The Instigator
HandsOff
Pro (for)
Losing
97 Points
The Contender
TheRaven
Con (against)
Winning
111 Points

Scientists have no proof that humans are responsible for a significant amount of global warming.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/15/2008 Category: Politics
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 11,891 times Debate No: 4421
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (241)
Votes (39)

 

HandsOff

Pro

There, I said it. And it's true. Even scientists who "believe" humans are largely repsonsible for recent temperature changes will admit they do not have definitive proof. The PR campaign of the left claiming scientists "have reached" a consensus implies the research is finally complete. However, a "consensus" is only 51 percent, and no one is stopping to consider that legitimate science is a product of fact and not popularity or speculation in the absence of conclusive evidence. The liberals and environmentalists have swallowed the global warming theory hook, line and sinker, and accept it as though it were an undeniable truth. They even call opponents (who would rather rely on traditional standards of proof before making momentus policy decisions) "flat earthers." That is not a very good analogy considering flat earthers were the ones who relied on popular opinion ("consensus") versus real science.
TheRaven

Con

Now, I'll be the first to admit that liberals and environmentalists have run away with global warming a bit, and it is becoming very political. However, that doesn't change the fact that its true. And not because a "consensus" has been reached about it either. I mean, a majority does not dictate what is right, history has shown us that time and time again.

HOWEVER, there is conclusive evidence that man is creating significant global warming. It has been proven that CO2 causes a heating effect in the environment, by absorbing and radiating heat onto earth! Man is releasing massive amounts of.....CO2! From those two facts alone, we can deduce that man is creating global warming. It also helps that no natural effects for the heating have been given. There has always been opposition to new theories and ideas, as people naturally are resistant to change.
Debate Round No. 1
HandsOff

Pro

"It has been proven that CO2 causes a heating effect in the environment, by absorbing and radiating heat onto earth!"

This statement is debatable in the scientific community, but I will let it stand as true since it has nothing to do with my argument.

"Man is releasing massive amounts of.....CO2"

I agree, but in comparison to what? Certainly not in comparison to the amounts of CO2 that is created naturally on this planet. This is where we disagree. There are no scientist that have proved humans contribute a significant amount of CO2 in comparison to that which is created naturally. For example, if we could prove that humans and human activity give of 2% of the world's CO2, then we would have some information to act (or not act depending on whether one considers that a significant amount). So far no one has been able to prove to what degree we contribute to global warming.

"It also helps that no natural effects for the heating have been given."

Well, since it can be proved that earth has gone through many large temperature swings, and long before humans were around, there would be a very strong case for "natural" global warming (and cooling).
TheRaven

Con

"Certainly not in comparison to the amounts of CO2 that is created naturally on this planet."

Well, the major natural emissions of CO2 come from volcanoes. Volcanoes are estimated to be releasing 200 million tons of C02 annually.

Now, compare that to the estimated 26.8 BILLION TONS released by humans annually. That is about 130 times greater than the amount emitted by volcanoes.
(http://hvo.wr.usgs.gov...- the US Geological Survey.)

Since the start of the industrial revolution, there has been a climb in carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere of about 280 ppm to 364 ppm.

This clearly is larger than what is created naturally.

"For example, if we could prove that humans and human activity give of 2% of the world's CO2, then we would have some information to act (or not act depending on whether one considers that a significant amount)."

Well, as I have just shown that humans are the greatest contributers to CO2 output, now we have some information to act on. 27 billion tons annually is definitely a significant amount.

"So far no one has been able to prove to what degree we contribute to global warming. "

To what degree? How far does it need to go before it is considered a "degree"? 400,000 miles of the Arctic ice sea have melted, roughly the size of Texas. If we continue current projections, by 2030, there will be no glaciers left in glacier national park. Hurricanes and tropical storms have increased estimated 75% increase in category 4 and 5 hurricanes since 1970 according to a study done by MIT. ( http://www.nature.com... )

"Well, since it can be proved that earth has gone through many large temperature swings, and long before humans were around, there would be a very strong case for "natural" global warming (and cooling)."

Well, it would be a strong case for "natural" global warming....except for the fact that no natural causes have been found, and humans are emitting enough CO2 into the air to cause a definite and serious heating effect.
Debate Round No. 2
HandsOff

Pro

Since it looks like we're starting to throw around data, figures and historical graphs (all of the things that suck the life out of a good philosophical debate) let me just leave you with one link: http://www.speroforum.com... It is a list of the many respected scientist who disagree with much of the data you cite.

You say CO2 (whatever its source) has increased a WHOPPING 37 PERCENT over the last 100 years. Since this last 100 years coincides with only a .6 degree celius temperature increase (well within the range of naturally occuring temperature changes), it could be easily argued that CO2 has a much more mild effect on temperature changes than claimed. And again, since this .6-degree change is well within historic levels, it could be argued that we do not even know if the increase in CO2 is reponsible.

But let's get back on track. I am not hear to debate whether there is a good argument for global warming. There are very convincing arguments for and against it by many esteemed scientists. I am just submitting that a valid debate continues because neither side can (as of yet) conclusively prove its case. There is simply no definitive proof that humans make a significant contribution to global warming. There are only opposing viewpoints based on inconclusive evidence.
TheRaven

Con

Well, I do apologize for "sucking the life" out of this "philosophical" debate on a scientific theory. Wait, aren't scientific theories usually based on reality and facts?
Also HandsOff, you opened that door, not me, when you made the resolution "scientists have no proof"!

"It is a list of the many respected scientist who disagree with much of the data you cite."

Well, this is a very, ah, interesting speech given by the far-right conservative, global warming and liberal basher, Marc Morano. (Who, by the way, has been accused more than once of offering unsubstantiated claims or false statistics.) Well, there was a report similar to it issued a while ago, known as the "Heartland Issue" Go to this link to see how scientists reacted to it. http://www.desmogblog.com...

Anyway, for every scientist he offers, there are dozens more who disagree. He even stated at the beginning of this that over 51% of scientists agree with global warming. Also, go to this link that discusses those who don't. http://www.thedailygreen.com...

"CO2 (whatever its source) has increased a WHOPPING 37 PERCENT over the last 100 years. Since this last 100 years coincides with only a .6 degree..."

First off, the source is clearly humans, my opponent didn't respond to what I said earlier, so he must find no fault with it.
Ok, my opponent seems to not understand the frailty of life. A human will DIE if its temperature increases 1.8%. Global temperatures need to decrease 1 degree in order for it to be considered an ice age.
37% is a HUGE amount in the environment, as is .6 degreed celcius. Keep in mind, that .6 degrees is causing the polar ice caps and all glaciers to melt! 15-37% of plant and animal species could be wiped out by global warming by 2050 at current rates. I ask again, how far must we go before it is considered a "degree"?

"And again, since this .6-degree change is well within historic levels, it could be argued that we do not even know if the increase in CO2 is reponsible."

It COULD be argued, but where is proof that any natural things are occurring to heat the climate? Its happened in the past, yet now its heating when humans are dumping 26.8 billion tons of CO2 into the air each year. Coincidence? I think not.

"I am not hear to debate whether there is a good argument for global warming."

Hmm..then what are you here to debate for? Because I'm pretty sure your resolution said there was "no proof offered" Based on the resolution, I should win right now because I've offered enormous proof that my opponent has not responded to.

"I am just submitting that a valid debate continues because neither side can (as of yet) conclusively prove its case. There is simply no definitive proof that humans make a significant contribution to global warming. There are only opposing viewpoints based on inconclusive evidence."

This is not a reason to vote for my opponent. In fact, my opponent really says nothing here because scientific debates never really end. However, there is definite evidence supporting the con in this debate.

Some Voting Issues:

1) My opponent never even responded to any of the facts I gave. This alone should be the reason to vote for me, as I have clearly shown that scientists do have proof, contrary to the resolution.
2) I have clearly shown the impact of humans on the environment. (More here http://www.edf.org...)
3) My opponent has offered no reason to vote for him.
Debate Round No. 3
241 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 21 through 30 records.
Posted by Derek.Gunn 5 years ago
Derek.Gunn
Sadolite,
"You seem to be ignoring my link. Does it ruin all of your Co2 claims?"
Ahh very funny.
Even if it were true, it wouldn't make any difference because the current thermal forcing of CO2 is known.

It turns out Zbigniew Jaworowski's pre-industrial CO2 claim is so "mind-bogglingly wrong, from beginning to end" someone thought it worthy of a roadmap to outline it's many flaws. http://www.someareboojums.org...

Cheers
Posted by RoyLatham 5 years ago
RoyLatham
Derek, You said "don't believe one needs climate models to see that we have global warming.
One need only extrapolate. If you don't believe in global warming despite the trend, and you don't have a theory...well... what have you got? A conspiracy?"

In the book, "The Deniers," which about scientists who doubt the the theory that CO2 is the driver of climate change, the author says that he did not find a single skeptic who did not believe that global warming exists. Not one. So therefore your notion that the fact that global warming exists validates CO2 theory is unquestionable false. Moreover, it demonstrates that you have no understanding of the dissenting arguments, even at the highest level.

The impact is that if CO2 is not the cause, then destroying the world economy to fight it will have no effect. However, a climate engineering solution would work regardless of the cause. Moreover, at the levels of many trillions of dollars of economic impact, a climate engineering solution would be cheap and would not require that India and China stop development; they would probably chip in something. The question, then, is why do CO2-theory advocates prefer an expensive solution that will devastate economies and which won't work (because the developing world won't go along) to a cheaper solution that could get nearly universal scientific support?

You say the reason is that climate models are no good, so we cannot predict how climate engineering solutions work. However, CO2 theory depends critically on the climate models working. realclimate.org expresses total confidence in them, right?
Posted by RoyLatham 5 years ago
RoyLatham
Derek, You said "Oh, I remember you also made this claim:
"There is no difference in the CO2 levels in the Northern Hemisphere from the Southern Hemisphere"
One doesn't often see good 3D-graphs, but this one is a beauty: http://www.fi.edu...... a large variation in CO2 between the hemispheres."

One of the "questions for students" below the graph is whether the graph shows that there is more CO2 in the Northern Hemisphere than the Southern Hemisphere. The correct answer is no. The Northern Hemisphere shows greater periodic variations around the average value, so roughly half the time there is more CO2 in the Northern Hemisphere and half the time there is less. On average the two hemispheres have equal CO2. This is easiest to see on the low end (to the left) of the graph where the valleys are not obscured by the peaks.
Posted by HandsOff 5 years ago
HandsOff
One would need to have a very poor knowledge of World history to believe that a country full of "soon-to-be-repossessed" Mercs was hard up."

Again Derek, how people live (on borrowed money) is a better indicator of what they desire versus what they can truly afford.

"Care to trade places with Germany in 1922, Britain in WWII, Zimbabwe today?"

You should drop this line of logic. One circumstance of economic catastrophe (brought about involuntarily) is no excuse to voluntarily heap more bad behavior on top of the behavior that got us here. Your appeal to ignore our situation because other do, and have, had it worse is a textbook flaw in reasoning.
Posted by sadolite 5 years ago
sadolite
Derek, You seem to be ignoring my link. Does it ruin all of your Co2 claims?
Posted by Derek.Gunn 5 years ago
Derek.Gunn
HandsOff,
"One would need to have a very poor understanding of economics to so easily trivialize the magnitude of our country's current financial situation."

One would need to have a very poor knowledge of World history to believe that a country full of "soon-to-be-repossessed" Mercs was hard up.

"Between 6 and 8 percent of all home loans in the U.S. are in delinquent."
Care to trade places with Germany in 1922, Britain in WWII, Zimbabwe today?
Seriously, every 2nd and 3rd-World country is worse off.
They all have a harder time of it than we do, fewer resources, less capacity to help.
We barely even know we're alive.
Posted by Derek.Gunn 5 years ago
Derek.Gunn
Roy,
"The CO2 is not nearly enough to cause global warming directly, and I do not know of any climate scientist who claims that."
That's not saying much, now is it?
It seems my calling in life to attempt to cure ignornance here...
Allow me to introduce you to Dr Gavin Schmidt of RealClimate.org
http://www.realclimate.org...

"CO2 theory is that effects are substantially amplified by water vapor effects."
So what? Sorry, what is your point?

"Previously you claimed that solar activity was low in recent years, and you pointed out that cosmic ray theory claims that low solar activity causes heating."
We had no sunspots ~a year ago... none. Extremely low activity, the bottom of the 11-year cycle.
However, not all CRs come from sunspots.
Anyway, I pointed out that Cosmic Ray theory says that high CR flux should produce global cooling.
The graph you provided indicated high flux at a time where temperatures continued to rise.
This is why the Cosmic Ray theory is no longer considered likely. Doesn't correlate.

"Now you say that there is no alternate explanation."
To what?

"At another time you said that climate models were unnecessary for belief in CO2 theory; but climate models are essential to CO2 theory, and you demand that any alternative must have a theory."
I don't believe one needs climate models to see that we have global warming.
One need only extrapolate.
If you don't believe in global warming despite the trend, and you don't have a theory...
well... what have you got? A conspiracy?

Oh, I remember you also made this claim:
"There is no difference in the CO2 levels in the Northern Hemisphere from the Southern Hemisphere"
One doesn't often see good 3D-graphs, but this one is a beauty: http://www.fi.edu... a large variation in CO2 between the hemispheres.

Cheers
Posted by Derek.Gunn 5 years ago
Derek.Gunn
Roy,
You read the whole of the Stern report. You rise in my estimation.
You say the report "wildly overstates the CO2 threat" - I should ask you:
"Are you really really sure about that?" (Heheh sorry, couldn't resist.)

I'm not sure you read the most recent IPCC report (AR4) though, otherwise you would be saying 9-23 inches of sea level rise.
I wonder how Florida or New Orleans would like to deal with another couple of feet of water? Let alone the Netherlands or Bangladesh.
Just a few people displaced? If "a few" equates to an 8 digit number.

Yes, they talk about stabalising CO2 at 550ppm. Ridiculously high.
Yes, it needs to be 280ppm or lower for natural mechanisms to control the environment.
We had a natural system that held itself in relative stability for over 10,000 years at that level.
Of course, the purpose of the Stern Report is to encourage action, and we'd have to be pretty pathetic not to be able to hold CO2 to 550ppm. I wonder how acidic the oceans would be at 550ppm?

"What will happen if we do nothing?"
You seem to suggest our passing Peak Oil will somehow cure the CO2 already in the biosphere.
I wonder how? The CO2 is not escaping into space. It's not being laid down in coal or oil...

We will of course continue getting better at extracting the other half of the oil.
Then there there are the tar-sands and shale, then there is coal (to oil via the very polluting Fischer-Tropsch process), and then there are vast reserves of lignite...
Unfortunately carbon isn't going away... we're just turning it into CO and CO2.

Thanks to the high price of oil, here in NZ (pop 4M) we have seen some remarkable new developments:
- sewage to oil generation
- algae to oil generation
- rape-seed to diesel production
- electric car conversions
50% of the price of petrol here is tax - effectively a carbon tax. It seems to work.
I wonder what could be accomplished in the USA with the same situation, but with 75 times the population?
Posted by RoyLatham 5 years ago
RoyLatham
Derek, re "It has been proven that CO2 causes a heating effect in the environment, by absorbing and radiating heat onto earth! Man is releasing massive amounts of.....CO2! From those two facts alone, we can deduce that man is creating global warming. It also helps that no natural effects for the heating have been given." Your first statement is false. The CO2 is not nearly enough to cause global warming directly, and I do not know of any climate scientist who claims that. CO2 theory is that effects are substantially amplified by water vapor effects. Previously you claimed that solar activity was low in recent years, and you pointed out that cosmic ray theory claims that low solar activity causes heating. Now you say that there is no alternate explanation. At another time you said that climate models were unnecessary for belief in CO2 theory; but climate models are essential to CO2 theory, and you demand that any alternative must have a theory.

What we are talking about are climate changes that could be related to a one or two percent change in cloud cover, and to any number of heat transfer effects. I don't know of any climate scientist who mirrors your "its really simple" argument.
Posted by HandsOff 5 years ago
HandsOff
One would need to have a very poor understanding of economics to so easily trivialize the magnitude of our country's current financial situation.
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Vote Placed by Wylted 7 months ago
Wylted
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Reasons for voting decision: Cons job was to prove humans are responsible for a significant amount of global warming. This was not done con only showed humans contributed a significant amount of co2s but never did a good job of connecting co2 to global warming. A vague connection was made but not sourced or proven. Con had better sources.
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro made ridiclous arguments
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