The Instigator
darkhearth
Pro (for)
Losing
14 Points
The Contender
bluesteel
Con (against)
Winning
30 Points

fossil fuel

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/5/2010 Category: Society
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 6,726 times Debate No: 13274
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (2)
Votes (7)

 

darkhearth

Pro

in Australia the citizens have to wear a cap to protect them from the UV light in the sun due to the hole in the ozone layer layer located near the pacific.
my first reason has to do with our environment and our ozone layer. an article from EFDA.org says that "fission fuel is made up of dead particles absorbed into the ground millions of years ago. if we keep on accumulating the amount of fossil we have left. by the year of 2020, we would have completely used all our fuel reserves oil spills, global warming, pollution, and war; these are the harsh effects of fossil fuels being used as an energy source. Not to mention the continuously increasing price of gasoline needed for transportation vehicles due to this limited resource. Everyday when you start your car and head off onto the road, you are little by little, deteriorating the ozone layer. This invisible shield is what protects us from the sun's harmful. fossil Fuels have been an ongoing issue for quite some time. I really hope my peers will open their eyes to what's going on around them and put some effort into protecting our future. All of us can make a huge difference. ultraviolet rays. We need to save our ozone in order to protect our families from health problems such as skin cancer and a climate issue known as global warming.
bluesteel

Con

Since the topic is unclear, I'd like to interpret the topic to be: "the world should stop using fossil fuel." My opponent is pro and I am con, so this topic interpretation makes sense.

1. No alternative

We need gasoline for the foreseeable future. Most people who currently own cars in the world own a car that runs primarily on gasoline. Cars are expensive products and most people are not too keen on purchasing a new one right now, considering the global recession. Other options are not viable anyway.

Ethanol

Normal cars can run on a blend of ethanol/gasoline, but ethanol cannot comprise more than 15% of the concoction, or else it will corrode the engine parts. In addition, ethanol does not yield a net positive amount of energy because it takes gasoline to create the fertilizer used to grow the crop (usually corn) and to harvest it (picture tractors). "UC Berkeley geoengineering professor Tad Patzek argued that up to six times more energy is used to make ethanol than the finished fuel actually contains." [1] So it essentially takes 6 gallons of gasoline to produce one gallon of ethanol. In addition, we don't have enough crops in the world to turn into ethanol. According to Energy Bullet, "if the entire US corn crop were used for fuel, it would only replace 20 percent of US gasoline consumption." [2] Lastly, food to fuel increases world food prices and results in starvation. Environment News Service explains, "The United States, in a misguided effort to reduce its oil insecurity by converting grain into fuel for cars, is generating global food insecurity on a scale never seen before. The world is facing the most severe food price inflation in history as grain and soybean prices climb to all-time highs. . . . The World Bank reports that for each 1 percent rise in food prices, caloric intake among the poor drops 0.5 percent. Millions of those living on the lower rungs of the global economic ladder, people who are barely hanging on, will lose their grip and begin to fall off." [3] Cellulosic ethanol is not yet commercially viable and may never be because the enzymes to break down cellulose are far too expensive to produce.

Electric

Since 80% of power that is generated in the United States is from fossil fuel (coal and natural gas), if we stop using fossil fuels, we won't be able to charge our cars. Electric cars are also much more expensive than normal cars and cannot travel very far on a single charge.

Hydrogen fuel cell

The fuel cells are ridiculously expensive. Prototypes running solely on fuel cells have not even been made. There are no refilling stations. Hydrogen is not energy-dense enough to be a viable transportation fuel because the fuel tank would be too heavy.

Power

80% of U.S. power comes from coal and natural gas. Less than 1% comes from solar and wind. Around 20% comes from nuclear power. However, the nuclear plants in the U.S. are approaching the end of their life cycles, meaning we will rely more on fossil fuels in the future. Solar and wind are not yet viable to provide all our energy because they rely on intermittent energy sources (wind is not always blowing, sun is not always shining), and we do not have a reliable way to store the energy, meaning we need fossil fuels to act as a back-up for power generation if these intermittent sources are not available.

The Energy Information Agency did projection forecasts on alternative energy development to 2030, based on current incentives/tax breaks and rates of investment, and found that in the best case scenario, renewable energy can provide 10% of the United State's energy needs by 2030. [4]

If we stopped using fossil fuels now, the global economy would come to a standstill.

2. Clean fossil fuels

Clean diesel cars have been manufactured that emit absolutely no particulates from their tailpipes, such as a model highly touted by Volkswagen. In addition, carbon capture and sequestration promises to create coal power plants that no longer emit any carbon dioxide.

3. World economy

Fossil fuel jobs employ tens of millions of people worldwide in the oil exploration/drilling industry, the coal mining industry, and in electricity generation. These people would all lose their jobs. Oil/natural gas exporting countries like Saudi Arabia and Russia would have their economies devastated if they could not sell fossil fuels. A collapse of demand in many fossil fuel exporting-dependent countries would further exacerbate the global recession.

Responding to my opponent's case:

1. Ozone layer holes

Most of the holes in the ozone layer were caused by chlorofluorocarbons (CFC), which international agreements have since banned. Science Daily reports that currently, one of the most promising new ways to decrease ozone depletion is newly discovered devices to detect rogue CFC emissions. [5] There are two ways that fossil fuels directly decrease ozone, but both ways only have a "weak" effect on ozone. [6]

2. Global warming

Many countries are attempting to implement emissions reduction strategies, but these will likely be very expensive to consumers of energy and will have only a marginal impact on global warming. The International Panel on Climate Change, the United Nation's consortium of the smartest scientists on the global warming issue across the world, recently ranked the best solutions to global warming, and a number of geo-engineering projects (engineering projects that would cool the globe) were ranked higher than emissions reduction. Solutions include the one described in Super-Freakonomics, essentially simulating a volcanic burst in the troposphere, during which particles decrease sunlight penetration to the Earth's surface and decrease atmospheric temperature, and putting sunlight shields in outer space. No matter how costly these engineering solutions are, they will be cheaper and more effective than drastic emissions reduction programs, like cap and trade. In addition, some of the renewable energy solutions aren't much better for global warming. Stanford University published a study in 2007 on the ways that shifting to a hydrogen economy would increase global warming. [7]

3. Peak oil

Many different experts disagree on the date when peak oil production will occur, but few experts still believe that it will be as soon as 2020, as my opponent suggests. In fact, the Energy Information Agency recently did projections until 2035 and found that due to technology improvements, peak oil will not occur between now and then. [8] One such improvement is EOR – enhanced oil recovery. Carbon dioxide (usually captured from a coal power plant using carbon capture and sequestration) is pumped into oil wells and makes the yields of oil from the well jump from 20-40% (under traditional techniques) to 40-60% by increasing the pressure inside the well-head and forcing more oil to come out.

We need oil for the foreseeable future – alternatives are just not available yet on a large enough scale and are not yet affordable for the average person.

[1] http://www.sfgate.com...

[2] http://www.energybulletin.net...

[3] http://www.ens-newswire.com...

[4] http://news.mongabay.com...

[5] http://www.sciencedaily.com...

[6] http://wiki.answers.com...

[7] http://gcep.stanford.edu...

[8] http://www.altenergystocks.com...
Debate Round No. 1
darkhearth

Pro

Unlike what my opponent argues, there are many alternatives to fossil fuel. fossil fuel is just a way to draw energy from the earth. some of these alternatives are
Nuclear fusion
geothermal energy
wind and solar power
Going back to my first alternative, nuclear fusion. Nuclear fusion is a very effective way for one to create a mass amount of energy. The united states is a very complex nation so we must find a new and better alternative for our source of energy. an example of this complex method of drawing energy is as I mentioned earlier, Nuclear Fusion. Nuclear Fusion is generated through a Nuclear Reactor which does not contribute to any environmental plaque such as global warming, acid rain and air pollution. With our as knowledge of the composition of atomic structures, it would take us less than five years to create a nuclear fusion. The creation of Nuclear fusion will reduce the depiction rate of the ozone layer which Fossil fuels increase. If we keep on using this much amount of fossil fuel, we will end up like the citizens of Australia who are fused to were covered cloths and a face cap to protect them from the UV light which increase the chances and rate of skin cancer. One Nuclear reactor could power up half the united states meaning that we only need to make about two or three. We could find that not only will an alternative such as Nuclear Fusion be great for the environment but it will also meet our energy needs.
Secondly we have geothermal energy which is basically a way to draw energy from the earth core. Surveys taken by utilities have found that homeowners using geothermal heat pumps rate them highly when compared to conventional systems. Figures indicate that more than 95 percent of all geothermal heat pump owners would recommend a similar system to their friends and family. No fuel is used to generate the power, which in return, means the running costs for the plants are very low as there are no costs for purchasing, transporting, or cleaning up of fuels you may consider purchasing to generate the power. this shows that geothermal energy is so much more effective than that of fossil fuel. lastly solar and wind power.
In truth, many fossil and renewable energy sources ultimately come from solar energy. For all intents and purposes, this article refers to solar power as energy that is directly collected from the sun.

Advantages:
•Zero emissions of air pollutants and greenhouse gases
•Easy to install
•Virtually no energy costs once installed
•The technology for solar power is constantly improving
•Sunlight is widely available

Wind Power
This alternative energy resource makes use of wind turbines for the conversion of wind energy.
Advantages:
•No emissions, hence no greenhouse gas contributions
•Though tall, wind turbines only require a small plot of land
•The cost per watt is among the lowest of current energy options
•Their ideal locations tend to be on farms and ranches, which is a benefit to rural economies
we could find that all these alternative are both efficient and cost effective.
bluesteel

Con

Responding to my opponent:

I know that alternatives to fossil fuel exist – the fact that I named most of them in the previous round proves I know of their existence. The problem is that none of them are yet viable as a complete fossil fuel replacement in electricity generation or in car locomotion because they are either too expensive, are not capable of being produced on a large enough scale, or are not a reliable/consistent enough form of power.

Nuclear power

I think my opponent means nuclear fission. Fission is a reaction that breaks apart an atom (usually Uranium-235) to generate energy. Fusion is the process the sun uses of fusing together protons to generate energy. Scientists have yet to produce a commercially viable fusion power plant, and many people still consider fusion power a pipe dream.

Nuclear power, in contrast, is not a good fossil fuel replacement. The Huffington Post reports that nuclear power plants, even when operated correctly, cause cancer. "Every day, reactors must routinely release a portion of radioactive chemicals into local air and water -- the same chemicals found in atomic bomb tests. They enter human bodies through breathing and the food chain. . . . after half a century of a large-scale experiment with nuclear power, the verdict is in: nuclear reactors cause cancer." [1] The Huffington post cites a number of studies proving the link between nuclear power and cancer: "Joseph Mangano, MPH, MBA, Executive Director of the Radiation and Public Health Project, has authored 23 scientific articles since the mid-1990s documenting high local cancer rates near [nuclear power plants]. One study showed child cancer exceeded the national rate near 14 of 14 plants in the eastern U.S. Another showed that when U.S. nuclear plants closed, local infant deaths and child cancer cases plunged immediately after shutdown . . . A November 2007 article on U.S. child leukemia deaths updated the 1990 National Cancer Institute study and showed local rates rose as nuclear plants aged -- except near plants that shut down." [2] Studies in Germany have also proved the link between nuclear power plants and cancer. [3]

The fear of cancer sparks a "not-in-my-backyard" (NIMBY) attitude towards nuclear power plants, whereby locals and politicians protest the location of nuclear power plants near their homes, thereby making it impossible to build nuclear power plants anywhere.

If countries all decided to pursue nuclear power, it would take well over a hundred years to build all the power plants. There is only one steel plant in the world, Japan Steel, that has a forge big enough to make the containment vessel for nuclear power plants. They are only capable of forging 5 such containment vessels per year. [4] The Star continues that the waiting list is filled up until at least 2018, even though demand for nuclear power is relatively low right now. Building enough nuclear power plants is infeasible.

Other arguments against nuclear include: it is more expensive than fossil fuel power. The Post-Gazette reports that "A gas-fired plant can be built for $350 per kilowatt (kW) . . . A nuclear plant costs $3,000 to $4,000 per kw to build." [5] Nuclear power reliance worldwide would create a spent fuel storage problem – where does all the radioactive waste go? Nevada has been unwilling to allow the U.S. to store the waste at the Yucca Mountain site. In addition, nuclear is non-renewable: uranium sources will run out. And lastly, a global trade in uranium/plutonium makes it easier for a terrorist to get their hands on one of these substances.

Nuclear power as a replacement source is negated.

Geothermal:

The Energy Information Agency explains that geothermal energy sources are: volcanoes, hot springs, and geysers, most of which are located on the west coast of the Americas and the east coast of Asia. [6] These energy sources are not widely available, which is why geothermal has the potential to provide far less than 1% of the world's power.

Geothermal as a fossil fuel replacement is negated.

Solar/wind:

My opponent does not answer my analysis that these are intermittent power sources with no way to store their energy. When the wind is not blowing and the sun is not shining, we must get our power from coal or natural gas. Studies show that wind power in particular does not replace fossil fuel power because electric utility companies are forced to keep natural gas power plants readily available in case the wind is not blowing and since power plants cannot be easily turned on and off, the natural gas plants are constantly on. In addition, my opponent does not answer the evidence from the Energy Information Agency that in the best case scenario, the United States could only generate 10% of its power from renewable sources by 2035.

In addition, wind and solar plants are very expensive because they need to built in specific locations (where wind blows or where cloud cover is rare) and necessitate new power grids to be built. Power grids typically cost $3 million per mile to build. In addition, the further the power plants are located away from the houses that need them, the more energy that will be lost due to "line loss." The friction caused by electrons moving through the wires causes lost electricity due to heat. This is another of the many challenges facing solar/wind.

Wind has further challenges. The annoying noise from the rotor blades and the blinking lights to warn airplanes/helicopters of their presence decrease property values near wind farms. According to Mountain Communities for Responsible Energy, "Large wind turbines in concert with each other, especially those sited on ridgetops with side slopes shaped like a parabolic reflector, create profound, relentless noise reverberations extending out for more than a mile, sounding like "a boot tumbling in a dryer" or the revving of jet engines on a runway." [7]. Wind farms thus generate the same NIMBY attitude that nuclear power plants generate.

For all of the above reasons, solar and wind power are not viable replacements for fossil fuels.

If we like to have electricity and to drive our cars, fossil fuels are the only option for the foreseeable future.

UV light:
As someone who is extremely fair skinned, the lives of Australians sound extremely similar to my own. I cannot leave the house without sunscreen and protective coverings or else I will develop a sunburn within a matter of 15-20 minutes of sun exposure. Even ozone-shielded UV radiation can be highly damaging, and doctors recommend that even dark-skinned individuals wear sunscreen. In addition, my opponent never answers my analysis that the particular ozone hole he is talking about over Australia is widely acknowledged as being caused by the emission of CFC's, not of fossil fuels.

Lastly, my opponent has no response to the tens of millions of jobs that are generated worldwide by fossil fuels and related industries, and the fact that fossil fuel-exporting dependent countries would have their economies collapse without fossil fuels, causing a massive drop in global demand for good and services, sinking all countries further into the global recession.

[1] http://www.huffingtonpost.com...

[2] Ibid

[3] http://www.currentconcerns.ch...

[4] http://www.thestar.com...

[5] http://www.post-gazette.com...

[6] http://www.eia.doe.gov...

[7] http://www.wvmcre.org...
Debate Round No. 2
darkhearth

Pro

Contradicting to what my opponent argues, many of these alternatives are been used by many countries in the world. An example of this is Brazil who last year or two started using ethanol products such as sugar cane to manufacture most of their fuel and tend to their needs. Brazil have progressed a lot and in fact, they are the most improved country in the world since the resent years. My opponent mentions that Nuclear fission cases cancer however he failed to mention the fact that Magnetic reactor which are already in use is able to contain and transform these waste into useful materials thereby making Nuclear fission a safer product than that of fossil fuel. Fusion is not a chain reaction, therefore it can be stopped at anytime and there is no threat of a meltdown opponent also states that nuclear fission is more expensive than fossil fuel power but an article from thinkquest.org/ states that nuclear fission is The fuels that could be used are relatively inexpensive and readily available fusion would be a virtually inexhaustible energy supply that could eliminate most of the world's dependence on other fuels.
giving all these facts we must see that Nuclear fission energy is a wise and a very good alternative to Fossil Fuel.

Geothermal Energy: I agree that geothermal energy sources are: volcanoes, hot springs, and geysers but geothermal energy can also be drawn from the earths core as I mentioned in my previous debate. an article from darvil.clara.net states that Geothermal energy has been used for thousands of years in some countries for cooking and heating and these countries have progressed energy wise. geothermal energy is also an energy efficient alternative and could serve as more than 85 percent of the earths power need.

my next point leads me to solar power.
The production of energy from the use of fossil and some renewable fuels can be noisy, yet solar energy produces electricity very quietly.
One of the great pros of solar energy is the ability to harness electricity in remote locations that are not linked to a national grid. A prime example of this is in space, where satellites are powered by high efficiency solar cells.
The installation of solar panels in remote locations is usually much more cost effective than laying the required high voltage wires.
Solar energy can be very efficient in a large area of the globe, and new technologies allow for a more efficient energy production on overcast/dull days.
Solar panels can be installed on top of many rooftops, which eliminates the problem of finding the required space for solar panel placement.
Another great pro of solar energy is the cost. Although the initial investment of solar cells may be high, once installed, they provide a free source of electricity, which will pay off over the coming years.
The use of solar energy to produce electricity allows the user to become less dependent on the worlds fossil fuel supplies.
Wind power: unlike what my opponent said, wind power is a cost efficient way and does not require the wind to blow as more renewable energy is developed, the nation's electricity supply will balance renewable energy supplies with regional demands. Studies have shown that significant investment in offshore wind on the Atlantic Coast would virtually always be producing electricity – so if the wind stops blowing in Massachusetts, South Carolina's offshore resource may supply power to the Northeast. comparison with other anthropogenic activities, the climate impact of wind power is negligible. The continued burning of fossil fuels and unsustainable development inflicts the greatest harm on the earth's climate. If wind energy generated enough electricity to meet current electricity usage, this would amount to about 6% of all other wind disturbances, like reforestation efforts and tall buildings. This would have no significant impact on global wind patterns. Additionally, wind turbines could have a side benefit of decreasing temperatures at higher latitudes, offsetting the anticipated warming caused by greenhouse gases.
we could see that fossil fuel is not the answer but better alternatives are.

http://na.oceana.org...
bluesteel

Con

I'd like to remind everyone of the resolution my opponent has agreed to, considering his silence on the issue and the fact that it seems to be what he is arguing:

"The world should stop using fossil fuels." He is pro; I am con.

Brazil's sugar ethanol:

While Brazil does use a great deal of sugar ethanol, they only export 14% of their sugar ethanol because they use most of it domestically. They do not produce enough sugar ethanol for the entire world. Jack Chang of the Knight Ridder explains, "Brazilian ethanol producers are struggling to keep up with domestic demand for ethanol, which is projected to grow by 50 percent over the next five years . . . suppliers are struggling to plant enough fields of new sugar cane, from which ethanol is produced here, to keep up with the anticipated growth in demand. Some energy experts say this has revealed the limits of Brazil's ethanol program and that it is an unreliable energy source, one that can't be depended on to make much of a dent in worldwide use of fossil fuels." [1] In addition, it still takes more than a gallon of gasoline to produce a gallon of sugar ethanol. [2] For that reason, "A study by Nobel Prize winner Paul Crutzen found ethanol produced from corn, and sugarcane had a ‘net climate warming' effect when compared to oil." [3] Lastly, stepped up Brazilian sugar production will increase deforestation. The Huffington Post reports that "Brazil is already the world leader in annual deforestation, even without a huge leap in biofuel production." [4] Increased Brazilian sugar ethanol production would increase deforestation because "the Amazon forest is attractive to sugar farmers because its warm climate produces two growing cycles per year, double the single harvest found in cooler, southern states." [5]

Brazil's sugar ethanol is great for Brazil, but it cannot supply the world.

Nuclear:
My opponent keeps confusing the terms fission and fusion. Yes, fusion would be a nearly inexhaustible energy supply (it could theoretically turn water into energy), but fission is not. If the whole world used nuclear fission power, uranium would run out relatively quickly. I don't know what "magnetic reactor" my opponent is referring to (I've heard of a fusion magnetic reactor but not a fission one), but this doesn't answer my argument that routine normal operation of nuclear power plants causes cancer, based on numerous studies in the U.S. and Germany. It also does not answer that nuclear is much more expensive than natural gas/coal, that the world cannot build enough reactors because of the bottleneck of the Japan Steel plant that can produce only 5 containment vessels per year, that there is nowhere good to store the spent fuel (the U.S. does not allow reprocessing), and that creating a global uranium/plutonium trade makes these substances much easier to obtain by a terrorist organization.

Geothermal:
When my opponent's sources say "geothermal energy may be drawn from the Earth's core," those sources mean that the temperature from the Earth's core is what causes volcanoes, hot springs, and geysers and in turn these sources may be tapped for geothermal power. There are three types of geothermal power plants (dry steam, flash, and binary) and all three require "suitable sites," i.e. hot springs. [6] The largest geothermal plant in the world uses The Geysers in California. Geothermal power does not mean that we drill into the Earth's core and tap its energy.

Note: I googled my opponent's claim that geothermal could provide 85% of the world's energy needs, but failed to find any source saying as much. Ignore this statistic because there is no citation for it. It cannot possibly be true.

Solar:
Solar panels on roofs are not the solution to the world's power needs. The North County Times reports that "solar generation is at its most efficient from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. . . . when most homeowners are at work, not using their home's solar power." [7] And since solar cannot store energy, it is not yet a viable fossil fuel replacement. We still need power at night.

Wind:
My opponent claims "wind power . . . does not require the wind to blow." I'd like a citation for this. I don't really understand what he means. Wind power only generates electricity when the wind blows and turns the wind turbines. My opponent may be correct that offshore wind farms are more effective than on-shore farms, but offshore farms must be built in specific locations (offshore) and cannot power entire countries. People still need power on non-windy days.

At the end of the day, my opponent has no response to the Energy Information Agency evidence that at most, the U.S. could generate 10% of its power from renewable sources by 2035. Alternative energy simply cannot replace fossil fuels completely any time in the near future. In addition, my opponent has no response to the tens of millions of jobs that are generated by fossil fuel and related industry, and the fact that many economies rely on exporting fossil fuels and that if the world stopped using fossil fuels, these economies would collapse. A collapse in many regional economies (such as Russia, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia) would cause a dramatic downturn in global aggregate demand, further sinking the global economy into recession. Therefore, you should negate the resolution that "the world should stop using fossil fuels." Since the world is still so dependent on fossil fuels for its energy needs, a cessation of fossil fuel use would immediately bring the entire world and its economy to a grinding halt.

[1] http://www.hubbertpeak.com...

[2] http://www.newrules.org...

[3] http://en.wikipedia.org...

[4] http://www.huffingtonpost.com...

[5] Hubbert Peak

[6] http://en.wikipedia.org...

[7] http://www.nctimes.com...
Debate Round No. 3
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by CiRrK 6 years ago
CiRrK
RFD: It was pretty clear Neg win. I think on the issue of T the Pro put himself into a very bad position to defend. Bottomline, I vote off of the argument that we can't transition effectively without using fossil fuels in the process. Pro if your gonna ever debate this again, don't concede that abusive interpretation of the topic, and focus a lot of nuclear energy.
Posted by J.Kenyon 6 years ago
J.Kenyon
You mixed up your position. You should be con. Fix it and I'll accept.
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Vote Placed by C-Mach 6 years ago
C-Mach
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