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SDI 08-09

Practice Debate Neg

Practice Debate Neg................................................... ..........................1

No Solvency....................................................... ..................................2
No Solvency....................................................... ..................................3
No Solvency....................................................... ..................................4
AT: Warming Advantage.................................................... ....................5
AT: Warming Advantage.................................................... ....................6
AT: Warming Advantage.................................................... ....................7
AT: Warming Advantage.................................................... ....................8
AT: Honeybees Advantage...................................................... ...............9
AT: Food Price Advantage..................................................... ...............10
AT: Honeybees Advantage – Alt Caus......................................... ...........11
AT: Honeybees Advantage – Alt Caus......................................... ...........12
AT: Biodiversity Advantage......................................................... .........13
AT: Oil Advantage........................................... ....................................14
AT: Oil Advantage........................................... ....................................15
Soil DA............................................................................. ..................16
Soil DA – Link................................................................................. .....17
Soil DA – Fertilizer Link.......................... .............................................18
Soil DA – Turns Warming............................................................... .......19
Soil DA – Water MPX............................. ..............................................20
Soil MPX........................................................................................... ..21
Free Enterprise Turn................................... ........................................22
Free Enterprise Turn................................... ........................................23
Plan Popular............................................................................ ...........24

SDI 08-09
No Solvency


Lieberman 7
Ben, Senior Policy Analyst in Energy and the Environment in the Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic
Policy Studies, The Ethanol Mandate Should Not Be Expanded, Online

However, cellulosic ethanol is far from economically viable at this point,[22] and this kind of
federally directed alternative energy research program has a poor track record.[23]
Usually, the money is wasted on boondoggles like the Carter-era Synfuels program—an
expensive federal program to make motor fuels from coal and other sources that was a
complete failure—while diverting resources away from more useful avenues of
research and development. If past experience with Washington’s attempts to choose alternative
energy winners and losers is any guide, cellulosic ethanol will fall considerably short of
the current hype.


Food and Agricultural Organization, Money -- and patience -- needed for 2nd-generation biofuels,

Next-generation biofuels that are greener than present crop-based fuels are in the works,
but it will take many years, and massive financial support, before they reach the pump,
experts say. Such caveats amount to unfortunate news for the biofuel industry as it seeks to battle its
way out of a storm. The surging price of petrol and diesel from fossil fuels has prompted farmers, notably
in the United States and Brazil, to grow crops such as corn, soy, colza and sugar cane which are then
distilled into the petrol substitute ethanol. Partly in response to this agricultural switch from food to fuel,
the price of dietary staples has blasted skyward this year, worsening hunger among the very poor and in
half a dozen vulnerable countries stoking political instability. Scientists are working hard to
develop second-generation biofuels that would mainly use non-food cellulose materials,
such as straw, wood and timber chips, which would be supplemented by easy-to-grow
fibrous plants. Two techniques -- one biological, the other a combination of heat and chemicals -- are
being used to render this feedstock into biofuels, respectively ethanol or a diesel and kerosene substitute
called BTL (Biomass to Liquids). But the public will have to wait until 2015 for ethanol and
202O for BTL, said Xavier Montagne, deputy scientifique director at the French Institute
for Oil (IFP).

SDI 08-09
No Solvency

1. Cellulosic ethanol is still in the development stage – too early to be called a panacea
Styles 08. (Geoffrey, Managing Director of GSW Strategy Group, LLC, an energy and environmental strategy consulting firm, former
consultant at Texaco Inc., MBA, “Cellulosic One-Upsmanship”, January 31,
In the course of sifting through the various energy proposals from this year's crop of presidential candidates, I've been somewhat
surprised by the reliance several of them have placed on the as-yet unproven technology of cellulosic ethanol. Without taking
anything away from the game-changing potential of advanced biofuels--as distinct from the incremental energy and greenhouse gas
benefits associated with corn ethanol--the 2007 Energy Bill's four-fold expansion of the existing biofuels mandate, to 36 billion
gallons per year by 2022, already looked like a mighty big bet on a still-theoretical source of supply. Suddenly, a figure of 60 billion
gallons per year by 2030 is being bandied about as if it only required the application of some off-the-shelf technology and a bit of
capital. Until the first wave of industrial-scale cellulosic ethanol facilities has been started up, debugged, and thoroughly analyzed, we
should be cautious about which biofuel chickens we count before they have hatched.

2. Large scale production of cellulosic ethanol is not feasible – should be weary of unproven solvency claims
Styles 08. (Geoffrey, Managing Director of GSW Strategy Group, LLC, an energy and environmental strategy consulting firm, former
consultant at Texaco Inc., MBA, “Cellulosic One-Upsmanship”, January 31,
By contrast, the Energy Bill's mandated expansion of cellulosic ethanol and other advanced biofuels takes them from essentially zero
volume today to a target equal to four times the 2007 output of conventional biofuels, within 15 years. Because this is not a simple
extension of existing, proven technology to a new market, no one should regard the achievement of that goal as a slam-dunk.
Consider all of the elements that must come together in order for this to happen:
• Researchers must find efficient, cost-effective and scalable processes for breaking down plant structures
that have evolved for millions of years to resist such digestion.
• These processes must be applied at scales many orders of magnitude greater than in the laboratory, and
ultimately at least comparable to a conventional corn ethanol facility, producing 50-100 million GPY.
• These new facilities must be technically successful, capable of continuous production with high on-stream
availability. They must also be commercially viable, capable of earning a profit for their owners under
expected market conditions.
• Although the quantities of biomass to feed these facilities look feasible, this will require farmers shortly to
begin planting and harvesting new crops such as switchgrass and Miscanthus, with which most will have
had little experience, while navigating the same uncertainties of climate and market that affect other crops.
• The capacity for gathering, storing and transporting harvested biomass must expand significantly, as must
the capacity for shipping ethanol and its co-products to end-markets, increasing the strain on existing road
and rail networks.
We're really describing the creation of an entirely new process industry and agricultural sector within a decade or so. If all of the
above steps can be mastered within the next few years, then it ought to be feasible to grow this new industry fast enough to produce
the targeted 21 billion GPY of biofuel by 2022, assuming its economics (including subsidies) look attractive enough. At the same time,
however, it's not hard to imagine scenarios in which one or more of these elements fails to mature as fast as the others, or worse yet,
stalls. I don't think we can even realistically assess the odds of complete success until we see the first commercial-scale plant
and begin to get a sense for how the various supply networks that must surround it will take shape.

SDI 08-09
No Solvency


Friedemann 7
Alice, systems architect/engineer in the San Francisco Bay Area, BS in Chemistry, Peak Soil,

Few suitable bio-factory sites. Biorefineries can’t be built just anywhere – very few
sites could be found to build switchgrass plants in all of South Dakota (Wu 1998). Much of
the state didn’t have enough water or adequate drainage to build an ethanol factory. The
sites had to be on main roads, near railroad and natural gas lines, out of floodplains, on
parcels of at least 40 acres to provide storage for the residues, have electric power, and
enough biomass nearby to supply the plant year round.


Friedemann 7
Alice, systems architect/engineer in the San Francisco Bay Area, BS in Chemistry, Peak Soil,

Farmers won’t grow switchgrass until there’s a switchgrass plant. Machines to harvest
and transport switchgrass efficiently don’t exist yet (Barrionuevo 2006). The capital to build
switchgrass plants won’t materialize until there are switchgrass farmers. Since "ethanol
production using switchgrass required 50% more fossil energy than the ethanol fuel
produced" (Pimentel 2005), investors for these plants will be hard to find.


Friedemann 7
Alice, systems architect/engineer in the San Francisco Bay Area, BS in Chemistry, Peak Soil,

Harvesting of stover on the scale needed to fuel a cellulosic industry won’t happen
because farmers aren’t stupid, especially the ones who work their own land. Although
there is a wide range of opinion about the amount of residue that can be harvested
safely without causing erosion, loss of soil nutrition, and soil structure, many farmers will
want to be on the safe side, and stick with the studies showing that 20% (Nelson, 2002)
to 30% (McAloon et al., 2000; Sheehan, 2003) at most can be harvested, not the 75%
agribusiness claims is possible. Farmers also care about water quality (Lal 1998, Mann et
al, 2002). And farmers will decide that permanent soil compression is not worth any price
(Wilhelm 2004). As prices of fertilizer inexorably rise due to natural gas depletion, it will
be cheaper to return residues to the soil than to buy fertilizer.

SDI 08-09
AT: Warming Advantage


Paul and Ernsting 7
Helena and Almuth,, Second Generation Biofuels: An Unproven Future Technology with
Unknown Risks, Online

Can second generation biofuels play a role in mitigating climate change?

Any technology which can help to mitigate climate change must
a) Have the potential to become commercially available on a large scale within the next
5-8 years: Unless we begin to reduce global emissions and introduce technologies and policy
measures which can help us shift to a low-carbon society within that period, a mass extinction
event may become unavoidable. [see: “Global temperature change”, James Hansen et al, PNAS 26th
September 2006] ; AND b) Be proven to have the potential for large-scale emissions
reductions, once life-cycle emissions of all greenhouse gases have been considered, not just at the
micro-level, but at the global level. If a technology, directly or indirectly, destroys ecosystems which
play an essential role in the Earth’s carbon cycle, then it risks accelerating, not mitigating global warming.
As we show below, there is evidence that second generation biofuels satisfy neither
of these criteria.

Paul and Ernsting 7
Helena and Almuth,, Second Generation Biofuels: An Unproven Future Technology with
Unknown Risks, Online

Nobody can predict when or if all those scientific breakthroughs will happen. Billions of
dollars are being spent on a technology which clearly will not be available in the crucial
time left to avoid the worst impacts of global warming. The current situation is highly
reminiscent of Gentech (biotech) industry promises for the second generation of GM
crops such as drought and salt resistant crops, which still remain elusive even after many years of
research. These Gentech “futures” have been very important to maintaining interest in Gentechnology. It
is likely that second generation biofuels will suffer from similar delays but will in the
meantime, be used to promote the Gentech agenda.

SDI 08-09
AT: Warming Advantage


-tech isn’t ready
-companies won’t switch
-leads to invasive species
Paul and Ernsting 7
Helena and Almuth,, Second Generation Biofuels: An Unproven Future Technology with
Unknown Risks, Online

Growing millions of hectares of land under perennial crops for bioenergy will put intense
pressure on land both for food production and communities, and for natural ecosystems.
Both in the United States and in the EU, set-asides (called Conservation Reserve Programme in the US),
risk being sacrificed for bioenergy expansion. Those programmes play a major role in reducing
soil erosion and depletion and halting biodiversity declines. There have been suggestions that
biodiverse prairie or meadow grasses could offer the most productive feedstock for
generation biofuels. [see: Tilman, D., Reich, P. B. & Knops, J. M. H. Nature 441, 629–632
(2006).] , and Tilman, D., Reich, P. B., Knops, J., Wedin, D., Mielke, T. & Lehman, C. Science
294, 843–845 (2001)] . There is no doubt that such healthy biodiverse ecosystems contain more
biomass than intensively farmed monocultures. However, the technical hurdles for using such
multiple feedstocks are considerably greater than for using monoculture feedstocks – a mix of
different enzymes will be required to break down the different plant materials effectively, which
will be far more complicated than breaking down one particular feedstock. R&D
investment is very clearly biased in favour of genetically modified monocultures, rather
than native, biodiverse grass mixes, and it seems unlikely that companies would delay
commercializing second generation biofuels in order to wait for more environmentally-
friendly sources of feedstock. Furthermore, most projections for land-requirements assume that per
hectare yields will go up
when, global grain yields have been falling for the past two years and European oilseed rape
yields have been falling for three years now. A recent study by the Carnegie Institute has found
that global grain yields have already been reduced by global warming – a trend which can only
become worse. Falling per-hectare yields will result in more pressure on land to produce the
same amount of agrofuels. Many plants which have been identified as preferred choices
for second generation agrofuels already cause serious environmental harm as
invasive species, such as miscanthus, switch grass, or reed canary grass.

SDI 08-09
AT: Warming Advantage


-leads to wetland devastation
-doesn’t decrease co2 emissions
-increases sun absorption
Friedemann 7
Alice, systems architect/engineer in the San Francisco Bay Area, BS in Chemistry, Peak Soil,

Deforestation of temperate hardwood forests, and conversion of range and wetlands to

grow energy and food crops increases global warming. An average of 2.6 million acres of
crop land were paved over or developed every year between 1982 and 2002 in the USA (NCRS 2004). The
only new crop land is forest, range, or wetland. Rainforest destruction is increasing
global warming. Energy farming is playing a huge role in deforestation, reducing biodiversity,
water and water quality, and increasing soil erosion. Fires to clear land for palm oil plantations are
destroying one of the last great remaining rainforests in Borneo, spewing so much carbon that Indonesia is
third behind the United States and China in releasing greenhouse gases. Orangutans, rhinos, tigers and
thousands of other species may be driven extinct (Monbiot 2005). Borneo palm oil plantation lands have
grown 2,500% since 1984 (Barta 2006). Soybeans cause even more erosion than corn and suffer from all
the same sustainability issues. The Amazon is being destroyed by farmers growing soybeans for food
(National Geographic Jan 2007).and fuel (Olmstead 2006). Biofuel from coal-burning biomass factories
increases global warming (Farrell 2006). Driving a mile on ethanol from a coal-using biorefinery
releases more CO2 than a mile on gasoline (Ward 2007). Coal in ethanol production is seen
as a way to displace petroleum (Farrell 2006, Yacobucci 2006) and it’s already happening
(Clayton 2006). Current and future quantities of biofuels are too minisucle to
affect global warming (ScienceDaily 2007). Surface Albedo. "How much the sun warms our
climate depends on how much sunlight the land reflects (cooling us), versus how much it
absorbs (heating us). A plausible 2% increase in the absorbed sunlight on a switch grass
plantation could negate the climatic cooling benefit of the ethanol produced on it. We
need to figure out now, not later, the full range of climatic consequences of growing
cellulose crops" (Harte 2007).

SDI 08-09
AT: Warming Advantage


Morris 7
David, co-founder and vice president of the Institute for Local Self Reliance in Minneapolis, Minn., and
director of its New Rules project., Give Ethanol a Chance: The Case for Corn-Based Fuel,

Electricity, not biofuels, will be the primary energy source for an oil-free and sustainable
transportation system. But biofuels can play an important role in this future as energy sources for
backup engines that can significantly reduce battery costs and extend driving range. Even when we
move from corn to cellulose, we likely lack sufficient arable land to cultivate enough
biomass to displace more than about 25 percent of our transportation fuels (diesel plus
gasoline). This is not an unimportant amount, but we need to accept that biofuels will not
play the primary role in eliminating our dependence on oil. That role, as I've discussed
in my 2003 report, A Better Way to Get From Here to There, will be played by electricity.

SDI 08-09
AT: Honeybees Advantage


Patzek 6
Tad, professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at UC Berkeley, Why cellulosic ethanol will not save

Much of Proposition 87 is built around this delusionary DOE/USDA vision. In his April 2006 presentation, Mr.
Khosla proclaimed that US would produce 130 billion gallons of ethanol per year from the
imaginary 1.3 billion tons of biomass. Unfortunately, this is impossible regardless of
technology. To arrive at its conclusions, the DOE/USDA report made the following assumptions: 1. Yields of corn, wheat, and other small grains were increased by 50
percent;2. The residue-to-grain ratio for soybeans was increased to 2:1;3. The harvest technology was capable of recovering 75 percent of annual crop residues;4. All cropland
was managed with no-till methods;5. 55 million acres of cropland, idle cropland and cropland pasture were dedicated to the production of perennial bioenergy crops;6. All manure
in excess of that which can applied on-farm for soil improvement under anticipated EPA restrictions was used for biofuel; and7. All other available residues were utilized. If these

assumptions were not so frightening, they would be laughable: 1. The permanent 50 pecent increase of all crop yields is
impossible. The all-time record yield of corn in 2004, 160.1 bushels/acre, was followed by 147.9 bu/acre
in 2005, and an estimated 153 bu/acre in 2006. The real yields have been decreasing instead of jumping
up by 50 percent.2. The 2:1 residue-to-grain ratio for soybeans would require a 45 percent
increase of the current average harvest index of 0.42, and is not quite achievable.3.
Taking most residues from the fields would leave little or no plant matter to protect the
soil from excessive wind and water erosion. The rate of erosion in US agriculture
generally exceeds the rate of soil mineral deposition and humus generation.4. Total no till
agriculture would require astronomical quantities of herbicides and pesticides to kill off
the “spurious” life competing with the resource-greedy, but otherwise delicate hybrid
crop monocultures. Because of the comprehensive loss and poisoning of the natural
environment and imported parasites, the honeybee population declined by 60%
between 1947 and 2005. Honeybees had to be imported from outside North America last
year for the first time since 1922. Bees pollinate an estimated 10-20 billion dollars
worth of crops every year.5. US corn grows on 70 million acres. Dedicating 55 million acres
to switchgrass would eliminate plenty of other crops. The total area of the soil Conservation
Reserve Program (CRP) in the US is a modest 34 million acres.6. The EPA requirements are perceived as
restrictions. In other words, a modicum of conservation is viewed as an obstacle to feeding
our thirsty cars and all remaining land (see Item 5) must go.7. To utilize all residues, I
suggest to also process fresh corpses into biofuels. One simply cannot remove biomass
and nutrients from an ecosystem without putting these nutrients back, protecting the soil
structure, and suffering from lower yields in later crop rotations in industrial plantations.
The high heating value (HHV) of 1.3 billion tons of biomass is roughly 22 EJ; and the HHV of 130 billion gallons of ethanol is 11.4 EJ. The fictitious DOE energy efficiency of

If one
converting biomass to ethanol, 11.4/22 = 0.52, corresponds to Fischer-Tropsch synthesis and is two times higher than efficiency of the current corn-ethanol process.

were to produce cellulosic ethanol with a 26% efficiency, one would have to use all
above-ground biomass of all US crops, pastureland and rangeland, and annual biomass
growth over 2/3 of all US forestland and timber plantations.

SDI 08-09
AT: Food Price Advantage

Cohen 8
Roger, April, Bring on the Right Biofuels, New York Times, Lexis

Before I get to that,some myths need dispelling. If Asian rice prices are soaring, along with
the global prices of wheat and maize, it's not principally because John Doe in Iowa or Jean
Dupont in Picardy has decided to turn yummy corn and beet into un-yummy ethanol
feedstock. Much larger trends are at work. They dwarf the still tiny biofuel industry
(roughly a $40 billion annual business, or the equivalent of Exxon Mobil's $40.6 billion profits in 2007). I
refer to the rise of more than one-third of humanity in China and India, the disintegrating
dollar and soaring oil prices. Hundreds of millions of people have moved from poverty
into the global economy over the past decade in Asia. They're eating twice a day, instead
of once, and propelling rapid urbanization. Their demand for food staples and once
unthinkable luxuries like meat is pushing up prices. At the same time, the rising price of
commodities over the past year has largely tracked the declining parity of the
beleaguered dollar. Rice prices have shot up in dollar terms, far less against the euro.
Countries like China are offloading depreciating dollar reserves to hoard stores of value like
commodities. Food price increases are also tied to oil being nearly $120 a barrel. Fossil
fuels are an important input in everything from fertilizer to diesel for tractors.


Krugman 8
Paul, Columnist, New York Times, Lexis

First, there's the march of the meat-eating Chinese -- that is, the growing number of
people in emerging economies who are, for the first time, rich enough to start eating like
Westerners. Since it takes about 700 calories' worth of animal feed to produce a 100-
calorie piece of beef, this change in diet increases the overall demand for grains.
Second, there's the price of oil. Modern farming is highly energy-intensive: a lot of
B.T.U.'s go into producing fertilizer, running tractors and, not least, transporting farm products to
consumers. With oil persistently above $100 per barrel, energy costs have become a major factor driving
up agricultural costs. High oil prices, by the way, also have a lot to do with the growth of China and other
emerging economies. Directly and indirectly, these rising economic powers are competing with
the rest of us for scarce resources, including oil and farmland, driving up prices for raw
materials of all sorts. Third, there has been a run of bad weather in key growing areas.
In particular, Australia, normally the world's second-largest wheat exporter, has been
suffering from an epic drought.

SDI 08-09
AT: Honeybees Advantage – Alt Caus


Mail on Sunday (London). Byline: Vince Cable. “BEEMERGENCY! A Mystery Plague Threatens
Britain’s bees. The result could be worse than foot and mouth. So why, demands the Lib Dem politician and
bee enthusiast, is the Government cutting research budgets. FB pg. 27. 6/1/2008. Accessed from Lexis

Honey bees are also in a battle for survival with parasites. Professional beekeepers
transport their hives across country - which contributes to the spread of parasites such
as varroa. This leeching mite has virtually destroyed the wild honey bee population. It
activates lethal viruses which it carries from bee to bee as it feeds on their blood. It is
like a dirty syringe spreading HIV and is probably causing more damage than foot-and-
mouth disease. But bees, unlike livestock, do not have powerful commercial interests to
support them. As a result, a vital link in the natural chain that makes these islands what
they are could vanish. Three native bumblebee species have already disappeared and
seven more are at serious risk. Our crops are under threat and any further decline would
seriously damage the rural economy. Clovers and vetches - which play a key role in keeping
soil fertile - and some rare plants may disappear and, according to some experts, are doing
so already. The result would be catastrophic for the future of farming itself.
Stress, malnutrition, pesticides, or a combination of all 3

The West Australian (Perth). “Pay TV; TV News” pg. 5. 2/29/2008. Lexis.

Silence of the Bees, National Geographic, Sunday, 7.30pm (EST) If global warming is raising a sweat then
be warned, there is another threat to the wellbeing of all mankind - the bees are disappearing. That
humble little insect pollinates a third of the food we eat daily but the really scary thing is that a condition
called colony collapse disorder is wiping out hives. The biggest losses have been in the US but other
countries have also been affected. No one knows quite why but many are trying to find out. The theory
that bees were affected by mobile phones has been discounted. But other possibilities include stress from
hives being moved to pollinate a variety of crops, bees being forced to eat just one type of nectar that
could cause malnutrition, the varroa destructor mite, or a virus. Or a combination of everything. If an
answer isnt found, the bee could be extinct in the US by 2035.

SDI 08-09
AT: Honeybees Advantage – Alt Caus

Disease, parasites, and weather.

The Times (London) . “Disease, parasites and bad weather blamed for declining bees”. Home News pg. 33. 5/3/2008. Lexis

YORK There are signs that there have been "significant losses" in bee colonies this year, the Department for Environment, Food and
Rural Affairs (Defra) said. Investigations by the National Bee Unit, which has monitored bee colony losses since last year, are being
given priority because of concerns about high death rates. Bees play an important role in agriculture, with the value of commercial
crops that benefit from bee pollination estimated at £ 100million to £ 200million a year. The honey industry is worth beween £
10million and £ 30million. But bee populations face a growing number of threats, including pests and diseases such as the varroa
mite. In 2007 high losses in Britain of about 18 per cent were thought to be the result of inadequate management of hives in coping
with varroa, poor husbandry and high levels of parasites and viruses. This year survival could be affected by last year's wet summer.
Beekeepers who experience significant colony losses are being urged to contact their local bee inspector to arrange a visit. If no
immediate explanation for the loss can be found on site, samples will be sent to the National Bee Unit for testing, Defra said.

Cultural practices

Benjamin P. Oldroyd, Behaviour and Genetics of Social Insects Laboratory, School of Biological Sciences, University of Sydney. “What’s
Killing American Honeybees?”. PLoS Biology. June 12, 2007. Google Scholar.

The honey price is currently depressed. Urbanization and more intensive agricultural practices are reducing honey yields nation wide.
These twin factors lead many beekeepers to seek alternative income streams beyond honey production. Chief among these is the
leasing of colonies for pollination, particularly almond pollination—a crop that is totally dependent on honey bee pollination. Many
crops cause nutritional stress to the bees, or the transport or staging of colonies in holding yards may cause stress. When bees are
moved out of these crops, they must feed on high quality pollen to restore body protein levels. This can be achieved by trucking the
bees to a location with excellent floral resources or by feeding them. Presumably this is not always done. Anecdotal evidence
suggests that CCD is more common in businesses in which bees are trucked large distances and rented for pollination. Bees also
need to feed on high-quality pollen in fall in order to produce long-lived bees that can survive winter [52]. In the US, goldenrod
(Solidago virgaurea) is very important in this regard, and the flowering was poor in 2006 in the northeast. Perhaps this contributed to
CCD in the following spring.

SDI 08-09
AT: Biodiversity Advantage


Paul and Ernsting 7
Helena and Almuth,, Second Generation Biofuels: An Unproven Future Technology with
Unknown Risks, Online

Cellulosic ethanol is not close to becoming commercially available, and faces technical
barriers which may not be overcome in the foreseeable future. Much of the cellulosic ethanol
R&D investment is going into genetic engineering, without any risk assessment having
been done. Fischer-Tropsch biodiesel faces different serious technological hurdles, and R&D in that
technology might inadvertently aid greater consumption of coal. There has been no assessment
of the consequences of using large amounts of biomass from so-called ‘plant waste’,
from tree plantations, or from perennial crop plantations on food production, on
ecosystems, global greenhouse gas emissions, soil fertility or water supplies. This means
that there is no evidence that large-scale second-generation biofuels would be either
sustainable or climate-friendly.

Food and Agricultural Organization, Money -- and patience -- needed for 2nd-generation biofuels,

"We will still have to use land to grow the feedstock for the biofuels, and this means
there could be competition with farmland," said Roy. Using virgin land to grow biofuels can
raise big environmental concerns, and not just in the impact on biodiversity, said Bal. One
argument made for biofuels is that they contribute less carbon dioxide (CO2) to the
atmosphere than oil, gas and coal, which have been dug out of the ground. But this
equation changes if the soil being used to grow crops is virgin. "Using prairie land, or
worse, destroying a forest, releases considerable quantities of CO2 that have been
stored in the soil and the trees, and the outcome could be catastrophic," said Bal.
Cautioned Roy: "Even if we find the Holy Grail, biofuels will not replace oil. At best, they will
be part of the range of options to diversify energy supplies."

SDI 08-09
AT: Oil Advantage

1. No internal link – biofuel can’t offset oil demand

Styles 08. (Geoffrey, Managing Director of GSW Strategy Group, LLC, an energy and environmental strategy consulting firm, former
consultant at Texaco Inc., MBA, “Energy and the Economy”, January 22,
How might oil revert to $50 per barrel this year? We can rule out the influence of alternative energy, in the short run. Biofuels output
can't grow fast enough to make that kind of dent in demand. I also doubt we can convince OPEC to open their taps wide; they are
unlikely to see that as being in their best interest, unless they thought it was the only option for preventing a global collapse that would
shrink their revenues even more. That leaves speculation and demand. There's no consensus on how much of the current oil price is
attributable to speculation. As the yields on other asset classes drop, are speculators more or less likely to invest in oil commodities?
And how many of them will need to liquidate commodity holdings to cover losses on other positions? Even if the contribution of
speculation dropped by $10 per barrel, we're still only talking about roughly $20 per month per household.

2. High oil prices not responsible for economic decline -- they’re a lagging factor and it’s not reverse causal
Styles 08. (Geoffrey, Managing Director of GSW Strategy Group, LLC, an energy and environmental strategy consulting firm, former
consultant at Texaco Inc., MBA, “Energy and the Economy”, January 22,
Although oil prices have contributed to the current crisis, they didn't cause it. While oil prices will likely fall, if the US goes into
recession and the global economy contracts, that by itself won't do much to restore the economy to sound health. Oil looks like a
lagging, rather than leading indicator, here, and we need to turn elsewhere to solve the financial mess that has resulted from the
popping of the US housing bubble and the debt problem that has created. Later this week I'll take a look at what this might mean for
alternative energy.

SDI 08-09
AT: Oil Advantage


Friedemann 7
Alice, systems architect/engineer in the San Francisco Bay Area, BS in Chemistry, Peak Soil,

The government believes there is a billion tons of biomass "waste" to make cellulosic
biofuels, chemicals, and generate electricity with. The United States lost 52 million acres of cropland
between 1982 and 2002 (NCRS 2004). At that rate, all of the cropland will be gone in 140 years. There
isn’t enough biomass to replace 30% of our petroleum use. The potential biomass energy
is miniscule compared to the fossil fuel energy we consume every year, about 105 exa joules
(EJ) in the USA. If you burned every living plant and its roots, you’d have 94 EJ of energy and we could all
pretend we lived on Mars. Most of this 94 EJ of biomass is already being used for food and feed crops, and
wood for paper and homes. Sparse vegetation and the 30 EJ in root systems are economically unavailable –
leaving only a small amount of biomass unspoken for (Patzek June 2006). Over 25% of the "waste"
biomass is expected to come from 280 million tons of corn stover. Stover is what’s left after
the corn grain is harvested. Another 120 million tons will come from soy and cereal straw (DOE Feedstock
Roadmap, DOE Biomass Plan). There isn’t enough no-till corn stover to harvest. The success of
biofuels depends on corn residues. About 80% of farmers disk corn stover into the land after harvest. That
renders it useless -- the crop residue is buried in mud and decomposing rapidly. Only the 20
percent of farmers who farm no-till will have stover to sell. The DOE Billion Ton vision
assumes all farmers are no-till, 75% of residues will be harvested, and fantasizes corn and wheat yields
50% higher than now are reached (DOE Billion Ton Vision 2005). Many tons will never be available
because farmers won’t sell any, or much of their residue (certainly not 75%). Many more
tons will be lost due to drought, rain, or loss in storage. Sustainable harvesting of plants is only
1/200th at best. Plants can only fix a tiny part of solar energy into plant matter every year -- about one-
tenth to one-half of one percent new growth in temperate climates. To prevent erosion, you could
only harvest 51 million tons of corn and wheat residues, not 400 million tons (Nelson,
2002). Other factors, like soil structure, soil compression, water depletion, and environmental damage
weren’t considered. Fifty one million tons of residue could make about 3.8 billion gallons of ethanol, less
than 1% of our energy needs. Using corn stover is a problem, because corn, soy, and
other row crops cause 50 times more soil erosion than sod crops (Sullivan 2004) or
more (Al-Kaisi 2000), and corn also uses more water, insecticides and fertilizers than most
crops (Pimentel 2003). The amount of soy and cereal straw (wheat, oats, etc) is insignificant. It would
be best to use cereal grain straw, because grains use far less water and cause far less
erosion than row crops like corn and soybeans. But that isn’t going to happen, because
the green revolution fed billions more people by shortening grain height so that plant energy
went into the edible seed, leaving little straw for biofuels. Often 90% of soybean and cereal straw
is grown no-till, but the amount of cereal straw is insignificant and the soybean residues
must remain on the field to prevent erosion

SDI 08-09
Soil DA

Friedemann 7
Alice, systems architect/engineer in the San Francisco Bay Area, BS in Chemistry, Peak Soil,

With every step required to transform a fuel into energy, there is less and less energy
yield. For example, to make ethanol from corn grain, which is how all U.S. ethanol is made now, corn is
first grown to develop hybrid seeds, which next season are planted, harvested, delivered, stored, and
preprocessed to remove dirt. Dry-mill ethanol is milled, liquefied, heated, saccharified, fermented,
evaporated, centrifuged, distilled, scrubbed, dried, stored, and transported to customers (McAloon 2000).
Fertile soil will be destroyed if crops and other "wastes" are removed to make
cellulosic ethanol. "We stand, in most places on earth, only six inches from desolation,
for that is the thickness of the topsoil layer upon which the entire life of the planet
depends" (Sampson 1981). Loss of topsoil has been a major factor in the fall of
civilizations (Sundquist 2005 Chapter 3, Lowdermilk 1953, Perlin 1991, Ponting 1993). You end up
with a country like Iraq, formerly Mesopotamia, where 75% of the farm land became a
salty desert. Fuels from biomass are not sustainable, are ecologically destructive, have a
net energy loss, and there isn’t enough biomass in America to make significant amounts
of energy because essential inputs like water, land, fossil fuels, and phosphate ores are


Friedemann 7
Alice, systems architect/engineer in the San Francisco Bay Area, BS in Chemistry, Peak Soil,

"I have no idea why soil scientists aren't questioning corn and cellulosic ethanol plans. Quite
frankly I’m not sure that our society has had any sort of reasonable debate about this with all the facts laid out. When you see that even if all of the corn was converted to ethanol
and that would not provide more than 20% of our current liquid fuel use, it certainly makes me wonder, even before considering the conversion efficiency, soil loss, water

"Biomass production is not sustainable. Only business men and women in

contamination, food price problems, etc."_

the refinery business believe it is." _ "Should we be using our best crop land to grow gasohol
and contribute further to global warming? What will our children grow their food on?"_ "As agricultural scientists, we are programmed to
make farmers profitable, and therefore profits are at the top of the list, and not soil, family, or environmental sustainability"._ "Government policy since WWII has been to
encourage overproduction to keep food prices down (people with full bellies don't revolt or object too much). It's hard to make a living farming commodities when the selling price
is always at or below the break even point. Farmers have had to get bigger and bigger to make ends meet since the margins keep getting thinner and thinner. We have sacrificed
our family farms in the name of cheap food. When farmers stand to make few bucks (as with biofuels) agricultural scientists tend to look the other way"._ "You are quite correct in
your concern that soil science should be factored into decisions about biofuel production. Unfortunately, we soil scientists have missed the boat on the importance of soil

This is not a new debate. Here’s

management to the sustainability of biomass production, and the long-term impact for soil productivity."

what scientists had to say decades ago: Removing "crop residues…would rob
organic matter that is vital to the maintenance of soil fertility and tilth, leading to
disastrous soil erosion levels. Not considered is the importance of plant residues as a primary source
of energy for soil microbial activity. The most prudent course, clearly, is to continue to recycle
most crop residues back into the soil, where they are vital in keeping organic matter
levels high enough to make the soil more open to air and water, more resistant to soil
erosion, and more productive" (Sampson 1981). "…Massive alcohol production from our
farms is an immoral use of our soils since it rapidly promotes their wasting away. We
must save these soils for an oil-less future" (Jackson 1980).

SDI 08-09
Soil DA – Link


Loris and Fraser 7
Nicolas Loris is a Research Assistant in, and Alison Acosta Fraser is Director of, the Thomas A. Roe Institute
for Economic Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation, Ethanol Loses Ground at U.N. Climate Conference:
Congress Should Rethink Energy Bill Mandate, The Heritage Foundation

the next generation of biofuels may be as

In fact,
environmentally damaging as the first. A Competi-
tive Enterprise Institute study released in June 2007
reported that no manufacturing plants exist that are
capable of producing mass amounts of cellulosic
ethanol. Plants can only produce enough for dem-
onstration purposes. Additionally, distinguished
agriculturalists are reluctant to endorse second-gen-
eration biofuels because of the adverse ecological
effects. 7
They claim that only a portion of crop res-
idue can be removed from fields to produce cellulo-
sic ethanol, because that residue is imperative to
recycling organic matter, retaining moisture, and
preventing soil erosion on farms. Furthermore,
according to an Iowa State study, switchgrass will
not have the ability to compete with corn for the
production of ethanol. 8
It does not bode well for the
industry that the only wayfor corn-produced etha-
nol to be competitive is through preferential treat-
ment from Washington.

SDI 08-09
Soil DA – Fertilizer Link


Friedemann 7
Alice, systems architect/engineer in the San Francisco Bay Area, BS in Chemistry, Peak Soil,

When you take out more nutrients and organic matter from the soil than you put back in,
you are "mining" the topsoil. The organic matter is especially important, since that’s
what prevents erosion, improves soil structure, health, water retention, and gives the
next crop its nutrition. Modern agriculture only addresses the nutritional component by adding fossil-
fuel based fertilizers, and because the soil is unhealthy from a lack of organic matter, copes with insects
and disease with oil-based pesticides. "Fertilizer energy" is 28% of the energy used in
agriculture (Heller, 2000). Fertilizer uses natural gas both as a feedstock and the source of
energy to create the high temperatures and pressures necessary to coax inert nitrogen
out of the air (nitrogen is often the limiting factor in crop production). This is known as the Haber-Bosch
process, and it’s a big part of the green revolution that made it possible for the world’s population to grow
from half a billion to 6.5 billion today (Smil 2000, Fisher 2001). Our national security is at risk as we
become dependent on unstable foreign states to provide us with increasingly expensive
fertilizer. Between 1995 and 2005 we increased our fertilizer imports by more than 148% for Anhydrous
Ammonia, 93% for Urea (solid), and 349 % of other nitrogen fertilizers (USDA ERS). Removing crop
residues will require large amounts of imported fertilizer from potential cartels, potentially so expensive
farmers won’t sell crops and residues for biofuels. Improve national security and topsoil by
returning residues to the land as fertilizer. We are vulnerable to high-priced fertilizer
imports or "food for oil", which would greatly increase the cost of food for Americans.
Agriculture competes with homes and industry for fast depleting North American natural gas. Natural gas
price increases have already caused over 280,000 job losses (Gerard 2006). Natural gas is also used for
heating and cooking in over half our homes, generates 15% of electricity, and is a feedstock for thousands
of products.
Return crop residues to the soil to provide organic fertilizer, don’t increase the need for
natural gas fertilizers by removing crop residues to make cellulosic biofuels.

SDI 08-09
Soil DA – Turns Warming


Friedemann 7
Alice, systems architect/engineer in the San Francisco Bay Area, BS in Chemistry, Peak Soil,

Soils contain twice the amount of carbon found in the atmosphere, and three times more
carbon than is stored in all the Earth’s vegetation (Jones 2006). Climate change could increase
soil loss by 33% to 274%, depending on the region (O'Neal 2005). Intensive agriculture has already
removed 20 to 50% of the original soil carbon, and some areas have lost 70%. To
maintain soil C levels, no crop residues at all could be harvested under many tillage
systems or on highly erodible lands, and none to a small percent on no-till, depending on
crop production levels (Johnson 2006).

SDI 08-09
Soil DA – Water MPX


Friedemann 7
Alice, systems architect/engineer in the San Francisco Bay Area, BS in Chemistry, Peak Soil,

Soil erosion is a serious source of water pollution, since it causes runoff of sediments,
nutrients, salts, eutrophication, and chemicals that have had no chance to decompose
into streams. This increases water treatment costs, increases health costs, kills fish with
insecticides that work their way up the food chain (Troeh 2005). Ethanol plants pollute
water. They generate 13 liters of wastewater for every liter of ethanol produced (Pimentel
March 2005)

SDI 08-09
Soil MPX


Horne 1
James, PhD, The Next Green Revolution: Essential Steps to a Healthy, Sustainable Agriculture, Google Book

SDI 08-09
Free Enterprise Turn


Loris and Fraser 7
Nicolas Loris is a Research Assistant in, and Alison Acosta Fraser is Director of, the Thomas A. Roe Institute
for Economic Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation, Ethanol Loses Ground at U.N. Climate Conference:
Congress Should Rethink Energy Bill Mandate, The Heritage Foundation

Still in its infancy, the production of second-gen-

eration biofuels remains a tentative bet. Congress
should not make the same mistake it made with
first-generation biofuels by hastily subsidizing the
industry through mandates and other government
preferences without fully measuring the costs and
benefits. If biofuels are to succeed as a competitive
fuel source, congressional legislation should not be
necessary to mandate its production. Moreover,
Congress should not force specific technologies on
Americans, especially if they are unproven technolo-
gies. Instead, Congress should unleash the power
of free enterprise, letting researchers and the mar-
kets discover the best new viable alternatives

SDI 08-09
Free Enterprise Turn


Edwards 7
Chris Edwards, Director of Tax Policy Studies, Cato Institute, May 24 2007, before the Senate Committee on
Finance, Subcommittee on Energy, Natural Resources, and Infrastructure, CATO Institute, Accessed April 8

Current federal tax incentives for energy and conservation are not large. Total income tax
expenditures for these items are valued at just $7 billion in 2007.9 That represents just 0.3
percent of total federal revenues. Thus, the discussion about tax incentives for energy and
conservation is not a discussion about how high federal taxes ought to be. Instead, the
important issue for policymakers is to consider the sort of tax code that America ought to
have. Should we have a tax code that treats families and businesses as equally as
possible? Or should we have a tax code full of special provisions that treat people differently
as Congress micromanages family and business decisions? I favor the former. After all, equality under
the law is a bedrock American principle. Proponents of tax incentives no doubt think that
their favored activities deserve special attention. Many energy and environmental analysts argue
that federal tax policies should be used to fix "externalities" in energy markets. But such
an approach risks opening a Pandora's box of widespread social engineering
through the code.

SDI 08-09
Plan Popular


Business Wire 7
BIO Calls for Federal Investment in Ethanol from Cellulose, Lexis

The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) today urged the Senate Energy and Natural
Resources Committee to commit to significantly reducing the cost of ethanol from
cellulose by helping fund research and incentives for commercialization. "We are going to miss
a big opportunity to bring biofuels to the pump within the next few years if we do not fund the necessary
research into applied fundamentals, at both laboratory and commercial-scale facilities," said Brent
Erickson, executive vice president of BIO's Industrial & Environmental Section. "There is great public
support for doing more to make biofuels a realistic replacement for gasoline in the near
future," Erickson continued. According to a survey conducted in October by Harris Interactive([R]) on
behalf of BIO, four in five U.S. adults (80%) agree that national and state governments are
not doing enough to promote production of biofuels - fuels made from agricultural crops or plant
matter. Further, 82 percent of adults say national and state governments should provide
financial incentives to biofuels producers to encourage the production and availability of biofuels.
More than two out of three adults (69%) would use American-made biofuels even if these fuels cost slightly
more than conventional gas. The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee's Biofuels
Transportation Conference today is examining the research and infrastructure development needed to
bring new biofuels to market.