The Instigator
jyongchul
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Molzahn
Con (against)
Winning
23 Points

Do we need to do more to stop global warming?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/24/2011 Category: Science
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,731 times Debate No: 18451
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (14)
Votes (6)

 

jyongchul

Pro

We need to do more to stop global warming. Global warming is happening and human activity is the main cause for global warming. Although, general consensus is the acceptance of existence of global warming, only limited amount of efforts have been done to prevent further catastrophe.
Molzahn

Con

There is one clarification I must make: anthropogenic activity is a known catalyst in the acceleration of natural climate cycles - not the cause of global warming trends in itself.

For the sake of limiting the scope of the debate, I suggest my opponent and I only discuss anthropogenic green-house gas emission as it relates to global warming trends. I am of the position that the current efforts we are taking to minimize the production of green-house gas waste are efficient. Irrespective of how much effort we take to mitigate the production of green-house gas waste, natural disasters are still going to manifest and more frequently.

I ask my opponent to elaborate what group is meant by "we." We should do more about global warming? Is this referring to individuals, governments, commercial entities? Western civilization or global civilization?

I hope this can be an enlightening debate for debaters and spectators alike. All the best, and I await the next round.
Debate Round No. 1
jyongchul

Pro

We are not doing enough to stop global warming. A New York Times report released on July 19, 2011 indicates that Congress has failed to enact climate change legislation that would have placed a price on emissions and given businesses compelling economic reasons to clean up their plants and develop new technologies to fight global warming. Coal-fired power plants produce one-third of the U.S.’s emissions of carbon dioxide. American Electric Power was forced to shut down an ambitious experiment aimed at capturing greenhouse gases from a coal-fired power plant. This is a disappointing setback for efforts to control harmful global warming emissions from coal, among the world’s most abundant fuels. The article notes: “To address global warming, the country needs new technology and more ambitious projects. There is little chance that industry will invest in them unless Congress provides far stronger financial incentives” (Yeatman, NYT). Noting that without government interventions, private companies will be limited to cut their own carbon emissions.

On September 2, 2011, President Barack Obama ordered the EPA to remove a proposal that tightens smog standards. The proposed smog standard would have required cities to lower ozone emissions, most of which come from power plants, vehicles, and factories. It was estimated to cost between $19 billion and $90 billion, depending on how strictly enforced it would have been. The EPA earlier estimated the rule would save as much as $100 billion in health costs, and help prevent as many as 12,000 premature deaths from heart and lung complications. Republican lawmakers have blamed what they saw as excessive regulations for some of the country’s economic woes, “The pending ozone rule was just one part of a maze of overlapping and costly rules in store for American industry and most especially for the power sector,” said Scott Segal, director of the Electric Reliability Coordinating Council, a trade group. Rules on air toxics and transport, he added, “are likely to result in substantial unemployment across dozens of industrial sectors, increase electric rates for strapped American families, schools, and hospitals, and decreased electric reliability.” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-VA., pledged last week to try to block four environmental regulations, including one on smog. Failure to enact this law angered the environmentalists and also worsened government prevention on global warming. Ozone is the main ingredient in smog, which is a powerful lung irritant that occasionally forces cancellation of school recesses, and causes asthma and other lung ailments. We need to do more to stop global warming.
Molzahn

Con

Placing a price on carbon emissions, as proposed by the Kyoto accord is not an effective way to reduce emissions. By creating carbon-emission shares, this only accomplishes redistribution of wealth from First World nations to developing countries which naturally use less fuel by virtue of having a lower population density. Many countries have rejected this strategy to deal with green-house gas emissions with good reason. As Prime Minister Steven Harper said, such methodologies are useless unless everyone stands together to make a difference (China being a major player standing on the fence). Despite U.N. encouragement, no country is obligated to follow any action plan proposed.

It is a common misconception, but coal based power-plants in themselves aren't what releases the majority of carbon dioxide, coal-fueled power plants are cited as a such a high contributor of geen-house gases due to improper extraction techniques of coal - causing wasteful coal-mine fires (which can burn for years underground). Attempting to capture CO2 released from the plants themselves will do very little. The extraction process is also what causes so much emission from petroleum products. Excess oil that isn't extracted properly rises to the surface of the ocean and is metabolized by bacteria (releasing CO2 in the process).

Individuals have no control over how much fuel is being used. This comes back to supply and demand. If an oil company has X amount of a commodity, the price on that will be adjusted to effectively sell the product. Statistics have demonstrated that hybrid-car users that consume half as much gas per km as a conventional automobile also tend to travel twice as far. Creating more efficient technology for fuel consumption thus accomplishes nothing to reduce green-house gas emissions. Citizens within specific economic conditions budget a certain amount of money toward transportation, thus only oil companies can effectively reduce how much individuals travel. Only by raising the price of gas can we effectively lower CO2 emissions from automobiles - and this is exactly what is being accomplished. We are already dealing with green-house gasses in a responsible and efficient way. To expect a drastic zero-sum game is utterly naive of the social circumstances and economic sciences behind what measures have already been put in place.

By placing higher regulation on manufacturing sectors translates to higher costs for maintenance and subsidization. The supply of a commodity produced locally becomes depressed and demand is displaced to other countries that can deliver the product - such as China which does not maintain the same regulatory standards. By attempting to make North America the lowest carbon emitter, we only serve to displace where the pollution is coming from.

I must make a correction in my opponent's argumentation. Smog and other localized pollution have nothing specifically to do with the topic of global warming. My opponent's substantiations about regulations failing to reduce smog should be disregarded.

It is my contention that we are doing an efficient job at taking care of green-house gas emissions.

I will cite all sources in my final entry.
Debate Round No. 2
jyongchul

Pro

The Earth is warming and human activity is the primary cause. Human activities, such as burning coal and oil in power plants and cars, have poured excessive amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, and the natural world just can't absorb it all. The problem with adding more carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide gases to Earth's atmosphere is that they trap heat, causing global temperatures to rise. Even a rise of a degree or two makes a difference in many aspects of the world that people care about. Back in 1960, about 40 percent of a metric ton of emitted CO2 would remain in the atmosphere. Now that has risen to 45 percent. This means that a ton of CO2 emissions today traps more heat than it would have fifty years ago.
According to an article on MSNBC.com wrote by Ian Johnston in September 1, 2011, in August 2010, a part of the Petermann Glaciers about four times the size of Manhattan Island broke off. When scientists returned in July 2010, they found the ice had been melting so quickly – at an unexpected 16 and a half feet in two years- that some of the masts stuck into the glacier were no longer in position. "it's very hard to sort of envisage something so big not being there… to come back and basically see an ice shelf disappeared, which is 20 kilometers across (about 12 miles)", says researcher Alum Hubbard, of the Centre for Glaciology at Aberystwyth, UK. "The break-off last year is bigger than anything seen for at least 150 years," Hubbard said. "This region (northern Greenland) is experiencing temperatures which are abnormally warm…I think the far northwest of Greenland is seeing a kind of new regime of climate," he added. Writing in the Annals of Glaciology journal, published on August 22, 2011, the researchers said Greenland's glaciers had collectively lost 592.6 square miles of ice between 2000 and 2010. "Take a step back from these individuals and we see a mosaic that could not be clearer. Our world is becoming less hospitable with every passing year," he added.
Researcher Bill Fraser has tracked the decline of the Adelie penguins on Antarctica, where their numbers have fallen from 32,000 breeding pairs to 11,000 in 30 years. Wildlife research scientist Martyn Obbard has found that since the mid- 1980s, with less ice on which to live and fish for food, polar bears have gotten considerably skinnier. Polar bear biologist Ian Stirling has found a similar pattern in Hudson Bay. He fears that if sea ice disappears, the polar bears will as well. Sea level rise became faster over the last century. Some butterflies, foxes, and alpine plants have moved farther north or to higher, cooler areas. Species that depend on one another may become out of sync. For example, plants could bloom earlier than their pollinating insects become active. Spruce bark beetles have boomed in Alaska due to 20 years of warm summers. The insects have chewed up 4 million acres of spruce trees.
Signs are appearing all over, and some of them are surprising. According to Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, some impacts from increasing temperatures are already happening. Precipitation (rain and snowfall) has increased across the globe, on average. Hurricanes and other storms are becoming stronger, and they are likely to become even stronger and happen more frequently. Sea levels are expected to rise between 7 and 23 inches (18 and 59 centimeters) by the end of the century, and continued melting at the poles could add between 4 and 8 inches (10 to 20 centimeters). Floods and droughts will become even more common. Rainfall in Ethiopia, where droughts are already common, could decline by 10 percent over the 50 years. Less fresh water will be available. If the Quelccaya ice cap in Peru continues to melt at its current rate, it will be gone by 2100, leaving thousands of people who rely on it for drinking water and electricity without a source of either. Some disease will spread such as malaria carried by mosquitoes.
Patterns of rainfall and snow, droughts and storms, and lake ice also are changing. Plant and animal behavior are changing. Glaciers are melting and sea level is rising. These shifts are well documented and are largely attributed to human-caused global warming. Scientists can now positively identify the "human fingerprints" associated with these changing patterns. It is clear that the Earth's climate is changing, largely due to human activity. Over the last 25 years, Earth's global average temperature has been increasing at more than twice the rate of the last century. In fact, nine of the warmest years on record have occurred in just the last 10 years. This warming has been accompanied by a decrease in very cold days and nights and an increase in extremely hot days and warm nights. Additionally, the oceans reached their highest recorded temperature in the summer of 2009. Oceans have absorbed much more heat from global warming than the air at the Earth's surface because water is much better at retaining heat. Relatively short-term natural phenomena that cause global temperatures to fluctuate are occurring at the same time human activity continues to drive up average global temperatures by overloading the atmosphere with heat-trapping emissions.
This is a crisis that will affect our food, our national security, our water, our ability to live where we choose, and other basic human needs. The choices we make today can help determine what our climate will be like. Putting a limit on heat-trapping emissions and encouraging the use of healthier, cleaner energy technologies, such as solar and wind power would help us to avoid the worst potential consequences of global warming. Studies indicate that even after excess human-caused CO2 emissions stop, the planet will experience the resulting warming for at least a thousand years. The higher the peak of atmospheric concentrations of CO2, the greater is the level of irreversible consequences. We must act now to halt global warming.
Molzahn

Con

We can do more to help slow global warming trends, but anything we do try will be insignificant as I have demonstrated in my argumentation. Therefore we do not need to do more to stop global warming. I content that we must strive to adapt to changing circumstances instead of dwelling in fear upon them.

My opponent has consistently ignored questions for clarification, rebuttals and counterpoints I have taken time to convey. The argumentation for pro seems to resemble a cut and paste play by play from an essay pertaining to the effects of global warming trends - and nothing to do with the actual question of the debate itself: should we do more to try to make a difference in global warming?

My argumentation has first highlighted the issue that unless we can work collectively as a global society nothing can ever change due to the nature of capitalism and supply and demand. The anthropogenic contribution effecting climate change is a catalyst, not the direct cause. The moment methane and other greenhouse gasses are released from captured pockets at the poles it becomes a positive feedback loop that we (in our current technological state) can do nothing significant to change. I highlighted the issue that industrial solutions dealing with carbon capture from plants and refineries are even less significant because most waste from anthropogenic activity is caused by extraction waste, not usage (Such as the infamous BP oil spill causing a release of CO2 due to consumption by bacteria).

The truth is, the tactics we have in place to deal with climate change are effective and any change to that technique would produce an insignificant benefit (while inducing detrimental economic and infrastructural repercussions). When our governments become aware of rising issues and more efficient methodologies of dealing with those issues, solutions are put into place.

Many spectators may be misinformed on the tenacity of nature's balance of global chemistry. For example, as more CO2 is pumped into the atmosphere, the faster the carbon cycle is pushed to return carbon into a solid state. An increased amount of acid rain is actually a healthy thing for the environment because it is part of a process called chemical weathering. And this is the case for turbulent weather and the like, it is a natural process the Earth takes to maintain balance and it is reflexive (the more chemistry that is out of line, the more these correcting effects manifest).

I am not impressed by my opponent's citation of news outlets such as MSNBC or the words of politicians rather than genuine scholarly sources or research groups. If you take a deeper look into why policy makers and news outlets focus on fear-mongering, ask yourself the question: where's the money? It's profitable and therefore is likely to be used to rally the collective mind of the populous.

Consider the facts, look at the big picture, and vote with your head not your heart.

http://www.essc.psu.edu... - Chemical weathering
http://content.usatoday.com... - Hybrid Cars and fuel usage
http://harvardmagazine.com... - Problems with collective agreements
http://www.skepticalscience.com... - Human emissions
http://www.investopedia.com... - Supply and demand
Debate Round No. 3
14 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Marauder 5 years ago
Marauder
Thank you for sending me a PM to ask me to vote on this jyongchul
But I am sorry I could not in good sense vote in your favor. I suppose your post would pass for semi-okay blog about Global Warming, but its a joke as debative case on the primary reason that you DID NOT EVER ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR OPPONENT.

In a debate you make your case at the start (you did do this)....
your opponent makes his own and offers rebuttal (he did this)....
then you address the contentions brought up by your opponent and even try and rebut his case (you did not do anything of the sort, just continued on as if giving a speech and not continuing a conversation)
then your opponent does the same (In this case he was the only one to give rebuttal)
this goes back and forth for a bit (it only went one way in this debate)
then final concluding statements are made. you summarize what you feel you said that was important to the resolution and how you think your opponent failed to make his side of the resolution with his case.
Posted by sadolite 5 years ago
sadolite
"Only 2.75 percent of atmospheric CO2 is anthropogenic in origin. Despite the increase in emissions, the rate of change of atmospheric carbon dioxide at Mauna Loa remains the same as the long term average (plus 0.45 percent per year)," "We are responsible for just 0.001 percent of this atmosphere. If the atmosphere was a 100-story building, our anthropogenic CO2 contribution today would be equivalent to the linoleum on the first floor."
Posted by sadolite 5 years ago
sadolite
"If it was really less than 1%, and only that much could do the damage that is happening globally"

This is precisely the point. It has no effect if removed but will destroy the earth if allowed to continue. Junk science Get it yet? I wounder, have you bothered to check on this yet. It may change your position completely.
Posted by jyongchul 5 years ago
jyongchul
If it was really less than 1%, and only that much could do the damage that is happening globally, I don't know how long we can continue the way we do.
Posted by sadolite 5 years ago
sadolite
Mans output of carbon to atmosphere is less than 1% I believe. If you completely eliminated all carbon out put by man the net effect would be 0. But the destruction to the standard of living globally would be immeasurable.
Posted by jyongchul 5 years ago
jyongchul
I am not saying that we should cool the earth. We should, at least, do what we can to continue the natural pattern of the earth. We are disturbing natural pattern of the earth by emitting more greenhouse gases. The signs are already apparent. Did you see the massive amounts of glaciers melting? Climate is changing world wide. The abnormal climate pattern wasn't just present in U.S., but it was happening globally.
Posted by Greyparrot 5 years ago
Greyparrot
Because that is really what you are advocating with this trillion dollar push, some way for humans to globally cool the earth.

How can you be so arrogant to think that you COULD globally cool the earth; and not even CONSIDER that you may actually overcool it and destroy far more life on this planet than global warming ever possibly could?

If there is a cosmic God, he is surely laughing at your tantrums.
Posted by Greyparrot 5 years ago
Greyparrot
Would you be as strongly against Global Cooling?
Posted by sadolite 5 years ago
sadolite
ok i checked out the debate. Climate change global warming or what ever you want to call it is all about money and picking winners and loosers in the financial sector. No vote I don't vote RFG is always challenged and a waste of my time.
Posted by jyongchul 5 years ago
jyongchul
I did not copy and paste my claims.
6 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Vote Placed by Marauder 5 years ago
Marauder
jyongchulMolzahnTied
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Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro acted like Con did not exist, so there goes conduct Con had a better arguments because he designed them to be arguments and not an essay Con actually gave links to his sources. Pro referred to one but did not actual give a link directing you to it.
Vote Placed by F-16_Fighting_Falcon 5 years ago
F-16_Fighting_Falcon
jyongchulMolzahnTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro failed to establish a direct cause-corelation relationship between the harms that he mentioned as well as between international agreements and global warming. Also wall of text = distracting.
Vote Placed by dappleshade 5 years ago
dappleshade
jyongchulMolzahnTied
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Reasons for voting decision: The wall of text from Pro lost the grammar vote.
Vote Placed by seraine 5 years ago
seraine
jyongchulMolzahnTied
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Reasons for voting decision: SG: Pro had one giant wall of text. Arguments: Pro just said global warming is bad and didn't even attempt to stay on topic.
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 5 years ago
RoyLatham
jyongchulMolzahnTied
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Reasons for voting decision: MSNBC as a source for global warming info? Ridiculous. The whole debate was nothing more than unsupported claims countered by unsupported claims. I'll give it to Con on the grounds that Pro did not meet the burden of proof.
Vote Placed by jm_notguilty 5 years ago
jm_notguilty
jyongchulMolzahnTied
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Reasons for voting decision: PRO loses conduct for copy/pasting, PRO loses arguments/sources since he failed to give references, so I give them to CON for actually doing his own argument with sources to support his claims.