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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Started: 6/15/2008 Category: Politics
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 11,329 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 61 through 70 records.
Posted by Derek.Gunn 5 years ago
Derek.Gunn
Sadolite,
I believe that we're responsible for global warming, because it makes sense.
Everything points to it, and nothing points away from it.

Yes, at the end of the Cretaceous the World had higher CO2 than today.
Do you know what happened at the end of the Cretaceous era?
Posted by RoyLatham 5 years ago
RoyLatham
Derek, When you were claiming that there was no recent solar activity, you said that absolutely disproved solar theory. Now you say that having recent solar activity disproves solar theory. Don't you have to pick one or the other? My point in showing the graph is that climate has had very large ups and downs in past centuries and that those cosmic ray activity well. Nothing whatsoever happened to CO2 levels during the MEWP and the Little Ice Age, yet you maintain that CO2 levels track those climate swings better than solar activity? How exactly did you arrive at the conclusion that dramatic change follows no change closely.

My point with the long term graph was only to establish the long term tracking and to point out that there were many departures of decades from solar activity. In the last few decades, cosmic ray activity dropped sharply, which would have and influence in the near past in favor of warming, but there are many other factors at work, such as the El Nino that caused the spike in the 90s.

You cannot maintain that you know doom is impending and at the same time declare that climate models are worthless. If climate models are worthless, then the best estimate is that the slow warming trend evident since 1800 will continue, with sea levels rising 9 inches in the next century. That is a concern, but not a crisis. We are in agreement that 26 of Al Gore's assertions were invalid. The rest can be discussed.

Re Monbiot, the way we non-specialists should discuss climate theory is by citing appropriate scientists, not by asserting our own authority. Monbiot erred in asserting his own authority rather than doing that. I have not found a book written by a climate scientist that explains how the CO2 climate models work and why they are believed to be correct. There are many books by climate scientists that explain the flaws in the climate models and explain the opposing science.
Posted by sadolite 5 years ago
sadolite
Here is a report about co2 that I find to be far more scientific in it's approach than anything else I have read. It states that Co2 levels have been as high as 2000ppm in the past. Here is a small excerpt:

Is carbon dioxide a dangerous pollutant?

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).

Link to complete report:

http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org...

It also states that there is no theory as such when it comes to the earths climate. So that would mean any predictions made about the climate aren't even based on a "THEORY" just a guess work of hypothesis. Not very scientific if you ask me.
Posted by sadolite 5 years ago
sadolite
I still find it fascinating that you are so absolutely sure about all of the wild predictions made about the climate of the future based on, well literally no evidence other than 20 years of weather records and scientists who know literally nothing about what they make predictions about.
Posted by Derek.Gunn 5 years ago
Derek.Gunn
Roy,
Given that global warming and cosmic ray effects are supposed to have an inverse relation -
no, they don't relate at all well.
CO2 on the other hand relates very well, and coincidentally on almost on an identical gradient.

A link to a site refuting Gore's three-year-old claims.
Mmmmm a page selling books, why am I not surprised?
Oho! A proposal for a debate between Lord Monkton and Al Gore.
Aha! Gore says he doesn't want to debate - this was what you were refering to, eh Roy?

Well, it looks to me he did get most of them wrong.
Some like #3 Thermohaline circulation "stopping" - we just don't know yet.
However #1, 17, 18, 20, 21, 22, 27, 28 and 30 he got right in my opinion.

You don't like Monbiot do you? Well, you don't have to. ;-) I just said it was well-written.
He is actually very knowledgeable. The world needs more journos like him.
"he has an obvious radical agenda" - heheheh, maybe, but it shouldn't matter what one's agenda is -
if one is right.

I'm going to have to do some real work for a few days, but I'm sure you'll find a way to tempt me back.

Cheers
Posted by Derek.Gunn 5 years ago
Derek.Gunn
Roy,
As I've aleady told you, there are plenty of plans for geo-engineering, but we should try avoid them.
Why?
- Once you start, you cannot stop. People perfer business as usual, so fixing the core problem gets put off, or never happens.
- Somebody controls the planet. Who's it going to be? Could be the Chinese. Yes? Weather as a weapon.
- Loss cycle. Reducing heat by reducing sunlight via relectors means less light for photosynthesis, = less CO2 removal.
- Unstainalbe optimisation. A cool Sahara and warm Siberia! We could support 20 Billion people!
We'll kill off most the remaining biodiversity and become this precarious Homo sapiens semi-monoculture. Should it somehow fail... billions die.

"Forcing people to obey is the agenda. It is a quasi-religious theme."
You know this for a fact eh?
Perhaps I should apply your "rule #5": How many conspirators?

I don't know how reliable the climate models are.
Damnably difficult a thing to measure until after the event.
Quite frankly, I think the models are superfluous.
Any reasonable extrapolation of the temperature from the trend shown in the past 30-40 years is bad for the World.

Oh no! Not cosmic rays again!
I really must get a bigger hammer.
The graph shows cosmic rays increasing to the present.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the theory that if the flux of cosmic rays increases, more clouds will form and the planet will cool?

Lastly:
"Europe has not cut its carbon emissions at all. They have grown every year."
Both wrong.
Europe is not a single country.
Some have done better and some worse. Something like this: http://en.wikipedia.org...
The point I was making to Sadolite was that the Europeans live as well as you do while producing half the CO2 per capita.
http://en.wikipedia.org...
i.e. you can do the same without even getting uncomfortable.

Please answer my earlier question: would you slow d
Posted by RoyLatham 5 years ago
RoyLatham
Derek, A couple of loose ends. Please stare at the graph in Physical Review Letters and tell me whether or not you think cosmic ray activity correlates well with climate. I think it correlates much better than CO2. There is no "appearance of impending doom." There is every appearance that the trend starting around 1800 is continuing. A point by point refutation of the Al Gore impending doom scenario is given at http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org... Finally, Monbiot does not cite opposing evidence, he gives the conclusion that the "Swindle" video has been disproved based on his own scientific prowess, an expertise to which he has no claim. Instead, he has an obvious radical agenda.
Posted by Derek.Gunn 5 years ago
Derek.Gunn
HandsOff,
Why is the US just about bankrupt? What have you been doing?

I completely agree about nuclear power.
Fewer deaths per gigawatt hour than any other baseload power supply (except perhaps geothermal (which is also nuclear)).
Some catches:
- There is only 30 years worth of know uranium left for the world's current reactors (mostly light water reactors).
- People seem to want to be scared of nuclear power and confuse it with nuclear bombs, and argue that any radiation is bad. Sigh.
- There are of course thorium reactors, these cannot produce plutonium and there is 4 times as much thorium as uranium in the world - only problem is >2/3rds of it is in India, and the Indians want it all.
They are building reactors flat-tack.
Still, the US could do very well out of thorium reactors.

There are other possibilities for the US too:
- A US company called NanoSolar invented new PVs - Thinfilm photovoltaics. Rapid production, less that 1/3rd the price of traditional silicon crystal, flexible, long life (25 year guarantee) http://www.nanosolar.com...
You aren't short on sun in the Southwest are you? ;-)
- Algae oil generation. Hard to find anything about this. I just keep on hearing whispers. The fundamentals look very good. Algae can grow in salt water. You have deserts and salt water. It has been hypothesised that this is how Saudi generated its oil in the first place.
A greater yield at a greater rate than anything else I've heard; and you can do it _forever_.
If you don't burn the oil - you've helped with global warming too!
Sign up to the Kyoto Protocol and get paid by people like us!
- Roy ought to know of some others. There are supposedly more clean-tech startups in Silicon Valley now than IT startups.

Cheers!
Posted by RoyLatham 5 years ago
RoyLatham
Europe has not cut its carbon emissions at all. They have grown every year. http://blogs.wsj.com...
Posted by RoyLatham 5 years ago
RoyLatham
Derek, Back to solar theory. The sun varies in irradiance and in cosmic ray activity. What the solar theory depends upon is not sunspot activity but cosmic ray activity. for which sunspot activity is only a rough proxy. Cosmic rays create isotopes in the upper atmosphere, which become a better proxy for cosmic ray activity. Look at the graph in Physical Review Letters http://cc.oulu.fi... Note that in the past few decades sunspot activity has declined, but the isotope proxy for cosmic ray activity is up. Looking over the cosmic ray proxy for past centuries, you can see that climate variations track the cosmic ray activity quite well. It the 20th century, the cosmic ray activity continues to track well, right up to the present. For the past few decades, cosmic ray activity has been measured directly, and the direct measurements also track quite well.

CO2 Theory requires that climate track cosmic ray activity before 1900, causing the Medieval Warm Period, the Little Ice Age, and the 19th century warming. All of those climate variations occurred before CO2 build-up. However, CO2 theory demands that solar activity stop having an influence in the 20th century, when CO2 supposedly took over. The mechanism for arguing that is that sunspot activity is down -- but that ignores cosmic ray activity, which has increased sharply in the 20th century and remains very high. Also note that while the correlation over many decades is clear, it is not at all unusual to have departures of several decades, either warmer or cooler.
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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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