The Instigator
Collegebro
Pro (for)
Winning
18 Points
The Contender
shelbih
Con (against)
Losing
6 Points

The environmental impact of industrialization is the primary cause of earth's current warming trend.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/24/2007 Category: Science
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 8,266 times Debate No: 927
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (6)
Votes (8)

 

Collegebro

Pro

Many opponents of Global Warming Theory will point to the cyclical nature of earth's climate system and suggest that the current trend is simply a natural rise in temperature due to this cycle. This theory is false. Although Earth cycles through warm and cold climate periods, the environmental impact of human industrialization is the primary cause of the current warming trend.

In order to understand the role that Carbon Dioxide plays in earth's natural climate cycles, several factors must be considered: The amount of vegetation on earth, The current level of volcanic activity, and the greenhouse effect.

In a natural environment free of modern human industry, volcanic activity was the primary source of Carbon Dioxide. This carbon dioxide contributed to the greenhouse effect in the same way that it does today.

The greenhouse effect causes the earth's atmosphere to reflect infrared light at a greater rate during periods of high Carbon Dioxide content. This in turn causes earth's climate to warm up.

Plant life is nature's way of balancing the greenhouse effect. Plants are able to convert Carbon Dioxide (C-O2) into glucose (C6-H12-O6) through the process of photosynthesis. For each molecule of glucose that a plant produces, it takes 6 molecules of Carbon Dioxide out of the atmosphere. Plants are nature's highly effective CO2 cleanup mechanism (this is why saving the Rainforest is so important).

Put the elements together and you get basic global warming theory: When large amounts of CO2 enter the atmosphere, the greenhouse effect causes warming. This allows plant habitats to expand towards the poles. With more plants carrying out the process of photosynthesis, the rate of Carbon Dioxide removal increases. Eventually the rate of removal passes the rate of emission, and the net carbon dioxide levels start to decrease. The cycle now happens in reverse. The greenhouse effect slows down, plants recede towards the equator, and the earth's climate begins to cool.

The most recent spike in global temperature started with the release of large amounts of Carbon Dioxide just like all the others. When humanity started burning fossil fuels during the industrial revolution we inadvertently influenced the global climate cycle, and threw off the balance that previously existed.

Although global warming is the result of the same global climate cycle that has controlled earth's climate for hundreds of thousands of years, the current warming trend has little to do with previous cycles of warming and cooling, because each peak in the cycle corresponds to a major release of CO2.
shelbih

Con

The theory that humanity and industrialization is CAUSING the current warming trend is false. Although I do agree with you that the Earth goes through warm and cold climate trends...I do not agree with YOUR theory..

The ice back in the Ice Age was not melted down because the cavemen were driving cars or emitting harmful toxins into the air..

The Ice Age ended because it is a NATURAL trend of the Earth.

Of course I am not saying we are doing nothing wrong, but we are deinitely not causing it.
Debate Round No. 1
Collegebro

Pro

We agree that global warming is a cyclical phenomenon, but we disagree about its causes. That seems like a reasonable debate.

In your previous argument you assert that "the ice back in the Ice Age was not melted down because the cavemen were driving cars or emitting harmful toxins into the air."

I completely agree with this. A hunter/gatherer lifestyle has the least environmental impact of any human lifestyle. I'm not saying that prehistoric man was the source of an abnormal increase in levels of Carbon Dioxide in earth's atmosphere. In fact, your suggestion that prehistoric man had no way to influence the level of CO2 in his atmosphere supports my argument that the level of CO2 observed in ice core samples was totally natural, making these samples ideal data by which to examine the variation in CO2 caused by modern man.

The method by which most of earth's warming occurs is the greenhouse effect. This effect is closely related to the level of certain gases like CO2 in earth's atmosphere. This scientific fact was discovered by Joseph Fourier in 1824, and is supported by the EPA, NOAA, NASA, and the IPCC.

http://www.epa.gov...
http://www.oar.noaa.gov...
http://liftoff.msfc.nasa.gov...
http://www.ipcc.ch...

The basic concept behind the greenhouse effect is that:
"Earth's atmosphere acts like a greenhouse, warming our planet in much the same way that an ordinary greenhouse warms the air inside its glass walls. Like glass, the gases in the atmosphere let in light yet prevent heat from escaping." (http://liftoff.msfc.nasa.gov...)

CO2 is one such gas. So long as CO2 is present in the atmosphere it will reflect infrared radiation back to earth, causing the greenhouse effect. More CO2 in earth's atmosphere means even more reflected infrared.

In recent history, there have been no abnormal natural releases of CO2 or any other greenhouse gas in a level great enough to significantly effect global climate. The current natural factors that contribute to greenhouse gas emission and reduction are the same as they were 400,000 years ago. Ice core data has shown that when natural causes were the only determining factor, the highest level of CO2 that ever occurred was 300ppmv (http://www.cnrs.fr...). The level of CO2 in the atmosphere as of 2004 was 377ppmv and rising.

Direct atmospheric CO2 measurements are possible, and have been conducted by researchers at the Mauna Loa Carbon Dioxide observation station since 1959. In the first year of is operation, Mauna Loa found the atmospheric CO2 content to be at a level of 315.98ppmv. In 2004 the station found earth's atmospheric CO2 content to be 377.38ppmv. An increase this drastic is unprecedented historically, and thus can not be attributed to natural causes. Here's a graph illustrating my point: http://en.wikipedia.org...

Natural causes have been shown to have an effect on the earth's climate, but these variations stay within the range of 180ppmv to 300ppmv as shown by ice core data. Because the only new sources of CO2 emission are related to human activities, those activities are the sole cause of the abnormal increase in CO2 levels observed by the Mauna Loa station.
shelbih

Con

"Believe it or not, Global Warming is not due to human contribution of Carbon Dioxide (CO2). This in fact is the greatest deception in the history of science. We are wasting time, energy and trillions of dollars while creating unnecessary fear and consternation over an issue with no scientific justification. For example, Environment Canada brags about spending $3.7 billion in the last five years dealing with climate change almost all on propaganda trying to defend an indefensible scientific position while at the same time closing weather stations and failing to meet legislated pollution targets." (http://www.canadafreepress.com...)

I agree with this speaker's theory. The only reasons that are credible for the current rise in Earth's CO2 Levels are that global warming and the ice ages are natural phases of the Earth.

Humans are not causing it. They didn't a long time ago and they aren't now.
Debate Round No. 2
Collegebro

Pro

Timothy Ball has himself convinced that global warming is not real. Perhaps it's a matter of pride... it's human nature to want to be right, and I don't hold it against him. However, his opinions as stated in the article, are not supported by scientific data, and in some cases he's just plain wrong.

According to Mr. Ball's article:
"No sensible person seeks conflict, especially with governments, but if we don't pursue the truth, we are lost as individuals and as a society. That is why I insist on saying that there is no evidence that we are, or could ever cause global climate change. And, recently, Yuri A. Izrael, Vice President of the United Nations sponsored Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) confirmed this statement. So how has the world come to believe that something is wrong?"

Mr. Ball's writing in this paragraph is poorly structured... Which statement did Yuri A. Izrael actually confirm? That "there is no evidence that we are, or could ever cause global climate change"? I highly doubt that. I seem to recall that the IPCC was created to investigate global warming and determine if there was any evidence supporting the human caused global warming theory. The thing of it is that the IPCC just recently came back with results supporting the idea that human (anthropomorphic) sources are a primary cause of the warming trend.

An exact quote from the IPCC's 2007 report:
"Most of the observed increase in globally-averaged temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely
due to the observed increase in anthropogenic GHG concentrations. It is likely there has been significant
anthropogenic warming over the past 50 years averaged over each continent (except Antarctica)."
(this report is available at http://www.ipcc.ch...)

Does the vice president of an organization that has confirmed climate change to be real actually dispute his own organization's opinion on the matter? Or could it be that Mr. Ball is cleverly attempting to dupe his readers into believing that his opinion is supported by the vice president of an international scientific research agency?

Again, Mr. Ball's article:
"Since I obtained my doctorate in climatology from the University of London, Queen Mary College, England my career has spanned two climate cycles. Temperatures declined from 1940 to 1980 and in the early 1970's global cooling became the consensus. This proves that consensus is not a scientific fact. By the 1990's temperatures appeared to have reversed and Global Warming became the consensus. It appears I'll witness another cycle before retiring, as the major mechanisms and the global temperature trends now indicate a cooling."

Global temperature did indeed dip between 1945 and 1976, but that dip was merely a hiccup in a larger trend. (a graph of average surface temperature change on earth over the past century is available here http://en.wikipedia.org...). In addition, Mr. Ball's assertion that "the global temperature trends now indicate a cooling" is patently ridiculous. Global temperature has consistently increased over the past 31 years, and shows no signs of stopping.

In addition, Mr. Ball would like his readers to believe that the scientific community has not yet reached a general consensus supporting global warming. He is wrong (http://www.logicalscience.com...).

Further on in his article, Mr. Ball makes reference to Richard Lindzen, a professor at MIT who is well known for claiming there isn't a consensus on global warming. An analysis of Lindzen's claims can be found here: http://www.logicalscience.com...

In this debate I have provided evidence that releases of Carbon Dioxide from industrial sources have been responsible for an increase in atmospheric carbon. I have made the connection between Carbon Dioxide and the greenhouse effect, and I have shown that the greenhouse effect is primarily responsible for regulating earth's global temperature. Therefore, I have shown that industrial releases of Carbon Dioxide are primarily responsible for Earth's current warming trend.

I commend my opponent for her bravery in taking a difficult position on this subject, and await her concluding remarks.
shelbih

Con

"In August of this year, NASA scientists admitted they had been reporting erroneous temperature data since 2000. The warmest year on record in the U.S. suddenly became 1934, note 1998.

As Dr. David Wojick recently noted, "The real significance is that such a small correction can make such a big difference. The reason is that the much-touted warming of the last three decades is merely a return to earlier warm times, after an equally long period of cooling. ... There is no way this pattern constitutes a warming trend. ... In short, there is no evidence for human-induced global warming in the U.S. temperature record."
(http://www.heartland.org...)

This statement proves that scientists are not always right and CAN make mistakes and do so often.

"Global warming is not real just like Y2K was not real. Mankind is not going to blow them selves up with a massive nuclear war nor is Bird flu going to wipe out the human species. All these things had been perpetuated and now it looks like Chicken Little is on steroids, but do we have to clone our poultry and use the same tactics over and over again to control the people?

Global warming is not real and it should be obvious to anyone looking at the total picture."
(http://ezinearticles.com...)

I truly believe that global warming is a HOAX! I think that Al Gore just wanted some publicity from "An Inconvienient Truth". What do people think? I mean honestly, do they really think that the Earth is going to melt? Do they think we are all going to die? If Global Warming IS actually real, and the Earth is really going to melt or whatever people think it is going to do, why doesn't the government do something about it?
You know why? Because it is not going to happen!

Car Emissions, factory emissions and everything else in our once "perfect little world" are not doing this. Back in the Industrial Revolution, and when the Indians and every other human being on the planet made fires, was humanity contributing then? What about steam boats? Tee-pees? Trains?
Is the way we live killing our planet?
If so, why did no one, not a single soul notice any type of climate change so long ago? Has humanity suddenly awaken and Oh! our Earth is going to die? NO!

If scientists are correct in that humans are the PRIMARY cause of global warming, then humanity has just been digging themselves deeper and deeper in a hole.

No! We are not causing this warming cycle.
You know why?
Because that is just what it is. A cycle.
The Earth is going to warm up.
Then it will cool down.
Then, it's gonna warm up again.
Whether we want it to or not.

As soon as humanity as a whole realizes that, i believe society will be way better off.

Thank you for a great debate collegebro! :] I enjoyed it!
Debate Round No. 3
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by magpie 6 years ago
magpie
Sorry collegebro. I sometimes shoot from the hip. In my defense, it could have been made more clear.
I believe that Global Warming is exceesively hyped nonsense. Most of man's GHG, created in the last 500 years was created in the last 50. But, almost all of the increase of the last 100 yrs (.33 d Celcius) in temprature, occured before 1950.
The earth is in a warming cycle. Get over it!
Posted by Collegebro 6 years ago
Collegebro
Magpie,

I think you misunderstood what I meant. The reflection I'm referring to is the internal reflection of infrared by the earth's atmosphere. This is called the greenhouse effect.

P.S. If you wish to challenge my sources please do. They have been cited to make it easier for you. ;)
Posted by magpie 6 years ago
magpie
Collegebro: Check your facts!
You wrote: "The greenhouse effect causes the earth's atmosphere to reflect infrared light at a greater rate during periods of high Carbon Dioxide content. This in turn causes earth's climate to warm up." Not so! Ask Gore.
If this were true the so called green house gases would promote cooling, rather than warming. This suggests to me that 100% of your 'knowledge' on this topic caame from the world's least qualified 'scientist'.
In any case, there is no SINGLE, all perfect temperature. Higher temps and higher levels of CO2 will promote greater growth of forrests and agricultral crops to help feed the people of the world.
BTW: The earth is cooler today than it was in 1934, and it may even be on the verge of a cooling period.
Posted by Yrael 6 years ago
Yrael
Don't post evidence or your opinion on someone's debate until it is over. The debate is between the two people involved, not them and spectators. -.- Nice debate so far!
Posted by Collegebro 6 years ago
Collegebro
(quote) "This is what happens with the Ocean especially when the warm water is transported by the Ocean conveyor belt northward from the tropics to the colder waters where it releases huge amounts of CO2"

Your example is flawed because it doesn't take into account the change in pressure that occurs when a bottle of pop is initially opened. Earth's atmospheric pressure does not fluctuate radically enough to cause a release of CO2 in the same way.

While CO2 is indeed released by the ocean, that CO2 had to be dissolved into the ocean before it could be released, just like your bottle of pop had to have CO2 dissolved into it at high pressure in order for it to be fizzy. The ocean balances the amount of CO2 that is released by simply dissolving more (http://www.radix.net...).

The rise in atmospheric CO2 content has been shown to precede the rise in temperature. Ice core data taken from multiple independent research teams has confirmed this.

Also, an increase in temperature makes earth a more hospitable environment for plant life, which in turn needs to consume a larger volume of CO2 in order to survive.
Posted by chugg 6 years ago
chugg
(quote)"The most recent spike in global temperature started with the release of large amounts of Carbon Dioxide just like all the others. When humanity started burning fossil fuels during the industrial revolution we inadvertently influenced the global climate cycle, and threw off the balance that previously existed".

CO2 is released as a result of temperature.A simple experiment to show this proof is to put a bottle of cold soda in the sun and watch the release of the CO2 bubbles. This is what happens with the Ocean especially when the warm water is transported by the Ocean conveyor belt northward from the tropics to the colder waters where it releases huge amounts of CO2 which quite often gets blamed as anthropogenic the warm water effects the local climate and melting of ice.Atmosphere can only effect the immediate top surface, maybe just a few millimeters so it has to be the Sun heating the Ocean by the deeper penetrating infra red rays.
I agree with shelbyh on this as it is a NATURAL trend of the Earth so we are definitely not causing it,It's the Sun.
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