Lovell/Mills Speak Out North Texas Abolishing Fossil Fuel Subsidies T h e C a se f o r A b o li sh i n g F e d e ra l Fo ssi l Fu e l S u b si d i e s

Let me pose a couple situations to you, judge. Imagine you decide to go on a diet. Would you strive to invest more money in junk food than health food and expect to reach your goal? Now imagine you were trying to save money for home repairs. Would you choose to spend money on frivolous things, recognizing you were casting aside your more important need?

When you have a goal, does it seem logical to directly contradict it? Of course not! However, and unfortunately, this appears to be the environmental policy of the United States Federal Government in the status quo«to undermine its own goal«to possess counter-productive policies that end up hurting the American public. For that reason, my partner and I stand firmly resolved that the United States Federal Government should significantly reform its environmental policy.

Now, before we get into the heat of the debate round, the affirmative team would like to offer clarity by presenting«

Observation 1: Definitions
There are just two definitions I want to provide before we get too far into this debate round. Sources are available upon request: 7 minutes

Definition 1. Environmental Policy The Gale Group, the world¶s leading provider of trusted information for schools, libraries, and universities for over fifty years, defines environmental policy as: Environmental policy can be strictly defined as a government's chosen course of action or plan to address issues such as pollution, wildlife protection, land use, energy production and use, and waste generation and disposal.


Lovell/Mills Speak Out North Texas Abolishing Fossil Fuel Subsidies The Gale Group (the world's leading provider of trusted information for schools, libraries, and universities for over fifty years. We publish award-winning and critically reviewed books, eBooks, online databases, and microfilm and our content is written by highly qualified topic experts), accessed January 2010, [brackets added]

Definition 2. Fossil fuel subsidies According to the Environmental Law Institute, fossil fuel subsidies can be defined as: The study¶s definition of subsidies focuses on actions by the U.S. government that provide an identifiable financial benefit associated with the use or production of a fossil or renewable fuel. The Environmental Law Institute (an internationally recognized, independent research and education center), September 2009, ³Estimating U.S. Government Subsidies to Energy Sources: 2002-2008´

Having defined the key vocabulary to be used in this debate round, my partner and I would like to present to the judge a goals/criterion case. I¶ll be explaining that concept as we go along, but it¶s a pretty simple idea. Starting from the very beginning, we need to examine the way things are as covered under:

Observation 2: The Goal of the Status Quo
The goal of the status quo is simply this:


Lovell/Mills Speak Out North Texas Abolishing Fossil Fuel Subsidies 6 minutes To reduce greenhouse gas emissions Specifically, in the EPA¶s FY2010 budget justification, it is noted that the Administration¶s goal is to: After enactment of the Budget, the Administration will work expeditiously with key stakeholders and Congress to develop an economy-wide emissions reduction program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions approximately 14 percent below 2005 levels by 2020, and approximately 83 percent below 2005 levels by 2050. EPA, 2009, "Environmental Protection Agency," in its budget proposal for FY2010 cy1.pdf

This goal has manifested itself in multiple ways, but I¶d like to focus on two examples for the sake of time:

First, clean energy investments The White House website cites on its Energy and Environment homepage that: The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act included more than $80 billion in clean energy investments that will jump-start our economy and build the clean energy jobs of tomorrow. The White House, accessed March 2010, "Energy and Environment"

Further on in that same White House issue analysis, a second example of this goal is given in the issue of:


Lovell/Mills Speak Out North Texas Abolishing Fossil Fuel Subsidies Fuel economy Specifically, the page says that the Administration is: 5 minutes Increasing, for the first time in more than a decade, the fuel economy standards for Model Year 2011 for cars and trucks so they will get better mileage, saving drivers money and spurring companies to develop more innovative products. The White House, accessed March 2010, "Energy and Environment"

Now this turns out to be all well and good«regardless of your opinion on greenhouse gases and the whole global warming debate, carbon dioxide, ³the primary greenhouse gas´ as the EPA calls it 1, making up ³approximately 85 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions,´ has some pretty nasty side effects of its own in the area of:

Public health Mark Z. Jacobson, from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Stanford University published a report last year about the public health effects of fossil fuel CO2. It concluded: A climate-air pollution model showed by cause and effect that fossil-fuel CO2 increases U.S. surface ozone, carcinogens, and particulate matter, thereby increasing death, asthma, hospitalization, and cancer rates. Mark Z. Jacobson (a professor of civil and environmental engineering in the Stanford University and director of the Atmosphere/Energy Program there. Jacobson develops computer models about the effects of different energy technologies and their emissions on air pollution and climate), 2008, ³On the causal link between carbon dioxide and air pollution mortality´


EPA, updated March 2010, ³U.S. Greenhouse Gas Inventory,´


Lovell/Mills Speak Out North Texas Abolishing Fossil Fuel Subsidies In the Arizona State Law Journal, John Gray, an expert in environmental law puts a grim number to this harm, saying: 4 minutes Fossil fuel emissions have two main negative environmental impacts: pollution, which causes health problems and environmental damage, and global warming, which has broad-reaching and potentially apocalyptic implications. Although pollution's harmful effects often go unnoticed due to their systemic nature, air pollution presents serious problems. Estimates predict worldwide pollution kills tens or even hundreds of thousands each year and puts millions more at risk through heart disease, respiratory conditions, mercury poisoning, and even ecosystem collapse. John Gray (a partner in the Environmental Law Practice of Gardere's Houston office where he has taken advantage of his training and experience as a licensed professional engineer to concentrate his practice on the emerging area of climate change advocacy in addition to environmental litigation and counseling for a variety of companies in the chemical, shipping, natural resources, real estate development, insurance, energy and petroleum industries. He has extensive experience handling environmental litigation, compliance counseling, and business transactions matters), spring 2009, "Choosing the Nuclear Option: The Case for a Strong Regulatory Response to Encourage Nuclear Energy Development," Arizona State Law Journal, accessed via LexisNexis, 41 Ariz. St. L.J. 315

So the status quo has a noble goal and it¶s trying to address the issue of greenhouse gases. Great. Let¶s call it a day, right?

On the contrary, we have now arrived at the second step of a goals/criterion case«an obstacle preventing us from better achieving the goal of the status quo, as I¶ll be covering in:


Lovell/Mills Speak Out North Texas Abolishing Fossil Fuel Subsidies

Observation 3: The Failure of the Status Quo
You might be thinking after that last observation that our government is doing everything right in the context of greenhouse gases«that they¶re really on top of the ball.

Unfortunately, that is not entirely the case, as I will be showing throughout this observation, starting with my first point:

Subsidies are doled out to the fossil fuel industry 3 minutes The Environmental Law Institute published a report late last year on the issue of fossil fuel subsidies between 2002 and 2008 and reported some interesting facts. Among them, they found that: Subsidies to fossil fuels²a mature, developed industry that has enjoyed government support for many years²totaled approximately $72 billion over the study period, representing a direct cost to taxpayers. The Environmental Law Institute (an internationally recognized, independent research and education center), September 2009, ³Estimating U.S. Government Subsidies to Energy Sources: 2002-2008´

This should seem ridiculous on its face, but listen to what Steve Kretzman from Oil Change International and previously the Institute for Policy Studies has to say on the subject:

Kretzman questions this line of reasoning. "This is one of the most profitable industries on the planet, and why they need to use tax dollars to additionally incentivize them doesn't really make any sense." Public Radio Internation, citing Steve Kretzman (from advocacy group Oil Change International. He used to work at Institute for Policy Studies), September 2009, "Fossil fuel subsidies and climate change"


Lovell/Mills Speak Out North Texas Abolishing Fossil Fuel Subsidies

I think Per Callesen, deputy permanent secretary at the Danish ministry of finance, summed up the failure of the status quo nicely when he said: "We are pushing the pedal with fossil energy subsidies and the push of the pedal is much stronger than the brakes,¶¶ he added. Claudia Ciobanu (writer for IPS TerraViva online daily published for the U.N. Conference on Climate Change in Copenhagen), December 2009, "CLIMATE CHANGE: 'Cut Fossil Fuel Subsidies but Compensate the Poor¶,´ quoting Per Callesen (deputy permanent secretary at the Danish ministry of finance),

We are putting money, time, and effort into fighting something we are funding. The status quo is not upholding its own goal to the fullest extent. 2 minutes

This brings us to the third part of a goals/criterion case«a criterion we pursue and the manifestation of that criterion, our plan. We believe that one characteristic the status quo is lacking is an appropriate use of funds. Therefore, we propose that criterion be used when reviewing our case, as covered under:

Observation 4: Our Plan
To be passed by the Congress and the President immediately upon an affirmative ballot, all fossil fuel subsidies provided by the United States Federal Government shall be abolished over a 5-year phase-out period and redirected to pay off the national debt. This mandate shall be enforced by the IRS, the Department of Energy, and any other necessary agent.

As our criterion and goal would imply, we believe that the U.S. environmental policy should not be self-defeating, as fossil fuel subsidies prove to be, and as I¶ll be elaborating upon in the last step of a goals/criteria case:


Lovell/Mills Speak Out North Texas Abolishing Fossil Fuel Subsidies

Observation 5: The Success of Our Plan
Arriving at the last contention of our case, we better uphold the goal of the status quo because:

Abolishing fossil fuel subsidies would reduce greenhouse gas emissions 1 minutes Earlier this year, the Office of Management and Budget published the president¶s proposed FY 2011 budget, showing justification for the elimination of fossil fuel subsidies. Specifically, it says: Oil and gas subsidies are costly to the American taxpayer and do little to incentivize production or reduce energy prices. Removing these subsidies would reduce greenhouse gas emissions and generate $36.5 billion of additional revenue over the next 10 years, an amount that represents only a small percentage of domestic oil and gas revenues -- about one percent over the coming decade. Office of Management and Budget, accessed March 2010, ³Terminations, Reductions, and Savings´

However, that¶s not all. One great thing about this reform is unlike many greenhouse gas reduction efforts, this one is cheaper than free«it actually saves us billions of dollars, thus bringing about another advantage:


Lovell/Mills Speak Out North Texas Abolishing Fossil Fuel Subsidies Fiscal responsibility 30 seconds The fossil fuel subsidies we are currently doling out cost the taxpayer money«money that could be going to better programs or at least staying in the taxpayer¶s wallet. We¶re in a recession«now is not the time to subsidize one of the most profitable industry¶s on the planet in order to artificially lower the price of gasoline, a reduction your tax dollars are paying for, by the way.

In conclusion, judge, my partner and I petition you to advocate, that the United States Federal Government not undermine its own goals«that we not be the dieter who 10 seconds divulges in junk food or the saver who can¶t exercise frugality. Instead, judge, join us in advocating the significant reformation of U.S. environmental policy by promoting an appropriate usage of funds by eliminating the self-defeating policy that is fossil fuel subsidies.

Thank you and I now stand open for cross-examination and any points of clarification.