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Energy Debate held at Rice

By Jennifer Ding     10/19/11 7:00pm

The Baker Institute hosted the first round of an international Global Energy Debate on Monday night.

Sponsored by Shell, the debate featured Martel College sophomore Andrew Amis, Hanszen College senior Apoorv Bhargava, Will Rice College senior Elyse Landry, Lovett College senior Josh Rutenberg, and Sid Richardson college sophomore Neeraj Salhotra. The students were chosen based on their essays on solutions to the global energy problem.

The panel of judges included the Baker Institute's Professor Amy Myers Jaffe and Professor Kenneth B. Medlock III as well as Dick Benschop, President of Shell Netherlands and Valsin Marmillion, President and founder of Marmillion & Company.

The hour-long debate addressed oil dependence, alternative fuel sources and energy in politics. After a brief introduction of their stances, the debaters fielded questions from the judges as well as the audience.

All the debaters agreed on the need to transition to cleaner fuels as well as the importance of continued research and development of new technologies. Bhargava, pointed out that they shared many common goals, but differed in how to achieve them.

"How we get there is what we disagree on," he said. "We all see it as a problem, but we don't have enough discussions about solutions."

As the victor of this round, Bhargava will face students from countries such as Brazil, China and India in a final debate in The Hague. The debates, which will occur around the world, open the discussion to students and challenge them to think of new solutions to the pressing problem of energy for our present and future.

In response to Amis' comparison of the energy problem to the Manhattan Project or Space Race, Bhargava brought up an issue central to the debate and the energy crisis itself.

"The energy crisis is not equivalent to the space race. Today, we haven't found the moon. We need to find it. Then we can get there."

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