The Instigator
merciless
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
LaissezFaire
Con (against)
Winning
17 Points

we needn't make big changes in our life style to stop global warming

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/6/2010 Category: Science
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 5,557 times Debate No: 12703
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (15)
Votes (4)

 

merciless

Pro

I believe that the public doesn't have to make big changes in lifestyle to stop global warming. These include turning the thermostat down below 72 degrees, paying a lot more money for electric cars, and paying a lot more money for electricity. In this debate, I will be arguing that either a) humans are not responsible for global warming or b) there are other ways to prevent global warming that do not interfere with our lifestyles. I would like to inform my opponent that I do think that we should make changes to our lifestyles, but not to prevent global warming.
LaissezFaire

Con

You say that you will argue either a) or b). I assume this means I can choose which. I choose b), as I don't know very much about the climate science, and don't wish to debate it. If I misinterpreted this, and you didn't mean that I could choose, I apologize.

My opponent states that "there are other ways to prevent global warming that do not interfere with our lifestyles." I have no rebuttal to that at the moment, as I don't know what ways he is talking about. I await an explanation in the next round.
Debate Round No. 1
merciless

Pro

I thank my opponent for accepting this debate. Sorry, you didn't get to choose. I meant to say I will prove one or the other. If you disprove one, I will prove the other.

The global warming issue affects us in the following ways:
1. Because livestock exhale a more potent greenhouse gas than cars, and thus cause more global warming, scientists say that we must all become vegetarians. That way, there would be no need for livestock, and we can just let them go die in the wild.
2. Because electronics still use electricity when not in use, scientists suggest that we unplug them after use. That's a really good way to spend your precious time.
3. Because the vehicles we use to get around use gasoline, scientists say we must all drive less and instead ride bikes or carpool. Not only will that be inconvenient, but getting to your destination will also take longer.

These are just some things of the things that will affect your lives. Other things the scientists tell you to do to 'save the planet' include:
1. Clean or replace your filters monthly (good way to fill up landfills quickly)
2. Decrease your air travel (then how do we visit our relatives that live on the other side of the world)
3. Wash clothes in cold water and line-dry (what if you don't have space, e.g. if you live in an apartment)
4. Bring your own reusable canvas grocery bags when grocery shopping (very convenient)
5. Set your heater below 72 degrees in winter (why set it at all if you're not allowed to be warm)

There are other things listed, but I'm not listing them here because I agree that we should be doing them. The ones listed are the ones I don't agree with. There are also absurd things people that advocate 'green' do, such as build giant wind farms on what used to be resident property. This would force thousands if not millions of people from their homes. It would also cost you a nice wad of dough as the government attempts to rewire the power grid to the wind farms.
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Enough talk about how the global warming issue will affect our lives. I started this debate to prove that either a) humans did not cause global warming, or b) there are ways of preventing global warming that wouldn't ruin our lives. I will start now:

Contention 1: Global Warming is not caused by man

For those of you who are unfamiliar with climatology, Earth's atmosphere has natural greenhouse gases that trap heat from the Sun. They prevent our nights from becoming too cold and thus make life sustainable on Earth.
The ICPP claims that rising levels of CO2 (a greenhouse gas) are causing global warming. This would mean that humans caused it. Humans have been burning a lot of fossil fuels, releasing tons of carbon dioxide. Humans cut down wide stretches of forest, impeding the absorption of carbon.
But in reality, humans have not caused global warming. According to CNN meteorologist Chad Myers, climate changes in a cycle of warm and cool. "In the 13th century, we were probably 7 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than we are now," says Dr.Lehr, an expert on environmental policy, "If go back to the Revolutionary War 300 years ago, it was very, very cold. We've been warming out of that cold spell from the Revolutionary War period and now we're back into a cooling cycle."
Others say that we are emerging from an ice age. We are mistaking the warming of the Earth and the melting ice for global warming. They are actually the signs of a receding ice age.
Roy Spencer, a former NASA scientist and climatologist, says that global warming is a result of fluctuations in the climate system. Fluctuations in global circulation systems will cause changes to global cloudiness, which changes global temperature and climate.
I listed 3 opinions. All are different, but they all have a common message: global warming is not caused by man.

Contention 2: Even if global warming is caused by man, there are ways to prevent it that do not take a bite out of our lifestyles

At the start of this round, I listed some things that could 'prevent global warming'. I will state a better alternative for each of them:
1. becoming vegetarians: why not use the methane that our livestock exhale. It is the main component of natural gas, so it could be used for heating homes and fueling vehicles. Methane is a more potent greenhouse gas than CO2, so when we use methane, and thus convert it to CO2, we are doing the environment a favor.
2. unplugging unused electronics: why not just use clean energy to produce electricity. I think the scientists that are so worried about global warming should start researching new alternatives instead of trying to get the public to use less electricity.
3. riding bikes/carpooling: why not just make cars that run on clean energy, or at least make cars that don't do as much damage to the environment. All the energy spent trying to get us to drive less can be spent developing cars that run on new fuels.
4. change filters monthly: how does not changing your filters contribute to global warming?
5. decrease air travel: why not make airplanes run on clean fuel?
6. drying on clotheslines: provide cleaner alternatives to producing electricity
7. using canvas bags: use recycled plastic bags. The 'green' people said this would reduce carbon emissions.
8. set heater to less than 72 degrees: why not help the environment and burn methane instead of natural gas?

Sources:
http://www.wikihow.com...
http://www.ehow.com...
'Green Hell' by Steve Milloy
http://www.businessandmedia.org...
http://www.drroyspencer.com...
LaissezFaire

Con

Contention 1:
Those opinions you quoted do not prove that global warming is not man made, and do not even contradict the assertion that its man made. Just because the Earth is warming for other reasons doesn't mean that human activities aren't warming the Earth.

Contention 2:

1.Although I've never heard any scientist suggest that "we must all become vegetarians" I will respond to your point about harvesting methane from livestock. How exactly do you propose we harvest this methane? This seems like the sort of thing that would require quite a bit of money and infrastructure, but then again, I'm no expert on the subject.

Although I know nothing about how this could work, I know it would require a 'major' change in our lifestyles, defining 'major' as a more significant change than keeping thermostats below 72 or unplugging unused electronics.
A)If this method you describe were economically feasible, the private sector would currently be doing it. Energy is in high demand, particularly clean or 'green' energy.
B)The private sector does not harvest methane from livestock for energy.
C)Therefore, this method must not be economically efficient
D)Since this method is not profitable, it would require government subsidies to work. Since government expenditures are funded by taxation, this would result in higher taxes, which would be a more significant lifestyle change than unplugging unused electronics.

2.Clean energy may become the energy of the future. But we are living in the present. Switching to clean energy now would result in higher energy prices or higher taxes for the type of subsidies I described above.

3.See 2, but switch energy prices to car prices.

4.Changing your air filter monthly air filter improves your mileage and reduces pollution because it makes it easier for your car to take in air and maintain a proper fuel/air mixture. This reduces CO2 emissions by about 800 pounds a year.

5+6.See 2.

7.I don't see how using a canvas bag "takes a bite out of our lifestyles." It could even be beneficial without the effect on global warming, because it's less likely than a plastic bag to break and spill your groceries everywhere.

8. See 1.

Conclusion: My opponent has not shown that humans did not cause global warming. He has provided a couple quotes that argue that other factors could be contributing to the warming of the Earth, but not that human action isn't warming the Earth. He has not addressed the actual arguments and evidence that support the hypothesis that global warming is caused by man.
His second contention, that "there are ways to prevent it that do not take a bite out of our lifestyles" is also not proven. He has offered a few examples of ways that don't require 'major' lifestyle changes (major, defined by my opponent, as more significant than unplugging unused electronics or keeping the thermostat below 72), but all of them have been dismissed.

Sources:
http://www.wikihow.com...
http://en.wikipedia.org...
http://timeforchange.org...
http://en.wikipedia.org...
http://www.economist.com...
Debate Round No. 2
merciless

Pro

I thank my opponent for his splendid reply. He is a strong debater, but his case is based off of my lack of detail. His arguments can be summarized as follows: 1. my quotes don't prove that global warming isn't man made. 2. the fact that other factors contribute to global warming doesn't mean that humans don't contribute to global warming. 3. it's costly to harvest methane. 4. I have provided no evidence against the assertion that global warming is man made. 5. the changes that we have to make to prevent global warming are not major.

I will start with his first 2 arguments:

Global warming is caused by a lot of factors. According to Chad Myers and Dr. Lehr, the temperature in the 13th century was 7 degrees warmer than it is now. 300 years ago, it was very cold. As any Clevelander could tell you, last year there was a record high of snow. Not something you would expect from a warming world. The weather shows a lot of inconsistency.
My opponent provided graphs showing increasing levels of greenhouse gases. It's true that greenhouse gas levels have risen since the Industrial Revolution, but how great a factor is it in global warming? For the last decade, temperatures have been climbing while greenhouse gas levels climbed. Some scientists would look at the graph and automatically assume that the rising greenhouse gas levels were causing the rising temperatures. They are wrong. They have not considered the other factors, such as fluctuations in the climate system (e.g. cloudiness, wind currents, ocean currents). These fluctuations affect climate change more than greenhouse gases ever will. These fluctuations transformed the lush forest where dinosaurs called home into the present day Sahara desert. These fluctuations changed America from a land once covered by glaciers into one with tall mountains, large lakes, and a handsome variety of plants and animals. We are only human. Are we powerful enough to change the climate? Are we omnipotent enough to know what causes climate change? Science has only been around for a few hundred years. It's still in its early stages. There are a lot of things we still don't know about our own world. My opponent may argue that supercomputers predict that greenhouse gases will make temperatures skyrocket, but he must remember that supercomputers are man made and the simulation it produces is affected by the factors that are programmed into it. Adding all the factors in the real world to a supercomputer simulation is impossible with today's technology.

I stated 3 things in Round 2 about my first argument: that the weather changed a lot over the last few centuries, that we are moving away from an ice age, and that there are a lot of fluctuations in the climate system. All this evidence can only mean one thing: we do not produce much climate change. This makes whether humans contribute to it irrelevant, because we are not changing the course of nature.

My opponent also states that methane is costly to harvest. He says that clean energy is in high demand, and that anything profitable would be in the private sector. I would like to question these assumptions. If clean energy was in such a high demand, why haven't we all installed solar panels on our roofs? Why haven't we all built wind turbines in our yards? Why haven't we made ethanol our fuel of choice for vehicles instead of petroleum? The answer is that these are all relatively very expensive, not to mention that wind turbines are noisy and solar panels only work on sunny days. Everyone wants to feel like they're protecting the environment, but not everyone wants to have their spending money reduced for that feeling. My opponent also states that anything profitable would be in the private sector. Methane is not in the private sector, so it must not be profitable. There are organic farms that run on methane. They get all the electricity they need from cow manure. If methane wasn't profitable, why would they use methane for electricity? Not every farm collects and stores cow manure, but if they did, think about how much electricity they could produce.

Con also states that I provided no evidence against the assertion that global warming is man-made. I have given him evidence, now where is his evidence that global warming is man made?

The fact that Con says that most of the changes I listed actually helps my case. The resolution was that we needn't make major changes to prevent global warming. Con agrees that we needn't make major changes. Some of the changes I listed are relatively minor, I agree, but others can be counted as major changes. Becoming a vegetarian is something that I and all others who love meat would never tolerate. We like to have a variety of flavors. Becoming a vegetarian restricts our menus severely. Having people evicted from their homes so that someone can build a wind farm is an abomination. Al Gore says that global warming will create millions of refugees in the world. His wind farms will create millions of refugees in America.
Other changes simply downgrade society. We humans chose to live in a society so that we can have better lives. For thousands of years, the goal of society was to improve the quality of life for each and every individual. We did not develop all this technology just so we can abandon it all out of fear that the world will end. Henry Ford made a car that ran on gas so that everyone could afford a car. Are we about to go back to expensive, tedious electric cars just because some scientists say that we must? Man can adapt to any environment, but that doesn't mean that man should adapt to any environment. Man can adapt to being forced to set his thermostat below 72 degrees, but does that mean he should? Throughout history, great people have struggled and fought to make society better. Now that we are faced with a 'potential apocalypse', are we going to cower down and send society to pre-Industrial times, or are we going to rise to the challenge and find a solution that improves the quality of life for everyone?
LaissezFaire

Con

Re: Contention 1- "a) humans are not responsible for global warming"
"For the last decade, temperatures have been climbing while greenhouse gas levels climbed. Some scientists would look at the graph and automatically assume that the rising greenhouse gas levels were causing the rising temperatures."
The vast majority, not 'some.'

"They are wrong. They have not considered the other factors, such as fluctuations in the climate system (e.g. cloudiness, wind currents, ocean currents)."
Actually, scientists HAVE considered these other factors. They concluded that greenhouse gases do raise global temperatures by a significant amount, in addition to the other factors.

"My opponent may argue that supercomputers predict that greenhouse gases will make temperatures skyrocket, but he must remember that supercomputers are man made and the simulation it produces is affected by the factors that are programmed into it. Adding all the factors in the real world to a supercomputer simulation is impossible with today's technology."
All scientific knowledge is 'man-made.' That doesn't shed any doubt on it's validity. And yes, it is possible for supercomputers to add all of those factors together with today's technology.

Re: Contention 2- "b) there are other ways to prevent global warming that do not interfere with our lifestyles"
"My opponent also states that methane is costly to harvest. He says that clean energy is in high demand, and that anything profitable would be in the private sector. I would like to question these assumptions. If clean energy was in such a high demand, why haven't we all installed solar panels on our roofs? Why haven't we all built wind turbines in our yards? Why haven't we made ethanol our fuel of choice for vehicles instead of petroleum? The answer is that these are all relatively very expensive, not to mention that wind turbines are noisy and solar panels only work on sunny days. Everyone wants to feel like they're protecting the environment, but not everyone wants to have their spending money reduced for that feeling."

You missed my point. Currently, 'green' energy sources are not widely used, because of how expensive they are. It would require government intervention, and thus taxes and higher energy prices, for them to become widely used. This negates your statement that "b) there are other ways to prevent global warming that do not interfere with our lifestyles" by showing that the 'other ways' you proposed do in fact interfere with our lifestyles.

"My opponent also states that anything profitable would be in the private sector. Methane is not in the private sector, so it must not be profitable. There are organic farms that run on methane. They get all the electricity they need from cow manure. If methane wasn't profitable, why would they use methane for electricity? Not every farm collects and stores cow manure, but if they did, think about how much electricity they could produce."
Why do some farms do this? Well, the same reason some people have solar panels on their roof. They want to save the environment, even if it requires a more expensive and unprofitable form of electricity. Because it would require government intervention to be feasible on a large scale, this is not an example of a way we could prevent global warming without 'major' changes.

"Some of the changes I listed are relatively minor, I agree, but others can be counted as major changes. Becoming a vegetarian is something that I and all others who love meat would never tolerate. We like to have a variety of flavors. Becoming a vegetarian restricts our menus severely. Having people evicted from their homes so that someone can build a wind farm is an abomination. Al Gore says that global warming will create millions of refugees in the world. His wind farms will create millions of refugees in America.
Other changes simply downgrade society. We humans chose to live in a society so that we can have better lives. For thousands of years, the goal of society was to improve the quality of life for each and every individual. We did not develop all this technology just so we can abandon it all out of fear that the world will end. Henry Ford made a car that ran on gas so that everyone could afford a car. Are we about to go back to expensive, tedious electric cars just because some scientists say that we must? Man can adapt to any environment, but that doesn't mean that man should adapt to any environment. Man can adapt to being forced to set his thermostat below 72 degrees, but does that mean he should? Throughout history, great people have struggled and fought to make society better. Now that we are faced with a 'potential apocalypse', are we going to cower down and send society to pre-Industrial times, or are we going to rise to the challenge and find a solution that improves the quality of life for everyone?"
This is an argument that we shouldn't make lifestyle changes to prevent global warming. The proposition was that we needn't make major lifestyle changes to prevent global warming, not that we shouldn't have to.

Conclusion:
My opponent has offered evidence that other factors besides human action effect global temperatures. This does not prove the statement that "humans are not responsible for global warming." My opponent has offered no evidence that suggests that human actions, in the form of greenhouse gases, do not contribute to global warming, thus, the first contention remains unproven.

My opponent has offered no other things we could do that would result in a significant reduction in global warming, thus, his statement that "b) there are other ways to prevent global warming that do not interfere with our lifestyles" remains unproven.
Debate Round No. 3
15 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by RoyLatham 7 years ago
RoyLatham
The challenge was very poorly worded, to the point, I think, that it was trapping whoever accepted it. Pro should have selected one topic, not an "either/or" mess, and presented an opening case that would make it clear exactly what he was affirming.

Pro prevented no evidence that if all the lifestyle changes he advocated were implemented that global warming would be significantly reduced. He failed to make a prima facie case, and Con pointed that out.

The fastest growing sources of CO2 are India and China, so Pro would need to explain how halting indu development would not require a big change in lifestyle in the developing world.

Pro was also self-contradictory, claiming that everyone must be forced to become a vegetarian, but that wouldn't force a big change in lifestyle. He negated his own case.
Posted by natasharandolph 7 years ago
natasharandolph
I skimmed bc I thought the debater was all over the place. If we do not need to change our lifestyles to help the global warming situation and if we are not responsible for it, then why WHY is merciless suggesting even better ways to help the use of gases that seep into the atmosphere, etc...I'm not saying global warming is a completely preventative situation, not in this day and age. We've done too much, the earth itself has done too much, and unfortunately we don't understand things until they are well underway to destruction. There are little things that we can ourselves do, and might I say that I think merciless' suggestions (although I don't see why he would put in suggestions being pro-non human responsibility) are really good, and easy enough suggestions.
Posted by merciless 7 years ago
merciless
i wish i had added another round to this debate. i hope to challenge you again on this topic.
Posted by merciless 7 years ago
merciless
and a history textbook
Posted by merciless 7 years ago
merciless
sources for round 3 are the same as sources for round 2, except for round 3, there is also the MythBusters series.
Posted by sadolite 7 years ago
sadolite
Any suggestions to prevent global warming are invalid because, One: You must prove that it exists. Two: If it does exsist you must know what causes it in order to know what to do to prevent it. And Three: Without addressing these issues first any suggestions to prevent it may make it worse if in fact it did exist.
Posted by LaissezFaire 7 years ago
LaissezFaire
@sadolite
My opponent did not say, 'we do not need to change our lifestyles to stop global warming.' That would mean that he could win by showing that since global warming doesn't exist, we don't need to change our lifestyles to stop it. He stated that "there are other ways to prevent global warming that do not interfere with our lifestyles." That means that he is arguing that there are things we can do to stop global warming that don't interfere with our lifestyles. He also is saying that he doesn't think man-made global warming exists. This makes his second statement sound a bit silly, but the statement still means he has to show that there are ways we can prevent global warming without interfering in our lifestyles.
Posted by sadolite 7 years ago
sadolite
Correction: Change "for your resolution to valid. To "for the resolution to valid."
Posted by sadolite 7 years ago
sadolite
If it isn't real, why do we have to make changes. It seems to me that you must first prove it is real for your resolution to valid.
Posted by LaissezFaire 7 years ago
LaissezFaire
We aren't arguing about whether or not global warming is real. Pro is arguing that we don't need to make major lifestyle changes to stop global warming if it is real. ("there are other ways to prevent global warming that do not interfere with our lifestyles") And if we were arguing about whether or not global warming is real, Pro would be arguing that it isn't real. ("humans are not responsible for global warming")
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by TheDizziestLemon 6 years ago
TheDizziestLemon
mercilessLaissezFaireTied
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Vote Placed by LaissezFaire 6 years ago
LaissezFaire
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Vote Placed by PARADIGM_L0ST 7 years ago
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Vote Placed by RoyLatham 7 years ago
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