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Resolved: 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: 9/29/2012 Category: Politics
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,022 times Debate No: 25903
Debate Rounds (3)
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Votes (1)




First Round is acceptance. GO!


I accept.
Debate Round No. 1


Resolved: Developed countries have a moral obligation to mitigate the effects of climate change.
Quote: "One of the greatest delusions in the world is the hope that the evils in this world are to be cured by legislation."-Thomas B. Reed
"Developed countries: sovereign state which has a highly developed economy and advanced technological infrastructure relative to other less developed nations
"Moral obligation: an obligation arising out of considerations of right and wrong
"Mitigate: to lessen in force or intensity, as wrath, grief, harshness, or pain; moderate
"Effects: a change that is the result or consequence of an action or other cause
"Climate change: is a significant and lasting change in the statistical distribution of weather patterns over periods ranging from decades to millions of years.
Contention 1: The economic impact of environmental legislation hurts the economies of developed countries. New regulations planned by the EPA could have detrimental effects to our economy " particularly causing a loss of jobs, impeding economic recovery and harming livelihoods. The heart of the EPA"s regulation would be a backdoor national energy tax that will ultimately kill jobs, stop economic growth and raise the cost of energy, food and transportation. They would also double the current regulatory standard on farm dust that would make tilling a field, operating a feedlot or diving farm vehicles impossible - bringing the agriculture sector to a standstill. A representative from the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation said, "Farmers and their way of life and livelihood have never felt more challenged or threatened than they do today by the continuous onslaught of regulations and requirements from the Environmental Protection Agency... The cost they represent will impact the economy as a whole, and this committee should not be surprised when our economy contracts and jobs are lost to foreign competition." An MIT study conducted by Stephen M. Meyers clearly shows that increased environmental regulation burdens the economy, especially in times of economic downfall. So why then, would we want any more ridiculous red tape? An increase in environmental regulation would result in the loss of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars, nobody wants to see that.
Contention 2: The Earth"s climate is always changing. If you talk to any credible climatologist, they will tell you the Earth's temperature has been much hotter and colder than it is now. Anyone saying that we should reverse the effects of climate change are obviously misinformed and have no scientific background. The climate is always in a state of constant change and development. The Earth goes through natural periods of cooling and warming, that"s scientific fact. Would you blame the warming of the Earth after the last Ice Age on humans or man-made greenhouse gases? As with all the climate change nonsense, not a single claim can be substantiated as actual physical proof. Only assumptions and predictions made with manipulated computer models and deliberately corrupted data exist. Actual meteorological records and geophysical records destroy any credibility of everything ever said by these environmental groups. The real agenda of "global warming" has nothing to do with climate or weather but all to do with politics and the financial gain of those who stand to benefit from green investments. What better an investment could they have than one where the government forces the use of a green scheme idea or product on the public? In a 1996 report by the UN on global warming, two statements were deleted from the final draft. Here they are: 1) "None of the studies cited above has shown clear evidence that we can attribute the observed climate changes to increases in greenhouse gases." 2) "No study to date has positively attributed all or part of the climate change to man"made causes.
Contention 3: There is no moral obligation to mitigate climate change because nations are not moral entities. On what grounds are so-called "developed countries" morally obligated to do anything? The simple fact is that there is no basis for this claim. Individuals, rather than government, determine morals. Government is not, and never has been where you should look for morals; you have that in your own heart and conscience; you teach that to your family. You cannot dictate what morals your neighbor has nor what morals your neighbor teaches his children. Make yourself an example with morals; that is all one can do. And certainly government has no place in that. The whole idea that a country would have a "moral obligation" is unethical on the basis of Ethical Relativism, that ethics and morals are relative to each Nation or even culture and that there is no standard ethical or moral policy that all nation-states ought to abide by.


Contention I: "The economic impact of environmental legislation hurts the economies of developed countries."

Pro makes several highly unsupported conjectures in his C1. The main point is that government attempts to curb the effects of global warming would have negative effects on the economy. Among his conjectures include the arguments that EPA regulations would cause "a loss of jobs, impeding economic recovery and harming livelihoods" as well as "result in the loss of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars". Now besides the fact that Pro has neglected to source or substantiate his claims, his point would still fall moot if the effects of global climate change will be worse than the effects of environmental regulations. And scientific consensus supports this position, including the position of the European Academy of Science and Arts[1], the American Association for the Advancement of Science[2], the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change[3], among several other scientific organizations.

Contention II: "The Earth"s climate is always changing."

This contention attempts to disprove the existence of man-made global climate change. There are a few problems with this point though. First, even if we were to concede that global climate change isn't man-made, that wouldn't change the existence of moral obligation on those able to do so if we take a utilitarian perspective i.e., global climate change could still pose a grave threat to humanity, thus provoking obligation to those who have the means to mitigate such effects.

The second problem with this point is the fact that Pro has failed to provide any evidence to substantiate his claims. He claims that "Anyone saying that we should reverse the effects of climate change are obviously misinformed and have no scientific background." What an incredible claim, considering "That humans are causing global warming is the position of the Academies of Science from 19 countries plus many scientific organizations that study climate science. More specifically, around 95% of active climate researchers actively publishing climate papers endorse the consensus position."[4] The point is further corroborated by further studies, all available in Source 1.

Contention III: "There is no moral obligation to mitigate climate change because nations are not moral entities."

Pro's third and final contention rests on his conception of nations as non-moral entities. He makes two sub-points in regards to this contention: (a) he argues that a nation exists separately from the people that make them up and (b) with his assuming of ethical relativism in a societal context. I contend that neither of these points hold weight and that Pro is mistaken in his existential characterization of nations.

(a) Pro's first mistake in his point is that he conceives nations as something distinct and separate from their individual parts i.e., their citizens. But try to conceive of a nation without citizens. It wouldn't exist. Nations only exist because a group of people come together to organize society.

(b) Pro's second mistake lies in his application of ethical relativism. Even if we admit that morals are relative to individuals, Pro's point still fails in that he proves too much. For instance, if morals can only apply to people and not collective entities (assuming such things even exist), then we also can't apply moral criticism to any other collective entities, including corporations, interest groups, or even family households. The only way to overcome this obstacle is to dissolve the existence of collective entities or more than the sum of their parts. We can't apply moral duties to a nation, but we can apply those criticisms to the individual people who make them up.


Debate Round No. 2


Idaho_Rebel forfeited this round.


Extend refutation. Vote Pro.
Debate Round No. 3
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Vote Placed by CiRrK 5 years ago
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Total points awarded:01 
Reasons for voting decision: FF...again