The Instigator
Derek.Gunn
Pro (for)
Winning
35 Points
The Contender
PublicForumG-d
Con (against)
Losing
29 Points

Global Warming is a greater threat to life than Nuclear War

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/8/2008 Category: Science
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 5,023 times Debate No: 4948
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (32)
Votes (16)

 

Derek.Gunn

Pro

Nuclear War may never happen.
Global Warming is already happening.

Nuclear missiles would primarily impact very specific military targets and concentrated industrial centres.
Global warming affects the entire planet.

Nagasaki and Hiroshima recovered quickly, vegetation blossoming - even around the epicentres - within months.(1)
It took us over 100 years to add greenhouse gasses to the atmosphere and oceans to cause the change we are now seeing. It will a long time to reduce our emissions, and far longer yet to return the world to a cooler, and overall more productive temperature.

Nuclear weapons radioactively decay over time; warheads which decay below a critical point fail.
Even if we were to be insane enough to have an all-out nuclear war, many would fail to go off, many would be intercepted by anti-missile systems or disrupted by other explosions.
The effect of global warming on the whole, is to produce yet more global warming.
e.g. the Arctic in summer used to reflect 85% of the solar radiation it received.
It appears we may lose all summer floating ice. This will mean 95% absorption of solar radiation instead; further warming the globe.

The Russians and the Americans have had nuclear weapons for over half a century.
The Pakistanis and Indians have had them for far less.
However, nuclear weapons have not been used in anger since WWII.
Why not? Because nobody wants to die - or live with the result.
Of course this means they are for the most part useless, and indeed both US and Russian stockpiles have decreased markedly since 1990 and are both less than half what they once were.(2)

Meanwhile, the largest and best-informed climate-based organisation ever assembled, the IPCC has recently revised their predictions, increasing the maximum expected 2100 temperatures from 5.8C in 2001 to 6.4C last year.(3)

What could six degrees of warming do?
Complete disaster.
Not millions dead, but billions. Perhaps a few million will survive. (4)

(1) http://archive.tri-cityherald.com...
(2) http://en.wikipedia.org...
(3) http://en.wikipedia.org...
(4) http://www.marklynas.org...
PublicForumG-d

Con

PublicForumG-d forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 1
Derek.Gunn

Pro

Let's suppose there was a nuclear war.
There's lots of nasty radiation about, and bizarrely, people rather than military targets were hit.
So a lot of people die.
What is the effect on life in general?
It _increases_.

This has been shown quite clearly around Chernobyl.
Wildlife e.g. mice, rabbits, foxes, deer, wild boars and wolves now live in large numbers near the world's only lethal nuclear power accident. http://www.washingtonpost.com...

It appears that while the radiation (10-100 times that of background radiation) is bad for wildlife, it is nowhere near as bad as mankind is for it.
Dense forests have grown over the farms, and now apparently, even very rare species like lynx and moose have been sighted there.

Let's suppose we experience global warming of 5 degrees C.
The Sahara seems likely to expand - past Africa, past Spain, and well into France
The USA, like Australia today, will essentially be desert (in fact this will begin with warming of just 2 degrees C.)
Even the Amazon will be a desert.
Central Asia will suffer the same fate.
With the loss of nearly all our current agricultural (and fisheries) capacity, what proportion of life on Earth will perish?
It's anybody's guess really, but we know from the fossil record that 251M years ago Earth has suffered the extinction of 85–90% of all marine and land vertebrate species, 95% of marine all species, including all trilobites.

Getting it into perspective, the world's worst nuclear war would hurt life on the planet far less than a few more degrees of warming globally.
PublicForumG-d

Con

This entire debate is retarded.

I accidentally clicked it, and didn't mean to take it.

Frankly, its a retarded argument.

Of COURSE nuclear war is worse than global warming. Nuclear war destroys the entire world. My opponent's WORST harms for global warming don't end in extinction; mine do.

I win.
Debate Round No. 2
Derek.Gunn

Pro

Nuclear war seems ever less likely, with weapon stocks decreasing. http://en.wikipedia.org...
Global warming looks ever more likely with the 11 warmest years ever, happening in the last 13 years. For the northern hemisphere alone, 2007 was the second warmest ever recorded. http://news.bbc.co.uk...

Nuclear war is only going be directed at very threatening military targets.
Global warming on the other hand is indiscriminate and will affect us all.

Try arguing, it might help.
PublicForumG-d

Con

PublicForumG-d forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
Derek.Gunn

Pro

Well, this is a bit disappointing.
He clearly disagrees, but has no argument - unless you consider referring to something as "retarded" as being an argument.

Another reason why nuclear war is becoming increasingly unlikely, is that the World's businesses are becoming increasingly integrated into the global community.
If Coke, Nike and Ford had production in Bagdad, I don't think we would have quite a different war than we did.
You could well be bombing your own people! Big business could lose money!

Nuclear weapons are much the same as conventional armaments, only they're typically bigger.
The depleted-uranium shells they used are radioactive too!
PublicForumG-d

Con

PublicForumG-d forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
32 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Derek.Gunn 8 years ago
Derek.Gunn
Magpie
Measuring devices have been put in silly places. However, provided they remains in the same places:
a) the type of location can be factored for, and
b) trends in temperature change are still able to be measured.

"I have looked at the time machine. It is hype. Computer modeling of the climate is GUESSING WITH THE AID OF A COMPUTER."
Then you didn't look at it very carefully.
There is no modelling of the climate in it.
It shows actual ice melt, known CO2 emission change and measured global temperature change.

"Are you kidding about millions of years.?"
I'm not kidding about anything.

"Have you heard of the Mini ICE AGE? [...]"
We are talking about RATE OF CHANGE, as in -
"Our climate is warming at a faster rate than ever before recorded."
NOAA Administrator D. James Baker April 18, 2000

"100 years of measurements - by your own account - cannot represent 'a trend'."
Why not?
It appears that in another 100 years most of the Earth could be uninhabitable.

"'If we could live like our ancestors...' Yes, and if pigs had wings... Get real!"
When the oil is gone and the USA has become a desert, I rather suspect there will be similarities.

"Read the UN's and Kyoto's projections [...] absolute conformance [...] would result in < 1 deg. C in one hundred years."
The Kyoto Protocol's aims are pathetic, and yet the USA has not ratified even this pathetic target.

"If the variation in the Sun's output is minute; how do you account for the temp rise on Mars?"
Mars's orbit is eccentric.

"...the only way this world would even approach your Utopian view is if we go on to the one world order. Come to think of it, that is most likely the objective of GWT."
Disutopian view, you mean.
The world's temperature has been found to be rising in sync with our GHG emissions.
That's all there is to it. What's the solution?

"REmember this exchange 30 years from now while the earth is cooling."
Clearly you didn't look at the GISS graphs either.
Posted by magpie 8 years ago
magpie
Derek to observe that the earth is warming is not synonymous with proof that MMGHGs are responsible.
The measuring devices are quite problematic in their location (near development) and interpretation of indication.
I have looked at the time machine. It is hype. Computer modeling of the climate is GUESSING WITH THE AID OF A COMPUTER.
Are you kidding about millions of years.? Have you heard of the Mini ICE AGE? What about the Great Ice Age? Not millions ! Decades in the case of the last and thousands for the previous.
Derek: 100 years of measurements - by your own account - cannot represent "a trend".
"If we could live like our ancestors..." Yes, and if pigs had wings... Get real!
Read the UN's and Kyoto's projections for the degree of difference absolute conformance to Kyoto would result in. Less than 1 deg. C in one hundred years.
If the variation in the Sun's output is minute; how do you account for the temp rise on Mars?
It is my sincere belief that the only way this world would even approach your Utopian view is if we go on to the one world order. Come to think of it, that is most likely the objective of GWT.
Thanks for the sideline bout. REmember this exchange 30 years from now while the earth is cooling.
Posted by Derek.Gunn 8 years ago
Derek.Gunn
That Global Warming is already happening is a fact, yes.
This has been measured and monitored for quite a long time now.
I recommend you look at NASA's "Climate Time Machine": http://climate.jpl.nasa.gov...

The climate has swung from far hotter to far colder without the help of MMGHG
- over the course of millions of years, or in the fastest of the ancient incidents, ~5000 years.
Current trends suggest we will achieve this in less than a centrury.

"Most of that temp change occured before 1940"
Looking at http://data.giss.nasa.gov... I don't think I agree.

"...while the overwhelming volume of GHG generated by humans has ocurred since then."
CO2's relationship to its thermal forcing is logrithmic.
Doubling CO2 from current levels will not double its heating effect.
The problem is that we have triggered positive feedback effects, e.g. current Arctic ice melt.

"The composite icepack, [...] over time has grown and ebbed in one location or another."
The age of the ice is determined via isotopic oxygen-18 vs O16 content, not ice depth.

"According to the theory the temp should have been increasing proportionately to the increse in GHG."
As mentioned above, things are not so simple.

"It appears that the last decade has cooled slightly."
Not according to GISS data. http://data.giss.nasa.gov...

"The IPCC model contains no factor for variance in the Sun's radiation"
Note that:
a) The IPCC have multiple competing models.
b) Insolation (and water) are factors in all their current models
c) Solar variation has a minute effect.
Visit their site: http://www.ipcc.ch...

"1. we cannot appreciably reduce GHG emissions."
We could do it easily if we were to accept the conditions our grandparents lived under (or even quite a bit better actually).

"2. If we try to achieve the impossible, our society will disintegrate and die off long before..."
How do we know it's impossib
Posted by magpie 8 years ago
magpie
Yes, I respectfully believe that. You started with:
"Global Warming is already happening." If you mean that the most prominent Climate Scientist (AG)has proclaimed it to be so, and you - as a matter of faith - believe him, then I suppose that you are free to believe that which you want. Otherwise, I would think that you need to define why the .6 deg. C is the result of manmade GHG. The climate has swung from far hotter to far colder without the help of MMHHG.
You already know, but fail to assimilate the following facts:
Most of that temp change occured before 1940, while the overwhelming volume of GHG generated by humans has ocurred since then.
The composite icepack, earthwide, is fairly constant, but over time has grown and ebbed in one location or another.

You said: "It took us over 100 years to add greenhouse gasses to the atmosphere and oceans to cause the change we are now seeing. It will a long time to reduce our emissions, and far longer yet to return the world to a cooler, and overall more productive temperature."
According to the theory the temp should have been increasing proportionately to the increse in GHG.
It appears that the last decade has cooled slightly.
The IPCC model contains no factor for variance in the Sun's radiation; logically, the most influential factor of all.
Finally, if the threats are accurate, I insist that we are doomed for the following reasons: 1. we cannot appreciably reduce GHG emissions. 2. If we try to achieve the impossible, our society will disintegrate and die off long before we will have reached the predicted conditions of GW.
Posted by Derek.Gunn 8 years ago
Derek.Gunn
The topic requires such a stance.
You think I'm not up to the task. Would you care to say why not?
Posted by magpie 8 years ago
magpie
Strange that this debate begins with an unproven statment of 'fact'.
Derek: methinks you are trying to argue way above your "pay grade.
Posted by bthr004 8 years ago
bthr004
OMG!

Now this,... it could be that they furnishing some sort of secret raccoon fortress,... a "hole in the wall" for raccoons.
Posted by Derek.Gunn 8 years ago
Derek.Gunn
Yes, well I've got to agree with you on that as well.

Intelligent animals can do some interesting things... http://www.metacafe.com...
Posted by bthr004 8 years ago
bthr004
Famine can and has resulted outside of resulting directly from global warming,.. Not that I wish to take merit awya from the importance of awareness about warming,..

I would would lean more towards energy shortages, population growth, decrease of arable lands, political and social pressures limiting agriculture, as more directly influencing food shortages.

See,.. the racoon thing, and whats with the stereotypical burgler masks,.. some kind of right of passage.
Posted by Derek.Gunn 8 years ago
Derek.Gunn
Well, I reckon you're right.
Famine/food shortage as a direct result of global warming. One degree warming, and Nebraska (one of the productive agricultural areas of the world) will become a desert.
(It used to be a desert back when it was a degree warmer.)

You might be right about raccoons too.
I remember a story by Gerald Durrell where a family in Maine I think it was, taught their pet raccoon to turn on a tap to get a drink of water. Of course, there was no benefit in turning the tap off again. The problem was that she taught her kits and other raccoons, who then taught other raccoons...
the state had a water shortage!
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Vote Placed by pollocklady 8 years ago
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Derek.GunnPublicForumG-dTied
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