The Instigator
Pro (for)
8 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
13 Points

Anthropogenic Global Warming Is Real

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/20/2010 Category: Science
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 13,515 times Debate No: 14099
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (41)
Votes (4)




First off, I want to thank Con for offering to take up this debate.

This resolution is based on a discussion that originated in the comment section of another debate:

== Definitions ==

Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW): Global Warming influenced by human activities.

Real: Being or occurring in fact or actuality.

== Rules ==

Pro and Con will both refrain from attacking the sources of scientific information in order to keep this debate focused on relevant arguments, evidence, and logical consistency, rather than accusations of corruption.

Furthermore, Pro's BOP will intend to prove the scientific validity of AGW, and to a lesser extent, Con will have to provide counter-evidence to such claims.

And it begins!

== Global Warming Is Real ==

1. The Greenhouse Effect is a process in which Earth's atmosphere traps the sun's energy, which keeps surface temperatures relatively warm. Basic physics demonstrate that increases in Greenhouse Gases will trap increased amounts of energy, thus causing temperatures to rise. As humanity burns fossil fuels, and CO2 is released into Earth's atmosphere, energy from the sun is trapped, and it can be logically expected to initiate rises in surface temperatures.

2. As expected, the Industrial Revolution began a process in which fossil fuels were burned to extract energy, which has significantly increased the amount of CO2 found in Earth's atmosphere. Before industrialization, Earth's atmosphere retained approximately 280 Carbon parts per million (ppm), which by 1958 had risen to 315 ppm, and is now nearly 400 ppm. As a result, global temperatures have also risen significantly, which implicates these human actions.

3. Natural phenomena cannot be responsible for the current warming anomaly. For instance, solar output has remained constant since the 1750's. Volcanism releases sulfuric acid into the atmosphere, which reflects solar energy back out into space, cooling the Troposphere. Although Earth's axial shifts might explain a climb in surface temperatures, the CO2 anomaly implicates human actions. There simply isn't any natural phenomena that can adequately explain the recent jump in temperature AND CO2, which leaves only human activities to blame.

4. Feedback loops are going to cause exponential increases in CO2, which will force surface temperatures to rapidly rise as well. As human activities warm the Earth, arctic ice melts and exposes increased amounts of ocean that absorb rather than reflect solar energy. As more energy is absorbed, the Earth is further warmed, which triggers a process that feeds itself. This is known as a positive feedback loop, for it exponentially amplifies Earth's warming trends.

There are also sinks that absorb CO2 -- oceans and trees -- but human deforestation and the decreased absorption rates of oceans are substantially weakening this process. Oceans and forests have absorbed at least 48% of atmospheric CO2 release since the 19th century, which has essentially slowed AGW. However, these two lifelines are being exhausted, causing warming patterns to rise exponentially. Because of this phenomenon, there is no chance that CO2 levels will go down, which rules out the possibility of regularly occurring temperature fluctuation taking place in the future.

== Conclusion ==

There have been minimal sources of natural warming phenomena, which leaves the burning of fossil fuels as the sole culprit. Shortly after the Industrial Revolution took off, CO2 levels skyrocketed, with surface temperatures following close behind. Due to such compelling evidence, a strong scientific consensus has been formulated, which contends that Anthropogenic Global Warming is real and happening. There are also good indicators that surface temperatures will continue to rise at an exponential pace, which further implicates human activities.

Thanks again to Con, and good luck with your response.


I also thank my opponent for debating me on such an interesting scientific topic. I hope it will be not just entertain, but also educate readers about facts they may not know.

I thank Pro for giving the link to comment section, so in a good faith I will interpret his definitions in context of what was said there. I offered not to use Climategate leaks and similar arguments so I encourage voters to look there before blaming me of not using some types of relevant arguments in this debate. I can discuss corruption of GW alarmism in comments or next debate.

*Clarification of rules*
"attacking sources" - saying X is corrupt or funded by Y so his data are irrelevant
I believe that bringing relevant evidence of specific source being obsolete, incomplete, interpreted in wrong way or scientifically not relevant does not violate the rule.

Climate change and always changed. There is undeniable evidence that humans influence local microclima by means of urbanization (use of land, air conditioning, heating). The global warming being blamed on CO2 emissions which we are discussing is very different matter. I will show evidence that recent warming is caused mainly by natural phenomena and so called Global Warming Alarmism based on computer modeling of CO2 effects is falsified as a scientific hypothesis.

*Con Arguments*
CA1) Scientific opinions and so called scientific consensus concerning AGW

There is clearly no general scientific consensus in favor of AGW as may be believed in non-academic public. Just in USA more than 30.000 scientists signed petition against it [1]. [2] cites at least 800 Peer-reviewed papers supporting skepticism to AGW. Nongovernmental International
Panel on Climate Change made report [3] in 2009 which refutes most of IPCC claims. [4] and [5] show interesting ratios of scientific opinions and accelerating increase of sceptic voices in academia (even former believers in AGW). [6] express opinion of one those.
On top of it, scientific consensus is no alternative for scientific method. Science is not democracy.

CA2) Relevance of recent warming compared to the past
Prof. Carter in his presentation [7a] from 2:42 min puts recent warming and cooling in historical context of climate change and shows statistical insignificance of recent warming. From 5:27 min he shows periodicity of natural temperature change (ice-ages, warm periods) and it is clear that recent warming fits into natural periods. Even the rate of change is examined in [7b] from 1:30 on.

CA3) Sources of data, bias
For sources of data see [3], chapter 3. Surface data used by IPCC is biased by "urban heat island effect" [6],[7d],[3] and many temperature sensors used clearly do not meet basic criteria at all [7d].

CA4) Sun, sun spots, fluctuations
Sun is clearly major cause of climate fluctuations as can be seen in [1b],[3] chapter 5, [7c] from 7:35 min and [8]. [8] puts it in reasonably detailed while easy to understand way.

CA5) Missing greenhouse signature
See [3] section 3.4 Fingerprints, [6], [6b]. Model based predictions do not meet the experimental data.

CA6) Ice cores data
Temperature rise first, then rise CO2 levels [6]. It is clear what causes what. Rising temperature decreases solubility of CO2 in ocean [9]. Later fall in temperature shows no positive feedback.
Sea cores show a more cooling lately.[7b]

CA7) Computer models versus experimental data
"Hockey stick graph" is not plausible, it is merely computer simulated data fitted to controversial graph of recent temperature measurements without Medieval Warming Period. See [3] subsection 3.2.1 (for quick inspection figures from 3.2.1 to 3.2.5 should not be missed, but closer inspection of subsection is advised ).

*Con Refutation of Pro arguments*

CR1) Greenhouse Effect
CO2 has logarithmic progression of GH effect/concentration in atmosphere [7c] from 2:00 min. Experimental data show the GH effect of CO2 and even stronger GH gas as methane do not cause significant changes in global temperature. It may be because of much stronger negative feedback such as creation of clouds and others [1b],[3] sections 2.1, 2.6, [7c], [8].

CR2) Fossil fuels to be blamed
As long as CO2 is not significant cause, this argument is not plausible. See CA5, CA6.

CR3) Natural phenomena cannot be responsible
This is directly refuted by CA2, CA4 at least. Natural phenomena are undeniably responsible for both fluctuation in global climate as well as for its stabilization by negative feedback. Natural changes of atmospheric concentration of so called GH gases are not only possible cause of climate temperature fluctuation! Graph Pro cite shows lot of natural temperature fluctuations thus refuting his own argument.

CR4) Positive feedback
[7c] from 3:00 on shows that predictions of alarmists rely on positive feedback. They mostly ignore important negative feedbacks like cloud formation that keeps temperature stable.
See [3] page 17 citing Lindzen et al.: "the cloudy-moist region appears to act as an infrared adaptive iris that opens up and closes down the regions free of upper-level clouds, which more effectively permit infrared cooling, in such a manner as to resist changes in tropical surface temperature."; "more than cancel all the positive feedbacks in the more sensitive current climate models". Se also [8] or [3] whole section 2.1 for more details.
On top of that, if a positive feedback was prevalent, our ecosystem would not be stable and our climate would go crazy in past temperature fluctuations.

My opponent presented somewhat simplified view about climate science. He relies on notion that greenhouse gases are almost only phenomena to be blamed for climate change. Therefore he is unaware of complex natural causes behind fluctuation and stabilization of climate temperature and rely on so called scientific consensus to back his view. As I showed this is not the case. In my view Pro's sources are very incomplete and some of them obsolete in contrast to sources presented by me.

*End note*
I am sorry to be very spartan in my arguments heavily consisting of citation of sources. I tried to use my limited space to introduce opponent to my sources asap so he can allocate his space in following rounds in advance for detailed debate on specific issues.
I did my best to limit number of sources I needed to illustrate science behind climate change phenomena. I spent lot of time in order to cite parts of it to make it more accessible without having to go through whole source and thus saving time of my opponent and other readers.

[1] Global Warming Petition Project:
[1b] Environmental effects... :
[2] 800 Peer-reviewed papers skeptical…:
[3] NIPCC report:
[4] More Than 700 International Scientists Dissent...:
[5] Climate Momentum Shifting:
[6] David Evans: No smoking hot spot:
[6b] Evidence CO2...:
[7] Prof. Robert Carter: Is CO2 the Cause?
[7a] Part I:
[7b] Part II:
[7c] Part III:
[7d] Part IV:
[8] Prof. Patterson: Sunspots...:
[9] Oceans...:
Debate Round No. 1


Thanks to Con for submitting a quick response. Also, I want to let the voters know that I will not be responding to arguments presented in Con's videos due to character space. I will only respond to the arguments that Con decides to elaborate on.

== Rule Clarification ==

No, it is not a violation of the rules to point out why evidence may be incomplete, obsolete, etc. It is okay to criticize arguments and evidence, but not the sources of such information.

== Counter Arguments ==

CA1) Pro claims that there actually is no scientific consensus that accepts the validity of AGW, but this simply isn't true. Pro lists seemingly large numbers of scientists whom doubt the veracity of current Climate Science, but it's the percentages that really matter. A 2009 survey found that 82% of all Earth scientists feel human activity has a significant impact on global warming trends, and 97% of Climatologists agree. The main dissenters are Meteorologists, whom study short-term and local weather patterns, rather than long-term, global climate patterns, such as active Climatologists.

Pro also correctly claims that science is not a democracy, but fails to realize how a scientific consensus is established, which is through evidence and theory. Unlike the general public, the scientific community does not base its conclusions on opinions and ideology, but instead facts and evidence, which makes such a consensus very, very reliable.

CA2) Con presents two arguments here: Past warming trends and the *rate* of such warming. The first chart shows the radical cooling period sustained during the last ice age 16,000 years ago, which is understood to have been triggered by variations in Earth's axis. But more importantly, when focused on the last millennium, the chart shows surface temperatures to have been the highest 1,000 years ago. This is known as the Medieval Warming Period, which is notably a regional phenomenon, for most other data sets support the "Hockey Stick" figure that demonstrates *global* temperatures are currently much higher than they were 1,000 years ago.

Con's second argument asserts that the current rate of Climate Change is insignificant when viewed historically. However, as I pointed out in my opening arguments, positive feedback loops and weakening carbon sinks are aiding the acceleration of Earth's warming, which is perpetuated by human activity. Con has failed to address these factors.

CA3) Here, Con attempts to blame current warming trends on asphalt, which has supposedly corrupted the temperature records. This issue has been studied in detail, and the effects of urban areas are proven to be statistically insignificant. Not to mention, observatories such as NASA adjust the data to account for such variables, and the results remain largely the same.

CA4) It should be noted that Con's evidence arbitrarily limits graphs in order to force a distorted conclusion, which makes the data set largely incomplete. The 11-year sunspot cycle has remained relatively constant for the last few centuries, and has even declined over the last few decades. However, Earth's temperatures have not fluctuated in similar ways, but have instead steadily increased, which clearly rules out the possibility that solar cycles are responsible for recent warming trends.

CA5) Con should elaborate on this argument. In any case, Con fails to acknowledge that the Stratosphere is cooling, while the Troposphere is warming, which is indicative of greenhouse warming, rather than solar warming. The exact fingerprint may be missing from the data set, but this might be due to instrumental errors.

CA6) Con claims that rising temperatures cause CO2 levels to rise, which is nonsensical. He has switched the chicken and the egg, and he provided no mechanism for how this might take place, except for the assertion that rising temperatures decrease oceanic carbon solubility, which isn't described in his source. On the other hand, myriad scientific institutions have explained in great detail how CO2 traps solar energy in Earth's atmosphere, which creates the Greenhouse Effect. Moreover, historical temperature/carbon data collections demonstrate that CO2 rises BEFORE temperatures, which empirically disproves Con's assertions.

CA7) Con criticizes the Hockey Stick graph, which is somewhat justified. It has been acknowledged that the statistical process used by Michael Mann was faulty, but overall, the data set was fairly accurate. Additional studies have further substantiated Mann's paper, simultaneously discrediting the Medieval Warming Period.

== Addressing Con's Refutations ==

CR1) In my first argument, I pointed out that CO2 helps to create the Greenhouse Effect, but Con replies with cloud feedbacks, which doesn't refute how greenhouse gases affect Earth's climate. It instead poses that clouds may reduce the rate of warming, but considering that clouds trap AND reflect heat, the overall effect is probably neutral. Because Con's refutation was vague and poorly sourced, my argument stands.

CR2) "As long as CO2 is not significant cause, this argument is not plausible."
-- This does not address the correlation between the Industrial Revolution and the rise in CO2. Furthermore, CO2 IS the cause of Earth's warming trends, which is another point that Con hasn't properly addressed.

CR3) Con claims that negative feedbacks (clouds) stabilize surface temperatures, yet the graph I cited clearly shows substantial temperature fluctuations, which throws that notion out the window -- I'll link it again. Ironically, Con also says that the graph refutes my own arguments, which isn't true. My argument is that *recent* temperature fluctuations cannot be explained by natural phenomena; however, past fluctuations can be. Thus, Con's response boils down to a straw-man.

CR4) Con once again claims that cloud feedbacks will stabilize Earth's temperatures, otherwise past temperature records would be wildly fluctuating. Funny enough, past temperatures DO vastly fluctuate, which already cripples Con's argument. Not to mention, clouds do not act solely as *negative* feedbacks, but also as *positive* feedbacks.

There are other feedback mechanisms to take into account, such as the aforementioned arctic ice dilemma, along with weakening carbon sinks -- two arguments that Con dropped. These combined factors will overwhelm the neutral effects of cloud feedbacks, which is observed in previous temperature fluctuations that Con's arguments cannot account for.

== Conclusion ==

Con has largely ignored crucial evidence put forth in my opening arguments, and he's also dropped some of these arguments. Con also provided incomplete data sets while glossing over a scientific consensus that directly conflicts with his flawed position. Overall, Con has not adequately provided the necessary data and theoretical framework required to dismiss the overwhelming science that arbitrates Anthropogenic Global Warming.

Thanks again to Con, and good luck with your response.


Once again sorry for being laconic in my last post, I will now do my best to discuss arguments in more detail. I will use numbering of sources from previous post to save space and new sources will start with no. 10.


My opponent tries to convince us, that all serious scientists agree with AGW, that those who disagree are black sheep of science who cannot understand complexity of climate science. His contempt for meteorologists is unjustified. They are not just some TV weathermen, but specialists concerning atmospheric phenomena and they do experimental measurements in atmosphere. For example Prof. of meteorology Richard S. Lindzen is active and eminent climatic researcher and member of IPCC 2001 (note that many of scientists listed in IPCC actually disagree). Skeptics John. R. Christy (IPCC 2001) and Roy W. Spencer are PhDs in meteorology and atmospheric sciences winning NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal 1991 for global temperature monitoring work with satellites. There are Nobel Prize winner's skeptical of AGW Ivar Giaever and Robert Laughlin (and that was no crappy Peace Nobel Prize).
I could waste my whole space just posting names of eminent skeptical scientists, but that would be pointless. Consensus can be easily crafted by selection of sources (Curious readers may see [10]). Everyone can search in presented sources and see for himself.
Where my opponent argues for facts and evidence in opposition to opinions, he presents just a source with collected opinions. Lets look at the facts now...

Pro points at the cold period 16.000 years ago and Medieval Warming Period (MWP) 1000 years ago, but he unfortunately miss the point. What Prof. Carter presents is how can arbitrary choice data give arbitrary results. The emphasis is on the graph of recent 2000 years which gives enough detail to show temperature fluctuation trend. See 2000 ago, 1500 ago and 1000 ago and now and see the magnitudes and rates of temperature change. Pro also ignores the next cited graph including natural warm periods and little ice ages periodicity (in which 20th century warming fits) and graph of rates of change. These however conflict with his notion that recent warming cannot be blamed on natural phenomena so I challenge him to cover these. MWP will be dealt with separately in CA7.

It is already in my sources, but I will point to paper [11] cited in [3] chapter 3 dealing with surface measurements and NASAs "homogenization" of data. See section 5 "Bias In Adjustments by NOAA and NASA".
In section 6 Watts say: "...This means 89 percent – nearly 9 of 10 – of the stations surveyed produce unreliable data by NOAA's own definition."
In section 7 he concludes:
"The findings and recommendations of these highly respected and influential scientific and political organizations are now in doubt." and "Users of the current USHCN data should be advised of the quality-control issues so that they may reexamine results derived from such data."
Those data are still used used by alarmists, notably the IPCC. It was also used to support "Hockey stick" graph.
For history of satellite measuring and data corrections up to 2009 see [3] subsection 3.5.

I fail to see Pros sources back his position on that sun spot cycles being constant. BTW second source ("data from thermometers") see CA3. [8] claims 0.1% increase in sun energy output, but also: Lower sun magnetic strength (-> less sunspots and) -> Less solar wind -> More cosmic rays -> More low-level cloud formation -> cooling. See also Svensmark hypothesis and falsification tests [12].
NASA actually acknowledges solar cycle being responsible for past warming [12] to some extent.

Oh come on... so the IPCC CO2 model predictions are flawless, but the instrumental measurements that does not match are wrong? See [3] page 107, Fig. 3.4.2 (IPCC-AR4 2007, p. 675) and Fig 3.4.3 (CCSP 2006, p.116). Natural sciences unlike social sciences or mathematics cannot rely just on a priori axioms (see austrian economics epistemology ^_^).

I don't understand how Pro mean to convince us of CO2 being the leader in the cycle with his extremely low resolution graph that is obviously not raw data but a significant simplification. See abstract [14] (unless you want to pay for full paper). CO2 lags behind temperature at least 200-800 years. For summary of other papers see [15].
I beg my opponent a pardon, my source [9] backs my claim: "As the sea temperature has increased, so has the carbon dioxide level. This reflects the normal solubility relationship between carbon dioxide and water. As the sea temperature increases, the oceans breathe out carbon dioxide into the atmosphere." This also support notion of temperature being leader in the cycle.
Perhaps Pro should pay more attention to sources, it would save us misunderstandings.

Pro shows graph that mostly consists of computer models. Direct measurements cover less that last 200 years and are dealt with in CA3. I made explicit citation of figures in [3] and I again make emphasis on figures 3.2.5 and 3.2.4. It shows how many studies say MWP was warmer then today (and how many say MWP was cooler) and how much respectively. I again beg Pro not to ignore my sources. At least not direct citations of figures.

I accept CO2 is minor GH gas, I just argue its significance. I don't have space to describe fully the phenomena, but [16] very nicely describes the science behind hyperbolic relation between CO2 and GH gas forcing. Note: Fig.5 blue line is generous assumption that CO2 and H2O vapor are equally strong GH gases, which is not the cause [1b] Fig. 18.
But there are some direct negative feedbacks on temperature caused by higher CO2 levels – notably higher use of NO2 and emision of carbonyl sulfate by plants [3] chapter 2 sections 2.2, 2.5.

See [1b] Figs. 1, 3, 11 and 13 (especially 13 as it covers major phenomena during industrialization).

Pro merely miss a point again. I just say there are minor positive and major negative feedbacks (to internal and external natural warming forcings) taking place in earth's climatic fluctuation. It means "natural climatic fluctuation happens and is moderated by negative feedback effects". If positive feedbacks had the potential to create warming apocalypse, it would have happened several times, yet it always cooled again despite high CO2 levels (see CA6, CO2 lags behind temperature).

For weakening CO2 sinks see [16] Carbon Dioxide Levels: "..the carbon dioxide buffers are in dynamic equilibrium with atmospheric carbon dioxide and are not in any danger of being saturated..." and as far as flora is concerned, see [3] chapter 7 at least in summary "Key findings by chapter". Plants are clearly not saturated.

I am seriously out of space now and I cannot cover every issue in more detail with my words so I ask my opponent to actually look into presented sources. Pro's comments regarding my conduct and sources are hypocritical and unjustified rhetoric.

[11] Watts (2009):
[12] Svensmark hypothesis:
[13] Dailytech cites NASA:
[14] Timing of Atmospheric CO2...:
[15] Co2 cause or effect?:
[16] Facts on Global Warming:
Debate Round No. 2


Thanks for the response, Con.

== Counter Arguments ==

CA1 - Scientific Consensus)

Con, once again, lists limited examples of dissenting scientists, which is ultimately meaningless. I could list hundreds of scientists whom reject the theory of evolution, but that doesn't change the fact that there is an overwhelming consensus on the matter. 82% of all Earth scientists accept AGW, which Con has not accounted for. Also, I never claimed that Meteorologists and other skeptics are "black sheep" or simple-minded. Instead, I pointed out that Meteorology is a field that studies local and short-term phenomena, which may be ill-suited for climate research.

CA2 - Past Warming Trends)

Past warming trends are important, but Con is ignoring important data sets. I linked a number of independent and governmental studies that largely arbitrate the Hockey Stick figure, but Con decides to ignore such evidence and refer back to the limited study poised in his embedded video. By limiting his data collections, Con is limiting his ability to arrive at an honest conclusion. I'll link the studies again:

Con also demands evidence that natural phenomena cannot be responsible for the current warming anomaly, which is supposedly happening at a normal rate. But once again, this ignores the importance of carbon sinks, which have absorbed vast amounts of CO2, essentially slowing the rate of warming. Moreover, the little ice ages did not have near the amount of CO2 that is currently present in Earth's atmosphere, which points away from that event being the cause behind *current* warming patterns.

CA3 - Temperature Bias)

NASA and other scientific organizations have already addressed the issue of temperature record bias, but Con has ignored the rebuttal. Yes, temperature records have been slightly affected by Urban Heat Islands, but when the data is adjusted for such changes, it largely produces the same outcome. In other words, the problem is rather meaningless, for the effects are statistically insignificant. Con needs to demonstrate otherwise, or this will remain a moot point.

Source relinked:

CA4 - Solar Cycles)

The source, which I'll link again, shows that solar cycles have not changed over the last century or so. This does not match up with Earth's rising temperatures, and even if NASA says solar cycles have a slight effect, the results are marginal. This natural phenomenon cannot be responsible for such rapid Global Warming, which leaves human activities as the only viable culprit. Con has not addressed this matter; he keeps reposting the same arguments that have already been refuted.

CA5 - Greenhouse Fingerprint)

Nobody is claiming that CO2 models and records are flawless, but that they are reliable. However, Con is attempting to make the God Of The Gaps argument: Scientists don't understand why there aren't any heat signatures where they should be, so that must mean AGW is false. Contrarily, the more scientific attitude would be to wait for more evidence before jumping to conclusions. However, what scientists DO know is that the Stratosphere is cooling, which is perfectly indicative of the Greenhouse Effect, so if anything, these two combined results remain inconclusive.

CA6 - CO2/Temperature Relationship)

Con is actually correct; CO2 lagged behind temperatures throughout the last few ice ages (last 400K years). However, Con is misapplying these observations to current warming trends. During these ice ages, changes in Earth's orbit and axis forced slight warming, and as a result, oceans gave up more CO2, which ended up being the driving factor behind deglaciation. The process can work in either order, but CURRENT warming trends show CO2 levels rising BEFORE temperatures, which will only be amplified by the weakening of oceanic carbon solubility.

In essence, CO2 is the driving factor behind Global Warming; rises in CO2 can spur natural warming events, but so can the direct release engaged by the burning of fossil fuels. The key is that right now CO2 levels are preceding surface temperatures, which implicate human activities.

CA7 - MWP)

Con's source asserts that the temperatures were higher 1,000 years ago, but it does not provide the evidence to substantiate the claim. His [3] source also refers to the Urban Heat Island Effect, among other statistical factors that have already been addressed and accounted for. Ultimately, most results of warming patterns taking place over the last millennium conclude the same outcome, all being from different sources. The conclusion is that Earth is at its warmest point right now, and the MWP is largely a myth:

== Con's Refutations ==

CR1 -- Greenhouse Effect)

So, Con accepts that the Greenhouse Effect is enabled by CO2, but he does not feel that it is significant. Again, his reasoning relies on the effects of clouds, yet he hasn't addressed my arguments, which is that clouds are largely neutral feedbacks -- not negative feedbacks. Moreover, Con's source mainly abides in the assumption that negative feedbacks will counteract warming, but it does not sufficiently describe how and why CO2 is, in itself, insignificant. The argument is unsubstantiated.

CR2 - Fossil Fuels)

Con needs to elaborate on his arguments rather than just post sources. I pointed out that recent warming explosions coincide with the CO2 explosion initiated during the Industrial Revolution -- a phenomenon that Con has glossed over again, disregarding its importance.

CR3&4 - Feedbacks)

Con claims that negative feedbacks regulate Earth's climate, otherwise a warming apocalypse might happen. What isn't realized is that these warming explosions have happened, and they were ignited mainly be positive feedback amplifiers, such as CO2. In fact, the past glaciation periods were slightly triggered by Earth's orbit, and as surface temperatures rose, oceanic CO2 exploded, which took over the warming process. If such powerful negative feedbacks were in place, these vast fluctuations wouldn't exist. The point is that Earth's temperatures will only get warmer as positive feedbacks are triggered by human activities, and they won't be significantly slowed by clouds or anything like that.

== Conclusion ==

Con has failed to break the scientific consensus, he has not accounted for the effects of fossil fuels, and his arguments that blame natural causes have been thoroughly dissected by the science community. Solar cycles have remained constant, and feedback loops are not going to keep Earth's climate in check. The reality is that human actions are accelerating Global Warming, and Earth's temperatures have already rocketed to historic highs. With CO2 levels being the highest in hundreds of thousands of years, and continuing to rise, the current warming trend will only continue at an increased pace. Con has not adequately addressed this issue in detail; he has only listed sources while giving vague explanations, which don't stand up to scientific scrutiny.

I again thank Con for this debate, and wish him good luck with his next response.


CR4) NASA actually acknowledges solar cycle being responsible for past warming [12] …
- it meant to point at source [13], I am sorry for typo.

As presented relevant sources to describe climate phenomena in my previous posts, its is now time to summarize data and claims presented by both me and my opponent.
Like before, I will cite previous sources with numbering used in previous rounds and any new sources will start wit number 17.


There is no controversy between PRO and CON about CO2 being a greenhouse gas, but its significance towards AGW is being disputed. CON cited sources explaining why CO2 is not being significant and that under very generous assumptions (eg. CO2 is as strong GH gas as H2O, CO2 caused all warming between 1900 to 2000 [NOAA being cited as source of data] ) [16] show that if we doubled CO2 concentration, the upper limit of temperature increase is 1.39 �C. This includes all positive and negative feedbacks since the hyperbola is a best fit of empirical data provided by NOAA (data that my opponent defends).
This rules out any kind of "Hockey stick" graph caused by CO2. Lots of Mann's assumptions are refuted in [16] too, notably that CO2 is responsible for 26% of total GH forcing, which is roughly around 5% as is supported by numerous sources cited by CON and explanation in [16].
PRO fails to provide reliable quantitative estimation of CO2 GH forcing that would refute my sources aside of correlation of temperature rise and industrialization. But that notion is supported only by hypothesis that natural phenomena couldn't cause that which brings us to next point...

Both PRO and CON agree natural phenomena caused cyclic climate change in the past. Question being discussed is whether this could significantly influence climate change since start of industrial age. Figures I cited in CR2 covers correlation of several natural phenomena with increase of global temperature from 1800 to 2000 and it is important to note, that increase in CO2 output do not correlate with temperature increase nor with glacier shortening ratio. It also shows perfect correlation between sun activity and arctic air temperature.
PRO try to deny this fact claiming that solar activity was constant for recent century. He supported his very strong claim by single source in CA4 (the second is just temperature data) which contains NO such a claim! After being ask to show how his source supports his claim, he merely re-posted a link without quotation and blamed me for repeating myself (sic!), not addressing the matter (sic!) saying I have been refuted (sic!). I have read my opponent's re-posted source two times very carefully and found no explicit nor implicit information supporting PRO's claim! So I must conclude that PRO merely misinterprets the only figure there in very alarming way. On this basis he wants refute serious scientific papers!!!
Since this problem is central to whole debate I will provide even more sources. Namely [17]: "Extending this correlation to the present suggests that solar forcing may have contributed about half of the observed 0.55�C surface warming since 1900 and one-third of the warming since 1970", [18] say: " ...annual solar irradiance variability accounts for 74% of North Hemisphere temperature anomalies from 1610 to 1800 and for 56% of variance from 1800 to present." and [19] say: "In discordance with the greenhouse effect, we believe that sunspots are the major contributor to short term climate change associated with global warming." and "Solar research quickly led to the discovery of sunspot data, which was strikingly convincing. Not only did it match historical climate data, but also coincided with human advancements/achievements throughout history. For instance, Columbus' explorations occurred when aurora numbers were high, indicating sunspot occurrence, and ultimately warmer weather. Other historical events such as the Renaissance and the Viking colonization showed close relationship with climate change, as a result of sunspots. Finally, the Irish Famine of the 1800's occurred when no auroras were present, causing colder weather and the failure of crops. In addition, sunspots have proven to have a drastic effect on the climate of Earth through the heating of our atmosphere. Sunspots are known to contribute to the formation of volcanoes, which in turn determines the composition of our atmosphere, and ultimately our climate. From this data, we can confidently state that the solar cycle of sunspots closely relates to historical climate change throughout history."
Note that [17] and [18] do only deal with irradiance and Svensmark hypothesis [12] is not accounted for. Also see that my source [3] cites original scientific papers of both "sides" of debate and reviews whole scientific debate, so everyone can check it.


C1) "Hockey stick" graph is defended by PRO on bases of computer models of few scientists and denial of MWP. He thinks that it beats "more than 200 peer-reviewed research papers produced by more than 660 individual scientists working in 385 separate institutions from 40 different countries that comment on the MWP" [3] page 69.

C2) PRO says he rebutted my claim of UHI temperature bias in CA3 and merely re-post his source again. So lets examine the source that was posted in 2006. The author (if you click at his name) describes himself as: "Former musician, turned tree planter, turned software engineer." and source where he points at NASA GISS analysis show only that some steps were taken to deal with it. The author however cannot evaluate whether the adjustments were sufficient. My source is study released in 2009 that takes NASA adjustments up to that time into account and finds that adjustments are inadequate. Therefore it was PRO's source that was rebutted, not mine.

C3) In CA5 PRO claims it doesn't matter IPCC was wrong. But how can he blame CO2 on basis of models that are wrong about how CO2 warms atmosphere?

This area is to a large extent unknown. Many papers are being released recently discovering both positive and negative feedbacks. Some of recent papers finds strong positive feedback of water vapor like [20], which is being criticized by [21], some finds prevalent negative feedback [22]: "Water vapor feedback in climate models is positive mainly because of their roughly constant relative humidity (i.e., increasing q) in the mid-to-upper troposphere as the planet warms. Negative trends in q as found in the NCEP data would imply that long-term water vapor feedback is negative—that it would reduce rather than amplify the response of the climate system to external forcing".
Note these feedbacks are related to temperature, not CO2 so PRO must defend his hypothesis that CO2 significantly causes temperature increase to even start this argument.

C5) Carbon sinks
Ocean takes less CO2 because temperature increase (solubility), not because its full. If CO2 pressure rise solubility rise. If CO2 doubles plants grow much faster (= photosyntetize more CO2). See the sources I cited because I am out of space.

PRO's lack of attention to sources is alarming as we see and he blames me for his own misconduct.

[17] J Lean 1998:
[18] J Lean 1995:
[19] Orbital Forcing:
[20] Dessler 2008:
[21] Spencer 2009:
[22] Paltrige 2008:
Debate Round No. 3


Con has changed the format, so I'll be addressing his arguments in a different order and style. Also, thanks again for the reply, Con.

== The Significance of CO2 ==

Con puts forth two main contentions in this argument: CO2 is not the main underlying cause behind recent warming trends, and the Hockey Stick graph is invalid, thus temperatures were warmer 1,000 years ago than they are now. Because studies can be traded back and forth all day long, I'm going to refer mainly to the scientific consensus, which is an argument that Con completely dropped.

First of all, the Hockey Stick graph has been a subject of controversy, but all in all, the scientific consensus and subsequent build-up of data has only bolstered the figure. Shortly after Mann published the paper in 1998, it fell under harsh criticism, which then initiated a large-scale review. Using various statistical techniques and proxy records, twelve data reconstructions were created -- all of which provided results that broadly matched the Hockey Stick. And more recently, independent studies are continuing to support Mann's paper, which essentially proves that the last couple decades were the hottest in the last millennium.

Secondly, Con rejects the notion that CO2 has been the determinant factor behind recent warming trends. He claims that doubling Earth's CO2 levels will only lead to a rise of 1.39C, which is supposedly supported by the NOAA. Well actually, the NOAA predicts that temperatures would rise up to 5C. And, the average estimate within the scientific community is 3C, which is to be expected when incorporating all of the feedbacks. Water vapor and ice depletion initiates amplified warming effects, while clouds tend to be neutral, so the rate of warming is likely to speed up as temperatures continue to rise, which means CO2 is very significant. Con's assertions are not backed up by consensus nor the NOAA.

== Natural Causes of Global Warming ==

Solar cycles have indeed influenced past warming/cooling patterns, notably being the cause of the Little Ice Age during the 17th century. However, when viewing the data charts and scientific conclusions reached, these sunspot variations cannot be the cause of the rapid warming explosion that's currently being observed. Con claims that solar radiation is responsible for over 50% of temperature increases since 1800, but Climatologists at NASA contend that solar radiation has only slightly increased, which has accounted for around 25% of Global Warming since the Industrial Revolution. And because satellite data demonstrate that solar radiation has declined over the last few decades, NASA places most of the blame on human activities and CO2.

1750 - present:
NASA review:
Solar decline:

On another note, Con admits that solar activity is not behind all of this warming trend, which means that feedbacks would have to play a role. However, Con asserts that positive feedbacks are not prevalent enough to amplify warming, and that negative feedbacks keep Earth's climate in check. But if this is the case, then what constitutes the other 50% of Earth's climatic changes since 1800? Essentially, Con's position is untenable according to even his own evidence. The fact of the matter is that solar radiation isn't responsible for rising surface temperatures; the Industrial Revolution and CO2 is.

== Consensus and Hockey Stick ==

Again, Con attempts to list a bunch of scientists and peer-reviewed papers in order to formulate a consensus that discredits the Hockey Stick graph, but as I already pointed out, 82% of all Earth scientists feel that Global Warming is mainly caused by human activities. Con dropped this argument, so he does not get to use a made-up consensus to dismiss the Hockey Stick graph.

== Urban Heat Island Effect ==

Con not only violated the rule stating that sources of information cannot be attacked, but he referred back to the same argument without addressing NASA's solution to the issue, which is to adjust the data accordingly. Urban Heat Island effects are homogenized with other data retrieved from oceans and rural areas, but Con's source claims that isn't good enough. Well, urban and rural heat records trend in exactly the same manner as each other, which means the effects are practically non-existent. Basically, this is a non-issue that has been blown out of proportion, and it does not provide an alternative cause for Global Warming.

== Greenhouse Fingerprint ==

Con is making the same mistake that Creationists do. There is much debate as to HOW Evolution and man-made Global Warming occur, but not much debate as to IF the two occur. And yes, it is odd that the climate models were mistaken, but that does not invalidate all of the science racked up over the years. Moreover, Con hasn't addressed why the Stratosphere is cooling while the Troposphere is warming, which is indicative of a Greenhouse Effect, so...

== Water Vapor Feedback ==

Here, Con assumes that because water vapor is a integral regulator of Earth's climate, CO2 cannot have any substantial effects, which is incredibly erroneous. Water vapor levels are largely independent of human actions, which means that the current temperature anomalies must be *caused* by something else. It's been established that solar radiation and other natural phenomena are not responsible, so that leaves anthropogenic carbon emissions. The release of CO2 initiates the Greenhouse Effect, and water vapor feedbacks come into play AFTER temperatures rise. So, even if water vapor ended up being the driving force behind Global Warming, increases in CO2 were chiefly at fault for beginning that process, which is very significant.

And for the record, water vapor acts as a *positive* feedback:

== Carbon Sinks ==

Con is essentially describing the same effect, just with a different process. In the end, it doesn't matter, for if CO2 emissions force rises in temperature, then oceanic carbon solubility falls, thus the process accelerates itself. So, no matter the cause, the end result is the same -- a problematic scenario sparked by humanity.

== Summary ==

Overall, natural events can only account for a small portion of recent temperature increases, which are currently the hottest on record in over a thousand years. These rises coincide with the Industrial Revolution, which is adequately described by the Greenhouse Effect that's driven by CO2 emissions -- attributable to human actions. Also, warming patterns are expected to accelerate due to positive feedback amplifiers, which will make future temperatures skyrocket to historic highs. All of this is tied to the *reality* of Anthropogenic Global Warming -- the resolution has been proven.

== Conclusion ==

Con dropped numerous arguments, especially in his 3rd round. Most notably, Con failed to address the scientific consensus and the temperature correlation with fossil fuel usage. There are also sub-points that were glossed over, such as the way that NASA deals with the Urban Heat Island Effect, the steady solar cycle, etc. Con also tried to let his sources speak for him, but he must elaborate on the specific arguments he wants addressed when considering the sizable information within his sources.

Anyway, thanks to Con for an awesome debate, and please vote pro!


In the first place I must defend my conduct against PRO's accusation of braking rules. In C2 I did not accuse author of PRO's source of being corrupted or funded by group of interest. In fact I assume he had the best intentions. I just pointed out that his opinion based on his source of „NASA analysis" cannot be considered a scientifically relevant evaluation of method (in 2006) that would refute (2009) evaluation by a team including scientists and especially statisticians. This is clearly not a break of rules!

==Catch 22==
When I try to cover all arguments with relevant facts from sources, PRO asks to elaborate in detail (which is in sources) despite my lack of space. If I elaborate in detail, PRO say I dropped some arguments. On top of that he makes me waste more of my precious space as he ignores my sources and misinterprets my arguments and forces me to clarify things over and over again.

PRO's reliance on "scientific consensus", and generally bad conduct towards sources on both sides will not pay off. If he just accepted minor defeat, he would have saved at least some ground. But his contempt towards "dissenting scientists" made me want to deliver some funny "slap in the face" to his argument and it made me look for more information once again. What I found is a Coup de Grace to his consensus argument which is a cornerstone in his crumbling defense.
[23] describes how the 97% consensus was created. When I wrote: "Consensus can be easily crafted by selection of sources...", I didn't even imagined to what extent. [23] say that the study on which the consensus is based asked 10257 scientists, 3146 bothered to reply and 79 were chosen to create 97% "consensus". So out of 3146 scientist, we are sure that 2.38% surely accept AGW and out 10257 scientists asked its 0.73%. Funny when you compare it to 31487 scientists just from USA who signed petition against GW alarmism.
But what about the institutions like IPCC, NASA, NOAA..? Well, [24] sums quotations of (sometimes former) IPCC members, NASA scientists and NOAA scientists as well as some other eminent scientists:

"First off, there isn't a consensus among scientists. Don't let anybody tell you there is."
Dr. CharlesWax, past president of the American Association of State Climatologists.

"It is a blatant lie put forth in the media that makes it"seem there is only a fringe of scientists who don't buy into anthropogenic global warming."
Atmospheric Scientist Stanley B. Goldenberg, NOAA.

DR. PATRICK J.MICHAELS, UN IPCC expert reviewer, former Virginia State Climatologist, and
University of Virginia professor of environmental sciences.
"I resigned as Virginia state climatologist because I was told that I could not speak in public on my area of expertise, global warming, as state climatologist.... It was impossible to maintain academic freedom with this speech restriction."

Hungarian scientist, DR. FERENC MISKOLCZI, an atmospheric physicist with NASA. Dr. Miskolczi resigned his post over the agency's lack of scientific freedom.
"My idea of the freedom of science cannot coexist with the recent NASA practice of handling new climate change related scientific results."
"Runaway greenhouse theories contradict energy balance equations."

UN IPCC Japanese Scientist DR. KIMINORI ITOH, award-winning environmental physical
"The worst scientific scandal in the history…. When people come to know what the
truth is, they will feel deceived by science and scientists."

See the source for many, many more.

NOTE THAT I DO NOT ACCUSE IPCC, NASA OR NOAA OF BEING CORRUPT, just showing that not all scientist in those institutions agree with official statement and that many can't express their opinion freely. Moreover, I don't intend to use this to discredit claims by these institutions (aside of consensus).

Call me a sadist, but I have not finished with PRO's claims yet. Lets have fun.

I never claimed that doubling CO2 will lead to 1.39 �C but that it is a maximum under extremely generous assumptions. I never claimed NOAA supports this conclusion, but that it was independent study based on NOAA's data.

As alarmists will never stop their necromancy in summoning the mighty undead "Hockey stick" and PRO sees no point in "trading studies back and forth all the day" no matter what professional statisticians and numerous scientists all over the world say, I will add just this: PRO must then assume, that those poor Vikings who arrived to Greenland during MWP must have been so frozen to the bone, that they had hallucinations seeing green fertile land where were just barren plains of ice.

Where PRO tries to hide behind fact that solar irradiance alone couldn't cause whole 0.5 �C increase in mean global temperature, he again totally ignores Svensmark hypothesis.

Creationist analogy is a huge backfire to PRO. We don't know or don't want to know what caused recent natural warming (created life on earth) so we believe it must have been the all-mighty CO2 (the God).

PRO gives us a source of claim of water vapor positive feedback. It cites Andy Dassler, which is source I provided and showed that it was refuted by Roy W. Spencer: "The other half of the feedback story which Dessler et al did not address is the reflected solar component."
We all know that clouds cool earth during day and warm it during night. Its just negative feedback to temperature changes up and down to put it simply.

When it comes to "carbon sinks" PRO again fails to see the implications of different processes and to check the source. The whole bogus around "sinks" is just that IPCC assumed the life cycle of CO2 in atmosphere is 10 times the amount of what geologists say [16]. When they found out that all the CO2 increase they predicted is gone, they assumed it must have all gone into ocean and came with bright idea that ocean is somewhat full of CO2 just now and it changes everything. WOW.
Well, the ocean captured and released CO2 all the history. Lately solubility was decreased VERY slightly by rising temperature and increased due to increasing pressure of CO2 simultaneously. No drama...

PRO fails when working with sources. He fails to conclude implications made by arguments. Sometimes it looks like he is rather debating his illusion of skeptics then me. When he claims he defended his arguments he reminds me of Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf, Iraqi Minister of Information during the siege of Baghdad. Unfortunately for him, this simply didn't work.

I don't intend to suggest voters what the should vote for. Instead I will recommend to look at the sources. I found there a lot of interesting information.

I will finish with quote from one of few top political dissenters on the side of skeptical science, Czech president Vaclav Klaus:

"Global warming is a myth and I think that every serious person and scientist says so. It is unfair to refer to the United Nations panel. IPCC is not a scientific body: it's a political institution, a kind of non-government organization with green flavor."

Despite my harsh criticism I praise the effort PRO put into this debate and I thank him for his time. I had fun and I hope he too.

[23] Climate „consesus" opiate:
[24] UN scientists speak out...:

I used names of novels of Alan Jackobson, Joseph Heller, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Aldous Huxley Janet Evanovich and Philip McCutchan to add a little bit of fun and drama.
Debate Round No. 4
41 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Silver_Falcon 7 years ago
Add 1)* The major absorbtion and transformation of rays to heat is on nontransparent objects namely he earth surface of course. However in outdoors the surface and microclima is cooled by flowing air.
Posted by Silver_Falcon 7 years ago
To clear a few misconceptions:
1) Greenhouses does not work on window absorbtion principle (that would just heat the windows), but on principle of preventing convective cooling of the air inside.
2) CO2 absorbs some rays at specific IR wavelength (see absorbtion spectra). This is not that huge effect, otherwise, there would be to CO2 heating "fingerprint" in atmosphere I quoted in debate (that was predicted by some models, but not found).

Verity: Yes, for example Al Gore made lot of money on AGW.
However I heard, his CO2 Stock Exchange crashed after Climategate scandal.
Posted by Verity 7 years ago
I doubt that global warming is happening to such a extent. In Canada this year was one of the coldest many have experience.
One point to be made it that humans judge way too highly of our capabilities. The world is an amazing place, it is not just a place where one creature could easily destroy.
This global warming issue came from and was the loudest in America, now why is that? because it benefits their world standing. This "Global Warming" is made up to stop other developing countries to go that fast.
Posted by Sieben 7 years ago
According to science! So there are some studies that say there is global warming, and some that don't. They all admit to error and simplifying assumptions. So what?
Posted by TheAtheistAllegiance 7 years ago
Sieben, you proposed how the conclusion *could* be wrong. There has been some pretty extensive studies done on the effects of clouds and obviously CO2. They both have different pulls on temperature, but both also *mostly* pull temperatures up. This is why Global Warming is happening.
Posted by Sieben 7 years ago
So it all comes down to - "I don't know science but look at the evidence which we can only evaluate using science". And if I bring up a scientific reason why you're wrong, you'll just say "its not significant its only 0.5 degrees because of science which I don't know just look at the evidence". Good job.
Posted by TheAtheistAllegiance 7 years ago
It's called trolling Sieben, look it up.

Also, NASA isn't in on par with you, obviously. But sure, there are some negative feedbacks with clouds, CO2, etc -- but the overall outcome leads to higher temperatures. Yeah, an increased volume of atmosphere and sun blockage might cool the Earth by .5 degrees, but that doesn't really matter if the corresponding Greenhouse Effect is warming it 1.5 degrees, which leads to an overall increase of 1 degree.
Posted by Sieben 7 years ago
TAA seriously

You write: A window can't even contain sunlight so there's no way some weird gas is going to be able to.
You can see that the absorption coefficient of glass is nonzero Hint: this is how greenhouses work.

You can also see that this applies to gasses too.

The real issue here is that increasing CO2 pulls the atmosphere in many different directions with respect to climate change. On the one hand, if CO2 traps some sunlight, it also blocks some sunlight (unless CO2 is a one way blocker, and a trilliontrillion molecules are indefinitely oriented together). Furthermore, it also increases the mass of the atmosphere, raising the amount of energy needed to heat it up. So even if more energy were trapped in earth, it wouldn't necessarily lead to higher temperatures. The increased mass - i.e. surface area of the atmosphere would also lend itself to a more rapid energy exchange with the sun/space...

So there's 3 reasons why you can't know the effects of CO2 just by saying "lolgreenhouse".
Posted by Verity 7 years ago
So you are saying that the green house effect is not happening. I compeletly agree. Because many data shows that even with the increasing carbon dioxide and other gases in the atmosphere, the temperature is not
Posted by TheAtheistAllegiance 7 years ago
It doesn't. Sunlight is completely transparent, as you can move your hands and stuff right through it. This is how and why sunlight goes straight through the Earth and everything else. A window can't even contain sunlight, so there's no way some weird gas is going to be able to.
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Reasons for voting decision: Con had better, more organized sources. Pro failed to refute many of Con's points, and his main point, that CO2 caused warming, was refuted multiple times, leaving him with no valid arguments.
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