to debate.  I am just not sure we always know about all of those areas ahead of time and would rather have an open (elegant, or simplified if you must) wording instead of a lengthy and technocratic attempt to spell out everything in advance.   We want a tent for educational and controversy-specific debates--the question is whether we specify all the exhibits we think should be inside the tent, or make sure the tent is constructed well enough so it doesn't fall down on the folks working on their own exhibits.  Luckily we will have some level of choice in terms of a slate of options.

Thoughtful post overall and good engagement.  Kevin




R: The USFG should establish an energy policy that substantially increases the percentage of energy production and generation from domestic energy sources.


Here are my concerns with the "establish an energy policy that" style of resolution:

1) Effects.  

Some of the core aff's that people seem interested in would have a hard time demonstrating that the result of their action would necessarily be an increase in production/generation.  Removing restrictions on offshore drilling, for example, could likely result in only a minimal increase in production, or even hypothetically no increase or a decrease.  That should be a solvency debate not a topicality debate because determining the plan's effect on production/generation by non-governmental actors is very difficult to establish in a decisive way that creates a predictably limited resolution.

The issue isn't so much whether the aff is a substantial increase or not, because that's difficult to establish on all topics, but whether the aff has guaranteed an increase at all.  Compare to the past two topics.  On immigration you could point to the number of visas available as a mandated increase even if nobody decided to apply for those visas.  Increasing democracy assistance meant increasing the amount of assistance offered even if the recipient refused or it did not increase democracy even a little bit.  What equivalent could you point to on an "establish an energy policy that" rez?

2) Mandates.

If an "establish an energy policy that" style of resolution is chosen I feel very confident saying that the T argument described above would decisively shape the direction the topic takes.  Consider the topicality arguments that dominated aff choice on the nukes topic and the constructive engagement topic.  This T argument is better than both of those.

That means that aff's will have to mandate a substantial increase in production/generation.  I believe that offers a choice of a) increasing USFG production/generation or b) requiring industry to increase production/generation.  That removes a lot of aff's that the topic paper wants us to debate about and leaves a limited and unsavory selection for the aff to choose from.

***quick preempt.  You may think that #2 takes out #1 because aff's could say that the topic would be crappy, for the reasons described in #2, if the aff had to mandate.  However, negatives would be successful in proving that the issues with effects would be way worse than the issues with mandates.  Judges are quite willing to chose a bad interpretation over a REALLY bad interpretation and almost all of the time an overlimited interpretation is selected over an underlimited interpretation.

My conclusion is that elegance is overrated (I know, I know, I'm usually so elegant, but....).  We shouldn't be choosing a topic because it looks pretty, we should be choosing a topic because it is the most likely to generate debate over the issues that we want to debate about.  We should word a resolution that speaks in specifics to what the USFG should be doing instead of crafting topics that speak to the result of the plan.  Energy policy is not in and of itself enough of a limiting phrase.  We need to present options that are the parts of energy policy we want the aff's to do.  

In a somewhat tangential rant I have no idea why people find the phrase "and/or" overly confusing.  It offers a choice: either or both.  What is so difficult about that?

We should include renewables.


Title: Re: Energy Production and Use Topic - Topic Committee Working Groups
Post by: jonahfeldman on May 24, 2012, 04:38:31 PM
I've already taken up enough airtime today, so I'll just post one more time to refine and clarify what I'm saying - apologies for any redundancy.  Thanks to JZ and KK for engaging with me, it's helped to advance my thinking about the topic.

I totally agree that T is an important educational practice.  Most of the law students I've talked with say similar things, that debating T gave them a huge advantage against their peers who did not debate.  Kevin put it well when he said that it shouldn't be about whether we do or don't have T debates, but about what the best T debates should be.  There is no reason why focusing the topic on what action the USFG should take instead of what the intended outcomes of USFG policy should be would eliminate T debates.

Even if energy policy is a great T debate with lots of literature, I have not yet been convinced that affirmatives will be able to defeat effects T with the argument that energy policy is a sufficiently limiting term.  Effects might be a simplistic argument, but it's what will happen at debate tournaments.  This seems like a possible example of the goals of the topic committee not being reflective of the actual debating that will occur.

Limitations on aff creativity are inevitable, the question is whether you would rather have that limitation imposed in debates by T arguments or by the topic committee.  If you have the topic committee do it than you can make sure that important aff cases are not limited out.  Let's go back to the offshore drilling example.  If the topic explicitly says that topical affirmatives can remove prohibitions/restrictions on production than offshore drilling will be an aff.  If the topic says "establish an energy policy that increases production" the offshore drilling case will lose to effects T and people will run a different aff.  

I still don't get the disads to use of the term and/or.  From what I understand of what you are saying they are the following:

1) Confused and lazy topic writing  

Not sure why giving the aff clearly defined options = confusion or laziness.  It seems reasonable to conclude that increased production and increased generation are important and related, so both should be included, but allow the option of only choosing one to ensure focused and coherent policy.  If you had an exhibit on classic impressionist painting you would want to include Monet and Degas.  However, you wouldn't want to refuse entrance to a student who only wanted to focus on Monet because they felt like they didn't have enough time to really examine both.  And/or seems like a very clear and precise way to define those options.

2) Most students of grammar oppose it

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FcuhUp1rRb4





Title: Re: Energy Production and Use Topic - Topic Committee Working Groups
Post by: kevin kuswa on May 25, 2012, 10:29:12 AM
The "and/or" conversation has moved backchannel.  I'm sure Jonah and I would be willing to share our analogies at some point if anyone is interested :)

On the energy policy and effects T question, I'm not sure the offshore drilling example applies.  It depends on what the energy policy is expected to do, but most wordings would allow that aff as long as it is substantial.  On some level all of these policies are effectual because of the nature of legislative action combined with the way energy works (the effect is almost always to power more turbines and create more electricity for the grid or to refine more fuel that can be used to power combustion in a vehicle of some sort).

The benefits of "energy policy" are more about the larger shifts in US policy.  Using "energy policy" would stengthen the connection to the USFG's role over states and localities.  The last few topic cycles have arguably prevented affs from taking larger action to address the problem in play.  Let's not fall down that same rabbit hole this time around.  Give the aff a chance to actually tackle (if you believe in fiat etc.) the larger structural issues here.  Energy policy is at the core of that question.  There are certainly elements of an energy policy that would go beyond the mechanisms we are contemplating, but that would be a good "extra-t" debate, not one over the effects of the policy based on the plan.  A small off-shore drilling policy is just not as persuasive (solvency-wise) as a larger energy policy focused on alternative fossil fuels as a better transition to a clean energy future, for example.  The Tomain evidence is just the beginning of this debate:

Tomain, Prof. Law U. Cincinnati, ‘11
(Utah Environmental Law Review, 31 Utah Envtl. L. Rev. 389, Joseph P., SYMPOSIUM: THE FUTURE OF ENERGY LAW: "Our Generation's Sputnik Moment": Regulating Energy Innovation)


"In his 2011 State of the Union Address, President Obama stressed the necessity of innovation as the key to unlocking our economic future. More pointedly, he stated that now is "our generation's Sputnik moment." n1 Just as the United States responded to national security threats posed by a cold war Russia, today we must respond to threats to our economy and our environment, as well as to our national security, posed by an oil addiction that we have not been able to break for over half a century.
The intertwined needs to provide sufficient energy, environmental protection, and a vibrant economy in a more secure world will depend, to a significant extent, on technological innovations in the clean energy sector of our economy. That sector has been neglected by government for too long, dominated by a fossil fuel policy that has outlived its useful life, and offers great promise on a number of alternative fronts. The promise of a clean energy future, however, will only be effectively realized through a smart and systemic innovation policy that goes beyond traditional research and development (R&D), and aims at changing systems and at radically transforming the energy economy. n2 Additionally, an innovation policy that targets commercialization has the power to attract private investment, n3 thus creating new clean energy markets. n4 An energy innovation policy, of course, is not itself sufficient and must complement anti-trust, competition, intellectual property, and technology transfer policies among others. n5
The scale and magnitude of shifting from a traditional fossil fuel policy to a clean energy economy cannot be un-derestimated. Over the last fifty years, for example, we have been talking about our dependence on foreign oil and the need to wean ourselves from the Middle East, yet our oil imports only increase. Similarly, for the same period of time our use of renewable energy resources has stayed flat. n6 Perhaps more alarming is the cost involved with such a trans-formation. If, for example, we sought to supply only 25 percent of our energy mix from low carbon nuclear power, then we would have to build 1,000 one-gigawatt nuclear reactors by 2050 at an estimated cost of $ 6-$ 7 billion per reactor. n7 Today, only two nuclear power units are in the pipeline. n8 To power an electric car and truck fleet to replace our current gas and ethanol-fueled vehicles would require 500 new nuclear power plants. n9 As a final example, the Obama administration has set a target of an 80 percent drop in greenhouse gas omissions by 2050. n10 To meet that target, either alternative energy supplies will have to go from supplying nearly zero percent to 100 percent of all of our energy needs, or large-scale carbon capture and storage must capture all of the carbon dioxide emitted by all cars. n11 These are not easy tasks. In fact, to remove one gigaton of carbon from the atmosphere, now containing about 770 gigatons, would require 273 coal-fired power plants to implement carbon capture and storage systems. n12 Construction costs are estimated at $ 1 billion to nearly $ 3 billion n13 for each unit and carbon capture and storage will add considerable costs to new plants. n14
Traditional energy policy has outlived its useful life. Today, the United States' energy mix, as we well know, is constituted by 85 percent fossil fuels and negligible, but growing, amounts of renewable and clean energy resources. n15 Because our current energy policy has been in place since the late nineteenth century, both private energy industries and the administrative agencies assigned to monitor them have developed a mutually supportive regulatory structure dedicated to promoting energy production. Additionally, over that period of time, trillions of dollars have been invested in the energy economy and consumers have grown dependent on relatively cheap, abundant and reliable energy that is available literally at their fingertips. Consequently, incumbent firms and regulators are not anxious to change the ways they do business, nor are consumers anxious to change their consumption habits. n16 Nevertheless, there are sufficient reasons for the country to change from fossil fuels to a clean energy future. In brief, a vibrant economy, job creation, protecting the environment, continued reliable energy, and national security demand that we move away from our traditional energy policy and create a clean energy future. Energy transformation integrates these several variables into a coherent new energy policy. n17
In a forthcoming book, entitled Ending Dirty Energy Policy, n18 I argue that for over a generation we have been developing a consensus energy policy that can be called either a clean energy or a low carbon energy policy. I argue further that one can be either skeptical or agnostic about global warming or climate change and still support a dramatic change in energy policy.
Title: Re: Energy Production and Use Topic - Topic Committee Working Groups
Post by: Brad Hall on May 26, 2012, 12:27:32 PM
I haven't read every post, so forgive me if I'm missing this, but "energy policy" was in the 2004-5 resolution (see below) and played very little role - I don't remember many T debates about this phrase at all and it was mostly interpreted as a way to stop the so-called "effects" affs (e.g. crashing the economy which would then lead to reduced fossil fuel consumption). But even that was unnecessary because those affs would lose to extra T or a PIC to crash the economy without requiring a reduction. Overwhelmingly, the second half of the resolution was used to modify the type of energy policy you had to have and not vice versa. So this is one we've already tried and not found to be particularly useful - at least in my experience/memory from that topic.

RESOLVED: That the United States Federal Government should establish
an energy policy requiring a substantial reduction in the consumption
in the total non-governmental consumption of fossil fuels in the
United States.
Title: Re: Energy Production and Use Topic - Topic Committee Working Groups
Post by: kevin kuswa on May 26, 2012, 08:51:46 PM
Hi Brad, a few responses here.  You are far more of an expert than I, but the debates over "energy policy" and what it means are a bit different now than even five or six years ago.  The federal role is more pronounced (and needed in terms of policy statements) and the debate over fossil fuels that are also "alternative" fuels has become more central to energy policy.  The limited research I've been able to work through seems to point toward the need for a discussion of energy policy on the national level.  I personally am excited about the wording possibilities with or without "energy policy," but am not quite convinced that abandoning that type of construction is the right way to go, regardless of certain recollections from 04-05.  Energy policy did play a role in 04-05, as far as I remember, often in terms of links, but also in terms of topicality.  There were debates over what the affirmative established and if that would be classified as an energy policy.  The effects debate was premised on the gerund (..ing) construction of requiring, meaning that the rest of the wording could make a difference in terms of the importance of the opening object of the resolution.  In addition, "consumption" is different than production, as you know, because "to reduce consumption" does ask more questions about effects than you might otherwise ask when talking about supply-side changes.  Back in 2004, legislators didn't really buy the inconvenience of overconsumption, regardless of its truth level, but now with a chance to shift energy-policy to supply-side economics, it might be a more important phrase to stick in the topic.  So far there is not a big DA to using the term with the exception of some effects T arguments that seem overblown, inevitable even without "energy policy," and possibly even helpful limits to impose on the aff.  I also think, whether the aff wants to recognize it or not, establishing an energy policy is one of the few ways that the feds can get some leverage over the states, even if all 50 states miraculously do the plan simultaneously.   
Title: Re: Energy Production and Use Topic - Topic Committee Working Groups
Post by: Paul Elliott Johnson on May 27, 2012, 06:50:07 AM
Decloaking momentarily from my academic conference, didn't have time to pick up whole thread but want to echo a point:

Even if a term like "energy policy" means more today than it did in 04/05 (as I recall, there were some pretty decent janky T violations about how ONLY the DOE could do "energy policy," but that's as far as I remember it mattering) the question is less about the shift in term and more about the repeatable trends developed within the market of debaters, judges, and coaches. The drift towards that which limits more is a strong current, and you can see this in the ways that we regularly advance somewhat illogical (or at least, at odds with the research base) visions for the topic in topicality debates. Last time the rigamarole about "guaranteeing" a reduction in consumption meant that some affs in the mainstream of the topic which certainly on either a "framers intent" basis or an "energy policy" basis should have been topical (CAFE jumps to mind, please withhold comments about bitterness) were nevertheless considered problematic because they could not "guarantee" a reduction, only act as policies which would lead to one. One does of course wonder where this line is drawn...its not like the only topical aff is to send jackbooted government enviro-thugs around and point guns at people until they invest in solar panels in their house or whatnot.

Still as we near the topic meeting I just want to underscore: in topicality debates we often seem concerned that if you give the aff an inch they will take a mile. But the opposite is true: if you give the neg some wiggle room with a hard and fast term like "require", they'll go for miles figuring out all of the things that don't quite match up, and the result may pervert or otherwise disrupt the relationship between the debate community's practices from the literature base at large.

Thanks to all of you thinking and working on this stuff.
Title: Re: Energy Production and Use Topic - Topic Committee Working Groups
Post by: ScottyP on May 28, 2012, 11:40:30 AM
Energy policy as a phrase was pretty key to the aff- it was how teams beat arguments like " permits do more than require" - by proving the requirement was part of an energy policy.
Title: Re: Energy Production and Use Topic - Topic Committee Working Groups
Post by: stables on May 28, 2012, 12:26:01 PM
As we get closer to the meetings, a few reminders:

- We need all wording proposals if you want them to be formally considered by the committee.

- I am going to post an updated agenda based on committee and community feedback shortly.

- Let me know if you are coming to the meetings or at home any able to fill in with some spot research. I will be building research teams and we always appreciate help.

Let me know if you have any questions.
Title: Re: Energy Production and Use Topic - Topic Committee Working Groups
Post by: antonucci23 on May 28, 2012, 02:54:16 PM
Let me know if you have any questions.

One quick question.  What are the plans for video broadcast and/or Paul Johnson live twitter commentary?
Title: Re: Energy Production and Use Topic - Topic Committee Working Groups
Post by: Malgor on May 28, 2012, 09:42:51 PM
attached is my wording work (mostly for the renewables section) that also highlights some things from the FF paper.  I did not include nuclear energy, but the structure I advocate for allows it in.  for what it's worth, i think there should be an option on the ballot that focuses on renewables and nuclear power only. 

Unfortunately I will be at the petit sabino wedding, so with limited internet time I will show preference for snarky comments over further research.  In all seriousness, I think this paper provides a very compelling set of terms of art and mechanisms for renewable energy.  I hope the committee strongly considers this approach to the resolution.
Title: Re: Energy Production and Use Topic - Topic Committee Working Groups
Post by: kevin kuswa on May 28, 2012, 10:02:23 PM
malgor, quick question from a brief read.  been doing incentives work as well and have come across a few of the same citations.  What incentives are you worried about including if the topic calls for an expansion of incentives without the specification of type (thereby allowing price, quantity, investment, r&d incentives etc.)?  thanks, more questions eventually i'm sure.  
Title: Re: Energy Production and Use Topic - Topic Committee Working Groups
Post by: Malgor on May 28, 2012, 10:21:40 PM
a few benefits:

avoids affs that loosely interpret incentives
adheres to the typology of the literature base
captures the core parts of the renewable energy debate while checking unexpected developments
broad nature of the topic means the committee should defer to 3 limited approaches instead of 3 large ones-normally i'm all for broad working but circumstances of this topic dictate otherwise
more tools for the committee-it's better to have as many stable definitions as possible for them to work with.  Size of overall topic should dictate how many of the incentive types are included.
let me flip the question-  what do you think this specification EXCLUDES from the topic that should be allowed in?  If your answer is just 'topicality debates' i think there will still be plenty of those as the literature does have slightly broader/smaller interpretations of these terms.

this is one area where i don't see any particular benefit to the generic "incentives" approach but i do see benefits in using the concepts developed in the literature. 
Title: Re: Energy Production and Use Topic - Topic Committee Working Groups
Post by: kevin kuswa on May 28, 2012, 11:16:42 PM
thanks, malgor, helpful reply.  I definitely agree that more specificity helps the writing process but I still think it may not help the final product.  Looking at the question from the other direction is a good way to get at this and I think there are a few mechanisms the feds can use that fall outside the major incentives you mention but would still be good aff ground, especially in the area of renewables where new technology and getting that tech into the marketplace are important elements.  In fact, some of the things the fed can do that may go beyond a strict definition of incentives would be support for innovation, research and development, market promotion, and even general "clean energy diplomacy" has some evidence behind it.  The feds can set benchmarks, contribute to oversight and management support through public-private cost-sharing, and otherwise promote certain energy mixes without directly subsidizing or specifying incentives.  In fact, as you get more specific with the type of incentive (and your Sawin evidence would agree with this), you get into the policies that are done by the states (and probably make more sense coming from states and localities).  The other issue here is that some negative action (such as mandates, regulations, taxes, restrictions and liability impositions for the costs or externalities of energy) becomes an incentive for the energy type that is not being restricted.  That doesn't matter as much for your restriction wordings, but it does for the hyper-specification of incentives.  Keeping it broad allows those types of combo-approaches which are a bit more realistic for federal energy policy and a bit more powerful in terms of solvency.  If we put a super narrow option on the slate, that's probably the one that will win so it might be worth revisiting your feeling that this topic is not conducive to a broad wording.  Just two cents--still need to re-read some of the details of your paper.  We will take that into account with our forthcoming group wording documents.  Thanks again, kevin
Title: Re: Energy Production and Use Topic - Topic Committee Working Groups
Post by: Malgor on May 29, 2012, 12:12:07 AM
Yes, we definitely disagree about the scope of ground the affs should have.  I actually think your post in many ways describes the interpretations of incentives i would like to exclude.  I have provided ample evidence that the incentives outlined in that paper capture the core of how governments approach mass commercialization of renewable energy, so I don't think we're missing out on much of the core of the debate. It's interpretations like fossil fuel regulations (I presume you mean fossil fuel mandates like cap and trade as incentives for renewable development) that should be excluded from the topic IF we are going to include nuclear power and/or fossil fuels. 

If the topic was only renewable energy, i'd be much more in favor of the broad wording-i've made no secret that i think things like cap and trade need to be in.  The inclusion of fossil fuel, renewable, and nuclear development (possibly even clean fossil fuel tech) makes the research burden pretty large.  You can't bank on the assumption that it's ok to go broad because 'not many teams will run fossil fuels affs' etc.  In stead, I think the approach should be "how can we create a concise topic given 3 distinct mechanisms."  And I DO think the mechanisms should be considered distinct even in situations where incentives might converge with both nuclear and renewables, because the ground is still going to be different for the neg. 

Lastly, I think it's cool we have a semi (quasi?) bidirectional (tridirectional?) direction for the topic, even if I'm not a fan of all the ideas.  It's an important step for us to start trying resolutions with more than one mechanism.  As someone else who supports this broad approach, I'd hope you could appreciate why it might be important to limit it.  If the topic becomes incredibly broad and unmanageable, no one will want a resolution with such diverse approaches again.  If it's too limited, we (might?) learn something and be encouraged to go broader in the future.  Regardless, the concern with limits when dealing with 3 distinct energy types is legitimate.
Title: Re: Energy Production and Use Topic - Topic Committee Working Groups
Post by: andreareed on May 29, 2012, 07:51:44 AM
I haven't gotten to digest all of Malgor's paper yet, but I wanted to comment on one small point.  I don't think "reduce restrictions" captures the *good* potential fossil fuel affs that I've seen so far.  If "reduce restrictions" is the only mechanism, you leave the aff with mostly the "F the environment" affs.  From my research so far, the better FF affs will be those that attempt to set up FF to be a bridge to renewables (clean coal, CTL, nat gas vehicles, a range of conventional biofuels affs if we want to include them).  While there may be some restrictions relevant to these fuels/uses of fuels, we might not be giving the aff enough action to solve if they can't do incentives.  For example, reducing restrictions on natural gas production doesn't change the problems with developing a natural gas vehicle market (they aren't subsidized at the same level as electric vehicles, there aren't enough nat gas refueling stations, ect). 

All that said, if we only want the topic to be about "production" and not "use", then this is not as relevant since most of the FF incentives seem to be demand-side, not supply-side.  I keep flipping on whether or not "use" should be included.  It makes the topic a lot bigger, but includes more of the liberal affs that people seem to be clamoring for.  I am interested to see the wording paper work on this issue.
Title: Re: Energy Production and Use Topic - Topic Committee Working Groups
Post by: Malgor on May 29, 2012, 09:51:00 AM
Yes, I did not read much into the ff side admittedly.  I was just basing it off of aff cards presented in your wording paper.  If "incentives" is the better part of FF, then the committee could flip my suggestion and do incentives instead of restriction removal.  I do think the default should be to keep the legs separate unless there is very compelling evidence that terms of art all converge across fuels. 

My perception was just that the 'rollback regs' part of the ff was big as per my discussions on the forums and the number of cards in the paper that focus on that issue.
Title: Re: Energy Production and Use Topic - Topic Committee Working Groups
Post by: gabemurillo on May 29, 2012, 04:05:34 PM
Bruce -

I think that the beauty of the topic paper is in the eye of the beholder - different people voted for energy for different reasons - some excited about the fossil fuel affs, some renewables, maybe someone even likes nuclear power, I think that's the argument to include all of the types of energy - it allows each team to get what they wanted out of the topic. I think your concern (that renewables are a better aff) is not a reason to dramatically change the topic from what other people were voting for when they voted for the energy topic. Also, if the bridge fuel literature is vibrant enough to sustain all of a topic then certainly it should be sufficient to produce a myriad of CPs and case arguments to be read against these RPS affs anyways so it seems that inclusion of renewables does not for us to "lose" our opportunity to debate bridge fuels, as an aff and as a pretty good basis for a negative strategy against renewables affs. Strangely, if your argument is correct that a renewables only strategy is more debate-strategic, then the topic you've proposed would never lead to actual debates about renewables - if a team endorses a bridge fuel + RPS then negatives would just CP to do RPS + bridge fuel bad or CP to do RPS with an alternate bridge fuel. Even in the expansive version of the topic (at least...) there's no incentive to debate renewables.
Title: Re: Energy Production and Use Topic - Topic Committee Working Groups
Post by: Malgor on May 30, 2012, 12:03:51 AM
where all these papers that were due at?  I been looking forward to book learnin' all day.  if we don't have deadlines, what do we have?

Title: Re: Energy Production and Use Topic - Topic Committee Working Groups
Post by: Daniel Stout on May 30, 2012, 01:01:53 AM
Wasn't sure how to do this, if I should do this, was allowed to this, or what to do with this. This discussion also seems a little off topic at the moment. But, I didn't want everyone to forget about nuclear power. So I wrote this and it deals with the possible interaction between removal of restrictions and nuclear power.
Title: Re: Energy Production and Use Topic - Topic Committee Working Groups
Post by: Ermo on May 30, 2012, 01:08:20 PM
If you've been cutting solvency cards for the energy topic, and are willing to share, please do so here or backchannel. I want to make a list of cases people "assume" may be topical as a guide to help test wordings during the TC meetings, and sometimes reading the actual cards is more helpful than speaking from general knowledge.
Title: Re: Energy Production and Use Topic - Topic Committee Working Groups
Post by: Malgor on May 30, 2012, 11:07:31 PM
are the papers from the 3 working groups going to be posted, or is it a work-in-progress that will be flushed out at the topic meeting?

also, please don't construct the topic by looking at affs you think should be in and working your way backwards.  I don't think that's what ermo is actually suggesting, but the thought is still a little scary.  IMO it's much better to follow the literature itself-what do the experts and researchers think are the core policy areas in domestic production of energy?  Many times the affs we think 'should be in' are not really large parts of the literature, or they are large parts but conceptually and in-practice distinct from broader topic questions. 
Title: Re: Energy Production and Use Topic - Topic Committee Working Groups
Post by: kevin kuswa on May 30, 2012, 11:34:34 PM
wording paper from group 2 attached.  there may be an updated version or simply a supplemental document.  comments and feedback welcome.
Title: Re: Energy Production and Use Topic - Topic Committee Working Groups
Post by: Adri on June 01, 2012, 07:26:47 AM
This is WAVE 1 of the Energy Committee's reports. There will be additional waves later today (still doing some editing).

There will also be a summary document with the summaries/recommendations compiled in one place.

[Note - if you want to save time, skip Rare Earth Minerals - it's not a thing]
Title: Re: Energy Production and Use Topic - Topic Committee Working Groups
Post by: Adri on June 01, 2012, 07:36:07 AM
This is Wave 2 of the Energy Committee Reports

Rare Earth Minerals
Solar
Tidal
Wind

Title: Re: Energy Production and Use Topic - Topic Committee Working Groups
Post by: Adri on June 01, 2012, 07:40:14 AM


Wave 3 - Energy Committee Reports

Biomass
Hydro
Title: Re: Energy Production and Use Topic - Topic Committee Working Groups
Post by: Adri on June 01, 2012, 10:04:22 AM
Wave 4 -

Coal & Geothermal.

Also, seriously - don't read Rare Earth Minerals paper - it may be interesting, but it is irrelevant - it is a waste of your time - why is that the most downloaded????

Title: Re: Energy Production and Use Topic - Topic Committee Working Groups
Post by: izak on June 01, 2012, 03:16:53 PM
WE JUST CAN'T STAY AWAY FROM THE FORBIDDEN MYSTERY PAPER OF DOOM
Title: Re: Energy Production and Use Topic - Topic Committee Working Groups
Post by: Adri on June 01, 2012, 07:58:19 PM

Wave 5 -

Geothermal Supplement

Wave 6 with generic energy and summaries coming soon.

Title: Re: Energy Production and Use Topic - Topic Committee Working Groups
Post by: Adri on June 01, 2012, 08:27:43 PM

Wave 6

-Generic Terms

-Summaries and Recommendations [This includes all the summary/recs from the individual reports]

This is it. No more from us...

Title: Re: Energy Production and Use Topic - Topic Committee Working Groups
Post by: andreareed on June 01, 2012, 09:01:37 PM
A couple of us have started compiling this matrix of affirmatives to help see which mechanisms produce which affirmatives.  Thanks to the fuels group (Adrienne, Jim, Tay, et al) for helping me populate this.  Hopefully this will help us keep track of affs as we explore different mechanisms. Feel free to email me stuff to add and we will try to keep updating it over the course of the weekend.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1cpoK9WagRazsp5hcfsx4-3eCTD38-r2T8xYhX55o4xQ/edit


Title: Re: Energy Production and Use Topic - Topic Committee Working Groups
Post by: Adam Symonds on June 01, 2012, 09:31:15 PM
I'm curious as to why the Summaries and Conclusion for the Energy sources report has FF only options but no renewable only options. Similarly, the paper characterizes some of the lists as "Renewable-ish without abandoning controversy paper" when Renewables are clearly part of the topic paper:

"Concerns regarding overlap with the high school topic (which are also addressed in the “wording” and “frequently asked” section of the paper) can be addressed by either a) choosing to exclude renewable sources from the resolution (which Dylan and I would argue against) or b) understanding that the overall mechanism of the resolution is very different from the high school topic that mandated increased incentives for alternative energy development. This topic, but including non-renewable sources as stable affirmative ground changes the direction of the topic. Finally, c) a compromise could be a “list” version of potential energy sources that includes some (but not all) renewable sources. I will specifically focus on reasons to include wind, solar, and biofuels in the topic."

I think we're definitely running afoul of the topic paper if we're posting ballot options that have no renewables or no FF. We're also running afoul of the broad base of literature about increasing domestic energy - FF are an option, but they are by no means the primary option in the lit.

I appreciate the desire to limit the topic, but this is clearly framing the issue as "FF are for sure in, letting renewables in would make it really broad." When, in reality, the topic paper calls for both FF and renewables and explicitly advocates not limiting out renewables. There is no literature based reason that we should be defaulting to the position that FF are in, other stuff is in as long as the limits are fine.

The last thing I'll say about this is the community historically votes for narrow topics. If a FF only option shows up there, people are going to vote for it. I strongly urge the committee to reject FF only topics, this is NOT what the community voted for. It's a VERY narrow slice of the topic paper. Moreover, this paper was not written like Immigration  a couple years ago - they did not explicitly segment the fuel sources and suggest that they be partitioned off, so the reduction of Immigration to Visas only is not an appropriate analogy.
Title: Re: Energy Production and Use Topic - Topic Committee Working Groups
Post by: kevin kuswa on June 02, 2012, 05:17:54 AM
Still working through all the readings but I agree with Adam's post.  Well-reasoned. 

If folks want to debate climate change (at least on the aff), we should have both types of energy sources represented.

I also hope that if a ballot option does not list the specific types (and hopefully multiple ballot options simply stop at "energy sources"), that the narrow topic wordings do not win the community vote through default.

If we leave the "energy sources" open and available for a topicality debate, it looks like the "Types Group" has come up with a good line.  It is a debate for sure, but it is not over 30 types and has a good line for what is in and what could be argued as out.  This is on page 6---Heisenberg I think is the author.  It's not too frightening I don't think...at least not for college debate:

Oil
Coal
Natural gas
Hydropower
Nuclear
Biomass
Wind power
Solar photovoltaics
Active concentrating solar thermal
Passive solar
Geothermal
Energy from waste
Ethanol
Biodiesel
Tar sands
Oil shale
Tidal power
Wave energy
Title: Re: Energy Production and Use Topic - Topic Committee Working Groups
Post by: Kathryn Rubino on June 02, 2012, 07:04:55 AM
Hey all,
Attached and at the link is the work from group 3 on electricity generation and other sector work

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1O8TCApnxxylliKLNbfc5shV2mvrDVooObB8vKLTUy3g/edit?pli=1

thanks!
Kathryn
Title: Re: Energy Production and Use Topic - Topic Committee Working Groups
Post by: Adri on June 02, 2012, 07:05:26 AM
Obviously, this will be a discussion today.

But to clarify, the beginning of the line Adam bolded says:

Concerns regarding overlap with the high school topic (which are also addressed in the “wording” and “frequently asked” section of the paper) can be addressed by either a)...


Hence the option of one without renewables. In order for the "referendum" on including renewables, there needs to be an option without renewables.

At no point does the paper claim there should be a referendum on fossil fuels, hence why each includes some.

More later,
Adri


Title: Re: Energy Production and Use Topic - Topic Committee Working Groups
Post by: Adam Symonds on June 02, 2012, 08:37:57 AM
Thanks for the reply.

I guess we have different views about how to read that sentence, given that they finish by saying don't do this.

Setting that aside, the paper literally says there should be a referendum IF we are worried about overlap with the HS topic 5 years ago. That suggests that if there is not a well established fear of overlap, this clause wouldn't kick in. So I would suggest construing this narrowly. This would mean that fears of an unlimited topic would not, in fact, be a reason to take out renewables if one wanted to maintain fidelity to the controversy paper.

In addition, I don't think this concern is well founded enough to even kick in ballot options without renewables. We have tons of overlap on a year to year basis in terms of the advantages (trade, leadership, economic competitiveness anyone?), disadvantages (SKFTA!), we've even had warming show up as a regular impact (although clearly not in depth), and CPs don't change significantly on an energy topic with or without overlap with that topic.

I'm not even sure what the fear would be - do we think that experience 5 years ago will trump development of better debate skills in the intervening years? Doesn't seem like a worry that should be used to justify eliminating large segments (many would say the core) of the domestic energy literature.