Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Oil Debate

In response to the debate you witnessed on the Oil/Energy Crisis, post what you thought was the most effective argument from each side and/or respond to someone else's comment. be as detailed as possible.


Oil

Oct. 14 - Oct. 15, 2008 | 7:00pm | Bovard Auditorium

More and more, the world experiences the consequences of our dependence on unrenewable fossil fuels and limited water supplies. The first event in the Fall 2008 Social Issues Speaker series will center on the complicated dilemma of oil. As a primary focus of the current presidential campaigns, this heated topic will undoubtedly spark a stimulating and pertinent debate. Dr. Mark Allen Bernstein, Managing Director of the USC Energy Institute, moderates the debate between Matt Petersen, President of Global Green USA, and Ralph Moran, Government Relations, BP America.

15 comments:

Megan Funkhouser said...

Although I strongly agree with the other side, Ralph Moran presented the more solid and complete argument. Matt Peterson used the idealist approach and relied on pathos to draw out the guilt factor, such as "5% of the world uses 25% of the oil." Moran focused on actual policy changes and logic to make his argument; for example, he made the point that there has been no new government research in nuclear energy in over thirty years and how the supposed shortage of oil and gas is a political problem rather than a geological problem. Peterson even admitted that his idealistic changes would make little impact, which should have made him realize that federal changes would need to be made along with personal habit changes to really help the environment.

emily town said...

I have to agree with Megan, where as I also agree with what Matt Peterson was trying to convey but Ralph Moran gave a much better argument. Peterson's only main tool in reaching the audience was through his experience with Brad Pitt, and where that would work in most cases our argument skills have been defined and that will simply not suffice now. Moran's argument gave some possibilities to how we would solve what is happening now including solar panels in deserts and wind power in oceans. Unfortunately it is the regular people fighting for change who opt against such radical solutions. The only real, yet farfetched, solution Peterson gave was to raise gas prices to over $5.00. As much as this could help, it is unrealistic at this time due to the controversies already being brought up about the rising gas prices. Moran brought to the table information on oil and gas and how there is no real shortage, he also brought up the failure of the energy policy. Peterson unfortunately only spoke on a personal level and gave no real argument.

Kristine Cato said...

I thought that Ralph Moran definitely had a stronger argument. He used much more logos than Matt Peterson which was to me more convincing. Matt Peterson used most pathos for his argument which you would think would be more persuasive, but I thought that he didn't provide enough solutions for me to be convinced. Also one of his solutions was to raise the taxes on gas, which I think would not go well with too many Americans. We are a society that is dependent on fuels to power our homes, cars, and businesses. Although what Peterson is suggesting would be nice and better for the Earth, it is very hard to follow through on because of how we live today. I do believe that alternative fuels will be extremely important in the future because the isn't an endless supply of oil, but I agree with Moran that we need to develop those alternative fuels and in the mean time still use oil. It's just too necessary of an item for our society to give up using.

matt mccormick said...

I think the biggest difference between the two men is over the issue of solutions to the oil and energy crisis. While both men noted the need for change, only Ralph Moran advocated fundamental changes to energy policy with his "all of the above" approach. Matt Peterson, on the other hand merely discussed solutions at the personal level. This, in addition to Moran's utilization of all three Aristotelian appeals, led Moran to make a stronger showing at the debate. I think Moran's strongest argument lied in his discussion of energy use. There is no chance that we can reverse the values of a mega-consumer society; Moran realized this and instead of telling us to use less energy, he told us to use energy differently. Rather than try to rewire the mindset of an entire nation, it is more reasonable to rewire the nation's policy towards renewable or self-sustaining energies.

Robert Thorpe said...

In reference to Matt's response, I agree that the biggest difference was in the solutions each side presented and less in their ideas. However, I feel that Peterson did present an argument as to how we can solve the energy crisis apart from personal change. He seemed to, without explicitly saying so, promote the increase in cost of oil in order to stop people from consuming large amounts. Through his words stating that we are running out of oil, he suggested that we focus not on finding oil that he believes doesn't exist, but more on changing/lowering consumption. By not looking for new sources, he is in turn promoting an increase in the price of oil to levels which normal consumers cannot afford, his solution to the problem.

Nicole said...

I have to echo the sentiments of those who posted before me, Moran made the stronger argument. He used statistics well, for example citing the fact that 85% of available oil in the United States is restricted and unused when arguing that the United States should use its own resources instead of purchasing from foreign countries, and that 70% of France’s energy is provided by nuclear power plants when presenting nuclear energy as a possible solution (logos). The fact that he clearly presented the “all of the above” plan helped too, it made Peterson’s argument for individual action and his plan for 5$ a gallon gasoline sound very weak and undeveloped in contrast. Some people may not believe the promises that big oil companies, or energy companies as they now like to be called, make saying that they'll come up with a new and more efficient way to meet the growing demands of consumers, but the Peterson’s plan, though more idealistic, just doesn’t sound like it will work on a grand scale.

Lauryn Togioka said...

I have to agree with those who believe that Moran had the strongest argument during the debate. After the debate I had felt that Moran was more effective in clearly asserting his solutions while Peterson's was somewhat ambiguous. Peterson focused more on the current state of the environment and oil sources and did not clearly outline his solutions like Moran. Moran's argument was more persuasive since he appeal more to logos by using statistics. On the contrary, Peterson relied on more pathos which did not prove to be concrete enough to support his argument. He heavily emphasized celebrity support rather than focusing on the issue. While Peterson was more of an idealist Moran was a realist and provided a more realistic approach to issue.

Steve said...

I am kinda torn between the two sides. Both arguments were logical but given past experiences, I'm skeptical that many of the solutions would be put into place. Nuclear energy is indeed a viable alternative to fossil fuels but is incredibly expensive; their decline was tied, among other things, the prevalence of cheaper forms of energy. The Volt might actually start a new era in electric vehicles but the failure of GM to pursue the EV1 demonstrates that popular, promising industries can still be dismantled.

I agree with Moran on the point that there is a lot of oil left and that we need to learn how to slowly phase out oil itself, however I also agree with Peterson and his stance that we need to make decisive action now. I think his idea of a higher gas tax was a good one but rather than raising it to five dollars, maybe simply freezing the price of oil and turning the difference between market and selling price into tax.

As a side note, though Moran had a stronger argument... I think that Peterson was able to express himself much more clearly and was more interesting to listen to... which, for a debate, is pretty important.

Victoria said...

I am somewhat skeptical about Peterson’s argument. He asserts that we should reduce energy consumption by using energy-efficient cars, household appliance, and recyclable materials. His effort to spread this message could be seen through couple of his projects, such as the one of housing development in New Orleans (with Brad Pitts). However, one cannot help to ask, how effective would this be? Would we be able to persuade politicians to fund these projects? How long would it take to convert every single family to a hybrid car user? How much would it cost to reconstruct a community into an energy-efficient community? His claims are virtually unrealistic or would have little effect in changing the environment. His vision, perhaps, is too early for his time.

David said...

I agree that Moran was the stronger debater, in fact probably a better public speaker overall, although I really feel that Matt Peterson made a strong point when he said that we haven't given up anything during this period of wartime, no sacrifices as a collective American people to support our troops overseas. The price of gas in Europe is ridiculously overpriced, but at the same time it helps them to conserve. Call it blasphemous, but who's to say we shouldn't take a page out of their notebook and jack the price up to a flat rate of $5? If other countries are willing to follow the Kyoto Protocol much closer, and we're using up about 25% of the resources, I feel we really need to set a better example.

Michael Strauss said...

Peterson did not do a good job defending his position. It is much easier to defend the green approach to the oil crises rather than the"lets keep looking for more oil" approach. Yet, Ralph Morgan was the one who presented a better argument. Peterson did not just fail with his use of the words Brad Pitt, he gave irrelevant facts to support his points. When trying to defend his point that we need to change our energy habits, Peterson said "it takes 40 dump trucks of resources to build 1 dump truck full of laptops." To the average person in the audience listening, this seems like an incredible stat. When you think about it, it is hard as shit to build 1 dump truck full of laptops. I don't think i could make one laptop with 100 dump trucks full of laptops. What is he trying to suggest with this example? That we need to change from laptops to pen and pad?

Aaron Cheney said...

I guess that my major concern in this whole debate was the fact that these two people have many ideas in common and sort of similar ways of going about them (although Moran does target offshore drilling as a viable option) but how they are unable to come together and agree on how to solve this issue of oil. especially seen in the style of the debate, neither of the debaters were interested in "speaking" with the other person and instead they just placed their idea at the head of their argument. No collaboration was seen on my part at least. I would like it if they were more geared towards finding a solution and compromising on their issues (such as offshore drilling, which energy fields to seriously pursue, how do we deal with environmentalists who are hindering the process of decreasing our oil consumption).

I also do agree with most of these people and I would say that Moran was the more effective debater and that his arguments were more based in reality. I felt that Peterson was charismatic, but when it came down to substance and simply offering a solution, his answer was, "lets show slides of me with celebrities and lets talk about how important I am." The options that Moran discussed for reducing our dependency on oil in this country, I feel, were more realistic than Peterson's over idealistic view of how to solve this problem.

Marissa DeCoteau said...

I thought the most effective was when the BP guy was trying to put the whole thing into perspective and he made the example of the nerdy guy at the cocktail party that no one was listening to and the cool guy with the turtleneck and suit that all the girls flocked to because he was trendy but he didn't really have the answers.

Brian said...

I won't beat a dead horse here with also pledging my support for Moran's argument. I particularly like aaron's point about the lack of cooperation between these two parties. If somehow both sides were able to utilize the resources of energy companies with the humanist and environmental knowledge of Global Green, I believe that a tremendous amount of change could happen on the ground as well as in legislation as lobbyists etc. would have a greater ability to affect (sadly) Washington and policy makers.

spaswimmer15 said...

I think Moran's argument was more realistic in the sense that his " all of the above" approach could actually happen. Politicians would most likely embrace that way of thinking and pass legislation that could make us more energy efficient, without completely changing our current lifestyle. Petersen's argument was nice, but I think it is a long shot away from becoming a reality.
-- T.J. Auner