About the global warming pieces. . . .
James Inhofe argues that there is little evidence for human-caused global warming, but the overwhelming consensus of scientists (see this short piece) is that global warming is real, and a real problem.
I’m not quite sure how the discussants are going to want to handle this, but given that the evidence is clear (and getting clearer every year), I’d recommend against a yes/no approach to the issue. You might instead want to consider what, if anything, should be done in response, and/or how to get policy-makers and the public to take the issue seriously.
To that end, I recommend at least skimming through this summary report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (it’s not that long, and there are a lot of charts).
You might also want to consider what will happen if nothing changes, and how future generations will—or won’t—adapt to a warmer world.
Also, here are the articles you should read for the May 16 class on hydrofracking:
Chris Mooney, The Truth About Fracking, Scientific American, 10.19.11
Kathleen Hartnett White, The Fracas about Fracking, National Review, June 2012