The Instigator
Pokemonzr
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
pc131313
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

Should universities divest their fossil fuel holdings?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/19/2014 Category: Society
Updated: 8 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 679 times Debate No: 49517
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (7)
Votes (0)

 

Pokemonzr

Pro

Nuclear power plants should divest their fossil fuel holdings because fossil fuels cause harm to the environment.
pc131313

Con

I have taken up the position as con. My position is that we cannot, at present, lose fossil fuel.
Debate Round No. 1
Pokemonzr

Pro

Ok, here is my initial argument. Also, I would like to clarify in the beginning that I meant to say "universities", not "nuclear power plants", since that makes no sense. I wasn't thinking while I was typing.

Universities should divest fossil fuels because it is wrong to profit from something wrecking the climate. We are not talking about financial profit, since universities are 501(c)3"s. We are talking about personal profit--education, social experience, fun, and daily life necessities. A university has all those things, practically everything a student could ask for. For the universities that are powered by fossil fuels, all of these amenities of a university are also provided by fossil fuels. (Source - greenenergychoice.com) The making of energy with fossil fuels for universities is a terrible thing because fossil fuels are the largest greenhouse gas emitters in the world, not to mention the process of extracting them or mining them also severely harms the environment. Fossil fuels contribute " of all carbon, methane, and other greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. Greenhouse gases go up in the air, trap in sunlight, and voila, we have severe climate change, better known as global warming. Fossil fuels emit greenhouse gases, which cause global warming. Do we want our students profiting from universities using wrongful methods of retrieving energy that harm the environment?
pc131313

Con

CONCESSION
" it is wrong to profit from something wrecking the climate"

I concede this point, as well as the rest of my opponents explanation on fossil fuels being wrong and destroying the arguments, along with the necessity to become independant from them.

REBUTALS
-point of fossil fuel immorality

"it is wrong to profit from something wrecking the climate."
+ definition of profit in this context acknowledged: "We are talking about personal profit--education, social experience, fun, and daily life necessities."

1) The trouble is, we need fossil fuel. It's powering a gigantic amount of the planet. There's very little light and wind near Oxford and Cambridge, so how would they find an alternative power source? The only possibility to make universities continue to work and train students is to allow them to use fossil fuel energies

2)Universities don't actually choose where their power comes from. The power supplier does. And the power supplier takes from everywhere, green energy, fossil fuels and even nuclear energy. Universities simply don't have the power to control where their electricity comes from. The only company in the world with the initiative to furnish only sustainable electricity is EWS in Germany, and they cost 4million marks to set up! And that was 20 years ago! For a miniscule village/town stuck in the west of Germany (Schonau)

source : http://www.ews-schoenau.de...

ARGUMENTS
A-1- Realism

Universities train our further citizens. They are going to have to live in harsh, brutal reality. Different countries do it on different levels (anglo-saxon countries tend to create a staff-supported microcosm with the colleges, latin countries tend to plunge them into the c%^p head-first with no colleges or student life, and so on), but the bottom line is, university is the first step in real, grown-up life. And that means as close an imitation as possible is necessary. If you make kids grow up in a little utopia like that, they're not going to fare well in real life.

A-2 - Problem Solving

Universities typically want to create a world in which students can accomplish their projects. And a lot of them have ecological projects! Putting students in a world of problems to be solved creates a dynamic atmosphere, since they want to act to resolve them. A perfect, comfy utopia would on the contrary render them passive and less lkely to try to learn how to act and defend their interests.

This is my argument.
Debate Round No. 2
Pokemonzr

Pro

I would start out by providing refutations to my opponent.

First of all, my opponent sated that we need fossil fuel. I disagree with this point because I believe that we can switch to other remedies of fuels, clean fuels as I will say in my second argument. Therefore, I believe that this point is wrong and that we do not need fossil fuels because energy sources can be switched.

Secondly, my opponent said that the power supplier actually chooses where their energy comes from, not the universities. However, I disagree with this point once again. First of all, my opponent has failed to provide a valid source for the fact that "universities don't actually chose where the power comes from. The power supplier does." , so they could have just made it up, however this is not the main reason I disagree with them. The main reason for this is because power suppliers can switch where they get their power from. We can create a law that says they have to supply universities with clean sources of power. Also, there is no reason why a university can't switch power suppliers. There are multiple power suppliers in the same area, so they could just switch to another supplier that does not use fossil fuels, or other harmful methods. Therefore, my opponent's point is invalid because of failure to provide a source and ability to switch to other power suppliers or power methods.

Now, I would like to refute my opponent's arguments.

In their first argument, they said that universities train our further citizens. I completely agree. First off, I would like to thank the Con side for bringing up this point considering it helps me. Universities need to further train our citizens, and we can't further train our citizens while wrecking the environment at the same time. Therefore, further training our students is currently wrecking the environment, and eventually, there won't be an environment, and further training students won't even be an option.

Also, in their first argument, they stated that we can't make kids grow up in a little utopia. I disagree for the reason that we are not providing a utopia for them. However, before I further build upon my disagreement, I would like to point out that the Con side said "kids". However, this debate is not about kids, it's about young adults attending universities from the ages of 18 to 26 probably, so this is part of the reason why this is an invalid point. Onto my main reason. We are not providing a utopia for these students by switching universities off of fossil fuels. According to dictionary.com, a utopia is "any visionary system of political or social perfection". What we are giving university students is far from perfection for the reason that there are many conflicts going on at the same time, such as family conflicts and social conflicts in their own life. Therefore, we are not providing a utopia, or "social perfection" for these young adults to grow up in, so I reject this point.

In my opponent's second argument, they say that universities want to create a utopia so students can accomplish their projects. However, as I have stated, just by switching from fossil fuels to cleaner sources of energy is not providing a utopia for these students. They also said that a lot of them have ecological projects, so great! Let's use ecological projects from these students so they can create a solution to our debate! Therefore, we are not providing a utopia for these students, and we can use students' ecological projects as a solution for this debate.

Okay, so here is my first argument that I have already stated.

Universities should divest fossil fuels because it is wrong to profit from something wrecking the climate. We are not talking about financial profit, since universities are 501(c)3's. We are talking about personal profit--education, social experience, fun, and daily life necessities. A university has all those things, which are practically everything a student could ask for. For the universities that are powered by fossil fuels, all of these amenities of a university are also provided by fossil fuels. According to greenenergychoice.com, The making of energy with fossil fuels for universities is a terrible thing because fossil fuels are the largest greenhouse gas emitters in the world, not to mention the process of extracting them or mining them also severely harms the environment. Fossil fuels contribute 3/4 of all carbon, methane, and other greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. Greenhouse gases go up in the air, trap in sunlight, and poof, we have severe climate change, better known as global warming. Fossil fuels emit greenhouse gases, which cause global warming. Do we want our students profiting from universities using wrongful methods of retrieving energy that harm the environment?

A new argument/plan that I would like to bring up is as follows:

I believe that universities should divest their fossil fuels because they can switch to better sources of energy. Better sources of energy are what we need for our universities of America, and these better sources of energy are renewable sources of energy that have little to NO harm on the environment, are not expensive, and can provide enough energy, such as solar power and wind power. According to theenergycollective.com, solar power and wind power are all renewable, environmentally safe methods of providing energy for our universities. Our plan is as follows. First off, we need to completely get rid of fossil fuel plants that provide wrongful energy for our universities. These fossil fuel plants are allowed to dump all of the carbon into our air that they want, thus heavily polluting the precious air that we breathe with greenhouse gases. Secondly, we need build more wind mills and solar power plants. Wind power and solar power are the way to go. Not only do they provide enough more than enough energy for our universities without polluting the air, they also will create hundreds of thousands of jobs for us, helping the economy, and are constantly growing more inexpensive. Clean energy has already created 110,000 jobs last year! Also, The price of solar power has dropped 80% over the last five years. The National Renewable Energy Lab claims that we can be powered with 4 fifths of our energy being clean, renewable, solar and wind energy. As I have proved in this argument, fossil fuels are not the way to go, but we have a plan. Switch the the clean, renewable, inexpensive sources of energy: wind and solar energy.
pc131313

Con

1 Choosing where your energy comes from

- I acknowledge that not quoting a source for my argument was unprofessional of me. I am afraid I was considering the European, and probably African and Asian situations, where huge monopolies in the electricity-providing departments are installed, and not exclusively the situation of the United States of America, where freedom of enterprise is still very strong.

## I"m not trying to drown everyone in sources, but I wish to show I have taken my opponents point:

Europe:
http://www.economist.com...
http://ec.europa.eu...

South Africa:
http://allafrica.com...
http://uk.ask.com...

Korea:
http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr...

Vietnam
http://www.pimagazine-asia.com...

Japan
http://www.cleanbiz.asia...
http://www.japantimes.co.jp...

Nepal
http://en.apdnews.com...

India
http://www.thehindu.com...

China
http://www.sciencedirect.com...

South America
http://www.aei.org...

- In the EU, a small company that sells green energy just isn"t going to survive, EWS (which I mentioned and gave the site to) being the exception. This is why consumers cannot chose where their power comes from. The French saying "walk or die" illustrates the situation: either you take the power, without knowing where it comes from, either you buy a lot of jumpers and eat cold food. I am sorry, but if my opponent wished to exclusively talk about the situation in the USA, he should have stated in the first round.

"We can create a law that says they have to supply universities with clean sources of power."

- That could be a solution. Would lobbies influenced by oil tycoons and shale gas exploiters let it go through congress? I sincerely doubt it. Nonetheless, my opponent has a point here. This could be possible. However my opponent does not show if the current energy total being produced renewably is sufficient to handle that load, in the USA, let alone in the world.

2 Training of the new students

"Universities need to further train our citizens, and we can't further train our citizens while wrecking the environment at the same time. Therefore, further training our students is currently wrecking the environment, and eventually, there won't be an environment, and further training students won't even be an option."

- My opponent breaks down a whole: the fact "universities train our youth" is associated to the postulate "we can"t raise them in a utopia" separating the fact from the conclusion I draw from it is an easy thing.

"However, before I further build upon my disagreement, I would like to point out that the Con side said "kids". However, this debate is not about kids, it's about young adults attending universities from the ages of 18 to 26 probably, so this is part of the reason why this is an invalid point."

- My opponent is an excellent debater. I hardly believe it necessary for him to carry his debate into the field of semantics, especially since I have avoided to wage war on certain mistakes he himself has made, and since I let him correct the mistake which he explains in round 2.

"We are not providing a utopia for these students by switching universities off of fossil fuels. According to dictionary.com, a utopia is "any visionary system of political or social perfection". What we are giving university students is far from perfection for the reason that there are many conflicts going on at the same time, such as family conflicts and social conflicts in their own life. Therefore, we are not providing a utopia, or "social perfection" for these young adults to grow up in, so I reject this point."

- Family and social conflicts in their own life are widely outside of the influence of the university, and I would like to point out that universities provide counsellors and advice to resolve these subjects. Furthermore, it is questionable to what extent American students (since my opponent has not taken a single example from outside the USA) are still deeply entwined with these conflicts while on a detached campus.

- Furthermore; no, we are not giving them a utopia, because utopias do not exist. But we are trying to make them grow up in a place which is more idealized than the real world.

"They also said that a lot of them have ecological projects, so great! Let's use ecological projects from these students so they can create a solution to our debate! Therefore, we are not providing a utopia for these students, and we can use students' ecological projects as a solution for this debate."

- My opponent has found it very appropriate to once again omit a part of my argument.

From round two, my own argument: "Putting students in a world of problems to be solved creates a dynamic atmosphere, since they want to act to resolve them."

- This is what I stated. He ignores this, does not refute it. It is not connected to the fact that the university is or is not a utopia, so even if we are or are not creating a utopia, my point still stands firm.

- The reasoning is that dynamic minds in a learning and creation area like a university will resolve problems at hand.
My opponent proposes to remove the ecological problem, so students will no longer be confronted to this problem. Universities will have to try very hard to make them realise a pollution-free energy is not to be taken for granted, and is not universal. Many students may instead concentrate on solving the problems they still have at hand- social and family problems, as my opponent said.

3 Argument

"We are not talking about financial profit, since universities are 501(c)3's."

- I"d just like to ask my opponent if he could explain in the comments what he meant to spell. I find his arguments very interesting, and I"d like to make sure I am getting all his information correctly. I have allready explained why my objections to this argument are sound.

4 The last Argument

"First off, we need to completely get rid of fossil fuel plants that provide wrongful energy for our universities. These fossil fuel plants are allowed to dump all of the carbon into our air that they want, thus heavily polluting the precious air that we breathe with greenhouse gases."

http://www.pollution-control.co.uk...
http://www.defra.gov.uk...
http://europa.eu...

- In the US, I concede this point. I would however like to suggest this alternative. It has two advantages which I will detail once I have quoted all my opponents argument.

"Secondly, we need build more wind mills and solar power plants. Wind power and solar power are the way to go. Not only do they provide enough more than enough energy for our universities without polluting the air, they also will create hundreds of thousands of jobs for us, helping the economy, and are constantly growing more inexpensive. Clean energy has already created 110,000 jobs last year! Also, the price of solar power has dropped 80% over the last five years. The National Renewable Energy Lab claims that we can be powered with 4 fifths of our energy being clean, renewable, solar and wind energy. As I have proved in this argument, fossil fuels are not the way to go, but we have a plan. Switch the the clean, renewable, inexpensive sources of energy: wind and solar energy."

- I'm with you all the way. This is an excellent idea. An area the size of Nevada covered in medium-effective solar panels could provide enough power for the whole of the US, research tells us. The trouble is, there is enormous prejudice against renewable energy. Solar power is characterized as sissy and low-producing, hydro as too expensive, geothermal as rarely available and wind as noisy and bird-killing (bull-), and most people don"t even know about tide, wave or current power. Are there enough farmers and landowners in the US who are favourable to green energy to find an area of that space? Would it not encroach on natural reserves and wonderful places?

- My argument is certainly not that we cannot switch to green energy. My argument is that we need to remain confronted to the real problems, and make a gradual switch. Outfitting your universities or your country with green energy is just going to make you passive. Andorra, St Martin and Lichtenstein could go green. Even Germany, France and the UK, but the impact wouldn't be that big. There's still Russia, China and India polluting like there"s no tomorrow (and at this rate there won"t be one). Electricity production isn't a huge part of our consumption of fossil fuels. Think about cars and planes.

- I think that my opponent"s proposition must be listened to, because it embodies an opinion that is good and generous. It is a proposition that has the objective to make the world a better place.

- I think my opponent's proposition is one that must be opposed, because it is a drastically brutal change to a society that is not ready for it. A change is unfortunately going to have to be a transition, not a rupture, and it is already happening in Europe, in China, and in the USA. And it's an old story in Australia. We need to make sure we are put in a situation where we don"t lose contact with reality, where we yearn for a clean world. We don"t need to be in a place where we take renewable energy for granted, and where our students disinterest themselves from it, thinking everything's already been done.

personal remarks in comments.
Debate Round No. 3
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by Pokemonzr 8 months ago
Pokemonzr
Usa*
Posted by Pokemonzr 8 months ago
Pokemonzr
Yeah, I forgot to specify in the topic this was for ISA universities.
Posted by pc131313 8 months ago
pc131313
Oh, I'm sorry, I didnt know that was a law. I should have googled it.

Honestly, you had me running in the last round. I basically flail around, arguing on petty little points, such as the way in which you argue. My only really valid points are that you don't consider the world situation and the fact that you do ignore part of my argument.

If you had had an extra round, you could have counter-attacked by explaining that 501(c)3 is an american thing, therefore:
-I should have searched it up on google and realised this was about universities in the USA
-the fact that I did not do that further explicits my lack of professionalism
I could of course have answered that north america was not clearly stated, but that argument would not be powerful enough for me to do a come-back there.

The other thing about you ignoring a part of my argument, you might have resolved by saying something along the lines of "why did you add a part about utopias if it has nothing to do with your argument, if you icnluded that part it must have a relation with the whole thing) weaker, but it makes my point less strong.

And the last part of my argument is honestly just rhetoric. Since I know that people have a tendency to support ecology (I support it too), I say that I'm on their side, making them more accepting of an emotional follow up on why I think it's a good idea, but that I oppose it in view of higher ideals.

Sincerely, your arguments are pretty good. I wanted to nail you on not quoting enough sources, but your source-shield is effectively impermeable, the arguments follow a good logic. The only way I get a slight upper hand is because you have a very slight rigor and international problem. First is easily solvable, second won't be a problem on this website.

If you ever need help on the situation abroad for any kind of debate (history, society, economy, anything) you can message me and I'll try to get back with info.
Posted by Pokemonzr 8 months ago
Pokemonzr
pc131313, you asked me what I meant to spell in a sentence, but I don't think I misspelled anything.

"We are not talking about financial profit, since universities are 501(c)3's."

Hmm, I don't see any spelling error. If you don't know what a 501(c)3 is, visit this link since that what I assume you were referring to. http://en.m.wikipedia.org...(c)_organization

I believe that this ha been a very interesting debate. I don't think I won, but well see what the voters decide.
Posted by pc131313 8 months ago
pc131313
I'd just like to say thank you to Pokeomonzr, this was an extremely interesting debate, and you certainly are quite good at it, demonstrating a good deal of knowledge. It definitely made me look into green energy and it's potentialities a little more deeply, and they certainly have evolved quite a lot.
Posted by pc131313 8 months ago
pc131313
Topkek, my opponent is arguing for very different reasons that enironmentalists, as you should read and notice, and he proposes to reform universities, not the world.
Posted by Topkek 8 months ago
Topkek
I think what radical environmentalists often forget is that the alternatives to fossil fuels wouldn't power even half of California, let alone the entire world...

Not to even mention the costs.
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