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Developed countries have a moral obligation to mitigate the effects of climate change.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/16/2014 Category: Science
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,405 times Debate No: 44109
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PRO- Case

First, we offer the CIA World Factbook's definition of "developed countries," which includes just over thirty nations that are generally first-world and feature service-oriented economies.

Standard- The standard of today"s debate, or weighing mechanism, should be deontology. Since this topic is about moral obligations and deontology is about the morality of actions and its justification, we believe that the team that adheres to this standard should win this debate.

1. Alternative- Adaptation
Adapting is the correct way to go in the process of mitigating.
Since today"s topic is about mitigating the effects of climate change, and not mitigating climate change, as the affirmative team, it is our ground to be able to "adapt" to the effects of climate change.

According to, some of the effects of climate change are that heavy rainfall or flooding can increase water-borne parasites that are sometimes found in drinking water. These parasites can cause, in severe cases, death.
One instance to mitigating the effects of climate change includes vaccinating, which is cheap and extremely effective. According to, it costs only $14 to vaccinate a
child, and The UNICEF states that 9 million lives are saved from vaccines annually.

The impact is clear. It would be better to adapt to the effects of climate change. One of the effects is disease, and if we can save all these people from disease by administering vaccines, for a small price of $14 per child, we should win this debate.
2. Economy
If developed countries mitigate the effects of climate change, the economy will grow.
According to the UN, Renewable energy generates more jobs than fossil fuels. Worldwide, jobs in renewable energy industries exceeded 35 million in 2010. $211 billion were invested in the renewable industries in 2010. Obviously, the renewable energy industries create a bigger impact than fossil fuels, and are capable to generate more jobs in the future than fossil fuel industries will be able to.

A study done by the Natural Resource Defense Council said that if present trends continue, these four global warming impacts alone will come with a price tag of almost 1.9 trillion annually (in today"s dollars), by 2100.

The Impact is that Mitigating the effects of climate change is important because of how much it is costing the world. With more jobs being created, the economy is being reboosted. Obviously countries have a moral obligation if climate change is costing them money.
3. Moral Obligation
Developed countries have the obligation to fix the mess that they created. After all, it is the developed country"s fault, and they should fix it. The United states is making nearly 5,500 million tonnes CO2 emissions (Guardian).
Developed Countries should also have the moral obligation to not contribute to campaigns that kill human beings. For example, terrorism:

It is oil money that enables Saudi Arabia [and many other countries] to invest approximately 40% of its income on weapons procurement. In July 2005 undersecretary of the Treasury, Stuart Levey, testifying in the Senate noted "Wealthy Saudi financiers and charities have funded terrorist organizations and causes that support terrorism and the ideology that fuels the terrorists' agenda. Even today, we believe that Saudi donors may still be a significant source of terrorist financing." - Institute for the Analysis of Global security.
Over 12,000 people were killed by terrorist attacks in 2011- according to the National Counter Terrorism Center

Judge, what this means is that many patrons of terrorism happen to be oil and gasoline investors. If we buy gasoline, these supporters of terrorism would earn money, and stuff their profits into supporting terrorist groups, leading to deaths inside our own country and other places around the world. But if we switch to green energy, we would significantly decrease the profits of these terrorism supporters, and as a result, save many lives.

The Impact is clear. Countries have the moral obligation to solve the problems that they have created, and also to try and save the lives of their own citizens from acts like terrorism, by trying to mitigate the effects of climate change.

4. The Environment
Climate Change causes the environment to be affected. All the more reason for countries to mitigate its effects.
According to Nasa, Approximately 20-30% of plant and animal species are likely to be at increased risk of extinction if increases in global average temperature exceeds 1.5-2.5"C.

We need to get prepared for four degrees of global warming, Bob Watson [PhD in Chemistry, Award for Scientific Freedom and Responsibility] told the Guardian last month.Weather would become extreme and unpredictable, with more frequent and severe droughts, floods and hurricanes. The Earth's carrying capacity would be hugely reduced. Billions would undoubtedly die.

The Impact is that if the Earth"s temperatures rises just the slightest amount, millions might die! We must mitigate these effects before it is too late.


Developed countries do not have a moral obligation to mitigate the effects of climate change. In this debate, I will be introducing several arguments. Firstly, I will be explaining how developed countries are not in the position to lessen the gravity of climate change, and therefore there is no moral obligation towards them. Secondly I will be talking about how other "developing countries" have the biggest incentive to reduce emissions, and therefore they must share the burden and the moral obligation towards mitigating the effects. Following on from this, I will be explaining how developing nations are just as capable as developed nations of taking on the burden of climate change.

"Developed countries" are not in the position to mitigate the effects of climate change, and therefore possess no moral obligation to do this. Many economists consider the financial crisis of 2007"2008, the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Countries suddenly found themselves in debt of millions of dollars, along with unemployment rates reaching unprecedented levels. Some of the countries that were affected are indeed considered "developed countries", and are found on the CIA World Fact book list. These countries include Greece, Portugal, Italy, Spain, Germany, France, Belgium, Ireland, United Kingdom and the United States. The figure for Greek government debt at the end of 2009 was 299.7 billion euros (130% of GDP). This led to disastrous social effects; as showed by the figure for the percentage of people living at "risk of poverty or social exclusion", calculated at 33% in 2011. In 2011, 111000 Greek companies went bankrupt (27% higher than in 2010). Greece was not the only country that suffered. Spain"s economy continues to shrink, whilst unemployment rates have reached 27%. Likewise, unemployment in Portugal is also high, while the government continues to reduce the budget in many important sectors as well as in social welfare. These countries are in no position to mitigate the effects of climate change. They possess an obligation to the peoples of their country: to reduce debt and cut unemployment rates. This must be dealt with, and is their primary moral obligation. If these problems are not dealt with, there will be many more social and political ramifications.

Developing countries have the biggest incentive to reduce the effects of climate change; and thus they must share the moral obligation. Developing countries are expected to be the countries who will suffer the worst effects of climate change, comparatively more developing countries are outside temperate zones so will be harder hit by rising temperatures and changes in precipitation patterns. Unfortunately, it is the case that countries that have the wealth to tackle these problems are not going to take the lead in reducing emissions. These countries must take responsibility and act in response to climate change; as it their responsibility.

The next point ties in with my first argument. I strongly believe developing nations are just as capable as developed nations of taking on the burden of effects of climate change. There is a common assumption that developed countries are the only countries who can battle climate change, because the solutions are technological, and the developed world has better science and research infrastructure. But this view is misleading, small solutions can potentially have a big effect in developing nations. Developing nations are just as capable as developed nations of taking on the burden of climate change, and must take the lead in dealing with the effects.
Debate Round No. 1


Thank You for a timely response,
I will first go over my opponent's arguments, then go back to my own.
First, my opponent talked about how many countries are in debt, and are not in the position to mitigate climate change.
However, Global warming could cost the world up to $20 trillion over two decades for cleaner energy sources and do the most harm to people who can least afford to adapt, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warns in a new report.- USA today. Judge, 20 trillion dollars is the biggest number in this debate, and you have to look to our side for this argument. Not only that, but my second argument clearly talks about how mitigating the effects of climate change can increase jobs in the renewable energy field.
Obsviously, since the benefits outweigh the harms, developed countries should have the moral obligation to mitigate climate change.
Their second argument was that developing countries are the countries who wil suffer the worst and the have a huge incentive. However, my opponent is misunderstanding that point. This is about whether these countries should have a MORAL obligation, and as the pollution of CO2 emmissions from these developing countries are going to be pushed to the devloped countries, we have a moral obligation to mitigate the effects of climate change. In the last quarter of the 20th century, the average atmospheric temperature rose by about 1 degree Fahrenheit. By 2000, that increase was responsible for the annual loss of about 160,000 lives and the loss of 5.5 million years of healthy life, according to estimates by the World Health Organization. The toll is expected to double to about 300,000 lives by 2020. Judge, if my opponent can prove that the developed countries don't have a moral obligation to save so many lives, and if he can show the justification of the deaths of so many people because of climate change, then they should win. If he cannot, you have to vote for the pro.
My opponents last argument was essentially that developing countries are the ones with the better ideas. However, my opponent gives not evidence or examples backing this claim up, so it should be disregared.

Now, to my side.
First, I want to go over that adaptation is still an option. Adapting is always an idea. Vaccines which can save 9 million lives is a significant way to adapt, which will lessen the impacts of climate change, therefore mitigating the effects of climate change.
Second, global warming can cause harms to the economy, such as a price tag of 1.9 trillion dollars each year by 2100. Mitigating the effects will enable us to avoid this number, and create more money and jobs.
Third, my switching to renewable energy, we can stop sending money to terrorist groups, greatly decreasing their proft.
Fourth, the enviornment can be greatly saved, saving millions of human lives as well as near extinct species.
Thank you for your time
Please vote PRO



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Debate Round No. 2


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Debate Round No. 3


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Debate Round No. 4


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Debate Round No. 5
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