The Instigator
WilliamofOckham
Pro (for)
Winning
12 Points
The Contender
xzquvwbc
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

Environmentalism is a sound belief

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
WilliamofOckham
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/12/2013 Category: Science
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 679 times Debate No: 33616
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
Votes (3)

 

WilliamofOckham

Pro

Whoever accepts this, please use the first round for acceptance only. The second round will be for arguments only. The third round will be for rebuttals/clash/conclusion. Thanks in advance to whoever accepts this debate and good luck.
Debate Round No. 1
WilliamofOckham

Pro

1. Global Warming

Since the early 20th century, Earth's mean surface temperature has increased by about 0.8 degrees C with about two-thirds of the increase occurring since 1980. Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, and scientists are more than 90% certain that it is primarily caused by increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases produced by human activities such as the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation. These findings are recognized by the national science academies of all major industrialized nations.

Climate model projections were summarized in the 2007 Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). They indicated that during the 21st century the global surface temperature is likely to rise a further 1.1 to 2.9 degrees C for their lowest emissions scenario and 2.4 to 6.4 degrees C for their highest. The ranges of these estimates arise from the use of models with differing sensitivity to greenhouse gas concentrations.

Humans have been responsible for global warming because they are the main cause of greenhouse gas concentration increases, which are the main cause of the recent warming. Environmentalism says that the only way to combat global warming is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which, by the above standard, will reduce global warming. Therefore, environmentalism makes a verified prediction here.1, 2, 3, 4, 5

2. Genetically Modified Organisms

The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) urges doctors to prescribe non-GMO diets for all patients. They cite animal studies showing organ damage, gastrointestinal and immune system disorders, accelerated aging, and infertility. Human studies show how genetically modified (GM) food can leave material behind inside us, possibly causing long-term problems. Genes inserted into GM soy, for example, can transfer into the DNA of bacteria living inside us, and that the toxic insecticide produced by GM corn was found in the blood of pregnant women and their unborn fetuses.

Numerous health problems increased after GMOs were introduced in 1996. The percentage of Americans with three or more chronic illnesses jumped from 7% to 13% in just 9 years; food allergies skyrocketed, and disorders such as autism, reproductive disorders, digestive problems, and others are on the rise. Although there is not sufficient research to confirm that GMOs are a contributing factor, doctors groups such as the AAEM tell us not to wait before we start protecting ourselves, and especially our children who are most at risk.

The American Public Health Association and American Nurses Association are among many medical groups that condemn the use of GM bovine growth hormone, because the milk from treated cows has more of the hormone IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor 1)R13;which is linked to cancer.

Environmentalism predicts that GMOs are bad for the body, and the above information verifies this prediction. Therefore, environmentalism makes a verified prediction here.6

3. Keystone XL Pipeline

The Canadian tar sands oil pits lie under an enormous boreal forest, which sequesters a huge amount of carbon dioxide, and is the only habitat for some of the largest populations of woodland caribou left in the world; in addition, 30 percent of North America's songbirds and 40% of its waterfowl rely on the wetlands and waterways of the boreal forest. Getting the tar sands requires clear-cutting thousands of acres of the boreal forests, diverting rivers, and strip-mining. Destroying that forest will certainly make those species of songbirds go extinct, and significantly increase global warming. The tar sands are sticky and dirty.

There are additional negative systemic effects. Heat is not enough to get tar to flow. To get tar out of the ground, you have to pump in a huge amount of water and toxic chemicals. The water used to go underneath the sticky oil and pushing it up is so polluted by the toxic chemicals that it is rendered unfit to drink. The oil companies do not pay for the water; they simply drain the aquifer it comes from while letting much of the poisoned water stay in the ground.

The Keystone XL pipeline would cross the Ogallala Aquifer, which provides 30% of America's ground water, and over 1.5 million people rely on.

So, you get a destruction of forests and several species as well as increasing global warming, and polluting vast sums of water which all results into a dirty environment.

And, since the TransCanada would not register spills under 800,000 gallons, many areas that had spills (the first section spilled 12 times in the first year), would be allowed to splurge and flood our wildlands with hot toxic water.

Environmentalism predicts that the KXL will be dangerous to the environment, and this has been confirmed. Therefore, environmentalism makes a verified prediction here.7, 8

Because environmentalism has made several verified predictions, it is sound.

Works Cited:

1 http://www.nap.edu...
2 http://www.ipcc.ch...
3 http://nationalacademies.org...
4 http://www.ipcc.ch...
5 http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu...
6 http://www.care2.com...
7 Lakoff, George. The Little Blue Book (2012): pp. 98-100
8 http://www.esquire.com...
xzquvwbc

Con

1. Global Warming

Global warming is happening, but it has always been happening. For the last approximately 400,000 years, the Earth has gone through cycles of cold and warm, completing a cycle approximately every 1500 years. These cycles are called the 1500-year cycles. We are currently coming out of the cooler Little Ice Age, and are entering a period of warming dubbed by some scientists as the Modern Warming. It is nowhere near as hot today as it was during the Medieval Warm Period (c. 1000-1300 ACE) or the Holocene Climate Optimum (c. 3000-2000 BCE).

This warming is mostly caused by the sun " it is the main driver of energy for our planet, and the fluctuations in its activity affect us through the Earth"s climate. The sun has correlated more with today"s warming than has the rise on CO2 temperatures, and has done so since before the dawn of civilization. CO2 has not correlated with temperatures in the past, and there is no reason to believe that CO2 causes global warming today.

2. Genetically Modified Organisms

All GMOs are is a simple change in a crop"s or animal"s genetic composition (i.e. its RNA, to be exact). We eat genes (and yes, modified genes) all the time, and there is no reason to fear that a simple change in the genetic structure of something we eat would have negative effects on us at all. In fact, changing one gene affects approximately 0.0001% of the entire organism. Even if it was dangerous, its hazards would be negligible.

GMOs allow for healthier crops. They increase cold tolerance, heat tolerance, drought resistance, and can be used to increase the nutritional value of a crop, decrease the hazardous substances in a crop, or be used to deliver medicine to third world countries by means of biopharmaceuticals. In fact, GMOs can decrease the amount of pesticides required to grow a crop, further helping to increase the nutritional value of a crop.

3. The Keystone XL Pipeline

The KXL has not spilled, and to nowhere near the amounts, as many times as environmentalists have had you believed. In the part of the KXL already built, about 20 gallons have leaked. The KXL is too small to contribute to global warming in any sizable way. It will not cause the destruction of the environment because it won"t leak. TransCanada will use the highest quality pipe to build the pipeline, pipe that is not prone to much spilling.

The KXL would bring wonderful benefits to the economy, such as decreasing gas prices overall nationwide, economic stimulus, jobs, tax revenue, and other things. The long-term benefits of the pipeline are even better, signifying the economic stimulus the KXL would provide. In addition, it would bring more oil into this country, and by the laws of supply and demand, this will lower prices. In addition, this oil comes from Canada, where the oil is cheaper, compared with the Middle East.

Overall, environmentalism does not have any valid points.
Debate Round No. 2
WilliamofOckham

Pro

1. Global Warming

While the Medieval Warm Period saw unusually warm temperatures in some regions, globally the planet was cooler than current conditions. Further evidence obtained since 2006 suggests that even in the Northern Hemisphere where the Medieval Warm Period was the most visible, temperatures are now beyond those experienced during medieval times. Bottom line, globally temperatures are warmer than they have been during the last 2,000 years, and the causes of medieval warming are not the same as those causing late 20th century warming.1, 2

As for the sun"s supposed effect on the climate, while yes, the sun is the driver of our climate, it has not been the cause of the recent global warming. Over the last 35 years the sun has shown a slight cooling trend. However global temperatures have been increasing. Since the sun and climate are going in opposite directions scientists conclude the sun cannot be the cause of recent global warming. The only way to blame the sun for the current rise in temperatures is by cherry picking the data. This is done by showing only past periods when sun and climate move together and ignoring the last few decades when the two are moving in opposite direction.3

CO2 does cause warming. An enhanced greenhouse effect from CO2 has been confirmed by multiple lines of empirical evidence. Satellite measurements of infrared spectra over the past 40 years observe less energy escaping to space at the wavelengths associated with CO2. Surface measurements find more downward infrared radiation warming the planet's surface. This provides a direct, empirical causal link between CO2 and global warming.4

Finally, humans have caused the recent warming by causing the CO2 rise. Over the past 150 years greenhouse gas levels have increased 40 percent mainly from burning of fossil fuels. This additional "forcing" is warming the planet more than it has in thousands of years. From Earth's history, we know that positive feedbacks will amplify this additional warming.5

Environmentalism is correct here.

2. Genetically Modified Organisms

GMOs are dangerous. AAEM's position paper stated, "Several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with GM food, including infertility, immune problems, accelerated aging, insulin regulation, and changes in major organs and the gastrointestinal system. They conclude, there is more than a casual association between GM foods and adverse health effects. There is causation," as defined by recognized scientific criteria. The strength of association and consistency between GM foods and disease is confirmed in several animal studies." GMO foods have also been shown to be less nutritious compared to conventionally farmed foods, such as corn, where the GMO food"s nutrition was lower than the conventional"s.6

In addition, GMOs have not been shown to be beneficial. They have not been shown to increase cold tolerance, heat tolerance, drought resistance, or the benefits of "biopharmaceuticals". For example, some GMO crops require more water to grow, decreasing their effectiveness in drought. The connection between cold tolerance and GMOs has not been fully established yet. I also countered the idea that GMOs improve nutrition because they are inherently dangerous as I mentioned above.7, 8

Environmentalism is correct here as well.

3. The Keystone XL Pipeline

Actually, the "highest standard of pipe is still bad. First, the company that will produce this pipeline is the same company that produced the last defective components of the pipeline. TransCanada said that its pipeline met "world class standards", yet it still spilled 30 times in one year. It"s clearly not that safe.9, 10

As for the supposed economic benefits, these have been inflated to suit my opponent"s argument. The State Dept. has concluded that the KXL pipeline would create an "astounding" 20 permanent jobs. TransCanada's original application acknowledged that KXL pipeline would create about 3,500 to 4,200 temporary construction jobs. Only about $4 billion will be spent on the pipeline, much of it going overseas. Not actually the "economic stimulus" my opponent would have you believe. Also, gas prices have been projected to go up in the Midwest because of the pipeline. 11, 12

Environmentalism makes yet another correct prediction here.

Overall, there is no reason to conclude that environmentalism is unsound.

Works Cited:

1 http://www.skepticalscience.com...
2 http://www.skepticalscience.com...
3 http://www.skepticalscience.com...
4 http://www.skepticalscience.com...
5 http://www.skepticalscience.com...
6 http://www.responsibletechnology.org...
7 http://www.truthabouttrade.org...
8 http://articles.mercola.com...
9 http://www.ilr.cornell.edu...
10 http://primis.phmsa.dot.gov...
11 http://www.keystonepipeline-xl.state...
12 http://www.keystonepipeline-xl.state.gov...
xzquvwbc

Con

1. Global Warming

My opponent has apparently never heard of a lag. CO2 changes lag behind temperature changes, indicating that CO2 is not a driver in climate change. A better comparison is to measure solar cycle length against temperatures. Using this set of data, a correlation of 0.95 is attained, indicating just about as strong a correlation as one can get (maximum correlation=1). CO2 levels, compared with temperature levels, only attain a correlation of 0.44, a much lower correlation, and one that is considered "poor".

My opponent is basing his arguments off of skepticalscience.com, a very biased blog that is full of scientific inaccuracies.

2. Genetically Modified Organisms

How can GMOs cause such many problems? It"s just a simple change in the genetic structure of a crop. There"s no reason to consider it dangerous.

Also, my opponent is incorrect when he says that GMOs do not have any benefit. They have been proven to do so.

3. The Keystone XL Pipeline

My opponent is just fabricating stuff here. No more than 210 gallons ever spilled from the pipeline. In addition, the pipeline is able to fit pressure problems, and teams are ready in case of a disaster.

Also, my opponent doesn"t seem to understand that $7 billion (not $4 billion) is not a lot of money. The job studies my opponent cites are narrow, and very short-sighted. Gas prices may rise in the Midwest, but will fall overall across the country.

Environmentalism is not a sound philosophy.
Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by wrichcirw 3 years ago
wrichcirw
CON: "My opponent is basing his arguments off of skepticalscience.com, a very biased blog that is full of scientific inaccuracies."

This is my main problem with this debate. Here CON goes off about PRO's sources, while apparently wholly oblivious that he has no sources of his own.

The sourced and substantiated arguments from PRO easily win over CON's unsubstantiated case. Had sources been equal, more than likely I would have sided with CON on this issue, as I generally agree with his viewpoint, but as it is, CON was lazy and does not deserve a victory here.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by danielawesome12 3 years ago
danielawesome12
WilliamofOckhamxzquvwbcTied
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Total points awarded:20 
Reasons for voting decision: Con used no sources.
Vote Placed by wrichcirw 3 years ago
wrichcirw
WilliamofOckhamxzquvwbcTied
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Total points awarded:50 
Reasons for voting decision: see comments.
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 3 years ago
RoyLatham
WilliamofOckhamxzquvwbcTied
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Total points awarded:50 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro relied on bogus sources like the AAEM society of quacks and the wildly biased blog skepticalscience.org. However, Con had no sources at all and failed to call out Pro's sources as biased. Pro did not argue that stopping the Keystone pipeline would prevent Canadian tar sands development and all the evidence is quite the opposite. However, con failed to point out this obvious defect in the argument. Similarly, there is no chance that India, China, and the rest of the developing are going to commit economic suicide over global warming concerns, but Con didn't make the argument. What Con argued was substantially correct, and had he backed it up with sources he could have won the debate.