The Instigator
SPENCERJOYAGE14
Pro (for)
Losing
3 Points
The Contender
Envisage
Con (against)
Winning
10 Points

Olivine Geoengeneering

Do you like this debate?NoYes+2
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 4 votes the winner is...
Envisage
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/15/2014 Category: Science
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,363 times Debate No: 60509
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (42)
Votes (4)

 

SPENCERJOYAGE14

Pro

First round is for acceptance.
Standard rules apply.
Envisage

Con

I accept, good luck!
Debate Round No. 1
SPENCERJOYAGE14

Pro

Pavan Sukhdev, leader of a European Commission studying biological diversity, explained in 2008 the dilemma we face today when he said: “The treatment of climate change by the Stern Review surfaced an issue which had been widely recognized but not tackled squarely: how to assess a roll of the dice, when one of the outcomes is the end of civilization as we know it?”

If the Status Quo is running a risk of ending civilization as we know it, we have an obligation to reduce that risk in any reasonable way we can. Reduction of that risk will be our goal and our voting criterion in today’s debate.

INHERENCY. Some disturbing facts about the Status Quo

FACT 1. Record Atmospheric Carbon. Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide in 2013 hit 400 parts per million

http://tinyurl.com...

“A monitoring station in Hawaii recorded carbon dioxide concentrations of 400 parts per million Friday, dramatically up from the 316 parts per million recorded when the station made its first measurements in 1958. The monitor, high atop the Mauna Loa volcano, offers the longest-running record of atmospheric carbon dioxide measured directly from the air. Carbon dioxide is a primary greenhouse gas, efficient at trapping heat from the sun. The colorless gas is released from power plants and vehicles as they burn coal, oil and gas. “[The] increase is not a surprise to scientists,” said Pieter Tans, a senior scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “The evidence is conclusive that the strong growth of global [carbon dioxide] emissions from the burning of coal, oil and natural gas is driving the acceleration.”

FACT 2. Current efforts are inadequate – we need geoengineering. We need to reduce CO2 emissions, but it’s just not happening. That means we need to start exploring how to modify the environment to increase the earth’s ability to absorb CO2 after it’s already emitted.

http://www.innovationconcepts.eu...

“Mankind burns at considerable economic, social and environmental cost in a few hundred years the fossil fuels that have formed over hundreds of millions of years. Weathering cannot keep up with this greatly increased CO2 production, and the atmosphere's CO2 content is rapidly rising. Many of the most weatherable rocks are now covered by a thick weathering crust - called lateritic soils - which effectively prevents them from further contributing to CO2 capture (Fig.1). The preferred response to date has been to reduce the rate at which fossil fuels are burnt – in principle at least. However despite widespread agreement as to this objective, there has been little actual progress to this end (IPCC 2007, Prins & Rayner 2007). It therefore makes sense to prepare to deploy ‘geoengineering’ solutions.”

The URGENCY. Let’s look at the RISK and the IMPACT of growing atmospheric CO2 in 2 subpoints.
First the RISK: Catastrophic climate change

http://www.cbo.gov...

“There is a growing scientific consensus that rising concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other Greenhouse gases, which result from the burning of fossil fuels, are gradually warming the Earth’s climate. The amount of damage associated with that warming remains uncertain, but there is some risk that it could be large and perhaps even catastrophic.”

IMPACT: Trillions of dollars in economic damages

http://tinyurl.com...

“Climate change is unlikely to be catastrophic in the near term, but it has the potential for serious damages in the long run. There are big economic stakes in designing efficient approaches. The total discounted economic damages with no abatement are on the order of $23 trillion.”

The GOAL: Reduce atmospheric CO2. The risk and its impact are so great that you should vote Affirmative if we can offer you any reasonable means of CO2 reduction.

http://wordpress.clarku.edu...

The challenge of reversing rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations is growing with the continued expansion of CO2-emitting energy infrastructure throughout the world and with the lack of coordinated, effective measures to manage and reduce emissions. Given this situation, it is prudent for society to explore all potential carbon management options, including those with seemingly low probability for success.

We have a PLAN. Congress votes to fund and authorize the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration to do the following:

1. Olivine Research. Research into optimal methods of introducing crushed olivine particles in the oceans through land distribution with river runoff, coastal zone application, and/or by ship directly into the sea, to increase oceanic CO2 capture

2. Pilot Programs. Small scale pilot programs to test olivine distribution, followed by…

3. Wide scale olivine usage. Results subject to continuous monitoring and testing. Program is canceled if

negative impacts outweigh the benefits.

4. Funding from cuts in Head Start

5. Plan takes effect the day after an Affirmative ballot

6. Affirmative speeches may clarify as needed.

The ADVANTAGES:

ADVANTAGE 1. Cost-effective reduction in atmospheric CO2

Dr. R.D. Schuilling & Prof. P.L. DeBoer 2010

“The olivine option, in the coastal zone and on the land, is a cost-effective way to counteract the increase of CO2 level in the atmosphere, at the same time mitigating ocean acidification. The volume of olivine needed for the neutralisation of human fossil fuel burning is 7 km3[seven cubic kilometers] /year, that is about 1 m3[one cubic meter] /human. This is a large amount indeed, but comparable to the volume of fossil fuels which mankind burns annually, expressed in oil equivalent10 km3 /year, i.e., 1.4 m3 /human. Olivine is produced in open pit mines, while hydrocarbons are often retrieved from kilometres depth in often remote areas. Olivine weathering is a natural process that takes time, years to decades when applied to suitable environments. Contrary to CCS [carbon capture & storage], the effect is not instantaneous, but in the course of the coming decades in which society will continue to produce CO2 and to be threatened by continued greenhouse warming, the annual addition of large volumes of olivine to suitable environments will counteract the rise of CO2 level of the atmosphere and the acidification of ocean waters.”

ADVANTAGE 2. Better environmental policy-making. It’s better to start testing geoengineering options now and find out if they work, rather than waiting until the crisis forces us into desperate, uninformed decisions.

http://www.tos.org...

“The geoengineering options discussed to date by scientists and engineers have not figured prominently in policy discussions because of the perception that they may have detrimental environmental consequences, are prohibitively expensive, or both (Schneider, 2008; Jones, 2009; Morton, 2009; Royal Society, 2009). However, the appropriate course of action is to evaluate the relative financial and environmental costs of each emission reduction or geoengineering option, compare them to the anticipated costs of adaptation if that particular option is not adopted, and then rank them by a set of standards agreed upon by policymakers. IPCC Working Groups II and III should undertake these activities as they prepare the next assessment report. The initial step in the above process cannot be undertaken without a serious investment in geoengineering research and development. Financial and environmental costs can only be estimated by conducting scalable experiments with reasonable levels of control and replication. As these experiments are scaled up, they will become increasingly difficult to control and replicate. In addition, their financial costs and environmental impacts will likely increase at least proportionally with their scale. Geoengineering experiments will raise serious ethical and legal issues, and society may ultimately decide that most of the proposed approaches cannot be implemented on a global scale because of their anticipated risks to the environment and our socioeconomic well being (e.g., ocean fertilization; see Strong et al., 2009). However, investing in geoengineering research now will enable policymakers to make informed decisions based on science rather than uninformed decisions made out of desperation.”

I hae created a beautiful model for fixing the harms that we see in the ststus quo. Please vote affirmative.

Envisage

Con

Thanks Pro.

  1. I. Preface

I will deal with rebuttals in the next round, I will use this round to forward my case against Olivine Engineering.

  1. II. Introduction

Pro didn’t introduce Olivine Engineering explicitly except during the middle of her opening round, where she said:

“Research into optimal methods of introducing crushed olivine particles in the oceans through land distribution with river runoff, coastal zone application, and/or by ship directly into the sea, to increase oceanic CO2 capture

The proposal is to disperse Olivine (Iron/Magnesium Silicate) in the oceans, which improves the ocean surface’s performance as a natural ‘carbon sink’ via increasing the alkalinity of the surface layer.[ http://environmentalresearchweb.org...] Carbon dioxide dissolves naturally in small quantities in water and forms carbonic acid, which is ‘trapped’ by any alkaline present in the ocean.

With the theory out of the way I will attack the execution

  1. III. Carbon Expensive solution

Olivine is poorly soluble in water, crystals just dumped into the ocean will take thousands of years to dissolve (which is why they don’t disappear after a rain shower), in order for olivine to effectively scrub CO2 it must be ground to a size if less than 1 micrometer in diameter, which is a fine industrial powder, much finer than sand or silica [http://www.phosphonics.com...]. The use of larger particle sizes results in the particles not dispersing in the oceans effectively, and just sinking as particles to the bottom of the ocean.

The major problem with this is that the powder needs to be produced in this exceptionally fine grade, which requires significant energy input. Several studies indicate that as much as 30% of the potential carbon capture performed would be reemitted as CO2 in the grinding process.[ http://iopscience.iop.org...] To significantly alter the biosphere over 100 large vessels would be requires and a program that matched the size of the existing coal industry! The point is, why should we invest substantial money and effort into this type of program when investment is more effectively made on carbon-zero energy production technologies (such as next generation nuclear reactors, renewables, etc).

In simulations by Wolf-Gladrow, they found that three gigatonnes of material (an already mindboggling figure) would only compensate for 9% of the planet’s emmissions, and requiring the utilization of a fleet of 100 large ships. [http://iopscience.iop.org...]

The study continues:

“However, with a carbon uptake rate of 0.28 g carbon per g of olivine (neglecting reduced efficiency) the recent fossil emissions of about 9 Pg C yr−1 are difficult if not impossible to be reduced solely based on olivine dissolution. An upper limit for the open ocean distribution of olivine is difficult to estimate, but such a limit certainly depends on shipping capacities, exploitation of olivine, and low distribution rates to prevent particle aggregation.”

Attesting to the unfeasibility and significant ignorance of the consequences of this solution.

A separate study puts the distribution numbers into perspective:

Those rates would still sequestrate only less than 20% of the emission until 2100, but would require that the nowadays available shipping capacity of tankers and bulk carriers is entirely used for olivine dissolution ten times a year.

Again, an unfeasible undertaking requires for only a 20% sequestering of CO2 emissions.[ http://epic.awi.de...]

  1. IV. Economics

In addition to what I have already mentioned, olivine bioengineering has virtually zero collateral benefits, these measures generally little or no additional capital and business for the governments/bodies that utilize it, and as such is an unattractive economic solution. Technologies which seek to utilize CO2 capture for the generation for methanol, polymers, materials etc. are of significantly more economic interest and hence feasibility. Even if such technologies are less efficient, they would be a overall more beneficial solution(s). [ http://www3.imperial.ac.uk...][ http://www.renewableenergyfocus.com...]

  1. V. Biosphere

It doesn’t take much imagination to find that bioengineering on the scale requires would result in significant changes on the marine biosphere, the dispersal of significant amounts of powdered olivine reduces the amount of light oceanic plankton. [http://www.smithsonianmag.com...]

The other environmental effects of olivine geoengineering have not been thoroughly investigated, simply put we do not know enough about the process to make a call on whether or not it is going to have other further-down-the-chain effects. Until this is performed, or if Pro can provide it, we should dismiss such a significant proposal.

  1. VI. Summary

I have raised a number of red flags to which I will be interested in seeing Pro’s responses to. Back to pro for her rebuttals!

Debate Round No. 2
SPENCERJOYAGE14

Pro


Thanks Envisage.


My opponent seems to have a few concerns with my policy, I’ll be responding to his concerns in this speech.



Concern 1: Carbon Expensive solution


My opponent is somewhat mistaken in this concern and the answer is in my first and second mandate to my plan. My opponent is forgetting that the United States Federal Government is not dumping olivine into the oceans. They are funding and authorizing the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration to research the optimal methods of introducing crushed olivine particles in the oceans and using small scale pilot programs to test olivine distribution before allowing it to be put in our oceans.


Because this is what is happening in my plan and mandates we don’t have to worry about his first concern, being the olivine will take a long time to dissolve, as we are researching optimal methods for the distribution of the olivine.



Concern 2: Economics


I’d like to remind my opponent, that the government is not spending any extra money on funding this project; in reality they are cutting a preexisting program called Head Start.


Head Start is a pre-preschool program that costs 8 billion dollars per year and hurts the children participating in it. It principle, we are helping children and just shifting money. http://www.foxnews.com...



Concern 3: Biosphere


This is another very good concern on my opponent’s part. Basically the principle from my first response to his first concern still stands true.


We will be testing this and making sure it’s at our best interest, our plan is to try to help the environment, not destroy it. Paying for research doesn’t destroy the environment.



Now that I have responded to my opponent’s concerns I ask you to vote affirmative.


Envisage

Con

Thanks Pro.

  1. I. Preface

As promised I will directly deal with Pro’s arguments in this round.

  1. II. Global Warming

I will not contest Pro’s points that rising CO2 levels has lead to increased global warming. It doesn’t automatically qualify olivine geoengineering as a solution to the problem, however. Note there are multiple avenues by which current CO2 and future CO2 levels may be reduced, geoengineering of any sort is just 1 of many of these. There are 2 avenues to address global warming.

  1. 1. Address the CO2 emissions
  2. 2. Address the CO2 already in the atmosphere

Pro has demonstrated herself in the last round that CO2 levels are rising rapidly as a result of industrial activity from the burning of fossil fuels. Fossil fuel technologies are themselves unsustainable due to limited resources available, and the source of energy is one of the principle drivers of economy. It clearly follows we need to primarily address and invest in zero carbon energy technologies before considering these ‘band-aid’ type solutions to the problem.

It’s like opening a savings account to earn money on interest when you already have outstanding debts. The debts are going to completely nullify anything you earn from savings accounts, as such money is best invested in paying down your existing debts first.

Pro raises the point that rising CO2 levels will result in ‘catastropic climate change’ yet her own quote mentions:

“The amount of damage associated with that warming remains uncertain, but there is some risk that it could be large and perhaps even catastrophic.”

Which her next quote seems to affirm

“Climate change is unlikely to be catastrophic in the near term, but it has the potential for serious damages in the long run.”

Here I can only conclude 2 things:

  1. 1. We have time to implement a more effective solution
  2. 2. Pro’s points regarding climate damage in no way qualifies Enhanced Weathering tehcnologies (such as olivine engineering)

  1. III. Olivine Engineering

Alternative Alkalination

In a review by Paquay, he compared the consequences of various ocean liming techniques on grounds of cost, CO2 sequestering and on effect on ocean pH. Olivine dispersal costs ~$50 USD per metric tonne of CO2 sequestered, the use of limestone/quicklime dispersal is estimated at $38 USD per metric tonne, a significant improvement. Air capture while more expensive (100-1000 USD/tonne CO2) would be significantly less problematic ecologically, for instance.[1]

Side-Effects

A review by Scheffran highlighted changes in soil and surface pH affecting both terrewstial and aquatic ecosystems, effects if increased dissolved silicon levels (a byproduct of olivine neutralization) as well as the effect of trace metals (which become significant on the scales olivine dispersal is proposed) such as Nickel, Zinc and Chromium, all of which are toxic metals.[1]

Moreover the study affirms the effects of dust (which I previously argued needs to be ground to an extremely fine grade, much finer than would be required to make it airborne) which both have a terrestrial impact (from inhalation) and from photosynthetis inhibition via. light absorption.[2]

Moreover the effect of the large scale mining of olivine, which needs to be comparable to our existing coal/oil industry given that the amount of material required to sequester each kilo of fossil fuels is comparable (1g olivine for ever 0.28g CO2 sequestered in the best studies. We literally need an industry the side of out existing coal minding industry to produce the required material.[3]

  1. IV. Counter-Rebuttals

Carbon Expensive Solution:

Pro’s rebuttal is completely off the mark. What is the point in researching something that you will not use? Arguments against the use of nuclear weapons are effective in arguing against research into building nuclear weapons. Similarly, arguments against the implementation of olivine is an argument against continuing to research olivine. Moreover the debate topic is on olivine engineering itself, which would obviously include its implementation.

This rebuttal seems completely off the mark.

Moreover the practical limitations of olivine have additional side-effects, as I have metioned in this round. Yes there is research into overcoming the solubility issues of olivine, however these solutions are themselves very realistically causing ecological harm (effect of massive amounts of airbourne dust dust, for example)

Economics:

Again, I don’t see how this rebuttal is at all relevant to my arguments, making money for research of the process doesn’t make the process itself economical, it only gives you money topersure it for that time period. Olivine engineering is proposed as a large scale long term solution to CO2 sequestering. As such we need to assess it’s manifestation

V. Conclusion
I cite a lack of direct responses by Pro, as such back to her for her closing!

  1. VI. References
  2. 1. http://www.soest.hawaii.edu...
  3. 2. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com...

Debate Round No. 3
SPENCERJOYAGE14

Pro

SPENCERJOYAGE14 forfeited this round.
Envisage

Con

Well, that's really dissapointing.

But anyway, I will leave the debate as it stands, I thank Pro for instigating this debate, I have learned a few new things which is always good!

Now I hand this debate over to the voters.
Debate Round No. 4
42 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Envisage 2 years ago
Envisage
Eh?
Posted by SPENCERJOYAGE14 2 years ago
SPENCERJOYAGE14
What do you mean?
Posted by Ajabi 2 years ago
Ajabi
I am sorry Rebekah.
Posted by Envisage 2 years ago
Envisage
GG Rebekah
Posted by birdlandmemories 2 years ago
birdlandmemories
Rapid expansion
Posted by 9spaceking 2 years ago
9spaceking
my brain just exploded. what just happened?
Posted by birdlandmemories 2 years ago
birdlandmemories
Dang, only 10 minutes left.
Posted by NiamC 2 years ago
NiamC
we'll see...
I would vote on this, but I have no understanding of this... my head just hurts...
Posted by SPENCERJOYAGE14 2 years ago
SPENCERJOYAGE14
Ikr? I'm going to make some big bucks on this debate. ;)
Posted by birdlandmemories 2 years ago
birdlandmemories
@9space that's quite the bet.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by Blade-of-Truth 2 years ago
Blade-of-Truth
SPENCERJOYAGE14EnvisageTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Conduct - Con. Pro forfeited the final round which is rarely acceptable behavior in any debate setting. S&G - Tie. Neither gave reason to award or negate points from either side. Arguments - Con. While Pro started off strong, Con's rebuttals just seemed to fail at getting proper responses. Pro needed to defeat the harms presented by Con and was not able to do so. Con effectively showed that this practice is harmful and not fully practical. This was a well-fought debate, but at the end Con had convinced me to his side. Sources - Tie. Both utilized respectable sources throughout this debate.
Vote Placed by Truth_seeker 2 years ago
Truth_seeker
SPENCERJOYAGE14EnvisageTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:--Vote Checkmark3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:01 
Reasons for voting decision: I would say this is a tie (SPENCERJOYAGE14 i really wanted to vote for you if you stayed in the debate) Both sides presented great spelling and grammar. Both presented equally valid sources and arguments, considering environmental and economic factors. It was really really close, I feel con's last argument could've been refuted if pro managed to bring more evidence.
Vote Placed by Adam_Godzilla 2 years ago
Adam_Godzilla
SPENCERJOYAGE14EnvisageTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:31 
Reasons for voting decision: Wow I never even knew anything about Olivine geoengineering before this debate. So thank you. Conduct to Pro as she forfeited in the last round. Sources tied as both backed up their arguments excellently. Arguments go to Pro however. Because even if there are problems with olivine dispersal, Pro successfully convinces me that it's at least important to explore this type of solution. Con 's point about money being wasted on repaying debt is unconvincing. There are millions of dolars being used for all sorts of wacky research anyway and it doesn't mean we shouldn't try looking into optimal ways to disperse Olivine. Plus if we don't try Olivine Geoengineering the climate will not change. There will still exist greenhouse effects that are catastrophic in the long run and Con didn't show an alternative solution to the problem, thus making Pro's suggestion the only choice we have. For these reasons I believe Pro's core arguments still stand. While imperfect, they are still convincing to me.
Vote Placed by 9spaceking 2 years ago
9spaceking
SPENCERJOYAGE14EnvisageTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: ff, spencer's rebuttals felt a little too short and Envisage showed that Olive Geoengineering can have lots of negative impact (never rebutted) and that there are alternatives that can be more effective.