The Instigator
victordr
Pro (for)
Losing
43 Points
The Contender
RoyLatham
Con (against)
Winning
44 Points

Climate change

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/14/2009 Category: Science
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 12,252 times Debate No: 8961
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (45)
Votes (14)

 

victordr

Pro

Global Warming (or climate change in the hot way) is the thing. It is a win or lose election debate topic. It is also very contested in the public field (media). The IPCC states that it exists and that it is human induced. State intervention is often motivated by climate change concerns.
However there are many scientists, people and companies that contest climate change or human induced climate change. They have interesting arguments. I believe that they are mistaken.
I define human global warming as the abnormal and significant increase of mean global temperatures caused (in part) by human activity.
I expect to win if i can show that
1 climate change (in the sense of global warming) exists
2 it is caused in a significant degree by human activity
I consider that my opponent wins if he/she is able to negate either of the above.

I will affirm 3 arguments to sustain my position: science cvasi-consensus, observable events in the world around us, mental experiment.

At this moment there is near consensus between scientists that global warming exists and is human induced[1]. The scientific model is quite simple to understand and makes sense. It is clear that the weather is influenced by many factors, and some are more powerful than others. The greenhouse effect is a powerful factor as shown by the super greenhouse effect on Venus. [2] Green house gases have increased at the highest level in the last 650 000 years after the industrial revolution. [3]

To bring the scientific argument down to the human level and to avoid an authority argument i will point out that ice caps are already melting, the first drowned polar bears were found, more violent weather is happening etc. What is more, the arctic ice shows an increase in carbon concentration and temperature.[4]

The mental experiment part is more complex in the sense that it involves the concept of positive feed-back. The oceans trap carbon while they are cold, when they heat up they release carbon. This a positive feed-back loop and it means that things will only get worse.[5] . Humans have reached a level where they can affect the climate. Acid rains and other city related weather are examples of humans influencing weather.

In conclusion, from the scientific, factual and mental experiment arguments I conclude that global warming exists and it is human induced.

Looking forward for a good debate.

[1] http://www.sciencemag.org...
[2] http://ircamera.as.arizona.edu...
[3] http://news.mongabay.com...
[4] http://www.heatisonline.org...
[5] http://en.wikipedia.org...
RoyLatham

Con

This such a broad topic it will be difficult to debate, but we'll have a go at it. It is certainly an issue that deserves attention, so it's a good topic.

I agree with the contention that global warming exists. The earth has been warming at the rate of about 0.19 deg/decade since the end of the Little Ice Age in the early 1800s, well before human-produced CO2 could have been the cause. Climate change is the norm. The prior Medieval Warm Period, when Greenland was declared green, was about as warm as the present. Before that, the Holocene Optimum, about 3-5000 years ago was not only warmer than now, it was warmer than the dire global warming predictions forecast. [2a] Polar bears survived.

I deny the contention that human-produced CO2 is a significant factor, although I allow that it may be a marginal contributor.

The alleged scientific consensus is not meaningful, because the the consensus is largely determined by non-scientists and by scientists whose expertise is outside of fields relevant to climatology. The IPCC conclusions are determined by a dozen or so political zealots who write the conclusions and then force the scientists in charge of individual chapters to rewrite to support the conclusion the elite has reached. Only about 30% of the IPCC are scientists, the rest are government bureaucrats. The IPCC report is not subject to peer review and the scientists who contribute are not allowed to vote on whether it is reflects the consensus view or not. http://nzclimatescience.net... http://thewashingtonpest.blogspot.com...

The professional societies operate in much the same fashion. The AAAS has only a few climate scientists, and the endorsement of climate change is done by the political elite, not by the climate scientists.

Not too many years ago, the consensus of relevant mental health professionals was that homosexuality was a form of mental illness, and the learned societies officially endorsed that view. It was wrong. Similarly, the Steady State Theory of the universe was once the strong consensus view; that consensus didn't last. Recently, DOE Secretary Stephen Chu was asked by a Democrat if it was possible if global warming could possibly be "a hoax." Of course it isn't a hoax, because the people who believe in it are sincere. Chu himself endorses CO2 theory. Nonetheless, Chu was properly circumspect. He said (paraphrasing), "In science we most honor the dissenters who disprove the consensus." The highly publicized consensus in 1970 was that the earth was on the brink of a new ice age.

The best estimates of the level of consensus I've seen are from Patrick Michaels, who worked on the IPCC reports, which can be combined with limited polling data. it's probably about 40% pro-CO2, 30% anti, and the rest "maybe."

CO2 is a greenhouse gas, as Pro supposes. So if CO2 increases, say, 10%, then we ought to get something like 10% warming, right? No, that is not the way it works. A little bit of the CO2 in the atmosphere causes a relatively large amount of global warming, but as more is added the relative effect decreases dramatically. A straightforward physical model of the CO2 in the atmosphere shows that the increases in CO2 in the twentieth century would have a negligible direct effect on climate.

To make the increases in CO2 have a significant effect, there has to be a multiplier that somehow magnifies the effect. There are many candidates for such a multiplier. For example, if somehow average cloud cover where reduced by a mere 2%, we would expect as much global warming as has been observed. It's no problem for guys with computers and hundreds of variables to tweak them to make the answer come out any way they want it to. The test as to whether they have it right is whether the models accurately predict what is observed. They do not. http://www.drroyspencer.com...

There was a spike in temperatures in the mid to late 1990's. The models predicted a continual exponential rise in temperature. El Nino went away and temperatures subsided. Temperatures for the past decade have been about stable. If anything, they have decreased. http://www.drroyspencer.com... Atmospheric particulates were modeled to cause temperatures to decrease from 1930 to 1970, but that is no longer available to explain why temperatures are not increasing. Perhaps most telling, CO2 theory makes a strong prediction about the relative temperature rise in the lower, middle, and upper atmosphere and from pole to pole. The observations show the predictions to be wrong. [1a]

Past climate change was probably due to solar activity, because there was insignificant human-produced CO2. Observations of the last few hundred years show solar effects correlate well with climate change. Unfortunately, solar activity turns out to need a multiplier just like CO2 theory. One explanation is that cosmic rays cause increased cloud formation, and the small changes in cloud formation produce the climate effects. This theory is not established, but there is a major test being conducted by CERN.

Pro points to a feedback effect from CO2 being released from the ocean as the ocean is heated. This puts more CO2 in the air, which in turn causes more heating. The regenerative effect is such that once global warming starts, the world is guaranteed to end. But actually, there have been many instances of warming greater than the present, and the world did not end. The climate reversed and became colder despite the high CO2 levels. That means that whatever the contribution of CO2 to warming, there was something far greater that controlled climate, driving temperatures down despite CO2's best efforts to keep them up. The likely culprit is the Sun dominating climate.

CO2 levels lag the rise and fall of temperatures by about 800 years. That implies that if multiplying effects of CO2 were significant, the earth could not have had temperature significant temperature changes in less than 800 years. Think in terms of an auto that has a 80 second lag in the accelerator. You floor the accelerator, and 80 seconds later you are up to 25 mph. With that kind of car, it isn't possible to get to 50 in just a few seconds. However, there are instances of dramatic climate change in around 50 years. The theory is therefore wrong.

The Arctic Ice cap appears and disappears in roughly 60 year cycles. http://www.drroyspencer.com... The 60 year cycles track solar activity. Ships sailed across the Arctic Ocean in 1939, the last time the ice disappeared. Last winter was one of the coldest Arctic winters on record, with about a third of the ice refreezing. It appears the cycle has peaked and it heading colder.

There is no sound evidence that weather is getting more violent due to global warming. [1c] In the last IPCC report, the executive committee demanded that the scientist in charge of the section on hurricanes attribute increase in hurricane activity to global warming. He refused and resigned in protest. http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu...

The scientific evidence now points to solar activity as the cause of present global warming as well as past global warming. There are multiple solar effects, including direct solar irradiance, cosmic ray effect induced by changes in the Sun's magnetosphere, and long term variations in the earth tilt and orbit. There are seven or more solar cycles that correlate well with past and present climate change. CO2 theory claims that CO2 now dominates climate, but in fact temperatures have been stable for a decade despite CO2 rise.

1. Michaels, P. J., Shattered Consensus (a) p246-51
2. Singer, F, et al, Unstoppable Global Warming (a) p 66 (b) p 137 ff (c) p201-12
Debate Round No. 1
victordr

Pro

I thank Con for taking up this interesting debate and for his methodical answer.
I will present my position, and then I will state the things upon me and Con agree, then I will react to the arguments brought up by Con.

My position

I have stated that humans "drive" global warming in a significant degree. Significant is the key word here. Nobody is so naive to consider that global climate is driven only or even mostly by humans. That would be an absurd position and a probatio diabolica for Pro taking into account things like solar activity, ocean currents or vulcanic activity. I have chosen the more sane position that human activity is an important or significant factor of global warming. By this I understand that what we do with regard to greenhouse gases has consequences on the climate and ultimately on us.

Consensus
I agree with Con that this is a broad topic. However even from the second round there are things upon we have already agreed effectively narrowing the topic. The first agreed fact is that the climate is warming. This is an smart choice from Con, as it would have been more difficult to argue that the climate is not warming. Also, Con admits that humans have a marginal effect. I say that this effect is important.
We also agree that we are talking only about greenhouse gases even if this reduces the examples that Pro can bring up.

In addition I want to point out the contradiction between the second paragraph and the last paragraph of Con. In the first paragraph he admits that there is global warming and in the last paragraph he talks about cO2 increase not explaining "stable" recent temperatures. I want a clarification on this position as I can not counterargument both these statements without contradicting myself.

I now ask Con if we can agree upon a criterion or standard that can determine what important means for this debate? A good criterion could be the answer to the question:
IS IT IMPORTANT ENOUGH TO DO SOMETHING (green energy, trade caps etc.) ABOUT IT? This standard/criterion can be refined but I think it is a good start.

Disensus

Con states that IPCC is biased, incompetent or has a secret agenda determined by bureaucrats. In the evidence presented [1] a scientist resigned from IPCC because he feared that IPCC MAY depart from scientific objectivity. He resigned because he considers that climate change science must remain politically neutral. Furthermore no one "imposed" any ideas on the scientist. I demand proof that there are imposed views on such a huge number of scientists.

On the other hand it would be foolish for us to think that the discoveries of climate scientists have no political meaning. Besides the science there is an also a political battle. For the sake of our debate the two must be understood separately. Bearing this in mind I must point out that Con has pointed no secret agenda or motives for the IPCC to be biased. On the other hand I can point out a clear secret agenda (from the political perspective. There are people (like Con) that deny GW for the sake of finding the truth). One example is the editing of climate change reports by the White House [2]. The other two are the founding of The Marshal Institute by Exxon Mobile (the books quoted by Con are edited by the Marshal Institute) [3] and the relentless effort by the industry to promote climate change denial [4]. Their effort is nevertheless futile: first they argued that there is no GW, then that humans have no influence, than that the influence is insignificant etc. When comparing the "secret agenda" of IPCC and the quite obvious agenda of companies like Exxon it is clear who has more interest to mix politics and science and to misinform.

Regarding the science arguments presented by Con, I will first point out that Con did not talk about anything about the super greenhouse effect on Venus that I have previously mentioned. This example shows that greenhouse gasses can produce quite dramatic effects. So from this perspective I consider that things are clear.
With regards to many of the other arguments of Con, I must point out that his strategy is flawed. He will never win by pointing out a huge number of other causes that drive the climate even if they are more powerful than Co2. I clearly stated that I will prove that Co2 has a significant effect on GW. To make things more clear (bearing in mind the simplifications), let's consider
t= f (sun, volcanoes, cosmic rays, clouds, particles, Co2 etc.) + e. Con can win if he shows that: the system is not sensible to Co2 variations; Co2 variations cause a smaller temperature increase than the noise (e); Co2 receives a negative feed-back that counters its effect. By analogy, if there is a heart stroke risk of x because of eating to much fat you can't prove that this risk is smaller by showing that drinking also has a y hart stroke risk. Furthermore, in the first round I pointed out a positive feedback of Co2. Con dismissed this feedback saying that temperatures increased in the past and there was "something" that stopped this vicious circle. This is wrong because, as I showed in my proof, these are the highest levels of Co2 reached in 650 000 years [5]. Also, when there was warmer weather in the past there also was more vegetation to absorb the Co2. Now we have more Co2, warmer weather and less vegetation so the Co2 is not absorbed by anything at the rate by which it is produced. There is proof of this happening in the Carboniferous Era 300 million years ago [6]. Unfortunately we do not have giant forests to gather the solar heat and the Co2. The proof that shows that nowadays the Co2 levels are at a record level also dismisses the "all this happened before and it will happen again" argument made by Con.

Con alleges that Co2 variations must have a multiplier. This is not true. It is enough for Co2 to create a 0.5 C increase for every 40% to have significant effects. Furthermore Con states that if climate would be a car than the Co2 would be an acceleration pedal. To be more exact we should consider climate a car with multiple pedals (sun, volcanoes, etc.). Some pedals accelerate the car faster (sun), others accelerate the car slower (Co2). The fact that climate changed in less than 800 years simply shows that another more violent factor was involved not that Co2 theory is wrong. Further more the lag between temperature increase and Co2 has no significance. There will be a day of reckoning since Co2 is produced at a higher rate than it is absorbed in an ever increasing temperature that prevents Co2 absorption by oceans.

Furthermore, the proof presented by Con itself acknowledges that there is some (although small) correlation between Co2 and temperature.

From the fact that I reestablished the credibility of the IPCC reports, I have pointed out the clear bias of the two books presented by Con, I have pointed out the contradictions between the beginning and the end of his answer, I have showed that on Venus the greenhouse effect is really powerful, I have proven that Co2 rise is steady and has no negative feed-back, I conclude that my first position stands and that GW is man-made in a significant degree.

Looking forward for another good round.

[1] http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu...
[2] http://www.nytimes.com...
[3] http://www.ucsusa.org... - P. 32
[4] http://www.newsweek.com...
[5] http://www.geocraft.com...
RoyLatham

Con

We have agreed the global warming exists. I know of no scientist who dissents from CO2 theory that denies that global warming exists, although perhaps there is one somewhere. The idea that the claim of "no global warming" is common is nonsense thrown up by CO2 theorists for the purpose of claiming victory when they prove that global warming exists. It was never in dispute.

Pro wonders how it can be that temperatures can be claimed to stable or even decreasing for the past decade while conceding that global warming exists. There is nothing mysterious, it depends upon the time scale. For example, the overall trend has been warming since the last ice age, decreasing since the Holocene Optimum, and increasing since the Little Ice Age. The last decade has been about stable.

Pro apparently grants that the IPCC is 70% government bureaucrats, that the conclusions are not subject to peer review, and that the scientists involved to not get to vote on the report. Pro objects only that the scientist, Landsea, who resigned in protest only suspected political motivation but didn't actually observe it. Landsea's exact words were, "I am withdrawing because I have come to view the part of the IPCC to which my expertise is relevant as having become politicized." Landsea spelled it out separately:

"The lead author of the fourth AR's chapter on climate observations, Kevin Trenberth, participated in a press conference that warned of increasing hurricane activity as a result of global warming. It is common to hear that man-made global warming represents the "consensus" of science, yet the use of hurricanes and cyclones as a marker of global warming represents a clear-cut case of the consensus being roundly ignored. Both the second and third IPCC assessments concluded that there was no global warming signal found in the hurricane record. Moreover, most climate models predict future warming will have only a small effect--if any--on hurricane strength. "It is beyond me," Landsea wrote, "why my colleagues would utilize the media to push an unsupported agenda that recent hurricane activity has been due to global warming."" http://www.aei.org...

I never said the IPCC leadership had a secret agenda. They are sincere in their beliefs and aim to save the world by suppressing dissent. Look at the past scientific consensus that homosexuality was a form of mental illness, or that the Steady State Theory was correct. No doubt their were strong beliefs involved, but what ultimately won was the science.

There is perhaps a thousand times as much money in supporting global warming as opposing it. Tens of billions billions flow from governments into the global warming industry every year. Al Gore alone has made $100 million off of it. If there is suspicion about motivation, it should be directed at advocates. Exxon puts about $1.5 million per year into dissent, which is nothing by comparison. Dissent from CO2 theory is viewed by proponents as heresy, which is why they make such a big deal about in being evil. The book "The Deniers" documents in detail the abuse levied upon anyone who does not toe the line. Dissenting scientists have absolutely impeccable credentials and publish regularly in peer-reviewed journals.

Pro made a string of assertions about CO2, but he didn't make a single scientific reference in support of his assertions. In the previous round I provided a link to an article by a climate scientist that explained the weak dependence of temperature on CO2. In addition,

"All of the IPCC climate models reduce low- and middle-altitude cloud cover with warming, a positive feedback. This is the main reason for the differences in warming produced by different climate models (Trenberth and Fasullo, 2009). I predict that this kind of model behavior will eventually be shown to be incorrect. And while the authors were loathe to admit it, there is already some evidence showing up in the peer-reviewed scientific literature that this is the case (Spencer et al., 2007; Caldwell and Bretherton, 2009)." http://www.drroyspencer.com...

Con produced an excellent reference in the last round, http://www.geocraft.com.... In particular, the graph http://www.geocraft.com... shows the long term relationship between climate and CO2. In the long history, there is no relationship. Note that on the graph, the last 600,000 years is a collapsed to a point.

The author of Con's reference describes the lack of a relationship relationship between CO2 and temperature: "Average global temperatures in the Early Carboniferous Period were hot- approximately 20� C (68� F). However, cooling during the Middle Carboniferous reduced average global temperatures to about 12� C (54� F). As shown on the chart below, this is comparable to the average global temperature on Earth today! ... Earth's atmosphere today contains about 380 ppm CO2 (0.038%). Compared to former geologic times, our present atmosphere, like the Late Carboniferous atmosphere, is CO2- impoverished! In the last 600 million years of Earth's history only the Carboniferous Period and our present age, the Quaternary Period, have witnessed CO2 levels less than 400 ppm. ... To the consternation of global warming proponents, the Late Ordovician Period was also an Ice Age while at the same time CO2 concentrations then were nearly 12 times higher than today-- 4400 ppm. According to greenhouse theory, Earth should have been exceedingly hot. Instead, global temperatures were no warmer than today."

CO2 levels have been dropping for 600 million years, and temperature has been going up and down independent of the CO2. There was an ice age with 12 times the atmospheric CO2. Right now we are both CO2 deprived and temperature deprived relative to the history. It's worth noting where most of the carbon has gone. It is not mainly in fossil fuels. It is in the carbonates in limestone formed as the skeletons of sea creatures accumulate on the ocean floor.

Pro's reference disproves the theory that the earth's temperature is very sensitive to CO2. There is no possible consistent rationalization for having an ice age with 12 times the CO2 if temperature depends strongly on CO2.

In fact, the temperature on Venus proves *insensitivity* to CO2. The earth has 380 ppm of CO2. Venus has 960,000 ppm. The surface of Venus is 867 F, which about 737 K. Earth is 288 K. Venus is 0.7 of earth's distance to the sun. Since radiation falls as the square of the distance, if Venus had no increased greenhouse effect, it would be twice as hot as earth due to being closer to the sun; it would be 576 K. So having roughly 3500 times as much CO2 on Venus produces a rise of about 150 K = 150 C. If the effect were linear, doubling earth's CO2 would therefore produce a temperature rise of 150/3500 = 0.05 degrees or so. That is extremely insensitive. There is a factor of several thousand to be explained between what CO2 global warming theory predicts and the observation of Venus.

The rest of Pro's references are the equivalent of blog posts in which non-scientists state their faith and proclaim victory.

Pro is quite right that there are many factors affecting climate. Pro's burden is to prove that right now the most important factor is CO2. Global warming advocates are adamant that for the past few decades the Sun has been inactive, and so there was nothing to explain the rise in temperature from the 70's to late 90s except CO2. The test of the theory is whether it would predict the future. It has not. Temperatures have remained stable or decreased slightly for the past decade, despite CO2 rising and continued claims that CO2 is dominating climate. What CO2 theorists overlook is the activity of the solar magnetosphere, which tracks recent climate quite well.

It's not CO2, it's the sun. The resolution is negated.
Debate Round No. 2
victordr

Pro

It is important that in a debate only the issues and the arguments presented are addressed. Referring to the adversary's school of thought is not a valid way of countering his actual arguments. E. G. in our case I may be better or worse than the "average Co2 advocate" but I must be attacked on the merit on my own arguments not on the merits of the arguments of "advocates". By doing so Con commits the straw-man fallacy (makes it look like his adversary has a weaker argument and then tries to attack the weaker argument) [1] and insinuates that I am not doing my job and only trying to demonstrate that there is global warming. I restate my initial promise and the topic on which we agreed to debate (global warming a) exists – agreed, b) is caused in a significant degree by humans – still debating). I will stick to my promise and I will win this debate by proving what I have promised. The second straw-man fallacy committed by Con is that he suggests that I must prove that all or most of the warming can be explained by Co2 increase. Although this is a clever strategy I will not get sidetracked. As I have already stated in my previous 2 speeches, I assert that global warming is caused in a "significant" degree by Co2. I have also pointed out in my 2nd speech methods that can prove my theory false. I thank Con for taking up some of them.

I thank Con for clarifying his position on temperature trends. I can now contradict him without contradicting myself. Con states that temperatures have increased since the last Ice Age and the last Little Ice Age. Con further states that the temperatures have been stable for the past decade. This last statement is false; you can verify it by looking out the window or by looking at satellite temperatures [2].

Con tries to induce guilt by association [3] between GW science and GW show. I will not try to defend Al Gore. Con, however, is trying to defend oil financed science. This is a losing strategy. As I have stated, we are debating arguments. What I have presented is clear bias from the science negating human induced GW. I will further argue that while IPCC tried to link hurricanes to GW and failed, the oil industry tried to silence independent US government financed research [4]. At the end of the day we have finance for human induced GW with no strings attached and finance for negation of GW WITH strings attached form "innocent" oil companies [5] [6] (quoted by Con).
It is also weird for oil industry to finance science that negates GW, given the suspicion that this arises. If all that was important was the truth then there would be no need for oil industry to spend billions on financing this research as they would get the same result with no cost.

There is no relevance in the composition of the IPCC and no meaning in the use o loaded words like bureaucrats. The works of the IPCC are in fact peer-reviewed [7].

I see that Con has restated his idea that scientific consensus doesn't mean anything. I will now consider this as an argument per se. The first consequence of Con's argument is that he indirectly admits that there is some sort of consensus. It is clear that by counting the number of scientists that agree or dissent with global warming neither Pro, neither Con can win the debate. But they can prove probable Pro or probable Con. Con pointed out that there were times when scientists got it wrong regarding homosexuality or Steady State Theory. While the premise is correct the inference is not. These examples are interesting because nobody counts the successes. It is dull when scientists get it right. You would expect the smart people to be right. Much like in plane crash fear the proportion of false theories created by scientists is exaggerated by the fact that wrong theories are surprising. Furthermore, Con states that what ultimately "won" was science. Winning is final and large consensus would be a good sign of winning. All the factual sane knowledge we have about the world is based upon scientific consensus (not even 100%, there are still scientists that think the Earth is flat). It may be proven wrong but it rarely does. Most of the time new theories incorporate old theories instead of contradicting them (Pythagoras generalized theorem -> Pythagoras theorem). If Con were right even elementary knowledge and communication would be impossible. While consensus doesn't mean 100% certainty, it means high probability. At this level, it would be safer to bet on the vast majority of scientists. I will further prove that their science is correct.

Con quoted a part of the proof [8] I presented in my second speech pointing out that there was cooling at the end of the Carboniferous period. However, Con forgot to mention anything about the fact that in the beginning the temperatures were high and that the total amount of Co2 decreased during this period. Con also ignores other phenomena that contributed to cooling [9]. My argument about Co2 concentration and temperature stands.

Also the Carboniferous is called that way because of the fact that coal was formed during that period [9]. Most of the Co2 in the atmosphere then was transformed into wood and than into coal. We are now just putting it back into the atmosphere. There is actually more coal than limestone formed by skeletons of sea creatures. Con is also wrong that Co2 is gradually decreasing since the last 600 million years as I have shown in my first 2 speeches.

In my first argument I presented the super-greenhouse effect on Venus. Con decided to attack this example in his 2nd speech. His firs calculation is correct: Venus should receive 2 times the sunlight earth receives. The rest of the demonstration is wrong. First Con is trying to demonstrate that there is no GW on Earth, but in his calculation he uses this conclusion as an hypothesis. He states that if temperatures on Earth are 288 k and Venus temperatures 737 the greenhouse effect on Venus would be 737-2*288 = 161 (Con supposes that the mean temperature on Earth has no Greenhouse Effect). In fact the temperature of Earth with no Greenhouse Effect would be 255 K [10]. Then the temperature on Venus would be 510 K with no greenhouse effect. The greenhouse effect would be in fact 227 K. Con now states that the Co2 effect is linear. In his first speech he stated: "a little bit of the CO2 in the atmosphere causes a relatively large amount of global warming, but as more is added the relative effect decreases dramatically". So the relationship is not in fact linear. If Venus has a 227 K temperature increase because of greenhouse effect then on Earth a small increase in the initial concentration of Co2 would lead to severe initial increases according to Con's model. For a more clear explanation of the process see graph [11]. In fact Venus is even hotter than Mercury [12] which is closer to the Sun. The Moon also proves the greenhouse theory and it is at the same distance as earth [13] and is on average colder.

I have proven the bias of the science that negates GW, gave explanations about the Carboniferous and the Co2 output, have shown how Con's calculation actually proves my theory true. Te motion stands.

[1] http://www.fallacyfiles.org...
[2] http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov...
[3] http://www.fallacyfiles.org...
[4] http://www.nytimes.com...
[5] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[6] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[7] http://www.sciencemag.org...
[8] http://www.geocraft.com...
[9] http://www.palaeos.com...
[10] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[11] http://img404.imageshack.us...
[12] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[13] http://www.teachersdomain.org...
RoyLatham

Con

We have an unresolved disagreement about what contribution of CO2 to climate is "significant." CO2 theory advocates generally attribute all of climate change to CO2. They argue that there is no significant solar activity of any kind, that arctic ice could not have melted due to the Pacific Oscillation by which it has melted regularly in past times, and that hurricanes that used to run in cycles no longer do so. So for debate purposes, I'd say that if half of global warming were due to CO2, that would be significant.

Pro suggested in round 2 that "significant" ought to be judged as enough to make enacting cap and trade worthwhile. By that standard, then if all of global warming is due to to CO2, it still wouldn't be significant. That's because Europe enacted cap and trade some time ago, and CO2 was not reduced at all as a consequence. The Holocene Optimum (3000-5000 years ago) was warmer than CO2 theorists claim it will get, and that was one of the most prosperous periods of human history. The polar bears survived as well.

If Pro understood that no scientist opposed to CO2 theory maintained that global warming did not exist, then why did he put it as the first contention of his debate argument? Whether Pro believed the error of fact or not, it appears in Pro's argument, and is therefore relevant to the debate. Having the contention implies that those who deny the theory is completely out of touch with reality. Therefore is was relevant to refute the implication.

I did the analysis of CO2 effects on Venus correctly. I acknowledged that 380 ppm (I should have said 368 ppm, which is more accurate.) of CO2 leads to our present temperature. I claimed that the sensitivity to CO2 above 380 would be small. Pro claimed that the sensitivity above present levels was high, and that Venus showed that sensitivity. To disprove Pro's assertion, I started with the assumption of what temperatures would be if both Earth and Venus had 380 ppm of CO2, compensating for Venus being closer to the Sun. The rise above that baseline that is actually observed is about 150 degrees and it is due to adding (960,000 - 380) ppm of CO2. That's 0.05 degree per extra 380 ppm. That refutes Pro's contention that because Venus is hot, it shows that temperature is sensitive to CO2. Note that the main greenhouse gas on earth is not CO2, it is water vapor. That allows CO2 proponents to tweak the computer models so that when CO2 fails to explain warming, an induced multiplier effect from water vapor is claimed.

Pro responds by producing an unlabeled graph from an unknown source that shows that while overall there is low sensitivity to CO2, that early may be in a portion of the curve where there is still some sensitivity. The x-axis of the graph appear to be logarithmic, but it isn't stated, so we don't know for sure where the 380 point should be plotted. There is no clue as to whether the y-axis (temperature) is linear or logarithmic, so even if we knew the 380 point, we couldn't read of the temperature increase claimed for going to 760 ppm.

What Pro's graph concedes is that CO2 effects are extremely non-linear. What Pro seems to disputes is the exact shape of the curve or where we are on the curve. The non-linearity of the CO2 response is calculated from physical principles by T.J. Nelson http://brneurosci.org... "What saturation tells us is that exponentially higher levels of CO2 would be needed to produce a linear increase in absorption, and hence temperature. This is basic physics.... doubling carbon dioxide would not double the amount of global warming. In fact, the effect of carbon dioxide is roughly logarithmic. Each time carbon dioxide (or some other greenhouse gas) is doubled, the increase in temperature is the same as the previous increase." Nelson continues by fitting the CO2 data from the 20th century to the known temperature rise. "This shows that doubling CO2 over its current values should increase the earth's temperature by about 1.85 degrees C. Doubling it again would raise the temperature another 1.85 degrees C. Since these numbers are based on actual measurements, not models, they include the effects of amplification, if we make the reasonable assumption that the same amplification mechanisms that occurred previously will also occur in a world that is two degrees warmer."

Pro gives references, but they are a mess of blog-like conclusions from non-scientists and biased Wikipedia articles. Moreover, Pro frequently fails to claim what it is in the article that he claims to be supporting his claim. Other times I cannot find and match at all. His [12] is supposed to support a claim about Mercury, but I cannot find any reference to Mercury. He cited an article claiming to temperature for the last decade that showed no such data. Pro should reference articles written by credible scientists and quote or say what it is that supports his point.

The second graph in http://wattsupwiththat.com... compares actual temperature with climate model prediction. Temperature have been level for the past decade, and "August 2008 was 3 C below June 1988, rather than projected 5 C above"

Pro claims that there is a consensus of the "vast majority of scientists" that CO2 theory is correct. The main evidence he cites supporting that claim is the IPCC report. However, the IPCC itself is 70% non-scientists, a small elite determines the conclusions and edits the chapters to match their conclusions, and none of the contributors are allowed to vote on whether the report is valid. There is no evidence that if there is a consensus at all, that it is anything like a "vast majority."

In addition to the hurricane expert who quite in protest, "Dr. Vincent Gray, a member of the IPCC's expert reviewers' panel asserts, 'There is no relationship between warming and [the] level of gases in the atmosphere.' " and "the [2001] report's lead author, atmospheric scientist Dr. John Christy, to rebuke media sensationalism and affirm, "The world is in much better shape than this doomsday scenario paints … the worst-case scenario [is] not going to happen."
http://townhall.com... Recently, Christy identified the clear ideological beliefs of several authors and noted, "The tendency to succumb to group-think and the herd-instinct (now formally called the "informational cascade") is perhaps as tempting among scientists as any group ..." http://news.bbc.co.uk...

Pro also cites the bogus study by Naomi Oreskes, a historian who searched scientific articles and claimed to find no articles contrary to CO2 theory. Oreskes only looked to for certain key phrases in certain journals, phrases basically related to political stance on the issue. Most scientific articles don't make any conclusions one way on the other about global warming, they just report on a study of some aspect of the science. It's easy to make a list of hundreds of scientific articles providing evidence contrary to CO2 theory, but none are included in Orestes study. Separately, I have compiled a lengthy critique of the Oreskes study, http://factspluslogic.com...

Pro provided a reference that shows no relationship between CO2 and global warming over the past 600 million years. There was an ice age when CO2 levels were 12 time present. Pro responds that over history there were many things going on in climate. That's true, but it also shows that whatever the CO2 effect upon climate it has been insignificant relative to all those other causes. So for 600 million years, CO2 at levels a dozen times greater than now has been insignificant, but now we are supposed to believe it is dominant.

Physical theory, past history, and current observation should CO2 has no significant climate effect.
Debate Round No. 3
victordr

Pro

As I have previously stated it is important for the relevance and quality of the debate that only the argument presented are analyzed. Referring to "Co2 theorists" or "deniers" only muddles the debate and brings irrelevant arguments to the debate. I refrained from bringing into the discussion questionable arguments or false evidence produced by "deniers". Had this debate been:"I believe that CO2 advocates are right" or "Deniers are wrong" rather than "GW is human-induced in a significant way" than Con's reference to Co2 advocates statements would have made sense. I have already stated that I will not get dragged into a discussion about advocates and deniers. I am only interested in Con's arguments and he should only be interested in mine. I also salute the fact that Con engaged in tackling the methods for proving false the human induced GW.

In my previous speech I pointed out that there was consensus among scientists and that it is more probable that the scientists saying GW is human induced are right. Con had 2 attacks: there is not a large consensus and the consensus is not meaningful. Con first tried to prove that consensus is not meaningful and than that there is actually no consensus. This means that Con abandons his first contention that consensus doesn't mean anything. I will now prove that Con's argument further strengthens my position. First of all, Con only managed to prove marginal misconduct in the IPCC and not in other independent studies while I managed to link all of Con's sources to financers that have a vested interest in the outcome of this debate. When evaluating proof, one test is the vested interest in the outcome of the debate [1]. Con conceded in his second speech that GW scientists have no vested interest. Furthermore I have proven a clear and foul initiative form the part of oil industry to deny climate change. Con did not answer to the allegations and proof I provided with this respect. What is more, if there are some scientists that can speak out for themselves and deny the "official position" it is highly improbable that the others will be dominated by the "bureaucrats" at the IPCC. Con did not provide any evidence of the interference of the IPCC interference in the research of GW scientist. Con also attacked all of my sources in block, without mentioning what source is not credible. To Con the Wikipedia articles are more biased than oil financed or oil directed science. This is highly improbable. With respect to the consensus argument Con first conceded that consensus is meaningful and I have proven that it is more probable that the human induced GW theory is not affected by vested interests or by interfering from outside sources.

Con decided to address the "significant" term of this topic. I must point out that it was not until the third round that Con addressed the "significant" definition. Until this round Con chose to replace my statements with those of "advocates". When I stated that GW is caused in a significant manner by humans I have also provided the means to evaluate if this change is important. Con addressed some of them in the second round and attacked the idea of important enough to take action now. Con argument is nevertheless flawed as he proves that previous action was insufficient not that action must not be taken. Furthermore, Con decides to attack a specific course of action (cap and trade) when there are other means of combating Co2 emissions (i.e. taxes). While in this attempt EU failed to reduce emissions the basic idea should work as it has done in US when trying to curb So2 emissions. So if Con agrees to use this criterion too I should win this debate.

We had previously agreed that there is global warming. Con stated that temperatures have been stable for the past decade. I have proven this wrong and Con did not respond to this statement and the proof presented. In studying the past Co2 records Con pointed out that there can be no correlation between Co2 and global temperatures. I have shown that at the end of the period temperatures decreased and also Co2 levels decreased. The graph and phenomena presented by the article also point out a clear trend in the output and replacement of Co2. This imbalance of absorbed and emitted Co2 and also the positive feedback effect were never accounted for by Cons arguments. Even if at the scale of 600 million years there seems everything is ok, at the scale of 600 000 years Co2 has risen and h

In the discussion about Venus and the Moon the basic idea was to observe simpler systems to determine the effects of Co2 in the absence of other factors that may complicate the analysis and hence the debate. I have provided evidence that shows that Venus is hotter than Mercury which is closer to the Sun. Con only attacked the relevance of my source. In this case I will quote sources [2] [3]. Also, I have shown that the Moon which is at basically the same distance from the Sun as Earth is on average much colder. The Moon doesn't have any Periodic Oceanic movement to explain this characteristic. According to the principle tertium non datur the only thing left is the lack of greenhouse effect. Per a contrario on planets with atmosphere (i.e. Earth) this effect can be shown to be significant.

We have both agreed to compare Venus to Earth. Nevertheless Con provided proof that states that we must not compare Earth and Venus due to major differences. According to common procedures what has been agreed in a case by the parties is considered truth for the purpose of that case. I must further point out that the evidence presented doesn't explain why we must not compare Venus and Earth. It simply points out that the pressure on Venus is greater than that on Earth but it further analyzes Co2 effects based upon the quantity. The document presented also says that we can only project Co2 evolution by not taking into account the projected evolution of population since this is not science but sociology. This elementary wrong as we must try to improve our models by using all the available data (humans produce co2 – this is no rocket science). The article also concedes that even using it's optimistic projections Co2 will increase temperatures by 1.85 C.

When analyzing Venus, Con calculated a + 150 C greenhouse effect. I have shown that the calculation is wrong since Con used the presumption that there is no greenhouse effect on Earth to complete his calculations. The actual temperature that should have been used in the calculations should have been 255 K for Earth with no greenhouse effect. The graph presented is just that: a graph of a logarithmic function. It is for illustrative purposes only. It shows what math already that the derivative of ln(x) is 1/x. The derivative shows the speed by which a continuous function "grows". 1/x has large values at the beginning and smaller as x increases. This means that the initial increases in Co2 have a larger effect than subsequent increases of Co2. Me, Con and the article agree on this point. However, neither Con's model, nor the one in the document explain the high temperatures on Venus. If for every 2 degrees we need to double the amount of Co2 in the atmosphere then for +150 C we would need a 2^75 increase (more than the amount on Venus) in Co2 to cause such an increase. This contradicts all the observed data of both Venus and Earth. It is more likely that the initial quantities of Co2 account for most of the effect and that most of the subsequent quantities cause smaller increases. Therefore most of the heating happens at the beginning. This heating is significant. I have used the same inverse method as the one used in the article presented by Con.

It is both the Sun and Co2. The motion stands.

[1] Preparing for legislative debate; Linda L. Oddo, Thomas B. McClain; P. 30
[2] http://hypertextbook.com...
[3] http://www.universetoday.com...
RoyLatham

Con

The theory that CO2 drives climate rose to prominence in the 1980s. The earth had been cooling from the 30s into the 70s, and by the early 70s the threat of an approaching ice age was the consensus of scientists and was hyped in the press. CO2 theory was derived by tweaking computer models under the assumption that the sun was inactive, and climate was being driven by CO2. The models predicted that the earth would be, by last summer, eight degrees warmer than was actually observed. The models also fail to predict the distribution of temperatures from the surface upwards, and fail to predict the distribution from pole to pole. CO2 has continued to rise, but temperatures over the last decade have been stable or slightly declining. In the history of the earth, there have been ice ages when there was 12 times as much CO2 in the atmosphere; it has never dominated climate. It's possible that CO2 makes a small contribution to climate cahnge, but clearly it's not the significant factor. If it were a key component, the CO2 models would have been proved right, rather than proved wrong.

The magnetosphere of the sun has probably been driving climate change. CO2 theorists take the irradiance of the sun into account, but not the magnetosphere. Basically, solar magnetic activity moderates cosmic rays on earth, and the cosmic rays cause a cloud seeding effect which in turn affects cloud cover by the roughly 3% required to dominate climate. Historically, we know that a period of the Little Ice Age was characterize by there being virtually no sunspots. Cosmic ray theory is still unproved, but what is clear at this point is that something other than CO2 is in control of climate.

The allegation is that Exxon-Mobile provides about $1.6 million per year to support non-CO2 research on global warming. Perhaps 40% of climate scientists dissent from CO2 theory, so Pro supposes that 40% of climate scientists can be bought for $1.6 million. In the current year, the US Congress alone "has provided over $2,000,000,000 in resources to address the reality of global warming climate change and its effect on Earth's environments, ... [including] $400,000,000 for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, of which more than $200,000,000 is to enhance climate change research and regional assessments" http://www.climatesciencewatch.org.... This does not count the money poured in by private foundations and foreign governments. Al Gore alone has made $100 million from global warming advocacy, with his unscientific movie winning him a Nobel Prize and an Oscar. An example of Gores "science" is that the IPCC says the worst case rise in sea level in the next hundred years is half a meter, but Gore shows New York being inundated. Gore regularly testifies before Congress in the role of an expert on global warming.

In a BBC documentary, a researcher in the UK put it this way (paraphrasing): "If I apply for a government research grant to study, 'The food storage habits of squirrels in Sussex' I'll have a small chance of getting funding. But if I propose to study, 'The effects of global warming on the food storage habits of squirrels in Sussex,' my chances are much improved." http://www.amazon.com... Horner describes the outrageous bias shown in favor of CO2 theory and against opponents in his book: Red Hot Lies: How Global Warming Alarmists Use Threats, Fraud, and Deception to Keep You Misinformed

So Pro is contending that Exxon's measly $1.6 million completely invalidates any opposition research, but the billions paid in tribute to CO2 theory simply do not count. If anything, it validates the opposition as willing to carry on based upon dedication to science despite inadequate funding. In science, there is the peer review process by which publications are reviewed by fellow scientists. The peer review committees are likely to have majorities favoring CO2 theory. So how is it that opposing papers, which Pro dismisses as worthless because of their sponsorship, get past peer review? There is no question that hundreds of such papers are published; hundreds are listed on the co2science.org web site. My explanation is that most scientists are fundamentally honest, and most papers don't make global pronouncements, they chip away at parts of the problem. The peer review process isn't perfect, but it works well enough to filter out bogus papers. So how does Pro's theory of scientists being easily corrupted by small money ($1.6 million spread among thousands of scientists) explain the opposition papers passing peer review?

Pro originally claimed that high temperatures on Venus proved that climate was sensitive to small changes in CO2. The fact is that 3500 times the CO2 produces 150 degrees of warming, so clearly it is insensitive. Pro then introduced an imaginary unlabeled curve to show that even though it was insensitive overall, it could be sensitive at our present low levels. That's a different argument. It could be, but is it? Pro offered nothing but an imaginary curve. I then referenced the curve shape computed from physical theory fitted to the data from the 20th century, showing that doubling the CO2 levels on earth would raise temperatures here by less than 2 degrees. Pro then responded that the curve does not work for Venus. True, it doesn't work for Venus. One reason is that CO2 is not the dominant greenhouse gas on earth, but it is the dominant greenhouse gas on Venus. On earth it is water vapor. A second reason is that the atmosphere on Venus is nearly a hundred times as dense as that of earth, and most of the greenhouse effect occurs relatively near the surface. This was explained in detail in the references I gave. This makes the calculation for Venus considerably different that from that for earth. Pro has not rebutted the calculations done for earth under the assumptions appropriate for earth, where water vapor dominates, the atmosphere is relatively thin, and we have actual data for the 20th century.

Pro claims, "Con stated that temperatures have been stable for the past decade. I have proven this wrong and Con did not respond to this statement and the proof presented." I did in fact respond to Pro's claim. I pointed out that Pro's claimed reference did not show the temperatures for the past decade. I then provided a reference that does show the temperatures, and clearly the temperatures have not been increasing as Pro claims. My exact words were, "The second graph in http://wattsupwiththat.com... compares actual temperature with climate model prediction. Temperature have been level for the past decade, and August 2008 was 3 C below June 1988, rather than projected 5 C above."

Pro claims that I cannot logically attack both the existence of large consensus and the validity of the consensus. There is nothing illogical about attacking both. How many scientists believe something and whether it is correct or not are loosely coupled. Consensus on the shape of the earth or the 99.86% consensus on the theory of evolution are pretty convincing, but a 60/40 or 50/50 split is not a basis for claiming a reliable conclusion. CO2 theory has been taking severe hits as it continually fails to predict climate, and I'm not sure even if there is a consensus any more. Pro's only argument that there is a consensus is that the IPCC report exists. even though the IPCC is 70% non-scientists, the conclusions are dictated by a small elite, there is no peer review of the report, and scientists don't get to vote on it.

The evidence is that CO2 is not a significant factor in recent climate change, and the variations in past climate cannot be attributed to CO2. CO2 to moderates climate, but for 600 million years the variations above that level have had little effect.
Debate Round No. 4
victordr

Pro

Final round. No new arguments and no new proof.
In this round we will try to conclude and to balance the arguments presented. The debate crystallized around 2 central issues: credibility/significance of authority and interpretation of available data.
With regard to the first point it became clear that the debate shifted from the credibility of scientists supporting human induced GW to the credibility of scientists and groups negating GW. This was only natural since there is more to attack and defend on the side of people negating human induced GW. Con managed to show that there was suspicion about interference in science on the side of IPCC (and IPCC only). I proved that not only all the proof presented by Con is financed by oil industry (Exxon is only one example, it didn't have to pay for all the research negating GW), but also that oil industry edited a science report which was wrote by independent scientists. Con made no reference to this Machiavellian strategy in his speech. Con also conceded that GW scientists have no secret agenda. My proof showed that people that negate GW have a vested interest in the outcome of this debate. Given the excellent record of oil companies in seeking the truth and helping their communities the reader can judge for himself/herself if the science provided by their scientists reflects the truth. In the end it is more probable that independent scientists are right and scientists financed by good willing oil companies are biased. It is hard to convince somebody of the truth if he is paid to ignore it.
In the second part of the debate the reader can surely see that Con is very good at constantly changing his strategy to respond to my arguments. First he ignores the Venus example (round 1), then he does some calculations that I show to prove the Co2 sensitivity of climate (round 2&3), then he says that Venus is not actually relevant even if he agreed to use it as a case study (round 4). As his argument and his source don't explain why Venus is not appropriate for the debate, it should be taken into consideration when evaluating the outcome of this debate. I Venus is taken into consideration and correlated with the data provided by Con in the 2nd and 3rd round and the graph I have provided for illustrative purposes, then it shows that initial increases can lead to significant effects in warming the climate. This proves the topic I am advocating for.
The proof showing an increase of mean temperatures and the argument regarding the balance of input and output were never clearly attacked by Con. Instead Con pointed out different causes that drive climate. When it was clear that it was not enough to prove alternate causes Con tried to redefine the "significant" word so that I would have to prove that Co2 drives climate change. As this is a straw man strategy I did not engage in this discussion. Instead I proved a significant effect.
Also Con used a double standard with regard to the issue presented. The Co2 Theory must exactly predict everything while alternate causes don't have to. If we apply the same principle on Con causes they don't stand careful analysis.
With regard to the quote from a "BBC documentary" [sic] I refrain from listing all the false data provided by the movie ("The Great Global Warming Swindle") as this would be new proof. I will only point out something that already appeared in the debate and on which both me and Con agree. The movie states that there is no financing of denial (sic!) of human induced GW. This is only one among numerous errors of the movie. It is good that I didn't have to defend An Inconvenient Truth.
In the end I won credibility and I won Venus. The reader can either vote for Pro or wait to see if the Co2 theory is wrong.
http://xkcd.com...
I thank Con for an educated debate and the reader for his patience in reading this lengthy discussion.
RoyLatham

Con

The theory that CO2 is the dominant cause of global warming is based upon computer models that were derived under errant assumptions. The models have completely failed to predict the observed changes in climate. If CO2 was a significant cause of global warming, and CO2 theorists were correct that nothing else is presently affecting climate, then the predictions should have inescapably fallen into line. Over a period when the earth was supposed to warm by 5 degrees, it actually cooled by 3 degrees. In the history of the earth, the climate has warmed and cooled with apparent complete independence of CO2 levels. There was an ice age when CO2 levels were twelve times higher than at present. In the period of the Holocene Optimum, about 3,000 to 5,000 years ago, temperatures were warmer than CO2 models predict the earth will become in the future, but there was no human-produced CO2 to be blamed. The Holocene optimum was a time of human prosperity, and the polar bears paddled through it quite nicely.

I presented scientific references in support of every one of these claims.

Pro has not rebutted a single one of these assertions. He completely ignored most of them. Instead he focused on (1) asserting that the existence of the IPCC report proves a consensus among scientists, and that a consensus established scientific fact. He also (2) impugned the integrity of scientists who did not accept CO2 theory, claiming that the had all been bought off by the oil companies. Finally, he argued (3) that the climate on Venus proved that CO2 was a significant determinant of climate on present day earth.

The IPCC Report

The IPCC Report exists, however there is no evidence that it represents a consensus among climate scientists, or, more importantly that it represents the overwhelming consensus that Pro claims. I claimed that the IPCC was a political organization with only 30% of the members being actual climate scientists, that the report conclusions were written by a small number of people who required authors of individual sections to support their conclusions, that report was not subject to peer review, and that the contributing scientists were not allowed to vote on the accuracy of the report. Pro did not rebut a single one my claims; he only claimed that those criticisms were inconclusive. I provided reference to the book by Michaels on the IPCC process, the statements of John Christy (a lead author of the IPCC report), and the statement of Landsea, the hurricane expert who resigned in protest when the IPCC central committee changed his conclusion that hurricane activity was unrelated to CO2. Pro provided no contrary evidence.

Climate change was recently debated by William Schlesinger and John Christy, both qualified climate scientists. http://www.johnlocke.org... Schlesinger claimed the IPCC report showed the kind of consensus Pro also claimed. Christy told the audience that as a lead author he knew it was political. After the debate, a question from the audience asked Schlesinger what percentage of the IPCC was composed of climate scientists. Schlesinger replied that there were many aspects to the science and that he didn't know for sure, but that "perhaps 20% had something to do with climate." This from a strong proponent of the theory. (Debate fans might find the whole debate worth watching. I think Christy won handily, and so did the audience.)

The Integrity of Dissent

Pro made the claim that the oil industry sponsored most of the research contradicting CO2 theory. I pointed out that NASA alone poured more that a hundred times Exxon's measly $1.6 million in the quest to prove CO2 theory. Counting all the sponsorship on both sides, the weight of sponsorship is undoubtedly many hundreds of times in favor of supporting CO2 theory. So I asked how it could be that opponents were easily corrupted, while proponents were immune. Pro did not respond beyond the implication that oil companies were evil. Beyond that I challenged Pro to explain how the peer review process for scientific journals allowed what Pro claimed to be bogus research to be published. Pro ignored my challenge and failed to provide any explanation as to how the peer review process was somehow corrupted.

I think that scientists are subject to group think like others in society, but that the peer review process is fundamentally honest. Dissenting papers are published because they present data and analysis that stands up to scrutiny. Pro has no explanation that supports his theory of bogus science. The peer review process means that it makes no difference who sponsors research, the results stand on their own.

Is Earth Like Venus?

Pro originated the discussion of Venus, claiming that the temperature on Venus proved Earth's climate was sensitive to small changes in CO2 levels. I pointed out that 3500 times as much CO2 only produced a 150 degree rise, so it certainly didn't prove climate was sensitive to CO2. Pro responded that even though it wasn't sensitive overall, it might be sensitive at low levels. Yes, it might be, but is it? I presented a scientific paper that provided the physical basis for CO2 effects on earth, and then fit the actual data from the 20th century to the curve shape. The result showed that doubling CO2 on earth would produce less than a two degree temperature rise. In the detailed analysis, the curve on Venus would be different because (1) unlike Venus the dominant greenhouse gas on earth is water vapor, and (2) the atmosphere on Venus is about 100 times as dense.

One might expect Pro to respond with a scientific paper on the CO2 theory as applied to earth's atmosphere that derives a different result. He did not. Pro simply asserted he was correct. I have looked for such a paper and never found one either. This is consistent with my assertion that CO2 theory does not derive from any simple physical theory, but rather from tweaking multiplier coefficients in computer models. I also referenced climate scientists (Spencer et al) that tweaking is how CO2 theory is derived. Throughout the debate, Pro referenced dubious Wikipedia articles, blog posts, and popular press articles instead of articles written by climate scientists. I challenged Pro several time to reference scientists and to point out exactly where in his references I could find support for his claims. He did not respond to any challenge.

---

Pro's asserts CO2 is "significant" if it justifies enacting cap and trade legislation. Since past warm periods like the Medieval Warm Period and the much warmer Holocene Optimum were prosperous times for humanity, by that criteria the resolution fails even if CO2 causes global warming in the amounts postulated by the latest IPCC report. Besides, cap and trade does not lower CO2 levels, so it is never justified. I would allow a lesser criteria for "significant," perhaps if half of global warming were due to CO2. If it were only half, that would be a devastating blow to the theory, since advocates claim there is no other source of climate change at present. If one looks at the observed climate data, it is unlikely that more than 10 percent is due to CO2. CO2 is increasing slowly and smoothly, but world temperatures are moving largely independently, with the last decade showing if anything a slight downward trend. If CO2 were to account for as much as half of climate change, the past decade would have shown a significant increase.

The irradiance (heat output) of the sun also fails to explain climate change. Right now the best bet is that it changes in the sun's magnetosphere that drives climate. That tracks well with past and present climate. The Little Ice Age, for example, corresponded to a period of no sunspots. However, if that is not the significant factor in climate, then something unknown other than CO2, is.

The resolution is negated.
Debate Round No. 5
45 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by victordr 6 years ago
victordr
I would be happy to debate the scandal too but I don't it is relevant any more; don't have the time anyway- the fight for opposing climate change (real or not) was lost at Copenhagen. I am not very convinced myself that warming is happening at the rate IPCC is saying it is... Fighting against global warming will remain a secondary issue and a matter of personal choice for every human - I hope I was wrong.
Posted by RoyLatham 6 years ago
RoyLatham
victordr, Few people look at old debates.

I think the scandals were very telling, particularly the fervor over keeping opponents of climate change from being published, and the adamant rfusal to reveal their own data and methods. That departs from science in favor ideology. I think that was far worse than the fudging of the data.

What's really bad for climate crisis theory is that there hasn't been any global warming for 15 years, and even the UN admits it. The theory was that nothing affecting climate is now going on except CO2. No volcanoes, no solar activity, no ocean cycles ... so there is nothing to explain global warming except CO2. So when CO2 keeps increasing and temperature doesn't, the theory there is nothing else is, IMHO, dead.

I'd be happy to debate the recent science or the scandal if you'd like.
Posted by victordr 6 years ago
victordr
Hahaha... i was expecting to lose votes due to the recent scandals... strange world - stranger humans. Maybe I will get more votes as temperature rises and con will get more votes as temperatures fall. Anyway, by that time the debate will be in vain and the result will be post hoc.
Posted by RoyLatham 7 years ago
RoyLatham
Pervrat, You have blocked messages, so I cannot work up a debate challenge that way. would you like to affirm one of these positions?

Global temperatures have shown significant warming for the past decade.
Wikipedia is a reliable source for controversial issues because it has many editors.
Few credentialed scientists oppose the theory that CO2 is currently dominating climate.

Something else?
Posted by RoyLatham 7 years ago
RoyLatham
Pervrat, OK, I'll have to work up a debate challenge for you. That's what we are here for. As far as I know, few scientists question that the earth's climate has been at least stable for the past decade. All of the graphs show it clearly. The head of the IPCC admits it. The question is whether ten years has climate significance. It's CO2 theorists who are most adamant in claiming it is not climate, just some unexplained short term effect. But if you are right and it is climate, then CO2 theory is absolutely dead. As I explained in the debate, "global warming" is the usually meant to mean the general rise in temperatures since the end of the Little Ice Age, and that is what is agreed to. CO2 theorists do not claim that there has been global warming forever. The ice ages are agreed to as being cold. Within the warming trend since the mid 1800's there have been periods of rise and fall in temperature on top of the trend. CO2 theorists explain the fall from the 30s through the 70s as due to particulates. They have no explanation as to why current temperatures are much cooler than predicted.
Posted by PervRat 7 years ago
PervRat
purplehaze - Its the earth's ozone layer that protects us (at ground level) from the deadly radiation of earth's sun. The earth's orbit around the sun is stable, until human intervention the atmosphere has been stable for many millions of years. All life on earth depends on what was the status quo of the atmosphere, but human intervention has affected all of this. Chlorofluorocarbons and other ozone-depleting chemicals drastically weakened the ozone and even a giant hole discovered by NASA over Antarctica that will take decades, if not centuries, to repair itself.

The climate and weather on earth is contingent, basically, on how much heat and light from the sun reaches the surface, and how much of that radiates back into space. The amount of heat that escapes back into space has been reduced by a massive artificial (man-made) buildup of greenhouse gases, mainly Carbon Dioxide which is the result of fossil fuel combustion (including coal, gasoline and diesel). The man-made causes are actually two-fold, and many people forget this: colossal-scale emissions of greenhouse gases AND massive destruction of the earth's natural carbon-dioxide-to-free-oxygen converters, namely trees and forests. Basically, the heat we used to be able to get rid of can no longer escape, so it builds up ... we have too much insulation, and there's nowhere else for the heat to go. We've been dumping too many greenhouse gases -- insulation -- into the atmosphere as well as decimating the planet's ability to break the greenhouse gases down into non-greenhouse gases (like Oxygen which we need anyway!).

Imagine all of your water you drank came from a huge water tank. Imagine someone urinating in that water tank once per day, every day. At the beginning, you wouldn't notice it -- a little pee amid thousands of gallons of water, you wouldn't even taste it. But over time, you would ... it would build up, not break down on its own.
Posted by PervRat 7 years ago
PervRat
RL - Your assessment of which side employs a handfulof political zealots are reversed. You were the one referencing blog posts on blogspot. Wikipedia is very reliable, as no other source of information has as many editors. The IPCC -- an international coalition of experts -- is very well respected and recognized in scientific circles, but you go out of your way to not only dismiss it but find obscure "researchers" reminiscent of the tobacco company "experts" who discounted the notion of tobacco smoke causing cancer.

In terms of nonsensical, you simultaneously agreed that global warming exists, yet claimed the globe is in a cooling trend.
Posted by purplehaze 7 years ago
purplehaze
How could anything we could do to the earths atmosphere be significant in comparison to the radiation the sun is battering off of us?
Posted by RoyLatham 7 years ago
RoyLatham
Pervrat, Please explain why you thought Pro's sources were better. It seemed to me to be blog posts, unsigned Wikipedia, and non-scientific popular press rather than scientists. What did you think was nonsensical?
Posted by PervRat 7 years ago
PervRat
B/A: Pro
Conduct: Pro
S & G: Con
Arguments: Pro. Con's arguments were nonsensical and contradictory.
Sources: Pro
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