Instigator / Con
14
1696
rating
71
debates
70.42%
won
Topic

Resolution: Air pollution is caused by human use of fossil fuels

Status
Finished

All stages have been completed. The voting points distribution and the result are presented below.

Arguments points
6
0
Sources points
4
0
Spelling and grammar points
2
0
Conduct points
2
0

With 2 votes and 14 points ahead, the winner is ...

fauxlaw
Parameters
More details
Publication date
Last update date
Category
Science
Time for argument
One week
Voting system
Open voting
Voting period
One month
Point system
Four points
Rating mode
Rated
Characters per argument
15,000
Contender / Pro
0
1553
rating
24
debates
56.25%
won
Description
~ 3,264 / 5,000

Resolution: Air pollution is caused by human use of fossil fuels

Description:

Air pollution is caused by human use of fossil fuels. That is, by use of petroleum, natural gas, and/or coal.

Con BoP will be to argue against the Resolution. I am Con.

Pro’s BoP will be to argue for the Resolution. My opponent is Pro.

Definitions:

Air pollution: Pollutant in the natural atmosphere of Earth. Note: For purposes of this debate, “the natural atmosphere of Earth” is defined as the air from seal level [or beneath in consideration of all portions of land mass beneath sea level], to roughly 100 miles above sea level. Further, the natural atmosphere is understood to be composed of 78% Nitrogen, 21 % oxygen, 0.9% Argon, and smaller amounts of trace gaseous elements, plus some gasses, typically referenced as “greenhouse gasses,” [GHGs] consisting of carbon dioxide [CO2], Nitrous oxide [N2O], methane [CH4], and ozone [O3], when these gasses, combined, represent no more than 0.1% of the atmosphere. Pure water vapor [H2O], which varies in percentage on a daily basis, is not included in the definition of pollutant. Included in the definition, and therefore counted as pollutants, are GHGs [as noted above] exceeding the 0.1% concentration. Other trace pollutants [dust, etc] will be considered as natural because they occur naturally [by wind], but generally do not affect sea level earth temperatures by atmospheric solar heat retention as caused by excess concentrations of GHGs], particularly as the effect does not endure over long periods of time.

Caused: past and present sense of the intransitive verb, to cause, which is to be the cause of; to effect, bring about, produce, induce, make. [OED]

Use [n]: Senses relating to utilization, employment, application. [OED]

Human: All members of the genus, Homo sapiens.

Fossil fuels: Energy sources, to wit, petroleum products, natural gas, coal extracted for use by all current means by humans.

Debate protocol

Three-round debate.

R1, R2: Argument, rebuttal, defense

R3: No new argument; rebuttal, defense, conclusion

All argument, defense, rebuttal, and sourcing will be listed within the context of the debate argument rounds only, except sourcing may also be listed within comments within the debate file to conserve maximum space for argumentation, but only during the argumentation’s three rounds. Neither participant may consult with any person associated with DART to serve as a sourced citation as a feature of participant’s argument.

No waived rounds. No more than one round may be forfeited, or forfeiture of entire debate will result. Concession in any round is a debate loss.

No declaration of victory will be made but in the 3rd round. No declaration of assumption of the opponent’s concession or forfeit in any round. These conditions will be obvious to voters only by either participant’s own declaration.

Arguments, rebuttals, defenses, or conclusions may not address voters directly for voting suggestions beyond statement of validity for arguments, et al, made in all rounds. Participants may encourage voters/readers to read/examine any portion of, or entire rounds.

Note: this debate was inspired by an argument in another debate regarding nuclear vs. fossil fuels.

Round 1
Con
Resolution: Air pollution is caused by human use of fossil fuels
 
I Argument: Fossil fuels are not the exclusive cause
 
I.a The Resolution proposes that human use of fossil fuels is the cause of air pollution. The Resolution does not allow that there are multiple causes; just the human use of fossil fuels. The facts that follow will demonstrate that, while human use of fossil fuels does contribute to air pollution, it is not the exclusive source, and, in fact, is not even the most prevalent source by volume and weight. The facts will demonstrate that human use of fossil fuels is not even one-third of the total cause.[1]
 
I.b That begs the question: what are fossil fuels? According to the Smithsonian, the answer is in the name, and what the resulting products are used to accomplish. 
Fossils are the remnants of living organisms after death, both plant and animal, collecting over hundreds of millions of years. Indeed, ever since living organisms on Earth began dying and decomposing on and in the earth since life began on earth, a few billion years ago. The type of fossil, and the amount of heat and pressure determine which category of fuel a fossil will become.[2]  The process is ongoing. 
Fuel is the term applied to the result of decomposition of dead organisms, forming natural compounds humans have discovered are useful materials to produce energy to operate industrial, commercial, and residential tools and equipment, heat, or cool our homes and businesses, provide electrical power, lubricate machine parts, vehicle use, and so on.[3]  This is energy of a sort that has driven world economy for the better part, one way or another, for nearly one hundred fifty years.
 
I.c Fossil fuels fit into three basic categories: 
 
1.    coal
2.    petroleum, or crude oil
3.    natural gas
 
I.d Con’s argument [mine], and BoP, is that fossil fuels, and human use of them, are not the exclusive cause of air pollution.
 
I.e Pro’s argument, and BoP, must demonstrate that human use of fossil fuels is the exclusive cause of air pollution, and that no other source can be demonstrated.
 
II Argument: Fossil fuels do not even contribute the majority contribution to air pollution, let alone the only contribution
 
II.a According to the Yale School of the Environment, there are three primary contributors to air pollution in Earth’s atmosphere. See “definitions” in the Description for what constitutes Earth’s atmosphere and its natural elements. Also listed are various pollutants. Some of them are already a natural part of the atmosphere, such as CO2, N2O, CH4, and O3, but these molecules normally exist in such low concentrations, they do not present the harmful pollutant effect as greenhouse gasses [GHGs].[4]
 
II.b However, these molecules do have cause of production at sea level as well as lower and higher elevations, both naturally as a function of micro-climates, and by anthropogenic [human] causes. There are three fundamental causes of air pollution:[5]
 
1.    Natural, microbial sources [natural wetlands, rice cultivation, and ruminants] These, combined, present the greatest percentage of atmospheric pollution; average 392 short tons [s.t.] CH4/year, or 63% of 633 s.t. CH4/year.
 
2.    Fossil fuels [coal, oil, natural gas]. These, combined present the second greatest percentage of atmospheric pollution; average 193 s.t. CH4/yr., or 29% of 633 s.t. CH4/year. [Less than half of natural microbial sources.]
 
3.    Biomass burning, combined, presents the third greatest percentage of atmospheric pollution; average 48 s.t. CH4/yr, or 8% of 633 s.t. CH4/yr.
 
II.c  Of these three causes, the first, amounting to nearly 2/3 of total polluting causes, is natural, microbial sources. This is a kind, generic nomenclature for what is, after all, a very natural process of all living things on Earth that consume food nutrients, and subsequently process them by digestion, a process that produces gasses: hydrogen and methane, which are both expelled [flatulence] along with solid [feces] and liquid [urine] waste.[6]  It is no wonder there is so much of it [waste gasses]; we all make and expel it, along with exogenous expellant: oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide.
 
II.c.1 The majority contributor of microbial sources are natural wetlands [including rivers, lakes, and oceans], cultivated fields [such as rice], and ruminants [animals, mostly mammals, such as cows] which regurgitate food from the stomach [or stomachs] to re-chew and re-swallow. The quantity of production of microbial-sourced hydrogen and methane is produced in the order of sources given.
 
II.c.2 One must give credence to the third source, although the least contributor; biomass burning. This, in combination with human use of fossil fuels, is human caused. Biomass fuels generate energy by burning plant-sourced materials such as wood, dried vegetation, and crop residue, but this source amounts to less than 10% of all polluting sources, even though human-caused. The addition of bio-mass sources of energy to human-use of fossil fuels is just over 1/3, a combination amounting to 37%, still far below microbial sources.
 
II.c.3 Therefore, the greatest volume of microbial sourced methane, the most dangerous of GHGs causing the greenhouse effect to the Earth, is not by human use of fossil fuels, but by non-human, naturally-produced microbial sources from natural and cultivated wetlands and ruminants. Lest one think that because humans cultivate rice, this must also be considered a human-sourced pollutant, let us recall that humans did not create rice, or other water-borne grains; they are naturally-occurring grains that are consumed not just by domestication by humans, but by water fowl and other birds, and other land and water-borne animals.[7]  Therefore, the Resolution fails.
 
I pass R1 to Pro.
 
 
 
 
 

Pro
Forfeited
Round 2
Con
Resolution: Air pollution is caused by human use of fossil fuels
 
Unfortunate that Pro chose to forfeit in R1. Having nothing to rebut, I will entertain my first arguments:
 
I Argument: Fossil fuels are not the exclusive cause
 
I.a The Resolution proposes that human use of fossil fuels is the cause of air pollution. The Resolution does not allow that there are multiple causes; just the human use of fossil fuels. The facts that follow will demonstrate that, while human use of fossil fuels does contribute to air pollution, it is not the exclusive source, and, in fact, is not even the most prevalent source by volume and weight. The facts will demonstrate that human use of fossil fuels is not even one-third of the total cause.[1]
 
I.b That begs the question: what are fossil fuels? According to the Smithsonian, the answer is in the name, and what the resulting products are used to accomplish. Fossilsare the remnants of living organisms after death, both plant and animal, collecting over hundreds of millions of years. Living organisms on Earth began dying and decomposing on and in the earth ever since life began on earth, a few billion years ago. The type of fossil, and the amount of heat and pressure determine which category of fuel a fossil will become.[2]. The process is ongoing. 
Fuel is the term applied to the result of decomposition of dead organisms, forming natural compounds humans have discovered are useful fuels to produce energy to operate industrial, commercial, and residential tools and equipment, to heat, or cool our homes and businesses, provide electrical power, lubricate machine parts, and so on.[3]  Before that, of course, men realized that living plant life, wood from trees, and dried brush, was an effective fuel for fire; probably the first practical fuel source for cooking food and creating warmth, known now as biomass fuel, a different source than fossil fuel. Although fossil fuel is energy of a sort that has driven world economy for the better part, one way or another by the industrial complex since the 1880s, the real facts are that, Some forms of petroleum, coal, and natural gas were used thousands of years agoby various civilizations on various continents, according to historical records and archaeological finds.”[4]
 
I.c Fossil fuels fit into three basic categories: 
 
1.    coal
2.    petroleum, or crude oil
3.    natural gas
 
I.d My argument, and BoP, is that fossil fuels, and human use of them, are not the exclusive cause of air pollution.
 
I.e Pro’s argument, and BoP, must demonstrate that human use of fossil fuels is the exclusive cause of air pollution, and that no other source can be demonstrated.
 
II Argument: Fossil fuels do not even contribute the majority contribution to air pollution, let alone the only contribution
 
II.a According to the Yale School of the Environment, there are three primary contributors to air pollution in Earth’s atmosphere. See “definitions” in the Description for what constitutes Earth’s atmosphere and its natural elements. Also listed are various pollutants. Some of them are already a natural part of the atmosphere, such as CO2, N2O, CH4, and O3, but these molecules normally exist in such low concentrations, they do not present the harmful pollutant effect as greenhouse gasses [GHGs].[5]
 
II.b However, these molecules do have cause of production at sea level as well as lower and higher elevations, both naturally as a function of micro-climates, and by anthropogenic [human] causes. There are three fundamental causes of air pollution, each of which are rated by the cited source only by methane [CH4], the worst of the offensive GHGs in causing the greenhouse effect.[6]
 
1.    Natural, microbial sources[natural wetlands, rice cultivation, and ruminants] These, combined, present the greatest percentage of atmospheric pollution; average 392 short tons [s.t.] CH4/year, or 63%of 633 s.t. CH4/year.
 
2.    Fossil fuels [coal, oil, natural gas]. These, combined present the second greatest percentage of atmospheric pollution; average 193 s.t. CH4/yr., or 29%of 633 s.t. CH4/year. [Less than half of natural microbial sources.]
 
3.    Biomass burning, combined, presents the third greatest percentage of atmospheric pollution; average 48 s.t. CH4/yr, or 8%of 633 s.t. CH4/yr.
 
II.c  Of these three causes, the first, amounting to nearly 2/3 of total polluting causes, is natural, microbial sources. This is a kind, generic nomenclature for what is, after all, a very natural process of all living things on Earth that consume food nutrients, and subsequently process them by digestion, a process that produces gasses: mostly hydrogen and methane, which are both expelled [flatulence] along with solid [feces] and liquid [urine] waste.[7]  It is no wonder there is so much of it [waste gasses]; we all make and expel it, along with exogenous expellant: oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide.
 
II.c.1 The majority contributor of microbial sources are natural wetlands [rivers, lakes, and oceans], cultivated fields [such as rice], and ruminants [animals, mostly mammals, such as cows] which regurgitate food from the stomach [or stomachs] to re-chew and re-swallow. The quantity of production of microbial-sourced hydrogen and methane is produced in the order of sources given.
 
II.c.2 One must give credence to the third source, although the least contributor; biomass burning. This, in combination with human use of fossil fuels, is human caused. Biomass fuels generate energy by burning plant-sourced materials such as wood, dried vegetation, and crop residue, but this source amounts to less than 10% of all polluting sources, even though human-caused. The addition of bio-mass sources of energy to human-use of fossil fuels is just over 1/3, a combination amounting to 37%, still far below microbial sources.
 
II.c.3 Therefore, the greatest volume of microbial sourced methane, the most dangerous of GHGs causing the greenhouse effect to the Earth, is not by human use of fossil fuels, but by non-human, naturally-produced microbial sources from natural and cultivated wetlands and ruminants. Lest one think that because humans cultivate rice, this must also be considered a human-sourced pollutant, let us recall that humans did not create rice; it is a naturally-occurring grain that is consumed not just by domestication of this grain by humans, but by water fowl and other birds, and other land and water-borne animals.[8]. Therefore, the Resolution fails.
 
I pass R2 to Pro.
 
 
 
 
 

Pro
Forfeited
Round 3
Con
Resolution: Air pollution is caused by human use of fossil fuels
 
I Conclusion:
 
I.a Having passed on the first two rounds of the debate by forfeiture, Pro cannot now present argument in the final third round according to the debate protocol announced in the Initiator Description, to which Pro agreed by defacto  acceptance of the debate. In fact, having been banned from the site, as evidenced by line-through on his avatar in the debate file, Pro is no longer a site member, and, therefore , cannot further respond at all. All other matters raised by Pro in Comments will not be entertained here; to do so would be inappropriate debate protocol, as defined by DArt policy of appropriate content of the debate.
 
I.b I conclude that Pro erred in the acceptance of the debate, having produced no argument through two rounds to support the Pro BoP that the Resolution is true; that air pollution is caused by human use of fossil fuels. Since the Resolution does not speak to other potential causes, and since the debate must be exclusively a discussion of fossil fuels, as evidenced by the Resolution, other potential causes are outside the debate, although acknowledged by some percentage of contribution and, therefore, are invalid arguments. This was, or should have been understood by a complete read, with comprehension, of the Resolution and Description of this debate. Post-acceptance of the debate is not the time to consider how to argue for Pro’s BoP; that decision must be assessed prior to acceptance.
 
I.c I do not expect to be required to school a debate opponent on this matter.
Since this is my last round, I need not, nor can offer further argument, and, having no rebuttal to my arguments to date, I hereby declare the Resolution defeated, and I request your vote as having proven the Resolution false.
 
Pro
Forfeited