The Instigator
Subutai
Pro (for)
Winning
11 Points
The Contender
Citrakayah
Con (against)
Losing
6 Points

Climate Change Is Not an Imminent Danger

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 4 votes the winner is...
Subutai
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/5/2013 Category: Science
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,897 times Debate No: 32141
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (9)
Votes (4)

 

Subutai

Pro

Due to many problems posting arguments for the last debate, Citrakayah and I have decided to restart the debate in order to iron out the structural problems of this debate and because the computer deleted my argument. I extend my opponent the best of luck.

Full Resolution

Climate change is not an imminent danger to the general wellbeing of this planet. I will be arguing for this resolution.

BoP is shared.

Definitions

Climate Change: "...a long-term change in the statistical distribution of weather patterns over periods of time that range from decades to millions of years."[1]

Imminent: "Liable to happen soon; impending ."[2]

Danger: "The state of being vulnerable to injury or loss; risk."[3]

Basically, the resolution is that climate change will not significantly damage the earth in the next century or two.

Rules

1. The first round is for acceptance.
2. A forfeit or concession is not allowed.
3. No semantics, trolling, or lawyering.
4. All arguments must be visible inside this debate. Sources may be posted in an outside link.
5. Debate resolution, definitions, rules, and structure cannot be changed without asking in the comments before you post your round 1 argument. Debate resolution, definitions, rules, and structure cannot be changed in the middle of the debate.

Voters, in the case of the breaking of any of these rules by either debater, all seven points in voting should be given to the other person.

Debate Structure

Round 1: Acceptance
Round 2: Presenting all arguments (no rebuttals by pro)
Round 3: Refutation of opponent's arguments (no new arguments)
Round 4: Defending your original arguments and conclusion (no new arguments)

Sources

[1]: http://www.ensaa.eu...
[2]: http://www.thefreedictionary.com...
[3]: http://www.thefreedictionary.com...
Citrakayah

Con

I accept, and wish the best of luck to my opponent.
Debate Round No. 1
Subutai

Pro

I would like to thank Citrakayah for accepting this debate.

I. Natural Factors Point to Little or No Change In The Climate

I.A. The Sun

The sun is the main driver of the global climate. The level of activity from the sun correlates with the average global temperature. The sun is currently decreasing in activity, meaning that the warming of the 1970s-1990s will soon be erased.

"Changes in the Sun can account for major climate changes on Earth for the past 300 years, including part of the recent surge of global warming."[1] The sun can account for most of the warming experienced over the past century, and correlates well with the rising and falling of temperatures when compared to 20th century temperatures:


Considers the correlation between temperature and solar activity.
[2]

I.A.1. Solar Flux Predictions

Solar activity has been declining for a little over a decade and will continue to do so for at least the foreseeable future. "'Normally, the conveyor belt moves about 1 meter per second—walking pace,' says Hathaway, 'That's how it has been since the late 19th century.' In recent years, however, the belt has decelerated to 0.75 m/s in the north and 0.35 m/s in the south. 'We've never seen speeds so low.'"[19] This means that solar activity has been declining recently. The next solar cycle, number 25, is projected to be one of the lowest in centuries.[19] "Storms from the sun are expected to build to a peak in 2013 or so, but after that, the long-range indicators are pointing to an extended period of low activity — or even hibernation."[3] In fact, we are already beginning to experience this lowered solar activity.[5][6]

This graph illustrates the recent decline in solar activity. Note the downward trend in solar activity overtime:



[4]

With solar activity leveling off, temperatures will go back down to normal. In addition, there will be fewer hazardous rays coming from the sun and fewer solar storms, meaning fewer disruptions to the satellite systems we rely on so heavily.

I.A.2. Cosmic Ray Flux

With decreased solar activity, there is increased cosmic ray penetration of the Earth's atmosphere. Cosmic rays are inversely proportional to solar activity and proportional to cloud cover; and greater cloud cover means cooler temperatures.[19][10][11]

I.A.3. Ocean Currents

Ocean currents are the main internal drivers of the global climate. They have an R-squared correlation of 0.83, which is pretty significant (the highest score is 1).[7] Here is a chart showing ocean current's correlation to temperatures:




[7]

The sun is the main driver of ocean current temperatures, "This [solar activity] is the single most important cause [of ocean currents and their temperatures]. The Sun provides the bulk of the energy which drives the circulation of water in the oceans, either directly or indirectly (through winds). The uneven distribution of solar energy across the globe (highest at the equator, decreasing towards the poles) produces an uneven heating of water in the ocean."[20] When plotted together, solar activity and ocean current activity correlate well (notice the decline in solar activity after WWII, and the subsequent fall in ocean current activity around the same time).[2][7][8]

Ocean currents, because of the sun's cooling and because of its natural three-decade cycles of warm and cool, ocean currents are projected to cool down further than today and to continue that pattern for at least another few decades. "Because PDO cycles last 25 to 30 years, Easterbrook expects the cooling trend to continue for another 2 decades or so."[9] Here is a graph showing ocean current's temperatures since 1900:


[8]

Note how all three currents are experiencing decreasing temperature trends, which, due to their current short duration, should continue for at least two more decades, and then another few decades to get back (possibly) to a peak.

With decreased solar activity causing lower ocean current temperatures, the Earth will cool somewhat over at least the next few decades, albeit it shouldn't be that much. The climate will stay around normal.

I.B. The 1500-Year Cycle

There exists a 1500-year climatic cycle of peak-trough-peak (or vice versa) temperature cycles. "Through at least the last million years, a moderate 1500-year warm-cold cycle has been superimposed over the longer, stronger Ice Ages and warm interglacials."[12]

Here is an illustration of this cycle:



[13]

This warm trend is projected to continue for around a few more centuries, and then the cycle will flip into a cold pattern.[12] This warm period will help counterbalance some of the effects of a diminishing sun. As solar activity does its ups and downs, the counterbalance between the Earth and the Sun will help keep Earth's climate systems in check.

The various natural factors contributed by solar activity and the Earth's 1500-year cycle point to an insignificant change in the Earth's climate. Temperatures should not be much higher or lower than they usually are on average over the next few centuries. While the sun is cooling, the Earth will continue to heat the planet somewhat until solar activity returns and we have another temperature rise. It's a rise-and-fall situation.

II. Positive Effects of the Current Interglacial and Warm Period

A moderately warm period is better than a cold period. If the temperature is not too warm, a warm climate can have positive effects on both the Earth as a whole and on everyone.

II.A. Health Effects

In moderation, warm temperatures are better for the body than cold temperatures. People cannot get enough heat, infections are rampant, and hospital admissions will rise in the cold. From 1979 to 1997, extreme cold killed roughly twice as many Americans as heat waves [coincidentally when the Earth was heating up].[14][12] In Germany, heat waves were found to reduce overall mortality rates slightly, while cold spells led to a significant increase in deaths.[15][12] In addition, warmer weather decreases incidences of strokes, respiratory diseases, and the flu.[12]

In general, life expectancies are higher in warmer climates, and there are fewer incidences of disease and other health problems. A warm period would be beneficial to human health.

II.B. Economic Benefits

Some of the major industrial sectors, particularly agriculture, tend to work better in a warmer environment than they do in a cooler environment. "The book [The Impact of Climate Change] finds that a moderate warming will have a positive economic impact on the agriculture and forestry sectors. Since carbon dioxide is used by plants to capture and store energy, there may be a fertilizing effect as levels of the gas rise. This, combined with longer growing seasons, fewer frosts and more precipitation, among other factors, could benefit some economic sectors."[16][17]

CO2 increases, a byproduct of temperature increases ([12]), naturally help to stimulate plant growth as well, further helping agriculture. "For a 300 ppm increase in the atmosphere's CO2 concentration above the planet's current base level of slightly less than 400 ppm, for example, the productivity of earth's herbaceous plants rises by something on the order of 30%, while the productivity of its woody plants rises by something on the order of 50%."[18][21]

This further helps humans by increasing food yields, lowering rates of starvation and hunger.

Conclusion

There should be an insignificant change in the climate over the next couple of centuries as the sun continues its cycles and the Earth is in a moderately warm period. In the short term, the major factors in the climate show a decrease in temperature, but the long term shows a stabilization of temperatures to a reasonably warm level. This increases humans' life expectancies and increases crop yields, reducing the incidence of hunger, thereby further aiding in the increases in life expectancies. There is no rational reason to worry about the climate going off the deep end in the near future. On the contrary, our current climatic state seems to be helping us.

Sources

http://tny.cz...
Citrakayah

Con

A Note: My arguments, which I started constructing before my opponent posted his round, have been based on the assumption that global warming is happening. If my opponent wishes to dispute this, I’ll argue that in Round 3, and it may be my main thrust of that round.

I’d like to begin by noting that this debate doesn’t really hinge that much on who, or what, is causing global warming.


C1: Public Health

Many disease-carrying organisms can live only in areas with specific temperatures. For example, dengue fever is spread by (primarily) the mosquito Aedes aegypti, and lower temperatures limit disease transmission—this is because freezing temperatures kill overwinter larvae and eggs, size is reduced in warmer regions (making them have to feed more frequently to develop their eggs), and shorter incupation period for the virus (dengue type-2 has a period of twelve days at 30 C, but only has a period of seven days at 32-35 C).[1] All of these mean that warming temperatures would cause a significant increase in disease transmission.

Dengue fever has no vaccine against it, and can be dangerous to certain groups (for instance, young children).[2] As many people in the South are uninsured[3], and the fever would be expanding its range into the South, we can reasonably conclude that dengue fever would cause significant problems due to global warming. The same can be said of yellow fever[4].

Heat waves also pose a danger. Despite the fact that cold snaps might be reduced in frequency, the evidence indicates it won’t make up for increased deaths due to heat waves[5]. In part this is because extreme heat behaves differently than extreme cold, because it is more difficult to adapt to extreme heat.


C2: Sea Level Rise:

Sea level rise could potentially be very dangerous. Aside from the fact that nations like Tuvalu are at risk of partially submerging[6], there is a general risk of hundreds of millions of people in the developing world being displaced by sea level rise[7].


C3: Oceanic Acidification:

As carbon dioxide levels rise, the ocean will absorb carbon dioxide. This in turn will acidify the ocean, which will cause organisms that use calcium carbonate to build their shells to have problems doing so[8]. Sea stars also have severe impacts inflicted on them (a drop of pH of .2 to .4 causes only .1% of a species of temperature brittle star larva to survive), as would squid (including commercially important species)[9]. Aside from the harmful effects on sea life (since we aren’t only talking about humans here), this damages coral reefs, and coral reefs are a useful source of tourist-related revenue[10]. Ergo we can reasonably conclude that ocean acidification will harm the economy of some areas.



C4: Cloud Forests:

Mountains have climates that vary based on elevation. For instance, the bottom might be forest, and the top might be an icecap. Cloud forests follow this pattern; the temperature depends on elevation.

Plant and animal species in cloud forests rely on specific temperatures and humidity levels. In fact, the cloud forests of Costa Rica and the Andes have been rising over time—as the climate warms, the preferable temperature area moves upwards, resulting in the preferable elevation moving upwards. As a result, species have to move upwards—plants, for example, will have to move an average of 2600 feet to remain in equilibrium with climate, and they’ll have to do that by 2100 (based on 2006 statistics). In the Monteverde cloud forest, this may be already happening. Dry seasons are longer (since the mid-1070s) and this has coincided with some local extinctions (a few amphibian species, for instance)[11][12].

  1. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/03/980310081157.htm
  2. www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dengue_fever#Predisposition
  3. www.huffington.post.com/2012/08/30/states-uninsured-residents_n_1844346.html
  4. http://www.decvar.org......
  5. http://oem.bmj.com......
  6. http://www.skepticalscience.com......
  7. http://econ.worldbank.org......
  8. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov......
  9. http://www.scientificamerican.com......
  10. http://oceanservice.noaa.gov......
  11. http://news.stanford.edu......
  12. http://www.smithsonianmag.com......
Debate Round No. 2
Subutai

Pro

I would like tothank Citrakayah for presenting his arguments. Before I begin my rebuttals, I would like to confirm that I deny the existance of short-term (i.e. right now) global warming. (NOTE: Unfortunately, the graphs feature won't work. Please see: http://www.debate.org... and look at the last five pictures (numbers are in order))

I. Public Health

My opponent is working on a hypothetical here – that just because global warming is happening means that tropical disease rates will increase. However, as I have shown, over the next few decades, temperatures should decrease, meaning a "decrease" in tropical disease rates. But even if the planet was warming, there shouldn’t be a cause for concern over higher disease rates.

Over the last century, tropical disease rates have not correlated with global warming. Take, for example, malaria. Rates of malaria have decreased (or were marginally affected) in almost all locations around the globe, even as temperatures have risen (Graph 1; [1]).

The fact is that malaria does not really care about temperature. When the world was cooler during the "Little Ice Age", malaria was far more rampant than it ever has been today. Even though the Earth has warmed in the 20th century, tropical disease rates are at all time lows.[2] Really, these diseases aren’t tropical. Even in the 20th century, Archangel, Russia was having 10,000+ deaths from malaria.[3]

The correlation just isn’t there. Science reports that the supposed correlation between tropical disease and global warming is "purely speculative".[4][5] "A warm climate is a necessary condition for the mosquitoes that can carry malaria and dengue fever but is not a sufficient condition for the diseases to become epidemic."[2]

What really causes epidemics is improper regulations and poverty. For example, in Peru, when water chlorination was banned, cholera cases skyrocketed. In Sri Lanka, when DDT was banned, malaria cases skyrocketed. Or take Singapore and Malaysia. They are in the same general location, but Singapore had zero malaria deaths and Malaysia had 36853 cases of it.[3] It is clear that tropical disease rates correlate with improper regulations and poverty, not global warming.

As for the increased amount of heat waves, more heat is actually beneficial, as I mentioned in the last round. In Germany, heat waves have actually been shown to reduce mortality rates, while cold spells significantly increase them.[6][7] For the UK, "For the UK, the Keatinge studies show heat-related deaths caused by global warming will increase by 2,000. But cold-related deaths will decrease by 20,000."[8] Global warming will save more than it will kill.

II. Sea Level Rise

Even though some groups like to show scenes of global apocalypse with this, the truth is that the sea level hasn’t risen that much. However, both past and predicted rise have been greatly exaggerated (Graph 2; [10]). The linear trend shows a sea level rise of only 1.31 +/- 0.30 mm/year. "The Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory estimates the rate of sea level rise at 1.42 plus or minus 0.14 mm/year for the period 1954 to 2003. This is less than the estimate of 1.91 plus or minus 0.14 mm/year for the period 1902 to 1953, indicating a slowing of the rate."[9][10] That’s an increase of around 2.8 inches in the last 50 years – not that much of an apocalyptic scenario.

Future sea level predictions are even better. As of currently, global ocean heat content has not changed in recent years (Graph 3; [11]). Sea level itself has actually been declining for the last decade (Graph 4; [10]).

The ‘INQUA Commission on Sea-Level Change and Coastal Evolution’ led by Dr. Morner, prepared as estimate that the global sea level will rise 10 cm plus or minus 10 cm in the next 100 years. Dr. Morner has since revised his estimate to 5 cm per 100 years after considering data of the Sun activity suggesting that the warming trend may have ended and the Earth may be headed into a cooling trend.”[10][12][13] That’s around 2.5 inches in the next 100 years. That’s really not too bad.

As for Tuvalu, sea level has actually dropped four inches in the last 20 years and there is no evidence based on the observations that sea level rise there is accelerating.[13][14]

In general, there is no cause for concern here.

III. Ocean Acidification

Fears here are also greatly exaggerated. The mean drop in pH levels as a result of CO2 increases is around 0.3, but the sea can experience changes of almost 1.4 in as little as just a day. "On a monthly scale the pH varies by 0.024 to 1.430 pH units." "At Puerto Morelos (in Mexico’s easternmost state, on the Yucatán Peninsula) the pH varied as much as 0.3 units per hour due to groundwater springs." "Even the more stable and vast open ocean is not a fixed pH all year round. Hofmann writes that 'Open-water areas (in the Southern Ocean) experience a strong seasonal shift in seawater pH (~0.3–0.5 units) between austral summer and winter.'"[15][16]

This is the paper's hypothesis: "This natural variability has prompted the suggestion that an appropriate null hypothesis may be, until evidence is obtained to the contrary, that major biogeochemical processes in the oceans other than calcification will not be fundamentally different under future higher CO2/lower pH conditions"[15][16]

In addition, increased CO2 levels can help shell formation: “We also know that adding CO2 in a sense is feeding the calcifying organisms (like it feeds life above the water too). CO2 dissolves as bicarbonate, which marine uses to make skeletons and shells from. So yes, a lower pH dissolves shells, but the extra CO2 increases shell formation."[17][16]

In general, increased CO2 concentrations don't affect pH levels any more than pH levels change on a daily basis. They can even help in the production of shells.

IV. Cloud Forests


First, cloud forests, and specifically, the one my opponent cites, the Monteverde cloud forests, are not being affected by global warming. In the case of the Monteverde cloud forest, it was the clearing of the lowland forests under the cloud forest that changed the pattern of cloud formation, not warming. In fact, the cloud forests in nearby Nicaragua were unaffected because there was no lowland deforestation. Deforestation, not warming, caused changes in the cloud forests.[7][21]

Now on to drought affects. Drought frequency, in the face of warming, has not increased over the past 100 years (Graph 5; [10]). The US has not gotten any drier in the last 100 years.

Pederson et al. found that droughts during the end of the Little Ice Age were more severe and of longer duration than those of the 20th and 21st centuries. Cooler climates produced more extreme conditions in many parts of the world. Woodhouse et al. published a 1,200 year perspective of Southwestern North America droughts: "The medieval period was characterized by widespread and regionally severe, sustained drought... Proxy data documenting drought indicate centuries-long periods of increased aridity across the central and western U.S...The recent drought, thus far, pales hydrologically in comparison."[18][19][10] Droughts tend to coincide with periods of high solar activity, so since solar activity is decreasing, drought frequency should decrease further.

In fact, increased heat means more precipitation, as more moisture evaporates from the oceans and then falls as rain or snow. NASA says global rainfall increased 2 percent in the 20th century compared with the tail-end of the Little Ice Age in the 19th century. Most of the increased moisture fell in the mid and high latitudes where much of the world’s most productive cropland is located. This should continue as time goes on.[20][13]

Conclusion

Most of the problems my opponent highlights are greatly exaggerated, and since I have shown that temperatures should increase only slightly in the long-term, they should not be of any concern over the next few centuries.
Citrakayah

Con

http://www.youtube.com...

(For reasons that I cannot determine, the picture embed function continues not to work. My apologies.)

I.A. The Sun:

Well, I have no argument with saying that the Sun is the main factor on climate. Without it we'd be freezing--below freezing, in fact. But that doesn't necessarily mean that it's the main factor causing climate change.

Since the Sun is, indeed, emitting less energy compared to what it used to, we're left with the question of why the globe is still warming (I'll get to his argument, the 1500 year cycle, later). The Sun's contribution to the temperature trend since the late 1980s is, actually, negative. Lockwood said in his 2008 paper "Recent changes in solar outputs and the global mean surface temperature" that the best esitmate is -1.3% of the temperature rise, with uncertainty placing it in the range of -.7% to -1.9%[1]. Clearly the Sun can't be invoked to explain recent temperature rises, since it should be causing us to cool.

Further evidence that it isn't the Sun can be found in the fact that the equation

http://www.debate.org......

where, to quote Lockwood: "S is the solar input variation; V is the volcanic aerosal effect (quantified by the global mean atmospheric optical depth, AOD); ΔE is the anomaly of energy exchange between the deep ocean and the surface mixing layer (Willis et al. 2004), here quantified by the N3.4 ENSO index; L is a linear drift term to allow for anthropogenic grenhouse gas and aerosol emissions (and associated feedbacks); and kE, kV and kS are the appropriate weighting (sensitivity factors)."

In plain English, that means that the equation is the result of what we think we know about how climate works, and was derived basically by combining a bunch of factors (including how sensitive we think the climate is to carbon dioxide/greenhouse gases--this is important) and seeing how we think that'll affect the climate. And as we see from the below graphic, it's not a bad prediction.

http://www.debate.org......

Recently, the predicted values are actually too low, which basically means that if anything we're current underestimating climatic sensitivity, or have missed a factor influencing climate.[1] Observed is blue, predicted is red.

Now, it is theoretically possible that the equation could still be completely wrong, and it just happened to fit well. But I regard it as a very small possibility. Certainly claiming that it is just a coincidence strains credulity.


I.A.1. Solar Flux Predictions

Pro is mistaken: The solar irradiation we are receiving has been declining for significantly longer. In fact, it has been decreasing since the 1980s, and would have been decreasing from the 1960s if not for a much larger drop that lasted a very short period of time. See below:

http://www.debate.org......

I.A.2. Cosmic Ray Flux


Cosmic rays induce aerosols, of that I have no doubt. But that does not necessarily lead to an increase in cloud cover, at least not a noticeable increase. There are various barriers to forming a cloud if one is a cosmic ray[2]. Mathematical models, meanwhile, put cosmic ray flux at two orders of magnitude too small to cause the observed cloud cover variation[3].

I.A.3. Ocean Currents

Ocean currents can't heat themselves, though. They can only shift heat around. The ocean itself is heating[4]:

http://www.debate.org......


I.B. The 1500-Year Cycle

The 1500 year cycle my opponent refers to is, rather than an example of the globe increasing in temperature, an example of a bipolar see-saw, with the amount of heat remaining relatively constant but flowing to different places. My video explains this in more detail; increases in the North are offset by decreases in the South[5]. In climatology, these are called Dansgaard-Oeschger events[6].

Redistribution of heat is radically different than an increase in heat. The term "global warming" indicates that, rather than heat flowing, the entire planet is warming--this is based up by graphs of total heat content[4].


II. Positive Effects of the Current Interglacial and Warm Period

II.A. Health Effects

I would simply like to reiterate that extreme heat does not behave the same as extreme cold. The predicted increase in deaths due to heat wave is approximately four times larger than the decrease in deaths due to cold snap[7]. The reason is simple: Easier to make fire than an air-conditioner.

Similarly, there is an upper limit to heat adaptability: Beyond about 35 degrees humans will start to experience the effects of hyperthermia, since we won't be able to dissipate heat[8]. An increase in seven degrees would cause large areas to experience this heat stress. This is about as the most reasonable value for the predicted temperature increase[9].

II.B. Economic Benefits

Plants that have more carbon dioxide and are experiencing more growth because of it also need more water to sustain that growth[10]. They are also more vulnerable to pests[11], and plants such as wheat can become less nutritous[12].

1. http://rspa.royalsocietypublishing.org......
2. http://www.atmos-chem-phys-discuss.net......
3. http://www.leif.org......
4. http://www.agu.org......
5. see video
6. http://en.wikipedia.org......
7. http://oem.bmj.com......
8. http://www.pnas.org......
9. http://www.skepticalscience.com......
10. http://www.skepticalscience.com......
11. http://www.sciencedaily.com......
12. http://www.sciencemag.org......

Debate Round No. 3
Subutai

Pro

I would like to thank Citrakayah for this great debate.

I. Natural Factors Point to Little or No Change in Climate

I.A. The Sun

My opponent claims that solar activity has diverged from temperatures since the 1980s. He, however, is making an incorrect conclusion.

Between raw solar activity (solar irradiance) and temperature, temperature lags about 7.5-10 years behind solar irradiance because of the heat capacity of the oceans. A better representation of the sun/temperature correlation is the length of the solar cycle. "This new parameter not only indicated a remarkably high correlation coefficient between solar activity and temperature (on the order of 0.95), but it also eliminated the problem of the 7-year lag encountered by Reid."[1][2][3]

When looking at all of how the sun affects the climate: "For example, the authors of a paper by NASA's JPL remark '...has compared the minimum aa [index of geomagnetic activity] values with the Earth's surface temperature record and found a correlation of 0.95 between the two data sets starting in 1885. The solar irradiance [solar activity] proxy developed from the aa minima continues to track the Earth's surface temperature until the present.'"[4][5] In other words, using the better formulation produces an almost perfect correlation between solar activity and temperature.

"If the Scafetta and West analysis used the uncontaminated satellite data since 1980, the results would show that the Sun has contributed at least 75% of the global warming of the last century."[6][7] That is at least how much the sun has contributed to recent warming.

I.A.1 Solar Flux Predictions

"From all that, for Solheim’s predicted temperature decline of 0.9º C over the whole of Solar Cycle 24 to be achieved, the decline from mid-2013 will be 1.2º C on average over the then remaining twelve and a half years of the cycle. No doubt the cooling will be back-loaded, making the further decline predicted over Solar Cycle 25 relative to Solar Cycle 24 more readily achievable."[8] Solar activity is expected to decline, and as a result of that, so is temperature.

I.A.2. Cosmic Ray Flux

Cosmic rays cause cloud formation: "Preliminary results show that these faux cosmic rays indeed have an effect on the atmosphere: When high energy protons stream in, production of nanometer-sized particles in the atmosphere increases by more than ten times."[9]

More clouds causes global cooling: "Cloud cover has decreased over the past 39 years globally, and temperatures have risen during that time. This global decrease in cloud cover alone could account for all surface warming observed since the 1970s."[10]

The change in cloudiness corresponds to the change in climate: "A scarcity of muons can be linked to elevated global temperatures by a reduction in low cloud cover and low cloudiness was indeed at a minimum around 1992-93."[11][12]

Cosmic rays cause cloud formation which cools the planet. As solar activity decreases, cosmic ray penetration will increase, thereby increasing cloud formation and cooling the planet.

I.A.3. Ocean Currents

It is when we look at the oceans that we see a clearer pattern between solar activity and temperature. Because the oceans have an enormous heat storage capacity, it takes several years for a warming of the oceans to be transmitted to the surface (hence the 8 year lag in solar activity and air temperatures). Solar activity and ocean currents correlate directly.[13]

"Current research also shows that Earth's oceans are now beginning to cool. It is also now clear that temperatures over the last century correlate far better with cycles in oceans than they do with carbon dioxide; and, the temperature cycles in oceans are caused by cycles of the sun."[14]

The oceans have already flipped into a cool cycle, as I mentioned, because of the decrease in solar activity.

I.B. The 1500-Year Cycle

These are global events. Take, for example, the Medieval Warm Period. Various temperature estimates say that locations as far flung as Greenland, Africa, New Zealand, and South America reported temperatures 1-4 degrees C above their current temperatures. Not only is the Medieval Warming seen. A Vostok Glacier ice core revealed the 1500 year cycle over 400,000 years, and correlates with glacial movement all over the globe, and at the same time. The same goes with seabed data.[15]

Overall, "Based on this, the Earth is about 150 years into a moderate Modern Warming that will last a few centuries longer. It will essentially restore the fine climate of the Medieval Climate Optimum.”[15] This cycle coincidences with the increase in temperature.

II. Positive Effects of the Current Interglacial and Warm Period

II.A. Health Benefits

Actually, "The only global study suggests that this is true internationally: by 2050, there will be almost 400,000 more heat-related deaths a year, and almost 1.8 million fewer cold-related deaths. Warmer temperatures will save 1.4 million lives each year. The number of saved lives will outweigh the increase in heat-related deaths until at least 2200."[16]

Yes, while it is easier to make fire than an air conditioner, heat is, overall, better for the body than cold (to a point). People in the Middle East are healthier (when controlled, that is) than people in, say, Siberia. What my opponent cites is not an increase in deaths from warming per se, but in temperature variability: "The claim that warming increases morbidity rates is a myth. This isn't the case, according to Dr. Robert Mendelsohn, an environmental economist from Yale University. Mendelsohn argues that heat-stress deaths are caused by temperature variability and not warming. Those deaths grow in number not as climates warm but as the variability in climate increases."[17]

Overall, if temperatures rose 2.5 degrees Celsius, deaths in the United States from respiratory diseases such as pneumonia and influenza, diseases of the circulatory system and even infectious diseases would drop by about 40,000 per year. Warming might reduce medical costs by about $20 billion annually.[18][19]

II.B. Economic Benefits

Con­sequently, the more CO2 there is in the air, the better plants grow, as has been demonstrated in literally thousands of laboratory and field experiments. As a result, the amount of carbon gained per unit of water lost per unit leaf area —or water-use efficiency—increases dramatically as the air’s CO2 content rises; and this phenomenon has been well documented in CO2 enrichment experiments with agricultural crops. In addition, CO2 concentration increases make plants hardier against dangers such as UV radiation and soil salinity. And finally, health promoting substances found in various food crops and medicinal plants have been shown to benefit from rising atmospheric CO2.[20] (Other sources to studies in that link)

Overall, increased CO2 concentrations help plants a lot more than hurt them. Plants feed on CO2, and more of it should make plants better.

Conclusion

This is a version of next century’s climate forecast using the information I provided:
  • Built in cooling trend until at least 2024
  • Temperature Hadsst3 moving average anomaly 2035 - 0.15
  • Temperature Hadsst3 moving average anomaly 2100 – 0.5
  • General Conclusion – by 2100 all the 20th century temperature rise will have been reversed.[21][22]
The next few centuries should see temperatures go up slightly, albeit with fluctuations in between by the climate contributors I provided. Health effects should be positive as a slight warming and increased CO2 concentrations increase agricultural production and optimal plant temperature (corresponding to the slight increase in temperatures). Climate change is not an imminent danger.

Sources

Various reference charts and graphs may be found here: http://www.debate.org... in any of the sources in my link below.

http://tny.cz...
Citrakayah

Con

Right, last round my sources had a problem, but I’ve reposted them in the comments section.

I thank my opponent for the fantastic debate, and may the best arguments win.


C1: Public Health

First, I’d like to note that Pro hasn’t addressed my points about dengue fever or yellow fever.

To argue that infections decrease in warming periods misses the fact that over the past century or so we’ve made significant strides in treatments for tropical diseases such as malaria, as well as in fighting mosquito outbreaks[cite]. My argument is that all things being equal, an increase in temperature results in an increase in the spread of mosquito-born diseases. The fact that malaria can survive outside of the tropics is rather incidental to whether or not it is more virulent in the tropics. Pro concludes that since malaria rates have decreased over time, and it has happened outside the tropics, malaria would not be affected by global warming.

The problem with this is that malaria rates (and pretty much every other tropical disease rate) responds to whatever’s forcing it, just like climate. Keep your temperature steady and leave standing water everywhere and you get more malaria. Kill mosquitos and keep everything else constant and malaria rates drop.

We know that malaria is more virulent in warmer areas[1]. Therefore, as the world warms, we either are faced with an increase in malaria cases or have to expand our public health infrastructure to prevent them from occurring in the first place. The first can result in an increase in deaths, the second would have to be very well planned to avoid all deaths and would still result in economic damages. Ergo, we can conclude that a warming world presents risk.

As far as heat deaths, this data may be true for the UK and Germany, but it is not necessarily true universally. Many low-income areas are in hot areas rather than cold ones, so quite conceivably that could cause there to still be a net increase in fatalities.

C2: Sea Level Rise

I don’t argue for an apocalypse where the ocean rises twenty feet.

First I’d like to note that Tuvalu has an average elevation of about six feet above sea level. The highest point is fifteen feet[2]. So it doesn’t necessarily take much to cause damage. Also, there are waves, and tides, so even if a given area would still be above average sea level, that doesn’t mean it won’t get water damage.

Secondly, sea level rise isn’t going to be constant everywhere. This is due to a variety of factors, such as the gravitational pull of the Earth being slightly different in different locations, temperature variations, and tectonic plates[3].

Unfortunately for Tuvalu, it sits in what is probably the most unfortunate location a bunch of low-level coral atolls could[4]. Sea level in Tuvalu rises about three times as fast as in other locations[5].

About 2.8 inches could matter quite a bit for an island that’s about six feet above sea level when one accounts for the fact that for them it could quite possibly be more in the range of 8 inches.

This same reasoning can be applied to other locations. Brazil is close to an area that has a higher sea level[6].

As to Pro’s claim that sea level is falling, the only thing that his source says that supports that is that the level fell slightly in one specific area in Western Canada, by .5 mm. That is hardly a global sea level drop, and satellite data confirms that sea level is rising[7].

C3: Ocean Acidification

That same paper cited concedes that calcification would be adversely impacted. As calcifying organisms are an essential part of the food chain, this doesn’t do much to dismiss my claim that ocean acidification poses a risk.

In relation to the claim that increased carbon dioxide could be beneficial to shells, experiments with increased concentrations of carbon dioxide in seawater where shells are growing refute that. Shell dissolution is far more affected than shell calcification[8], in any event.

While it’s true that pH isn’t fixed in the ocean, that doesn’t mean that shifting the whole range of pH values downwards, towards the more acidic end of the scale, would necessarily be acceptable. If I’m adapted to survive climates of 10-20 degrees Celsius, and it shifts upwards two or three degrees, I’m experiencing significant environmental stress. Since a drop in pH of one (say, from four to three) is a tenfold increase, since pH is a logarithmic scale, the problem with pH is even bigger.

C4: Cloud Forests

It’s true that Lawton’s paper shows that deforestation is having a significant effect on the cloud forests. It would be a mistake, however, to conclude from this that global warming has no effect. Modeling has demonstrated that increases in carbon dioxide would indeed affect the cloud forests[9]. Obviously deforestation has an effect to, as does general land use, but it can’t be gathered from the fact that damage to the cloud forests is caused by multiple factors that global warming has no effect.

It is true that precipitation, in some regions, increases due to global warming. And it’s true that worse droughts have happened in the past. However, I must ask my opponent: Would you prefer a severe drought that is less severe than a massive drought that caused widespread damage, or would you prefer no drought at all? As Pro’s own source points out, droughts that are accompanied by warmer temperatures impact the environment more.

Furthermore, global warming alters air circulation patterns, causing the distribution of moisture to change[11]. Even if all else remains equal, certain parts are going to get drier and other parts will get wetter--which has the potential for negative consequences, as noted in my source. For instance, recent droughts in the Sahel are expected to increase in severity due to global warming.

Conclusion:

I’ve demonstrated that the evidence points towards global warming not being due to the Sun—while I haven’t demonstrated that humans caused global warming, I don’t really need to. Given that the equations that are the current scientific consensus about how to predict warming match up with real observations, we can reasonably conclude that they are correct.

Meanwhile, I’ve shown that any economic or health benefits from a warming world would be far outweighed by the costs—ocean acidification, sea level rise, loss of cloud forests, increase in heat stroke deaths, and spread of several virulent diseases.

  1. books.google.com/books?id=FhfuV22JZ_sC&pg=PA30#v=onepage&q&f=false
  2. http://en.wikipedia.org...
  3. http://www.sciencedirect.com...
  4. http://www.skepticalscience.com...
  5. http://www.sciencedirect.com...
  6. http://www.skepticalscience.com...
  7. http://www.skepticalscience.com...
  8. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov...
  9. https://www.geo.umass.edu...
  10. http://uanews.org...
  11. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com...
Debate Round No. 4
9 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Posted by cybertron1998 3 years ago
cybertron1998
i had to read the first round from subtai to know what he meant by imminent in the next century or two the heat will continue to increase but faster than now not because of global warming but because of the cycle of ice ages.
Posted by Subutai 3 years ago
Subutai
I don't know what the problem is. I couldn't post graphs in either R3 or R4.
Posted by Citrakayah 3 years ago
Citrakayah
Also, my links aren't working; I'll post them here when I get back home.
Posted by Citrakayah 3 years ago
Citrakayah
They are impending, and liable to cause damage, so yes, they are actually imminent threats.
Posted by DanT 3 years ago
DanT
Citrakayah, you are aware none of those are "Imminent Threats"?
Posted by Subutai 3 years ago
Subutai
Yes, but you can post any minor additions in addition to the processing problems we experienced in the earlier debate, like graph errors and spacing errors.
Posted by Citrakayah 3 years ago
Citrakayah
We're just reposting our old arguments except for the single forfeited round, right?
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by drafterman 3 years ago
drafterman
SubutaiCitrakayahTied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: The crux of this debate, IMO, is the notion of imminent danger, was refuted by Pro and not demonstrated by Con.
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 3 years ago
RoyLatham
SubutaiCitrakayahTied
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Total points awarded:51 
Reasons for voting decision: A very good, well-researched, serious debate. Pro won arguments by better use of quantified data. For there to be an imminent climate crisis, there must be good reasons that temperature will rise substantially and that the result will be serious problems. Pro showed that dramatic temperature rise was not likely and that moderate warming is likely to be favorable. Con argued that if we hadn't found ways to control tropical disease, then all other things equal warming would be bad. But all other things are not equal, and Con couldn't put a number on it. That is true in general, the quantified apocalyptic predictions of 2000 have vanished in favor of generic concerns. Pro's sources better supported his arguments. I dinged Pro for the conduct point for putting his list of references in an external link. That effectively exceeds the character limit of the debate.
Vote Placed by Grantmac18 3 years ago
Grantmac18
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: Though Pro submitted well-wrought arguments Con efficiently dismantled them along with Pro's specific sources. It was Pro's inability to effectively rebuke Con's arguments concerning the cause of global warming to be unrelated to the sun. Interesting debate nonetheless.
Vote Placed by utahjoker 3 years ago
utahjoker
SubutaiCitrakayahTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro used both logic and evidence to show their point of view and better rebuttals