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: 12,184 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 41 through 50 records.
Posted by HandsOff 6 years ago
HandsOff
"I would like to debate "The U.S. is broke and living standards are sure to decline." if you would like to take the Pro on that."

I'm not certain I can defend that position. It would not suprise me one bit to see the world condone even more borrowing (and money printing) on the part of the U.S. with little consiquence to stardard of living in the short term. If so this would continue to insolate our citizens from the reality of our financial situation. I will say only that our living standard cannot be maintained without continued borrowing, and hence a postponement of our day of recokoning. I will also state again that standard of living is no indication of fiscal health. To the contrary, I believe most who overspend to maintain a favorable lifestyle are typically worse off financially than the frugal who invest in assets.
Posted by RoyLatham 6 years ago
RoyLatham
Handsoff, The CO2 crisis advocates want to wind back the clock to a pre-industrial era, back when starvation was commonplace. However, now the population is much higher, so the human toll would be enormous. I think if one believes in CO2 theory the world could afford a climate engineering solution, but that is ruled out mainly for quasi-religious regions having to do with sinners having to be punished under the rule of the righteous. That said, I would like to debate "The U.S. is broke and living standards are sure to decline." if you would like to take the Pro on that.
Posted by HandsOff 6 years ago
HandsOff
Will Derek debate me on whether the U.S. is broke, or will he drop his argument that we should act against unknown threats now because it is affordable to do so? The latter would give me more pleasure, because I will have made at least a small ding in one of the corner stones of his argument to act now.
Posted by HandsOff 6 years ago
HandsOff
"The world has NEVER had as high a standard of living as today.
We can afford to take care of the planet - we CAN'T afford not to."

Derek,
Unfortunately the U.S. standard of living is not one that can be sustained. It has been borrowed, not earned, and it is time to pay the piper. Our country is worse than broke; we're in the red to the tune of $12 trillion once a financial bail out is approved. Since we cannot prove or disprove global warming, it's nice to know you and I agree that addressing unknown fears should be done when our wallets are fat (or when there is less of a "downside" as you and Ray agreed). I think you would agree that the U.S. has proven that standard of living has nothing to do with fiscal health. Maybe you need to focus your efforts on convincing those countries in good financial health. It looks like, by your own reasoning, the U.S. has a hall pass for now.
Posted by sadolite 6 years ago
sadolite
Derek, you stated that "the simplest answer is probably the right one" in one of your past comments. It would seem to me that the simplest answer to any warming trend that is occurring is normal, given that the planet has warmed and cooled thousands if not tens of thousands of times since it's birth in the universe.
Posted by sadolite 6 years ago
sadolite
Derek, the link you asked for:

http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org...

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a colourless, odourless gas that has been present in earth's atmosphere through time in trace amounts ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand parts per million (ppm). Average atmospheric values over the last few hundred thousand years are inferred from ice cores to have been about 180 ppm during glacials and 280 ppm during interglacials (e.g. Petit et al., 1999) (Fig. 1). Hurd (2006), Jaworowski (2007) and others have argued that these values are about 30-50% lower than the original atmospheric values that they purport to represent, because of the post-depositional diffusion and mixing that occurs within the compacting ice mass. Independent evidence from fossil plant stomata indicates that carbon dioxide levels during the Holocene were variable on a decadal-centennial scale compared with the monotonic curve delineated by the ice cores (Fig. 1, inset), and reached at least the present day (post-industrial) value of 380 ppm (Kurschner et al., 1996; Wagner et al., 2002; Kouwenberg et al, 2005) (Fig. 2). More support for decadal fluctuations of carbon dioxide comes from the compilation and summary of 90,000 historical atmospheric analyses back to the mid-19th century by Beck (2007).
Posted by Derek.Gunn 6 years ago
Derek.Gunn
GOT IT!!

HandsOff,
I've finally got my HandsOn it! (Sorry, couldn't resist saying that.)

You wanted evidence for Anthropogenic CO2 contributions... here you go:
"Thus, as shown in
Prentice et al. (2001), when CO2 from fossil fuel combustion
enters the atmosphere, the 13C/12C isotopic ratio in atmospheric
CO2 decreases at a predictable rate consistent with emissions
of CO2 from fossil origin. Note that changes in the 13C/12C
ratio of atmospheric CO2 are also caused by other sources and
sinks, but the changing isotopic signal due to CO2 from fossil
fuel combustion can be resolved from the other components
(Francey et al., 1995). These changes can easily be measured
using modern isotope ratio mass spectrometry, which has the
capability of measuring 13C/12C in atmospheric CO2 to better
than 1 part in 10e5 (Ferretti et al., 2000). Data presented in Figure
2.3 for the 13C/12C ratio of atmospheric CO2 at Mauna Loa show
a decreasing ratio, consistent with trends in both fossil fuel CO2
emissions and atmospheric CO2 mixing ratios (Andres et al.,
2000; Keeling et al., 2005)."

From: www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/wg1/ar4-wg1-chapter2.pdf page 139
See the graph on page 138.

Isn't that beautiful?
So there is a way of telling what CO2 comes from what source!

The other thing is - climate scientists have clearly known this for years, so
a) further internet research shouldn't be too hard, and
b) an example of the pros being more than just a few steps ahead of us.

Next stop: determine the human contribution

Cheers!
Posted by Derek.Gunn 6 years ago
Derek.Gunn
Roy,
That's right. There's no significant downside to slowing down.
So you slow down and you get there safely.
That's the core point of the Stern Report, and that's what I'm saying the World should do.

The world has NEVER had as high a standard of living as today.
We can afford to take care of the planet - we CAN'T afford not to.

Let's take a break and have a wee overview, some perspective: ----------------------
You've shot off dozens of arguments... are there any left that haven't been defeated?
What is YOUR faith left in?

On the deniers side:
- Exxon-funded scientists making bogus claims and bogus websites full of errors - as I've pointed out.

On the Man-Made Global Warming side:
- Stephen Hawking, James Lovelock, James Hanson, Gavin Schmidt,
- the greatest Climate-Based organisation ever assembled; the IPCC,
- vast numbers of peer-reviewed papers published in Science and Nature,
- the largest modeling excercise of any phenomena ever - with millions of years of CPU processing.
- NASA, JPL, The Hadley Centre, The Royal Society (who publicly asked Exxon to stop funding Climate Change denial http://www.guardian.co.uk...)...

Surely this is no contest.
The paranoid, disorganised and corrupt - VS - real climate scientists, organised, carrying out real science.

After 20 years of scientific competition, science still singing much the same song.
Yes Roy, I'm really, really, really sure.

Cheers ;-)
Posted by Derek.Gunn 6 years ago
Derek.Gunn
HandsOff,
No these debates aren't hopeless, they're just long. This isn't a debate over the best ice cream flavour.

PoeJoe,
Who are you calling a pig-headed moron? Why would I deserve that title?
Posted by RoyLatham 6 years ago
RoyLatham
Derek, You asked, "I asked you nicely, twice, and I'll ask again...
Driving in thick fog down an unknown road, when the road becomes increasingly steep...
do you slow down?" Yes, of course, because there is no significant downside to slowing down. So, let me ask, if stopping the oceans from rising 9 inches devastates the world economy and kills millions of people, would you do it? Would you want to be really, really sure it is necessary?
39 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Vote Placed by Wylted 9 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.
Vote Placed by Willoweed 2 years ago
Willoweed
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro made ridiclous arguments
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