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Ballot — R4 Greenhill tournament: Bronx (Aff) v. Westminster Neg

September 21, 2014
Published in Uncategorized

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Bronx Science was affirmative and read their decentralized offshore wind case.

The plan: The United States federal government should substantially increase its development of decentralized offshore wind energy projects located in United States territorial waters.

The case claimed to solve for environmental justice concerns (fossil fuel production and consumption in minority communities causes disparate health and impacts) and “scalier politics,” which focuses on including minorities in local energy-based decision-making. The 1AC contains a general claim that decision-makers should look out for the interests of those who face systemic and on-going risks instead of worrying about catastrophic impacts.

The Neg read a Carbon Tax CP, a Coercion kritik, a T “its” argument, and a Russia DA that said increasing renewables results in declines in natural gas consumption, which triggers declines and pricing and exports – lower prices mean industry looks for exports markets and increasing exports leads to conflict with Russia that reduces nuclear cooperation and leads to nuclear armageddon.

The 2NR went for DA outweighs case. I vote Neg.

Let’s start with the DA.

It’s hard to calculate, but I think the Neg wins a least a 30% risk of the DA.. The risk of the DA was reduced (though not eliminated or reduced close to 1% (this becomes important later)), by two arguments —

  1. Non-unique: centralized energy now/no unique link.   The Aff says (though not entirely) that centralized energy is coming now and that they just displace centralized energy.   The Affirmative evidence (copied here) is decent. It clearly says that there is some growth in wind power now, but it is not the case that the Aff ONLY trades-off with existing wind:

Deborah, Associate Professor and Staff Attorney at Golden Gate University School of Law, “FROM DIRTY TO GREEN: INCREASING ENERGY EFFICIENCY AND RENEWABLE ENERGY IN ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE COMMUNITIES”, 58 Vill. L. Rev. 25, lexis]

Reduce Pollution Burden of Environmental Justice Communities A policy encouraging renewable energy development and energy efficiency measures could help reduce harmful air pollution in environmental justice communities. Numerous studies have shown that low-income and minority communities that often live in urban areas bear more of the [*41] cumulative burden of pollution. n96 Minority and low-income communities disproportionately bear the adverse environmental and health impacts from fossil fuel exploration, extraction, production, consumption, and disposal. n97 These communities are often located near many different industries creating different types of pollution and the cumulative impact of all those types of pollution is unknown. n98 These activities produce and lead to several criteria pollutants including fine particulate matter and nitrous oxides, which are harmful to human health. n99 For example, in the San Francisco Bay Area, urban neighborhoods with high populations of minorities such as Southeast San Francisco, called the Bayview Hunters Point neighborhood, and Richmond have been designated as high impact areas for air pollution. n100 These overburdened communities often experience higher incidences of respiratory health effects, which have been linked to criteria pollutants, than other communities. n101 Several studies have demonstrated [*42] that asthma rates are higher among minorities. n102 Other studies have found that asthma rates are higher in low-income areas. One study found that children living in a low socioeconomic status community had a seventy percent higher risk of acquiring asthma than children living in a higher socioeconomic status neighborhood. n103 The disparities associated with a higher cumulative burden of pollution will continue to increase due to climate change. n104 Environmental justice communities have less access to the resources necessary to adapt to climate change such as air conditioning and medical care. n105 In addition, cap and trade regimes, such as the scheme created in California, can create hot spots in areas already experiencing high levels of pollution, which in turn leads to a greater cumulative health risk. n106 Greenhouse gas levels [*43] are directly related to the environmental burden these communities currently face, partly because fossil fuel stationary sources emit greenhouse gases and other harmful air pollutants including particulate matter, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, and mercury. n107 In addition to heat-related impacts, increased temperatures are tied to increased smog, and thus deterioration of air quality. n108 As temperatures increase, nitrogen oxides will react with volatile organic compounds and sunlight at an increased rate, which will increase the atmospheric concentrations of ozone in urban areas. n109 This predicted air quality deterioration in urban areas will most severely impact low-income and minority communities that live in these areas, which are already overburdened by pollution. n110 D. Green Development Has Economic Benefits for Communities Environmental justice communities that bear a disproportionate impact of environmental pollution also generally have a higher energy burden. n111 Low-income communities pay a larger amount of their income, which makes them more vulnerable to fluctuating energy prices. n112 This is especially problematic when energy prices and needs are expected to rise due to climate change. n113 The energy burden for low-income communities varies. One report estimates that energy bills can be up to thirty percent of a low-income family’s monthly income. n114 Low-income households are estimated to represent [*44] over ninety-five percent of those households that are considered to have a high energy burden. n115 Studies have also shown that the level of energy burden can vary depending on race. In particular, a greater proportion of low-income African American households have a high energy burden than low-income households of other races. n116 Not only will renewable energy and energy efficiency resources reduce the bills of the residences where they are installed, but introduction of more green energy on the grid could reduce electricity bills. n117 Green development could also create jobs in environmental justice communities. n118 For instance, the Los Angeles Business Council has estimated that 4,500 job-years could be created with a 300 MW program focused on multi-family housing. n119 Development of green economy resources can also provide income to communities. If accompanied by the right policies, the development of renewable energy in neighborhoods could potentially create a revenue stream

(a)  There first advantage says that there is pollution now in minority communities that stems from production and consumption of fossil-fuel based energy. The Affirmativeclaims to displace/replace that consumption, so it is the case that less natural gas will be consumed after the plan than in the status quo:.

(b)The 2NR makes a slew of arguments against this uniqueness claim

–       nothing says that in the SQ the wind power that is being developed will get used

–       The Aff evidence just says that it is becoming more competitive, not that it is competitive enough to be commercialized now

–       The uniqueness on natural gas prices and exports assumes the status quo .level of wind power development

–       Wind in 80 countries is irrelevant because it could just be one plant

–       There aren’t that many plants now

–       No evidence that the US is a leader in wind now

–       There will continue to be high demand for gas in the status quo

–       Their card says that we aren’t using the massive offshore resources now

The 2AR simply repeats the claim that wind power is expanding now, extending his 1AC card that is referenced here, but doesn’t respond to any of these specific claims about why the DA is still (substantially) unique. I think the card does undercut the uniqueness some, but there are reasons to believe that the Aff will make the situation worse and the DA more likely, especially with a concession that SQ gas prices and exports assume the current rate of wind power growth that isn’t answered.

The Aff card:

Zeese and Flowers 13[Kevin JD, and Margaret MD, they host Clearing the FOG on We Act Radio 1480 AM Washington, DC, co-direct It’s Our Economy and are organizers of the PopularResistance.org, “Carbon-Free, Nuclear-Free Energy Economy Is Inevitable”, http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/18134-carbon-free-nuclear-free-energy-economy-is-inevitable]

The impossible has become inevitable.A carbon-free, nuclear-free energy economy is our future.Despite the energy industry’s hard work to keep energy dirty and damaging, the future will be clean and sustainable. Government is not leading the way. The new energy revolution is coming from the ground up, not the top down. The United States and world face a series of interconnected crises: climate change caused by carbon-based energies like oil and methane gas; a shrinking supply of carbon fuel that has led to wars for oil and extreme extraction methods using tar sands, hydro-fracking, mountaintop removal and deep off-shore drilling; and proliferation of nuclear weapons of mass destruction and long-term environmental damage from the production of nuclear energy. The human and environmental costs of fossil fuel and nuclear power as sources of energy are being felt by a growing number of people worldwide. At the same time, there is a realization that the government is doing little to nothing to encourage a transition from extractive to clean renewable sources. Instead, the Obama administration reveals its alliance with the status quo through the revolving door between industry insiders and government positions, the use of energy industry consultants to perform environmental impact statements, the suppression of unfavorable analyses and disregard for the concerns of people who are affected by energy extraction. These crises and lack of response have sparked widespread resistance and a variety of approaches to stop extraction and demand renewables. This summer, there have been direct actions almost daily by coalitions of people through Fearless Summer, Sovereign Summer and Summer Heat to shut down pipeline construction and drilling for fracking. Anti-nuclear groups have won several victories to close plants and prevent the construction of new ones. And the oil, gas and nuclear industries are employing more extreme methods to protect their profits, including the use of eminent domain to take land, hiring local police to patrol pipelines and avoiding the costs of cleaning up their toxic spills. People who object to the poisoning of the air, land and water are labeled “terrorists” and treated abusively. And families that are sickened from chemicals used in processes such as fracking and their doctors are forbidden to reveal the identity of those chemicals to others. Fortunately, there is also a revolution in the development of new technologies that allow less waste of energy, more efficient production of solar and wind energy as well as the development of new sustainable energy sources. The production of energy from renewable sources is growing and becoming more affordable than nuclear energy and radical fossil fuel. The most recent recommendations of the International Panel on Climate Change call for a 50 percent to 85 percent reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050. This can be achieved. It is time to set a clear direction toward the new energy economy.The United States could and should become a carbon-free, nuclear-free energy economy by 2030. The roadmap to a carbon-free, nuclear-free energy economy Is this possible? Arjun Makhijani, who has a PhD in engineering with a specialization in nuclear fusion from the University of California, was challenged in 2006 to answer this question. Makhijani was at a conference organized by Helen Caldicott’s Nuclear Policy Research Institute. David Freeman, who served as the chairman of the Tennessee Valley Authority under President Jimmy Carter, said it was time to jettison coal and nuclear and move to solar. Caldicott expressed agreement. Makhijani told them this was impossible and that doing so would destroy the US economy. Caldicott and Freeman challenged Makhijani to stop being a naysayer and look at the evidence. Makhijani has produced many studies and articles on issues related to the nuclear fuel cycle – including weapons production, testing and nuclear waste – during the past 20 years. He is the principal author of the first study ever done (completed in 1971) on energy conservation potential in the US economy. He has testified before Congress and served as a consultant on energy issues to numerous utilities including the Edison Electric Institute and the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory. Makhijani took the challenge seriously and began examining the feasibility of a renewable energy economy. He looked at energy use in the US, the technology available to produce energy from sustainable sources like the sun and wind, interviewed leaders of established and emerging industries and reviewed an enormous amount of recent technical literature. In the end, he surprised himself. The result was a book: Carbon-Free and Nuclear-Free: A Roadmap for US Energy Policy. When the book was first published in 2007, he predicted we could be carbon-free and nuclear-free by 2050. Today, with advances in technology, he believes the transition could be completed in 20 to 25 years. His central finding was that “actual physical emissions of CO2 from the energy sector can be eliminated with technologies that are either now available or foreseeable. This can be done at reasonable cost while creating a much more secure energy supply than at present.” This would end the need for importation of oil, wars for oil and destruction of the environment to extract coal, oil and methane gas. And Makhijani points to large ancillary health benefits including the elimination of most regional and local air pollution caused by fossil fuel combustion. Makhijani does not claim this will be a smooth or easy transition. He recognizes this is a major social and economic change that will require coordination in policies from the local to the national levels and across all sectors of the energy system. He acknowledges there are policies being put in place at the local, state and national levels that point us in the right direction, but they are small steps that are insufficient to get us where we need to go and still lack a national direction. The first requirement is a clear, long-term goal of becoming a carbon-free, nuclear-free energy economy. This goal must be set by national leaders, who must explain that this is essential for the environment, the economy and national security. Makhijani writes: “Even the process of the United States setting a goal of a zero-CO2, nuclear-free economy and taking initial firm steps towards it will transform global energy politics in the immediate future and establish the United States as a country that leads by example rather than one that preaches temperance from a barstool.” A series of US presidents have missed the opportunity to lead the country to a new energy future. Rather than set a clear course for the country, they have all taken the approach that President Barack Obama continues to take: an “all of the above” approach to energy. Such an approach reinforces the status quo and results in unclear and directionless policy. Indeed, this lack of direction leads the country into further investment of taxpayer funds in the status quo. This includes continued subsidies of billions of dollars annually for carbon and nuclear energy and pipelines to carry tar sands bitumen, gas and oil across the country. Resources continue to be invested in the old, dirty energy systems rather than re-directed to a new energy economy. Among the first steps recommended in Makhijani’s roadmap are to eliminate all subsidies and tax breaks for fossil fuels and nuclear power, including guarantees for nuclear waste disposal from new power plants, loan guarantees and subsidized insurance as well as eliminating subsidies for biofuels from food crops. He recommends a ban on new coal-fired power plants that do not have carbon storage. Obviously, approval for mountaintop removal should be stopped, as should construction of the KXL and other pipelines, the extraction of tar sands for oil and further hydro-fracking for methane gas (which the industry falsely calls “natural” gas for marketing reasons). Instead, resources should be directed toward the new “Apollo project” of creating a clean energy economy by 2030. This would include building “demonstration plants for key supply technologies, including central station solar thermal with heat storage, large- and intermediate-scale solar photovoltaics and CO2 capture in microalgae for liquid fuel production” as well as “federal contracting procedures to reward early adopters of CO2 reductions” and “vigorous research, development, and pilot plant construction programs for technologies that could accelerate the elimination of CO2, such as direct solar hydrogen production (photosynthetic, photoelectrochemical, and other approaches), hot rock geothermal power and integrated gasification combined cycle plants using biomass with a capacity to sequester the CO2.” While this redirection of resources is occurring, the United States also should be embarking on a major energy efficiency program to reduce consumption. The United States wastes the most energy in the world. Our energy efficiency rate of 42 percent, means 58 percent of all the energy we produce is wasted. Makhijani recommends the federal government enact high efficiency standards for appliances; enact stringent building efficiency standards at the state and local levels, with federal incentives to adopt them, and stringent efficiency standards for vehicles; and make plug-in hybrids the standard US government vehicle by 2015. Finally, and perhaps most important, the United States should “set a physical limit of CO2 emissions for all large users of fossil fuels (a “hard cap”) that steadily declines to zero prior to 2060, with the time schedule being assessed periodically for tightening according to climate, technological, and economic developments.” Where would the new energy come from to replace the old energy? Makhijani points to wind energy resources in 12 Midwestern and Rocky Mountain states that equal about 2.5 times the entire electricity production of the United States. He also highlights the potential wind energy from North Dakota, Texas, Kansas, South Dakota, Montana and Nebraska, which each have wind energy potential greater than the electricity produced by all existing nuclear power plants. In addition, solar energy resources on just 1 percent of the area of the United States are about three times as large as wind energy, if production is focused in the high-insolation areas in the Southwest and West. In fact, just the parking lots and rooftops in the United States could provide most of the United States’ electricity supply; and this would have the advantage of electricity being created close to where it would be used. The cost of these new energy sources is declining. Wind energy is already more economical than nuclear power. In the past two years, the costs of solar cells and installation have decreased. Makhijani acknowledges that “the main problem with wind and solar energy is intermittency but this can be reduced by integrating wind and solar energy together into the grid – for instance, wind energy is often more plentiful at night. … Solar and wind should also be combined with hydropower – with the latter being used when the wind generation is low or zero.” Further, “compressed air can also be used for energy storage in combination with these sources. No new technologies are required for any of these generation or storage methods.” He recommends that “baseload power can be provided by geothermal and biomass-fueled generating stations. Intermediate loads in the evening can be powered by solar thermal power plants which have a few hours of thermal energy storage built in.” Of course, with a clear goal and investment in research and development, new breakthroughs are likely that will speed this transformation. Since Makhijani wrote the first edition of this roadmap, he already has seen technological breakthroughs that have sped up the time for transformation to a new energy economy. A carbon-free, nuclear-free future is more likely than a carbon-nuclear future Makhijani is not the only person who envisions a clean, renewable energy future. A 2013 report by Synapse Energy Economics for the nonprofit think tankCivil Society Institute found that in the US, reliance on wind, solar and other renewables “could meet or exceed demand in 99.4 percent of hours” by 2050. According to the author of the report, Thomas Vitolo, “Put simply, the message is this: It is a myth to say the United States cannot rely on renewables for the bulk of electricity generation.” In fact, they find that relying on carbon and nuclear energy sources by 2050 is “far less feasible, and presents much more daunting technical, economic, and social challenges to human and environmental welfare.” Another 2013 report by researchers at Stanford that focused on the state of New York found that by 2030 New York could convert to energy from wind, water and sunlight. Not only is this feasible, but it would also reduce energy costs, create jobs, reduce air and water pollution and improve health. The study described the new energy economy as a mix of onshore and offshore wind; concentrated solar plants, residential, commercial and government rooftop solar; and wave, tidal and hydroelectric water. In fact, the fastest-growing energy source in the United States in 2012 was wind power, producing 23 percent more than the much-hyped methane gas. Wind generation has quadrupled since 2007, growing by more than 30 percent per year while nuclear and coal plants are declining at 1 percent and 5.5 percent per year, respectively. Thanks in part to tax credits, wind power in the US is growing, but the country has only just begun to tap its massive potential (especially offshore energy sources). The decline in nuclear is astounding when one remembers that the nuclear industry saw a renaissance when Obama was elected. He had been a long-term supporter of nuclear energy and the largest nuclear company, Exelon energy, had been a major contributor throughout his political career. In Steven Chu and Ernest Moniz, Obama appointed two Energy secretaries who supported nuclear energy. He offered the industry loan guarantees and tried to find somewhere to store its radioactive waste. Even some environmental groups had been fooled into supporting nuclear as a way to solve the climate problem. Despite all of this, the industry’s renaissance has been turned into a retreat. Recently, there have been some major victories for activists working to stop nuclear energy. Duke Energy canceled its two proposed new reactors in Levy County, Florida. And, Electricite de France (EDF) announced that it is pulling out of the US nuclear market entirely. EDF wanted to build new reactors at Calvert Cliffs, Maryland and Nine Mile Point, New York. This follows victories in summer 2013 in California and Kentucky. Bloomberg reports that nuclear energy is withering in the face of growing wind energy production. According to the US Wind Industry Annual Market Report for 2012 , wind power had its best year ever in 2012, with a year-over-year growth in capacity of 28 percent coming from 6,700 new wind turbines. In 2012, Iowa and South Dakota generated close to one quarter of their electricity from wind farms. Wind power accounted for at least 10 percent of electricity generation in seven other states. The United States now has 60,000 megawatts of wind online, enough to meet the electricity needs of more than 14 million homes. It is not only in the United States where studies are showing such a transformation is possible. Australia could be self-sufficient in renewable energy in 10 years by converting to solar and wind energy if the country had a motivated social and political leadership, according to the Energy Research Institute of the University of Melbourne. Australia has one of the highest per capita emissions of greenhouse gases. The report, the Zero Carbon Australia Stationary Energy Plan, states that if the political will existed, Australia’s enormous renewable potential could be harnessed and within a decade make the country carbon-neutral and create thousands of new jobs. In fact, solar and wind power are growing throughout the world. There are 46 countries that produce over 60 percent of their electricity from renewable energy sources. According to Bloomberg’s renewable energy research team, Bloomberg New Energy Finance, 70 percent of the power generation the world will add between now and 2030 will most likely be renewable. While wind, sun and water are producing more energy, nuclear energy production has decreased by 6 percent worldwide since 2006. The Earth Policy Institute, which also put forward a roadmap to a clean energy future titled “Mobilizing to Save Civilization,” reports that the world installed 31,100 megawatts of solar photovoltaics (PV) in 2012 – an all-time annual high that pushed global PV capacity above 100,000 megawatts. There is now enough PV operating to meet the household electricity needs of nearly 70 million people at the European level of use. The institute also reports that global wind power set a new record for installations in 2012, with 44,000 megawatts of new wind capacity worldwide. With total capacity exceeding 280,000 megawatts, wind farms generate carbon-free electricity in more than 80 countries, 24 of which have at least 1,000 megawatts. At the European level of consumption, the world’s operating wind turbines could satisfy the residential electricity needs of 450 million people. One country that has had government leadership for renewables is Germany. It has two goals: phase out nuclear power and become carbon-free. There is a lot that other countries can learn from Germany. Germany gets more than 25 percent of its energy from solar, wind and biomass. One-third of the world’s solar capacity is in Germany, a nation that gets roughly the same amount of sunlight as Alaska. A whopping 65 percent of the country’s total renewable power capacity is now owned by individuals, cooperatives and communities, leaving Germany’s once-powerful utilities with just a sliver (6.5 percent) of this burgeoning sector. Projections are that by 2050 Germany will get 80 percent to 100 percent of its electricity from renewables. After Fukushima, Germany decided to close all 17 of its nuclear reactors (and already has closed eight) and invested $270 billion in renewable energy, 8 percent of the country’s GDP. This worldwide transformation is occurring in spite of misdirected governments. In 2011 there was an estimated $623 billion spent to subsidize fossil fuels. This does not include tax breaks and years of government-funded research and infrastructure dedicated to the older, dirtier sources. In contrast, just $88 billion went to subsidies for renewable energy, most often paid to the producer. The energy transformation is being led from below As we reported in the most recent weekly resistance report for Popular Resistance, there is a vibrant movement opposing the extreme extraction for radical energy. This movement opposes President Obama’s “all of the above” energy strategy that continues to destroy the environment, pollute the air and water and push the world over the climate-change tipping point. Leadership is coming from below, with people putting their bodies on the machine to stop the energy-extraction economy as well as people working to create our clean energy future. We are in the midst of an energy revolution, in spite of government’s lack of leadership. In the end, as Makhijani found, a clean energy future is inevitable. Key questions are how quickly will we get there and how much damage will be done by old, dirty energy profiteers before we get there

(2) The second argument is a one card claim that it is hard to predict long-term trends in natural gas prices. This makes sense, there can but other intervening variables.   This is the card Aff reads:

Roessor 09 [Roesser, Randy. 2009. Natural Gas Price Volatility. California Energy Commission. CEC‑200‑ 2009‑009‑SD. The California Energy Commission is the state’s primary energy policy and planning agency. http://www.energy.ca.gov/2009publications/CEC-200-2009-009/CEC-200-2009-009-SD.PDF]

Natural Gas Price Forecasting and Uncertainty A betterunderstanding of price volatility and how it affects prices, and ultimately consumers and their budgets, is vital in natural gas price forecasting. Natural gas price forecasts (or predictions) should expressly consider the uncertainties in key factors that contribute to price volatility. Without recognizing this uncertainty, the reliance on date‑ specific, singlepoint price predictions ofahistoricallyprice‑volatilecommoditycanexposeusers of such predictions to potential vulnerabilities. Given more periods of volatility, the perceived benefits of accurate natural gas price predictions to consumers are obvious. Accurate price predictions could allow residential and small commercial customers to prepare for possible changes in their costs for heating and cooking, lessening the impact on household and small business budgets. Large commercial and industrial customers and electric power generators could factor impending price changes into their operating budgets, cost of goods produced, and cost of electricity generated. Accurate price predictions would aid investment decisions of natural gas exploration and production companies and financers. The forecasted price level of natural gas is one of the significant components of the financial analysis necessary to make major investment decisions, such as whether to develop a new gas production area. Commodity traders could profit substantially with accurate price predictions. Do accurate price predictions really exist? Can they actually be produced? A comparison of natural gas price forecasts vis‑à‑visactualpricesdoesnotyieldencouragingresultsfortheaccuracyoflong‑rangeforecasts. Figure 20 charts the EIA’s AEO wellhead price forecasts from 1982 to 2008, along with the actual average yearly wellhead cost.66

The card is decent, but the Neg has some strong evidence read in refutation to this point:

Renewable energy deployment decreases natural gas demand and prices

Wiser 4 (Ryan and Mark Bolinger, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, “The Potential Impact of Renewable Energy Deployment on Natural Gas Prices in New England,” September 20, 2004, http://www.osti.gov/bridge/servlets/purl/833578-ty6XVM/native/833578.pdf)

Concerns about the price and supply of natural gas have deepened in recent years both nationally and in New England. Renewable energy (RE) technologies can directly hedge natural gas price risk by reducing the need to purchase variable-price natural gas-fired electricity generation, and replacing that generation with fixed-price renewable electricity supply. ¶ In addition to its direct contribution to price stability, an increasing number of studies show that renewable energy deployment can also put downward pressure on natural gas pricesby reducing demand for gas among gas-fired generators.These gas price reductions are, in turn, expected to reduce electricity prices and – more importantly – directly reduce consumer natural gas bills. Manyrecentstudieshave found that this effect may be significant, substantially benefiting consumers. These studies are reviewed in the attached paper, published in the proceedings of a recent national energy conference.

Renewables reduce price and demand

Wiser, 5 (Ryan, PhD scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, “Easing the Natural Gas Crisis: Reducing Natural Gas Prices Through Electricity Supply Diversification,” March 8, http://eetd.lbl.gov/ea/ems/reports/Senate-Testimony.pdf)

With the recent run-up in natural gas prices, and the expected continuation of volatile and high prices for at least the mid-term future, a growing number of voices are calling for increased diversification of electricity supplies. Such diversification holds the prospect of directly reducing our dependence on a fuel whose costs are highly uncertain, thereby hedging the risk of natural gas price volatility and escalation. In addition, as I will describe in a moment, by reducing natural gas demand, increased diversification away from gas-fired generation can indirectly suppress natural gas prices. Our report highlights the impact of increased deployment of renewable energy and energy efficiency on natural gas prices and consumer natural gas bills. A growing number of modeling studies conducted by government, non-profit, and private sector entities are showing thatrenewable energy and energy efficiency could significantly reduce natural gas prices and bills. Our report summarizes these recent modeling studies and reviews the reasonableness of their findings in light of economic theory and other analyses. (Though our report focuses on renewable energy and energy efficiency, other non-natural-gas resources would likely have a similar effect). We find that, by displacing natural-gas-fired electricity generation, increased levels of renewable energy and energy efficiency will reduce demand for natural gas and thus put downward pressure on gas prices. These price reductions hold the prospect of providing consumers with significant natural gas bill savings. In fact, although we did not analyze in detail the electricity price impacts reported in the studies, the studies often show that any predicted increase in the price of electricity caused by greater use of renewable energy or energy efficiency is largely or completely offset by the predicted natural gas price savings. We conclude that policies to encourage fuel diversification within the electricity sector should consider the potentially beneficial cross-sector impact of that diversification on natural gas prices and bills.

Review of numerous energy models proves our link

Wiser 7 (Ryan and Mark Bolinger, Ernest Orlando Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Can deployment of renewable energy put downward pressure on natural gas prices? Original Research Article, Energy Policy, Volume 35, Issue 1, January 2007, Pages 295-30)

With few exceptions, the energy-modeling resultsreviewed previously tell a consistent, basic story: reducing the demand for natural gas through the use of renewable energy is expected to lead to lower natural gas prices than would be the case in a business-as-usual scenario. Although the magnitude of the long-term implicit inverse price elasticity of supply varies among models and years, the central tendency appears to be values of 0.8–2. That is, a 1% reduction in US national gas demand is expected to cause a corresponding wellhead price reduction of 0.8–2% in the long-term, with some models predicting even larger effects (4%+ reductions in long-term gas prices for each 1% drop in gas consumption).

Economic theory

Wiser 7 (Ryan and Mark Bolinger, Ernest Orlando Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Can deployment of renewable energy put downward pressure on natural gas prices? Original Research Article, Energy Policy, Volume 35, Issue 1, January 2007, Pages 295-306)

It is not clear whether today’s inflated natural gas prices represent a short-term imbalance between supply and demand or a longer-term effect that reflects the true marginal cost of production (see, e.g., EMF, 2003; Henning et al., 2003; Holtberg, 2002; NPC, 2003a). In either case, however, economic theorypredicts that a reduction in natural gas demand caused by increased deployment of renewable energy will—by causing an inward shift in the aggregate demand curve for natural gas—generally lead to a reduction in the price of natural gas relative to the price that would have been expected under business-as-usual conditions.2 The magnitude of the price reduction will depend on the amount of demand reduction, with greater displacement of demand for gas leading to greater drops in the price of the commodity.3 Equally important, the shape of the natural gas supply curve will have a sizable impact on the magnitude of the price reduction

Economics literature

Wiser 7 (Ryan and Mark Bolinger, Ernest Orlando Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Can deployment of renewable energy put downward pressure on natural gas prices? Original Research Article, Energy Policy, Volume 35, Issue 1, January 2007, Pages 295-306)

Results presented in this article suggest that resource diversification, in particular increased investments in renewable energy, could help alleviate the threat of high gas prices over the short and long term. By displacing gas-fired generation,increased deployment of renewable energy is expected to reduce natural gas demand and consequently put downward pressure on gas prices. A review of the economics literature shows that this secondary effect is to be expected and can be measured with the inverse price elasticity of natural gas supply. Because of the respective shapes of long- and short-term supply curves, the long-term price response is expected to be less significant than the shorter-term response.¶

The Aff doesn’t respond to any of these cards or the theory behind them, so while there is a chance that there could be intervening variables, I think that there is a decent risk that a massive increase in wind power deployment relative to the status quo will push natural gas prices down, triggering exports and the rest of the DA. The Affirmative conceded the other parts of the disadvantage: The link (reduced demand would reduce price), reduced prices lead to  exports, exports lead to conflict with Russia, conflict with Russia leads to nuclear war, nuclear war and extinction)

Again, it’s hard to put an exact percentage on it, but I think it’s at least 30%, probably more. I think that most observers would conclude that it is at least 30%.

So, now to weigh this against the case.

The 2AR packages two basic arguments that were started in the 1AC and extended and developed a bit in the 2AC & 1AR: low-risk scenarios should be ignore and systemic impacts should be privileged/weighed more heavily than we do now. Let’s look at each claim.

Low risk. I agree that if there is a very low riskof the DA that the Aff wins because we shouldn’t continually ignore impoverished communities at the expense of catastrophic risks. The problem is that the 2AR says that we shouldn’t vote on Das that have a “1%” risk at the expense of these communities. That’s persuasive, and I agree, but as I’ve said, I think the risk of this DA is much higher. 2AR risk framing is all about rejecting 1% risks.

Impact. The Aff says that we should highly consider systemic impacts. I agree, but he literally says, “this is a question of asthma versus nuclear war.” Yes, it is (well, the 1AC impacts could be articulated to be much bigger but Aff substantially minimizes) and a global nuclear war is much worse than asthma.

And, the 2AR dropped DA turns case – nuclear war would crush the environment, allow elites to takeover, etc.

So, I think that a decent risk of a global nuclear war outweighs some non-quantified harms that don’t even make it to death in the 2AR.

Some tips for the Aff:

  1. I think you need to do other things to reduce the risk of the DA. You can’t ASSUME/JUST THINK that any DA that ends in nuclear war is inherently low risk. Make some arguments against the other parts of the DA, even without cards, that prove it isn’t very high risk: we export some natural gas now,, after the plan there would just be a bit more; we didn’t have a nuclear ware over the Ukraine, hard to believe a some more gas on the international market will trigger it; there was thirty years of the cold war and that didn’t go nuclear; nuclear deterrence provides some incentives not to commit nuclear suicide; we survived the Cuban missile crisis. I think the Aff could really reduce the risk of this DA quite substantially by making some additional logical arguments. What the Aff can’t do is just assert that it is low risk because they make a couple of take-outs that do reduce the risk some, but nowhere close to 1%.
  2. The Aff needs to play-up, not trivialize (asthma) their own impacts.   Play up “disposable populations” and how these are minority communities that are getting screwed over. Explain why this constitutes racism.

 

 

 

 

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