EDEB8 - Ultimate Online Debating
About Us   Debate    Judge   Forum

That renewable energy should be heavily subsidised by the government

2 points
8 points
KushKush (PRO)

Firstly, I thank Bugsy460 for joining me on this debate. Without further ado, let’s get started.

I would like to start with some definitions. Renewable energy is,” energy produced from sources that do not deplete or can be replenished within a human's life time.” Subsidized can be defined as, “support (an organization or activity) financially.” So, this resolution can be analyzed as that the renewable resources of energy should be financially supported by the government.

Currently 80% of the energy in the world comes from hydrocarbons and the remaining 20% comes from renewable sources and nuclear sources. A research shows that by 2040, 60% of the energy will be obtained from hydrocarbons and the remaining 40% will be obtained from renewable sources and nuclear sources. Also, the total energy usage is expected to rise about 25% to 35% until 2040. So, with the energy usage expected to rise and with renewable sources of energy being an integral part of it, subsidies can be elemental in the future.

One of the main advantages of subsidies from the government has been cost effectiveness. A study conducted by the University of Texas shows that without government subsidies, the cost of renewables would be 3.0 cents per kilowatt in hour. But due to the subsides, this has come down to 2.3 cent per kilowatt in hour. So, this is one of the benefits of government subsidies.

We all know that one of the most difficult problems humanity faces now is pollution and global warming. During this course, renewable sources of energy could well become a savior. The world governments have a moral responsibility to provide subsidies for renewableresources to transform our world into a lower carbon society.

Renewable energy is subsidized in order to compete in the market, increase their volume and develop the technology so that the subsidies become unnecessary with the development. Eliminating fossil-fuel subsidies could bring economic and environmental benefits. One of the main claims made by the faction which opposes government subsidy for renewable resources claims that these subsidies have had no real impact and the money could be spent in a better place. But as always researches show otherwise. The econometric reveals apositive correlation between subsidies and production of incentivized energy, as well as the installed capacity. Overall, the analysis shows that these policies have been effective in promoting renewable energy, both in the sort run and the long run.

Return To Top | Posted:
2020-06-01 00:58:35
| Speak Round
Bugsy460Bugsy460 (CON)
Thank you for joining this debate Kush. I will attack my opponent's points and then establish my own.

Opponent's Case

1. I agree to my opponents definitions.

2. My opponent brings up how the costs of renewable energy goes down with subsidies, but there is a flaw to his point. The costs of the energy doesn't just disappear into the aether, the bill is just shifted. Instead of every individual paying for what they used, we shift the costs to be paid for by society as a whole. This is done in the form of taxes at different government levels, but this taxation inherently disenfranchises lower income families. A lot of times, at the U.S. state level, lower income households pay a larger effective rate in taxes. 1 This means you have lower income families helping pay for higher income families power by trying to go through tax rates. As long as there is equitable market solutions, the government doesn't need to be throwing tax payer dollars into these issues.

3. His definition doesn't support only energies that stop pollution, but supports energies that create pollution. His definition includes ethanol, which is found in 98% of U.S. gasoline. 2 Ethanol is created from biomass and burnt with gasoline to burn cleaner, but it actually does the opposite. First, we have to realize that fuel cross are being used as an excuse to burn down forests that help contribute to clearing up greenhouse gases. Second, we have to realize that coupling that fact with the fact that you are still burning fossil fuels and biomass means that twice as much carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere under "renewable energy".3 The problem is that we can't solve this issue through sponsoring renewable energies as a whole because the market will endorse this environmentally dangerous path because the existing infrastructure will make it more economically feasible. Another example of renewable energy that isn't safe for the environment is solar. Now the issue with solar energy isn't an environmental one in the sense of global warming, but through toxic chemicals that can be put in the environment through its birth and death. These chemicals can cause the death of plants and animals, as well as people. 4 These issues mean that we have to be more specific than "renewable energy" if we hope to truly help the environment. We need to focus on energy sources that don't cause issues.

My Case

1. My first point will be an alternative, nuclear power. Nuclear power is the most efficient energy source, having a 91% capacity factor.5 The next highest is coal at 59%. The next question we have to ask ourselves is environmental benefit, and nuclear energy is the best. While the mining and extracting produces the same amount of greenhouse gases as solar panels, there is no toxins. Even if you wanted to claim radiation as a toxin, nuclear energy releases the least amount of radiation. 6 Another fear is meltdown, but these events are far and few between. In 17,000 cumulative years of nuclear energy reactors, there have only been three accidents. Between Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and Fukushima, only Chernobyl resulted in deaths, and this was due to Soviet disregards of safety.  The largest goal of the safety is the defense in depth strategy, which utilizes prevention (safety in design and regulation), monitoring (government oversight and regulation), and action (to prevent deaths in the case of failure). 7 Between all of these factors, nuclear energy is the best alternative to fossil fuels, and is more efficient, cleaner, and safer than the blanket of renewable energy.

2. Renewable energy cannot produce economic growth. Very simply, we can't keep up the modern, industrialized world throughout renewable energy. The transport sector can't use electric cars, boats, or planes at an effective level. This would increase the prices of all goods. Industrially, we can't efficiently create pig iron or concrete through renewable energy because of the heat that can be produced through fossil fuels. This would raise the price of everything because corporations have to raise the prices of everything to help pay the down cost of construction.8

3. When the government subsidizes commercial interests, it can create an unhealthy relationship between the government and the corporation. For example, let's say that a West Texas candidate is trying to run for national representative. By promising to give subsidies to the wind farms in West Texas (no matter if they deserve it or will utilize the funds properly), he can be given campaign funds. 9 This unfair relationship between corporation and government can create shady deals across the nation to lobby for corporate interests, all at the cost of the taxpayers, which we've shown hurts impoverished households the most.

4. Another alternative to subsidizing renewable energy would be to eliminate the subsidies on fossil fuels. Internationally, we spend up to $1 trillion on fossil fuel subsidies. 10 We can eliminate these subsidies, and then see that renewable energy becomes highly more competitive with fossil fuels. This plan benefits because we don't unjustly use taxpayer money or create corrupt relationships between legislators and corporations.


Judge, there is simply no reason to subsidize renewable energy. Nuclear energy is a much more effective alternative, as well as ending subsidies for fossil fuels. Renewable energy cannot create the economic growth that fossil fuels or nuclear energy can, as well as renewable energy is just as bad for the environment. Lastly, on a political front, these subsidies create corporate lobbying that leads to a waste of lower income families money in the form of tax dollars. There is no reason to advocate for these subsidies, not economically, not environmentally, and not politically.


Return To Top | Posted:
2020-06-01 07:05:51
| Speak Round
KushKush (PRO)

I will primarily be countering my opponent’s argument and then will give numerous logical reasons why governments should heavily subsidize renewable sources of energy.

My opponent mentioned that solar energy causes premature deaths. But researches suggest otherwise. A research conducted by the Berkley National Laboratory show that using wind energy and solar energy helped PREVENT 12,700 premature deaths in the U.S.A. between 2012-2015. My opponent also mentioned nuclear energy has a possible alternative but nuclear energy, though effective, is very bad environmentally and economically. Firstly, nuclear powerplants are expensive to build. The estimated cost is about $9 billion. If this much money is spent on subsidies the result attained will be more desirable, economically, and environmentally safer. Secondly, we come to accidents. Readers and judges, my opponent has tried to misguide you by saying that there have only been 3 nuclear accidents. In reality, there have been over 25 accidents involving nuclear energy. Numerous other nuclear reactor accidents have occurred such as NRX, BORAX-I, EBR-I, WINDSCALE, etc. The results have been horrifying leading to tremendous amounts of loss to life and property. Next, we move onto environmental disadvantages. The mining and enrichment of uranium are not environmentally friendly processes. Open-pit mining for uranium is safe for miners but leaves behind radioactive particles, causes erosion, and even pollutes nearby sources of water. Underground mining isn’t much better and exposes miners to high amounts of radiation while producing radioactive waste rock during extraction and processing. One of the most important consideration is that nuclear power isn’t renewable. It is dependent on uranium and thorium to produce energy, and unless we find a way to make nuclear fission possible, we will be unable to create energy with the nuclear power plants we’ve built for the future. Ultimately, nuclear power is only a temporary solution with a very high price tag.

My opponent has not even begun to consider the environmental advantages of subsidies for renewable sources of energy. Firstly, countries which have heavily subsidized renewable sources of energy have loweramounts of carbon emissions. Secondly, subsidies improve the air quality index, indirectly, but effectively. U.S.A. spends $145 billion on subsidies. The air quality index of New York City is 23, which is healthy. On the contrary, India subsidizes mostly fossil fuels and the impact can be seen directly on their air quality index. The air quality index of Ahmedabad, a city in India where powerplants are located, is 766, which is highly hazardous!

Moreover, subsidizing renewable sources isn’t a permanent measure that has been put in place,instead subsidies should be time-bound and removed once the relevant obstacles and market failures have been overcome.


I have shown countless reasons and advantages of subsidizing renewable sources and manygovernments across the world have implemented this resolution and have gotten positive impacts on their economies and their environment. The CON hasn’t been entirely candid while considering this resolution. The CON has no other alternative left except renewable sources now. There are absolutely no reasons to not implement this resolution.



Return To Top | Posted:
2020-06-02 01:59:45
| Speak Round
Bugsy460Bugsy460 (CON)
I will go through the same points as my first speech in roughly the same order.

My Opponent's Case

1. My opponent completely ignored my point about where the funds for these subsidies would come from. Impoverished children complete two less years of schooling on average, three times likely to be in poor health, and twice as likely to be arrested.1 By ignoring this plight, he completely ignored the plight of the impoverished. Helping the impoverished by using less government funds on programs that don't directly help the plight of lower income families should always be a priority, and with my opponent not even justifying his cause as more important than lower income families, this point is simple enough to get a vote for con, but I will still go through the rest of the points.

2. My opponent ignored that, by his own definition, he supports ethanol in gasoline. I've already proven that ethanol is worse than just burning straight fossil fuels, but we need to couple this with the agricultural aspect. Farming for ethanol raises food prices. 2 Couple this with my point about taxation harming those below the Poverty line, and these subsidies go from not helping lower income families to actively harming impoverished families. My opponent takes money to fund energy, then raises food prices so they can't even eat. I know outlined the issues with solar panels here, but I'm going to talk about those issues in relation to nuclear energy in my nuclear energy point.

My Case

1. My opponent completely ignored my point that we could simply end fossil fuel subsidies. Ending fossil fuel subsidies solves all the problems my opponent outlines without allowing for corporate lobbying or impoverished families taxes to be spent on issues that don't help them. We could give $1 trillion back to families globally and solve all the problems my opponent talked about. The fact there is an alternative that solves all the problems Pro outlines without triggering any of the issues Con outlines means Con should win.

2. A little note about my nuclear energy point, this is just a proposed alternative. What I mean by this is Pro spent over half of their entire Round 2 attacking nuclear energy, which is fine, but that shouldn't end the debate for me. If I lose the nuclear energy point, I shouldn't lose the debate if I still prove his plan is inherently bad or that it's a better idea to end fossil fuel subsidies. Now let's get on to the actual point. The first thing we have to look at is costs. It is true that nuclear power plants have large start-up costs, but we need to look in the long run. A report my the European Commission says that nuclear energy will be the cheapest source by 2030 at slightly under 60 euros per MWh. To put this in perspective, they say it would cost 65, 75, and 85 euros for hydro, wind, and solar respectively. 3 Next he wants to claim that the mining for nuclear materials is dangerous, but this is where he has decided to ignore his own sources of energy. 11,000 tons of lead and 800 tons of cadmium are in our environment thanks to solar panels. 4 These chemicals lead to adverse health effects in humans and negatively affect the environment. This doesn't even include the carbon emissions from furnaces needed to create the solar panels or the hydrochloric acid released into the soil and air from the process. 5 All of this chemical pollution and danger to workers comes only from a manufacturing standpoint. We can delve deeper into quartz mining. See, quartz is necessary to produce effective solar panels. 6 Quartz mining, however, is very dangerous both from a health and environmental standpoint. Quartz mining causes lung cancer and kidney disease which leads to death. 7 Mining quartz has the dangers of all other mining, leading to soil pollution, air pollution, and destruction of ecosystems. 8 My opponent tries to claim that nuclear energy is terrible for the environment, but between ethanol and solar panels, he doesn't advocate for anything cleaner. The last comparison we have to make is safety. I unintentionally put up a misleading source. There has been other accidents with nuclear energy, but how dangerous were these accidents? See, the mortality rate for nuclear energy is the lowest per thousand terawatt hour. Rooftop solar is almost five times the mortality rate, and that doesn't even include more industrial solar power methods. 9 When we look at the comparison between renewable and nuclear, nuclear clearly wins. It's safer and cheaper, and even if it isn't better for the environment from a holistic perspective, it definitely is no worse.

3. My opponent completely ignored my point that renewable energy cannot lead to economic growth. We've already shown how these subsidies are an attack on the poor, but his just further proves it. From a focus on transport and industry, the economy cannot grow with renewable energy.

4. Lastly is my point that subsidies create room for corruption. My opponent answered it simply by saying we would get rid of them after the market for renewable energy becomes more cost effective. This isn't going to happen for two reasons.
A. Using the same source I used when talking about corporate lobbying in round 1 (source 9), we can see one reason the market will never get cheaper. Very simply, there isn't any incentive to. If a corporation is getting government funds to cover some of their costs, why would they ever spend money on research and development to lower costs? They wouldn't. Without the free market and competitiveness giving incentive for businesses to be cost effective and high quality, there is no reason a corporation would worry about trying to hit that point. Corporations would never lower costs.
B. Even if they did lower the prices, the subsidies would never go anywhere. This is directly tied to my original corporate lobbying point. See, if a politician creates a subsidy to get political support, they wouldn't ever advocate for its removal. Politicians of the same ideology would also work to keep the subsidies in place to keep banking on political support. This is why our first fiated action must be to remove ingrained subsidies for fossil fuels, not try and add more to the other side.


I have two alternatives from my opponents plan, remove subsidies for fossil fuels and advocate for nuclear energy. These solve all of the environmental effects my opponent talks about while also avoiding or resolving all of the issues I warn come with renewable subsidies. You must vote Con for a strong world, strong economically, environmentally, and politically.

Return To Top | Posted:
2020-06-02 08:17:40
| Speak Round

View As PDF

Enjoyed this debate? Please share it!

You need to be logged in to be able to comment
Yeah sure.
Posted 2020-06-02 00:34:23
If you want to use the comments for basic clarification questions, I don't mind as long as you'll grant me the same benefit.
Posted 2020-06-01 15:44:59
The judging period on this debate is over

Previous Judgments

2020-06-11 04:29:11
DillonCrawfordJudge: DillonCrawford
Win awarded to: Kush
Well done you proved the Opposition wrong
1 user rated this judgement as a vote bomb
1 user rated this judgement as exceptional
0 comments on this judgement
2020-06-13 08:10:31
dpowell3543Judge: dpowell3543    TOP JUDGE
Win awarded to: Bugsy460
It was a very good debate, but my vote must to go Con. While both offered, decent arguments, Con just offered the better. Con's arguments were more realistic and down to earth, where as it seemed that pro was grasping at straws and pushing for a confirmation bias. Which leads me to their sources. Con used fairly decent sources that he implemented into his arguments as a way to support and strengthen them. Pro, however, used very poor arguments, the worst one being Wikipedia, which they used to try to confirm their arguments rather than support them. As a reader, Con did an overall better job at convincing me than pro did. So I believe they get the point.

Both: Great job. I really enjoyed reading the debate.
Kush: You should never use Wikipedia. It's never a valid source of information. Always find non biased, factual sources to use. Also, don't use your sources to confirm your points, use them to support them, sort of as a little extra evidence, not as solid evidence that proves you're right. Confirmation bias is a very dirty thing to get involved with and won't usually work out well for you in a debate. Especially when you're opponent is able to provide better, more logical arguments. Keep your cool and thoroughly read through, as well as fact check your sources before you think about using them.
Bugsy460: You did a very good job. Your debate was well formatted and structured. However, I feel you may have used just a little too many sources for the debate. Yes, sources are nice to have, and sometimes, the more the merrier. However, you don't always have to supply a lot. Some readers could take it as you attempting to drown out your opponent's arguments, by giving the reader more to read than necessary. In future debates, maybe stop to think "how many sources should I use?" and "how many sources are necessary to support my claims?".
3 users rated this judgement as constructive
0 comments on this judgement
2020-06-15 19:47:52
eunoiaJudge: eunoia
Win awarded to: Kush
2020-06-21 00:03:28
nzlockieJudge: nzlockie    TOP JUDGE
Win awarded to: Bugsy460
To win this debate I wanted PRO to show me two things:
Government subsidies work, and Renewable Energy is preferable to the alternatives.
For Con to win, I needed him to prove that either, government subsidies did not work, or did more harm than good; or that renewable energy is not as desirable as the alternative - or at least not significantly more desirable.

Both sides really did me a favour by attacking all the points I wanted to see. Ultimately I think that CON did a better job. There were three major scores that sealed the win for him in my view - firstly when he pointed out that the government subsidies that PRO cited supported non-renewable energies as well. PRO needed to address this. It didn't need to be much, just point out that the improvements would still be there if the subsidies were restricted to only renewable energies. But this never really happened.
CON also claimed that government subsidies end up disproportionately harming the poor. This was cited with evidence and not directly addressed by PRO.
Finally, CON's case FOR Nuclear power was well laid out. PRO fought back on this and if there were more rounds it may have swung, but in a two round debate, there just wasn't enough rebuttal to it.

CON wins.

Phew - two round debates are HARD - especially for PRO.
I typically give both sides a longer leash in a two round debate, especially when it comes to introducing new points in the final round, and dropping previous points.
That being said - PRO, there were some valid points that CON brought up that you needed to address DIRECTLY and CLEARLY. You didn't really get there for me.

I hate to be that guy, but PRO, you made me go looking for your sources. I typically don't pay any attention to sources except in two circumstances -
Firstly, when you make a claim that mentions a specific statistic, study or poll; and secondly when you are claiming that your's opponent's claim is false.
When CON sais that there have only been three incidents with Nuclear power, you claimed that there were actually 25. You should have linked that source right there. At the very least, you should have used a reference number like CON does - but best practice in my view is to link them in the actual text. Don't make me work for it!
I agree with my fellow judge regarding Wikipedia. I'd let you off in this exact example, because of the nature of the actual claim - but wikipedia is a really bad reference due to the fact that literally anyone can alter it.

CON - you made some strong counter points. Especially in the last round. It felt like you both had a lot more in you for this topic - I'd be keen to see you guys do it again but with an extra round this time.

nice job!

0 comments on this judgement

Rules of the debate

  • Text debate
  • Individual debate
  • 2 rounds
  • 10000 characters per round
  • No reply speeches
  • No cross-examination
  • Permissive Judging Standard (notes)
  • Forfeiting rounds does not mean forfeiting the debate
  • Images allowed
  • HTML formatting allowed
  • Rated debate
  • Time to post: 2 days
  • Time to vote: 3 weeks
  • Time to prepare: 3 hours
This is a random challenge. See the general rules for random challenges at http://www.edeb8.com/resources/General+rules+for+random+debates+%28version+2%29