Monday, November 14, 2011
Beginning last week and extending through this week, The Economist is hosting on online Debate on the following assertion, "This house believes that subsidising renewable energy is a good way to wean the world off fossil fuels." Here’s how an Economist Debate works:
"Economist Debates adapt the Oxford style of debating to an online forum. The format was made famous by the 186-year-old Oxford Union and has been practised by heads of state, prominent intellectuals and galvanising figures from across the cultural spectrum. It revolves around an assertion that is defended on one side (the "proposer") and assailed on another (the "opposition") in a contest hosted and overseen by a moderator. … Those attending an Oxford-style debate participate in two ways: by voting to determine the debate’s winner and by addressing comments to the moderator. The same holds here. As a reader, you are encouraged to vote. As long as the debate is open, you may change your vote as many times as you change your mind. And you are encouraged to air your own views by sending comments to the moderator… who will single out the most compelling for discussion by the speakers."
Opening statements were last Tuesday, and closing statements are tomorrow. Currently, the opposition is winning: only 47% of voters have agreed with the assertion. I encourage you to check it out and vote by Friday (GMT) when the votes will determine the final outcome.
And if you like participating in such debates, you will be glad to learn that the assertion to be debated next (from Nov. 22 to Dec. 2) is also very relevant: "This house believes that climate control policies cannot rely on carbon capture and storage."
- Lesley McAllister