NEW YORK – July 2, 2012 – Last night, Intelligence Squared U.S. debated “No Fracking Way: The Natural Gas Boom is Doing More Harm Than Good” at the Aspen Ideas Festival in Colorado. In the final tally, Deborah Goldberg and Katherine Hudson won the Oxford-style debate by convincing 15% of the audience to change their minds and oppose the motion. After the debate, 53% of audience members agreed that the detriments of hydraulic fracturing are greater than the benefits, up from 38% pre-debate (see full numbers below).
Watch the full debate streaming at Fora.tv here:http://bit.ly/Lj8vwJ
Opposing the motion, Joe Nocera and Susan Tierney sought to prove that fracking allows the United States independence from other nations through access to natural resources on our own soil and that greater regulation of natural gas development is the answer to any dangers that fracking presents. But at the end of the evening it was Deborah Goldberg’s and Katherine Hudson’s arguments that harmful impacts to the environment, and the damaging costs for local communities outweigh any benefits of fracking that convinced the audience to support the motion.
This latest intellectual matchup was IQ2US’s 62nd debate and was streamed live on Fora.tv.
ABC News correspondent John Donvan is the moderator, and the executive producer is Dana Wolfe.
Key Excerpts For the Motion:
he hype and the hoopla is clouding our vision and making it impossible for us to hear the facts. There are hundreds of millions of dollars being spent to ensure that this industry can continue to operate without the science and without the protections we need. $320 million spent on lobbying the federal government in just two years. As a result, what we are hearing now is not how we're going to end our addiction to fossil fuels, but instead, a hundred years of gas. Now, a hundred years of gas is based on extracting every molecule of gas from all of our reserves, even those that we haven't actually discovered yet, when it is well known that only about 10 percent of those reserves tend to be economically feasible to develop.
One, there will always be accidents, spills, mechanical failures, and human error. Two, the gas industry has consistently fought enforceable rules and there is insufficient state and federal staff to ensure compliance with what rules do exist. Three, the idea that the industry as a whole will comply with voluntary best practices -- as I think our opponents have acknowledged -- in the face of falling gas prices, is unlikely. Given the continued risk of harm and all of frackings costs weighed against its limited benefits for most, it is beyond dispute that the natural gas boom is doing more harm than good.
Key Excerpts Against the Motion:
Think about a world where you don't have to worry about cartels, you don't have to worry about being dependent on our enemies for oil, a world where foreign policy is not dictated by our need for oil. The ability of the United States to have its own resource once again in a way that we never thought we were going to is a tremendous gift that's been handed to us, and fracking is the way that we're taking advantage of it.
What I really wish is that people would stop demonizing this fuel, because it makes it impossible to find sensible solutions in the middle. There are sensible solutions in the middle. We should be working on enabling those to develop over time. Our main argument is that the two principal sources of energy in the United States, coal and oil, are much more damaging to the environment than is natural gas, and that's for the communities where those are used as well as to the nation as a whole.
Before the debate, the IQ2US audience voted as follows:
• 38% of audience agreed with the resolution
• 38% of audience against the resolution
• 5% undecided
After careful consideration of the points by the audience, Deborah Goldberg and Katherine Hudson won the debate: the team that moves the most votes at the end of the evening is determined the winner.
• 53% of audience agreeing with the resolution (+15%)
• 42% of audience against the resolution (+4%)
• 5% undecided (+0%)
To learn more about the debate and review a detailed breakdown of how the audience voted pre- and post-debate, please visit our Facebook page at: http://www.facebook.com/Think2Twice
The showdown puts the leading public intellectuals in the limelight in front of a live audience for nearly two hours of heated debate.
NOTES TO EDITORS
• To view transcripts and videos, download audio or video clips or learn more about Intelligence Squared U.S., please visit: http://intelligencesquaredus.org/debates/upcoming-debates/item/561-no-fracking-way-the-natural-gas-boom-is-doing-more-harm-than-good
• NPR will air the debate on stations nationwide and the podcast will be available to download. Please check with your local NPR stations for additional details or visit: http://www.npr.org/series/6263392/intelligence-squared-u-s
• WNET/Thirteen will air this debate on July 28th at 4 PM
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Based on the highly successful debate program based in London, the Intelligence Squared Foundation has presented over 50 debates on a wide range of provocative and timely topics. From global warming and the financial crisis, to Afghanistan/Pakistan and the death of mainstream media, Intelligence Squared brings together the world’s leading authorities on the day’s most important issues.
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