TED Conversations

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    Jun 15 2013: Here is another issue raised in a TED Talk at TED Global and summarized here in the TED blog: http://blog.ted.com/2013/06/14/uncovering-corruption-charmian-gooch-at-tedglobal-2013/

    This is the sort of issue that may make many talented young people avoid the oil and gas industry and which may need to be addressed head-on

    According to the TED Blog, this talk got a standing ovation.
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        Jun 15 2013: I don't want to diverge too much from the topic at hand, Pat, but you will take great interest, I think, in two talks that I expect will be posted in close proximity from TED Global. One was Michael Porter, perhaps the best known business strategist in the world, addressing the untapped potential of markets and popular misunderstandings of the role profit-making firms can play in addressing the gamut of social challenges.

        Speaking immediately after him was Michael Sandel, also of Harvard, talking about the over-reach of markets.

        There was a short recap in TED Blog yesterday.
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        Jun 16 2013: Perhaps you should elaborate, then, on the connection you mean to highlight between the talk you linked and the issue of young people wanting to pursue careers as petroleum engineers.
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          Jun 16 2013: I'm talking about the water we swim in. There is a tacit agreement to have myopia regarding some issues and vehemently oppose others. Of course the whole thing is a fabricated straw man which clouds the issue, starting from our own artists in Hollywood co opted to help create the water that we are oblivious to.
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        Jun 16 2013: Okay. I hope Remy has an opportunity to make comment one way or another, as this is his thread..
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      Jun 15 2013: That talk was presented by my colleague Charmian. As I mentioned earlier in this thread, this is precisely why I think some will saty well clear. I also mentioned the fact that we have a climate crisis - and the inconsistency between continued oil and gas extraction (as currently envisage by the industry) and avoiding kicking off the next (probably by that stage irreversible) despeciation event.
      On the latter, as someone suggested below, oil companies need to start deploying their considerable engineering and scientific talent (not to mention wealth) on alternatives to oil and gas. Currently I don't think this is very likely as the bottom line is better served with continuation of the status quo.
      But on the former they - and here, I especially mean shell in particular - could substantially alter their stance. Ten years back, I testified in two hearings on Capitol Hill in Washington, at which Shell also testified. In their testimony, they specifically called for a mandatory disclosure mechanism to force oil and gas companies to disclose the payments they make to foreign governments. Wind the clock forward and we have just such a law in the US - it is called Provision 1504 of the Dodd-Frank Act and it requires Oil, gas and Mining companies to disclose the payments they make in each country, down to a project level. But Shell are one of the key supporters behind the American Petroleum Institute's (API) law suit against the US Securities and Exchange Commission - a law suit aimed at killing off 1504. And iin the past 2 years thave played the most aggressive effort to undermine the creation of similar laws here in the EU. Shell is keen to suggest it supports transparency - but its actions suggest something else. If up and coming scientists and engineers have any kind of conscience, these kinds of activities might well put them off.
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        Jun 16 2013: Since Barney and Chris did such a horrible job with the banking industry, I'm skeptical of how their machinations will work out with consumer protection.

        As a point of reference, my understanding, is that goverment makes more revenue than oil companies from refining and distributing oil, with ZERO risk. Meanwhile the oil companies have to drill in more and more difficult environments (which really means we are paying more) and regulations to acquire the oil. This means ever greater risk.

        In my opinion the comment about "conscience" should be redirected.

        Please spare me the subsidy meme.

        On a side note I read where Calif is likely going to start allowing fracking as the state goverment will realize 24 billion more in revenue. Just goes to show that politicians are very willingly to be led astray even in the land of all things environmental.
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          Jun 16 2013: Hi folks,

          Just a reminder that the topic on hand is "Why don't today's students want to be engineers?". To further explore the politics around fracking/etc, please consider starting a new TED Conversation here: http://www.ted.com/conversations/new


          Aja Bogdanoff
          TED Conversations Team
        • Jun 17 2013: Aja,

          honestly I don't see how one can separate the two.

          So if Shell Oil is involved in fracking etc, and I'm not commenting on the morality of it, just people's perceptions of it, and how it effects their choice. Equally how some may perceive this choice of students not to enter their specific industry as "Why don't today's students want to be engineers?"

          Just as much as it would as when BP had a accident in the gulf of mexico, and you'd have to realize and admit, that must have negatively effected their future employee relations. To ignore that aspect is inherently is not looking at the wider picture of what and why people are choosing what form of engineering they ARE entering.

          I think that young people are much more tech and media and spin savvy, and look very carefully at their prospective employers, as well they should, and that is an important part of this discussion. Lest we just assume the original questions assumption is just a truism with no proof.

          What I find disturbing is that comments are and have been deleted here, based on a supposition that any mention of paragraphs like the above are not relevant. They are. Because events like those disasters, in whatever industry, would clearly effect the perception of employers leading them to asking "why aren't there engineers any more."

          But like everything in this world young people have a choice, some might not like that, some might spin it, some may benefit from it, some may lose from it. But to ignore people's perception of any industry be it for example; nuclear, mining or Oil & Gas, is really missing the most relevant part of the discussion - What young people think, and deleting comments is NOT a way forward.

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