The Instigator
Kescarte_DeJudica
Con (against)
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The Contender
Cat47
Pro (for)
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Environmental Protection

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/6/2016 Category: Science
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 787 times Debate No: 97694
Debate Rounds (3)
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Kescarte_DeJudica

Con

In this debate, I will be challenging the much esteemed Cat47 to a rigorous debate on the subject of Environmental Protection.

Here are a few ground rules:

1. The first round is for acceptance only. Arguments must be made in Round 2 alone.
2. Round 2 is for arguments. Arguments will be made on the intent of selling a prospective audience on your position.
3. Round 3 is for rebuttals to the opponent's argument. No new arguments may be posted in this round. Instead, each opposing debater must attempt to show how his opponent's argument is outdated, in error, full of false information, etc., whatever is most appropriate.

I will thank my opponent in advance for acceptance. I look forward to a thought provoking and intellectual debate!
Cat47

Pro

I accept this challenge with Kescarte_DeJudica. I am looking forward to a thoughtful and friendly debate on the topic of environmental protection.
Debate Round No. 1
Kescarte_DeJudica

Con

Thank you Pro, for accepting the debate challenge. This should be an interesting debate.

My argument begins with a call to reason. We can all agree that, in many ways, the planet we call home faces problems. Whether it is animal species becoming instinct, ground water being polluted, or the earth being warmed to dangerously high temperatures, scientists everywhere have found environmental problems that need to be addressed.

Or have they? Are environmental problems that we hear about so much in the news as bad as they sound? Or is this simply a much distorted version of what is really going on? Allow me to supply my take on the matter, and may you all draw your own conclusions.

1. Concessions

While I am against the majority of environmental "problems", arguing that they are virtually non-existent at best, I will concede on one point: that of water pollution. I agree with several environmentalists who say that water pollution is the cause of several problems to life all over the Earth (1). Water, being vital for all life on earth, is one of the most unique and amazing substances in all of creation. While there are many natural processes at work to help purify water, there is still many problems caused by things like ground water pollution, which cannot realistically be resolved by natural process.

I support, to a limited degree, increased regulation over such a proportion of the environment. That being said, I will now move onto the greater portion of my argument: that of somewhat mythical "scientific" theories that need debunking.

Overpopulation

Overpopulation is often touted as the #1 cause of environmental doomsday. People are overcrowding the Earth, and pretty soon, we will not have enough farmland to grow food. Food costs will rise, no one will get enough to eat, chaos will break out.

Now hold on a minute. There is plenty of room for all of us. First of all, we currently produce enough food to feed 10 billion people, yet there are only 7 billion of us. (2) And what about the fact that half the world's population lives on 1% of it's land? (3) The thing is, we have all through out our history on this planet had plenty to go around. True, there are areas of the world that are much poorer and in want compared to the USA. But it can hardly be argued that it is because of want of land. So, that very well refutes the idea that we are somehow short on land and that an increase in global population will put over the top.

Climate Change

I could do an entire debate on this subject alone (and many have), but I will try and keep my argument brief. First of all, most climate change enthusiasts appear to argue for man-made, wide swings of temperature, either as a result of increased carbon dioxide emissions, toxic chemicals released into the air depleting the ozone (think DDT) or some combination of such causes.

The main leg that such an argument leans on is the idea that there is significant temperature change in the first place. If that theory is undermined, the entire argument collapses.

Well, data has shown that the Earth appears to be variable.(4) In other words, temperatures might be rising in one area, yet falling in another. Most people probably don't have a problem with that idea at least on a limited scale. In fact, it cannot often be observed first hand. One year, the weather in their own personal area of the world might be warmer than usual, then next, slightly cooler, or perhaps rainier.

But the more disputed idea is whether or not this is true consistently . Yet studies have shown that this tends to be true even with things like glaciers and ice shelves. According to Friends of Science: "Glaciers have been receding and growing cyclically for hundreds of years. Recent glacier melting is a consequence of coming out of the very cool period of the Little Ice Age. Ice shelves have been breaking off for centuries. Scientists know of at least 33 periods of glaciers growing and then retreating. It"s normal. Besides, changes to glacier's extent is dependent as much on precipitation as on temperature." (4) And what about the fact that "Despite the expenditure of more than US$50 billion dollars looking for it since 1990, no unambiguous anthropogenic (human) signal has been identified in the global temperature pattern." (5)

As if that weren't enough evidence, wouldn't it be a crushing blow indeed if it was discovered that the excessive carbon dioxide release we were so worried about actually were beneficial? That's right, you guessed it, it is beneficial. Listen to this quote from plantsneedco2.org:

"Far from being a pollutant, rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations will never directly harm human health, but will indirectly benefit humans in a number of ways. Chief among these benefits is global food security. People must have sufficient food, simply to sustain themselves; and the rise in the atmosphere's CO2 concentration that has occurred since the inception of the Industrial Revolution (an increase of approximately 100 ppm) has done wonders for humanity in this regard. And, it will continue to work wonders in helping us meet the rising food consumption needs of a larger, future population." (6)

So, it turns out, not only is climate change not dangerous, part of what is typically associated with is incredibly helpful!

Ulterior Motive?

I could go on for awhile in my quest to debunk popular "scientific" misconceptions, getting into areas concerning non-climate-change air pollution, or even talking about endangered species. But I think debunking the two previous theories has made case in point: the majority of scientific environmental problems are either non-existent, or so minimal as to not cause great concern (though I have made an exception for ground water).

But now, as I close, I would like to address another popular misconception I occasionally hear. It is usually phrased in such a manner as this: "Well, when did we stop believing scientists? Where would we be today if not for the great scientists who discovered life-saving medicines, how gravity works, and even increased farming techniques?"

I don't deny for a minute that scientists have contributed much to society as a whole. Honest, hardworking men and women of our world in the field of science deserve much appreciation and credit for what they have done.

However, some scientists, by choice or lack thereof, have made the choice to confirm and support scientific theories for which there is little merit or evidence. Why? Simple, yet sad. It is a matter of money.

"Most scientific research is funded by government grants (e.g., from the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, etc.), companies doing research and development, and non-profit foundations (e.g., the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, etc.)" (7)

The fact of the matter is, scientists need money to participate in research. And while some certainly is provided my honest entities or groups interested in real scientific progress, vast amounts are also provided my groups with an agenda. Think about it. Can a group like the National Science Foundation perhaps show a need to receive more funding if they can provide a good reason for it? What about aiding the fight against world depravity brought upon by natural disasters, real or potential, that were caused by man's activity? After all, more funding from the treasury means added funds for foundation employees' Christmas bonuses, right?

But of course to receive such increased funding they would have to show research that backed up their claims. Now, who do you think would be more likely to receive money for scientific research in this scenario? The scientist who supported climate change, or the one who did not?

Or, what about the Breast Cancer Research Foundation? Let's suppose for a moment that they, a large organization, one of the largest in the country, managed to finally come up with a cheap, simple, easy cure for cancer (unlikely, perhaps, but please, bear with me for the purpose of this example). Wonderful, now their non-profit mission has finally been achieved... now what?

Does that mean the Foundation closes? High paid non-profit corporate officers suddenly get their salaries taken away because donations have stopped coming in? After all, why should they come in? Breast cancer is cured, why is there need for more funding? The funding is only needed... so long as cancer is still a problem...

I am not pointing fingers at anyone, but the fact remains, the temptation to use large sums of money in a way that does not benefit people everywhere, but benefits one's own self, is a hard draw for all but the most up right and honest, to be sure.

This concludes my argument for Round 2. I enjoyed making it, and should enjoy reading my opponent's own argument.

Sources:
1. http://www.explainthatstuff.com...
2. https://www.lifesitenews.com...
3. http://www.sciencealert.com...
4 .https://www.friendsofscience.org...
5. http://www.rense.com...
6. http://plantsneedco2.org...
7. http://undsci.berkeley.edu...
Cat47

Pro

Thank you for your argument.

As you said, water is being polluted. Yes. We also have animal and plant life at an extreme risk.

The concern with overpopulation has nothing to do with the amount of land. It has to do with what humans have done to the Earth. Humans have exploited Earth's resources, destroyed natural areas, caused the extinction of half of wildlife, have polluted water, the air, caused extreme climate change, and there are many more. There is hope to turn this around, and that is environmental protection laws.

Now for climate change, as you did:

Global temperatures have rised at a rate naturally impossible. Normally, global temperatures cool. The Earth formed from molten asteroids. Millions of years ago, there were humid jungles at the poles, which are usually the coldest regions of the planet. Sea levels were also higher millions of years ago.

Temperatures have rised globally in all areas, cold or already hot. Their is scientific evidence showing we're responsible. As for weather, Scientific studies indicate that extreme weather events such as heat waves and large storms are likely to become more frequent or more intense with human-induced climate change. Nevertheless, weather does not mean "climate change is not harmful".

When it comes to glaciers, they naturally do expand. However, man made climate change is melting them. Several scientific studies show that in 20-40 years, all Ice in Antarctica will likely melt.

I do not disagree with you on the CO2 point and I know it is beneficial. However, it is not the only gas being emitted. Methane is an extremely effective greenhouse gas and large amounts of it are being emitted. Scientists have also discovered several toxic gases like Phosgene in the atmosphere of Earth. So far we have cut down half of forests on Earth. Keep in mind trees produce vital oxygen that we need to breath. If you want me to be honest, the modern environmental movement is stupid, yes, specifically when it comes to CO2.

But these are just my opinion. 97% of climatologists believe in climate change and not just because of CO2 emissions.

I tried to keep my argument as short as possible.
Debate Round No. 2
Kescarte_DeJudica

Con

Thank you, Pro, for submitting your first argument in the previous round. I will now submit my rebuttal.

I notice several technical fallacies in my opponent's argument, without even going into detail. First, he violated the debate rules agreed to at the beginning of the debate. How? Notice that his argument is more of a response to an opponent rather than as an address to listening audience. This qualifies it as a rebuttal, and since rebuttals are allowed in Round 3 only, then this is a violation of terms.

Secondly, though my opponent makes several claims, he fails to back them up with even one source. How are we to know what he says is even slightly accurate, since he has produced no evidence to back up his claims? Take, for example his beginning argument:

"The concern with overpopulation has nothing to do with the amount of land. It has to do with what humans have done to the Earth. Humans have exploited Earth's resources, destroyed natural areas, caused the extinction of half of wildlife, have polluted water, the air, caused extreme climate change, and there are many more. There is hope to turn this around, and that is environmental protection laws."

There are many claims in this argument, but no real substance. How have we "caused the extinction of half of wildlife", as you claim? Or what evidence have you submitted that backs up your claims that we "caused extreme climate change"? None, so far as I can see.

Let us continue:

"Global temperatures have rised at a rate naturally impossible. Normally, global temperatures cool. The Earth formed from molten asteroids. Millions of years ago, there were humid jungles at the poles, which are usually the coldest regions of the planet. Sea levels were also higher millions of years ago."

Again, we have little evidence that this is more than opinion. While it is not impossible that there were once jungles at the poles, that doesn't mean it is widely accepted as factual. It is also still heavily debated upon whether or not the earth is "millions of years old". I just finished a debate on creationism versus evolution, and studying for that debate showed that it is still a divided issue.

"Scientific studies indicate that extreme weather events such as heat waves and large storms are likely to become more frequent or more intense with human-induced climate change."

Another common, albeit not backed up, myth. According to Friends of Science:

"The IPCC claims that global warming will result in more severe weather. This doesn't make any sense, as most storms are caused by a difference in temperatures of colliding air masses. If CO2 warms the Polar Regions there will be smaller temperature differences, and less severe storms. All other things being equal, a warmer world should have fewer, not more, severe storms." (1)

"When it comes to glaciers, they naturally do expand. However, man made climate change is melting them. Several scientific studies show that in 20-40 years, all Ice in Antarctica will likely melt."

Unfortunately, other data shows otherwise. Again, from Friends of Science:

"Glaciers have been receding and growing cyclically for hundreds of years. Recent glacier melting is a consequence of coming out of the very cool period of the Little Ice Age. Ice shelves have been breaking off for centuries. Scientists know of at least 33 periods of glaciers growing and then retreating. It"s normal. Besides, changes to glacier's extent is dependent as much on precipitation as on temperature."

Ice shelves will not melt in Antarctica. Instead, they will continue to melt and then refreeze again, same as they have done all throughout history.

"But these are just my opinion. 97% of climatologists believe in climate change and not just because of CO2 emissions."

Well, first of all, appeal to authority based on the percentage of believers in any particular theory is not good large, nor sustainable argument. It really doesn't matter if 97% of climatologists think that way. It could be argued that there were once 97% of scientists who believed in a flat earth, but I doubt you believe that now. And why should you? Supposedly better data has been submitted now, which changes the way people think. And there may be another reason climatologists claim to believe in climate change, even though there appears to be little evidence for it. Take another look at my Round 2 section entitled "An Ulterior Motive?"

This concludes my Round 3 rebuttal, and my portion of arguing for the debate. I look forward to my opponent's round three rebuttal, before we turn the debate over to the site voters. Thank you Pro for graciously debating this topic with me and thank you DDO for hosting the debate.

Sources:
1. https://www.friendsofscience.org...
Cat47

Pro

Thank you for submitting your argument previously. I will be responding to it.

I did forget to put in sources, yes. I will address what happened at the end. But anyway.

Again with overpopulation. As I've already said, humans have caused alot of damage to the Earth. The concern with overpopulation has nothing to do with the amount of land. It has to do with what humans have done to the Earth. Humans have exploited Earth's resources, destroyed natural areas, caused the extinction of half of wildlife, have polluted water, the air, caused extreme climate change, and there are many more things.

Evidence for resource exploitation: Fracking. Simple.
Natural Area Destruction (For example, rainforests): http://rainforests.mongabay.com...
Wildlife Extinction: http://www.telegraph.co.uk...
Pollution (Water): http://news.nationalgeographic.com...
An example of air pollution: http://www.thelocal.fr...
Temperature Increases: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov...

Now for temperature increases, my opponent has tried to debunk it by saying "it's a fraction of a degree". But the graph uses Celsius.

As for your glacier argument goes, what I should say is that yes, I cannot deny they expand and retreat naturally. Well they used to. Human activity is starting to melt them, which is threatening wildlife, and will likely threaten us in the future. They could in the near future stop forming. Some graphs predict in 20-40 years, but not all of them. One graph that predicts they'll stop forming is http://csas.ei.columbia.edu...

Now to debunk your 2 other arguments.

"Weather patterns".
Climate change has also changed weather patterns. Temperature increases have also been prevalent across the world, at rates naturally impossible. As I've already said, Earth formed from molten asteroids and there was a jungle in Antarctica millions of years ago, which should be enough to debunk the "natural global warming" idea.

http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov...
http://www.space.com...
http://www.seeker.com...

Keep in mind, Creationism doesn't mean that the jungle wasn't found or that there isn't evidence for the Earth's formation in that way.

"CO2 is beneficial."
Right but it isn't the only gas we're pumping into the atmosphere.

http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov...
https://en.wikipedia.org...

Methane actually is bad for the environment, unlike CO2.

Also we are loosing oxygen to deforestation.
Also, you addressed me saying "But that's just my opinion. 97% of scientists...". I accidentally copied and pasted the "But that's just my opinion" part because I was at the same time talking to my friend on another website about a sports game when I was trying to show evidence for our debate. And I personally trust scientists, so yeah.
Debate Round No. 3
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