The Instigator
mayoforsam
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
bluesteel
Con (against)
Winning
45 Points

There is no such thing as totally RENEWABLE energy.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 7 votes the winner is...
bluesteel
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/2/2014 Category: Science
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,504 times Debate No: 64404
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (6)
Votes (7)

 

mayoforsam

Pro

Is there really any such thing as totally renewable energy?
I would say... No.
I'll start with solar energy as the sun is such a vital cog.
As I'm sure you know the sun won't be around forever and I've come to believe that wind energy is directly affected by the sun. I'm not going to go into nuclear never considered renewable to begin with! There isn't a limitless supply of water either, is there? And electricity is fuelled by fossil fuels.
bluesteel

Con

== Definitions ==

My opponent focuses the entire debate on what the term "renewable" means, so this is fundamentally going to be a semantics debate.

American Heritage defines "renewable" as: "Relating to a natural resource, such as solar energy, water, or wood, that is never used up or that can be replaced by new growth." [1]

Merriam-Webster's Dictionary defines "renewable" as: "restored or replaced by natural processes : able to be replaced by nature." [2]

Google defines "renewable" as: "(of a natural resource or source of energy) not depleted when used."

The Texas Legislature has defined "renewable energy" as: "Any energy resource that is naturally regenerated over a short time scale and derived directly from the sun (such as thermal, photochemical, and photoelectric), indirectly from the sun (such as wind, hydropower, and photosynthetic energy stored in biomass), or from other natural movements and mechanisms of the environment (such as geothermal and tidal energy). Renewable energy does not include energy resources derived from fossil fuels, waste products from fossil sources, or waste products from inorganic sources." [3]

The common theme here is that "renewable" means something that either (a) we can create more of (like biofuels derived from algae) or (b) something that derives from natural processes, so our use of its does not deplete it.

Contention 1: solar, wind, etc. meets my definition of renewable

The Google definition is the most clear: that renewable means something that is not depleted by our use of it. My opponent says the sun is not renewable because it will some day run out of energy and supernova. However, I have three responses to this.

First, that's not the definition of "renewable." Our *use* of sunlight does not actually deplete the sun. The sun was going to emit that sunlight anyway. We are merely tapping into a natural process that was going to happen anyway. Similarly, wind energy comes from the uneven heating of the Earth by the sun, causing air to move from colder areas to warmer areas. Wind energy will continue to exist as long as the sun exists, and our use of it does not deplete the total amount of wind that there is.

Second, when the sun supernovas, we will either (a) all die from the supernova, or (b) travel to another solar system that has its own sun. Therefore, either we all die, so we won't need an energy source, or we can find another sun. We will never be in a scenario where we are alive and without sunlight. This particular form of power, therefore, will always be viable for all practical purposes.

Third, there are types of energy that meet even my opponent's absurd definition of "renewable." Biofuels can be made by growing algae. We can literally "renew" our supply of algae whenever we went. Obviously, this is in sharp contrast to fossil fuels, which require so much time and pressure that we can never practically renew the Earth's supply of them.

Lastly, I'll note that words are an artificial construct and are only useful to us in distinguishing things from each other. The words "renewable energy" is only useful as a concept to distinguish sustainable sources of energy from unsustainable ones. To define "renewable" the way my opponent does would mean that there would be no word in the English language to distinguish (solar, wind, geothermal, and biofuel) from (fossil fuels). There's no point in defining "renewable" in such a way so as to rob the word of any usefulness.

Furthermore, given that language is an artificial construct that dies with us, it seems safe to define renewable as including sunlight because if there is no sunlight, we are all dead and there will be no language. So any problems with the word "renewable" and the sun eventually dying pretty much solve themselves, because the word "renewable" will die with us when the sun does.

[1] http://dictionary.reference.com...
[2] http://www.merriam-webster.com...
[3] http://www.treia.org...
Debate Round No. 1
mayoforsam

Pro

Valid point, however, we don't deplete it's energy but what am saying is that in the same that fossil fuels won't last FOREVER neither will solar energy!
bluesteel

Con

I think my opponent is looking for a word like "unlimited." Renewable means our use does not deplete the energy source, not that the energy source will last forever.
Debate Round No. 2
mayoforsam

Pro

mayoforsam forfeited this round.
bluesteel

Con

Extend all my arguments.
Debate Round No. 3
mayoforsam

Pro

mayoforsam forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
mayoforsam

Pro

mayoforsam forfeited this round.
bluesteel

Con

Extend my arguments. Vote Con.
Debate Round No. 5
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by Furyan5 2 years ago
Furyan5
Yes there is. Love is a totally renewable energy source and the reason humanity thrives.
Posted by footballchris561 2 years ago
footballchris561
I know this is old but arguing semantics here, as you have clearly stated a difference between unlimited and renewable, I think pro is right even though he clearly lost the debate because his argument was poor. Now using an example of lets say a movie that we are renting from a store. This can be considered a renewable resource. You can rent it from the store as much as you want and it will provide the same thing it always provides every single time not providing any less. Eventually it will just not work. Not necessarily because of the use because even if we did not use it at all and never took it out of it's case it would eventually not work even if this might take a very, very long time. The sun is the DVD that will eventually not provide this resource.

I get that the word is used in that way to define what the sun provides and that can't be argued. But I am just trying to take a philosophical approach to the definition as it is used. Is something really renewable if it is only temporary? Technically the sun is only temporary even though we don't see it that way.
Posted by sadolite 2 years ago
sadolite
Actually there is no such thing as renewable energy. There is thermodynamics. The transfer of heat. No energy is ever lost, it is only transferred.
Posted by bluesteel 2 years ago
bluesteel
==========================
2001bhu. Voted removed because: retaliatory voting behavior.

RFD: "Reasons for voting decision: Was a really good debate overall pro did better in conduct he probably had more important things to do. (bluesteel I swear if you remove this vote)"
=========================
Posted by Atmas 2 years ago
Atmas
It's true, no energy supply is forever renewable, this is one of the problems facing humanity. Entropy is unstoppable and inevitable, but we can at least look at energy supplies that will last a long time, even if it's not unlimited. Our Sun can provide quite a bit of energy over it's long life span and it's enough to power our technology for at least a few million years. If we can master fusion, the process that powers the sun, we can have access to an enormous amount of energy by just fusing hydrogen atoms. But there's a limit to the amount of hydrogen available and helium is inert.
Posted by cheyennebodie 2 years ago
cheyennebodie
The sun will never go out.Just as the moon will never leave its orbit. This planet is home to man forever.Life has and always will renew itself.
7 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Vote Placed by Lee001 2 years ago
Lee001
mayoforsambluesteelTied
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Reasons for voting decision: FF
Vote Placed by tejretics 2 years ago
tejretics
mayoforsambluesteelTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Con's arguments were detailed. Con provided detailed explanations on the definitions of renewable energy, and struck at the apparent openings in Pro's single argument. Pro's forfeiture gives conduct points to Con. Con used the only sources in the debate.
Vote Placed by lannan13 2 years ago
lannan13
mayoforsambluesteelTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Forfeiture
Vote Placed by BLAHthedebator 2 years ago
BLAHthedebator
mayoforsambluesteelTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro forfeited, made a grammatical error in round 2, con negated the resolution and used sources, unlike pro.
Vote Placed by Tweka 2 years ago
Tweka
mayoforsambluesteelTied
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Reasons for voting decision: ff
Vote Placed by 9spaceking 2 years ago
9spaceking
mayoforsambluesteelTied
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Reasons for voting decision: ff. Pro, check your definitions or make your debates impossible to accept. Otherwise the top debater on DDO is just gonna come in and crush you with semantics.
Vote Placed by 1harderthanyouthink 2 years ago
1harderthanyouthink
mayoforsambluesteelTied
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Reasons for voting decision: FF