The Instigator
Pro (for)
0 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
21 Points

Global Warming is not significantly affected by human activity

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/31/2014 Category: Science
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,267 times Debate No: 59797
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (6)
Votes (5)




I will be arguing that global warming is not significantly impacted by human activity, and my opponent will be arguing that humans are the cause/have a big effect on global warming. Please begin your argument.


Resolved: That Global Warming is not significantly affected by humans

I thank the opponent for the debate challenge. As the opponent has not defined any terms, the definition of the terms shall go as follows:

Global Warming: Noun

The unequivocal rise of the global average temperature; also attributed to the unpredictable climate in the world. [1]

Significantly: Adverb

In a sufficiently great or important way as to be worthy of attention. [2]

Humans: Noun

Mankind, homo-sapiens,

Affected: Adjective

Influenced or touched by an external factor. [2]

Since this debate resolution is a normative resolution, the Burden of Proof is shared. For the opponent to win, he has to prove that humans have almost no responsibility in causing global warming.

With this said, the introduction and the proof that global warming exists shall be shared first, as this debate cannot go on with the assumption that it exists, as assumptions are inherently detrimental.

Axiom One: Global Warming Necessarily Exists

Global warming is no longer a possibility, but it is indeed a necessity. There has been an increase of 0.8 degrees Celsius in the last 100 years, with 0.7 degrees Celsius of this increase happening in the last 30 years [3]. From 1880, the temperature of the world was recorded via NASA meteorological stations; this data proved vital in identifying a change in temperature. From 1980 upwards, one can see a very high increase in the mean temperature of the world; the running average of global temperature from 1980 has increased by almost 100%.

Fig A

This graph, compiled by NASA GISS from data provided by many sources, confirms that Global Warming necessarily exists, as can be seen via the sharp increase of the running average from 1980.

Global Warming exists; there is no doubt. Then what causes Global Warming? It is us, humans, that cause Global Warming.

Proposition One: Carbon Dioxide Release from Multiple Sources

Global warming has been allegedly caused by an excess of Co2 release from the ocean and multiple other sources. Accordingly in 2000, 29.5% of Co2 emissions came from power stations, 20.6% from Industrial Inputs/Outputs, 11.3% from residences and 9.1% from land use/biomass. [4] In 2008, 8.37 billion tons of Co2 was released from multiple of human based sources. However, one might object; “what’s wrong with the increase in release of Co2?”

A layer of greenhouse gases – primarily water vapor, and including much smaller amounts<br />
of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide – act as a thermal blanket for the Earth, absorbing heat and warming the surface to a life-supporting average of 59 degrees Fahrenheit (15 degrees Celsius).

Quite simply this; the sun emits ultraviolet radiation and light into the earth as energy. The earth absorbs and the re-emits some of this energy as infrared radiation back. However, greenhouse gases on the atmosphere absorb this temperature and releases it in arbitrary directions; henceforth, the earth is 33 degrees warmer than what it should have been, causing life to exist on this planet. However, this 33 degrees Celsius is the equilibrium; for it to go lower would be positive feedback, as the equilibrium could easily be restored in a short period of time, but for it to go higher would make this positive feedback and would threaten to turn our planet into a “Venus” like planet (not suitable for life). This positive feedback is more dangerous than the negative feedback, for it requires intense study of the origins of the causes. [5][6]

The causes of this release are the anthropocentric human lifestyle. To support our life, we humans have taken means to extract resources from mother nation in a Machiavellian manner. Humans are egoistic, hence the development of Capitalism and the government. From the following graph, we can see a correlation; from 1980, Co2 release sprouted and so did gas production.

If oil production is increasing, then clearly oil is also in demand; the burning of 4 liters of oil creates a shocking 8 kg of Co2. [7] 73 million kg of Co2 is henceforth released by the increase consumption of oil/diesel fuels; with these increases of Co2 emissions from fuel burning and usage alone, we can see that there is no reason to believe that humans are not causing this increase in Co2 emissions.

This graph also shows how the Industrial Revolution, in around 1840, has caused the dramatic rise of Co2 concentration. The Industrial Revolution was the basis of all industries; it revolutionized many industries and increased outputs via machinery. However, the Industrial Revolution had its basis on coal and electricity. Apart from natural gases, coal is also a huge factor in Co2 release. The usage of anthracite coal releases 920g of Co2 per kW/h, whilst the usage of lignite coal releases 990g of Co2 per kW/h. Coal is burnt for one reason only; to supply us with the electricity that runs this computer, this website, and this world. In South Africa, for example, 74% of all Co2 emissions is caused by coal burning; it would be doubtful that if humans were present, this figure would not be present. [8]

As stated via the first graph of this proposition’s defense, the correlation between oil production and Co2 released is further supported by the fact that burning fuels for human usage causes the increase in the release of Co2.

Proposition Two: Deforestation

This second proposition is based upon two fundamental premises.

1. Trees absorb Co2 and release oxygen

2. Forest Fires increases Co2 release

The first of these two premises is based upon the fact that trees absorb Co2 and release oxygen. This process is called photosynthesis; trees, for so long, have sustained our life through this process.

A single tree can absorb 21kg of Carbon Dioxide! That is enough to absorb the burning of 12 liters of oil! “Only if there were more trees” one would say. [9] The existence of trees means that excess Co2 could be processed and could possibly be eradicated in large amounts. However, deforestation has created a very sad and woeful dilemma for us; we are releasing more Co2 than eve, and yet we are cutting down the mechanisms that fate gave us to counter this Co2 release. It is estimated that 20% of all Co2 in the atmosphere right now would have been absorbed and would be non-existent if it weren’t for massive deforestation. [10]

The second of these premises are based upon the mere process of global warming; the warmer the temperature, the more likelihood of fires turning from small fires to huge fires. Forest fires are one of the most feared disasters in the world. Forest fires, apart from killing a plethora of citizens, can release as much Co2 as cars do. A study was released that demonstrates that in these United States of America, 290 million tones of Co2 was released due to forest fires, which is 4-6% of the entirety of Co2 released during that year. [11] Humans, due to their anthropocentric interests, have caused forest fires to appear more often due to the reckless burning of grass, wood, and other resources can cause forest fires. There is also a considerable amount of cases where forest fires started with someone carelessly dropping a cigarette on the forest grounds.

This evidence shows that humans are highly responsible for the creation of global warming; we are deferring how we absorb Co2 as well as releasing more of it. This is significant in such a manner that this issue cannot be ignored. Our planet will become Venus in the following years if this issued is not cared too.

The resolution is therefore negated.






[1] Wikipedia

[2] Oxford Dictionary






Debate Round No. 1


You have a good argument, and it is truly disgusting what humans are doing to this Earth, BUT they are not the cause of global warming, as I will argue.

My opponent spends most of his argument explaining the process of global warming, which I find unnecessary, but at least now all the voters know exactly what's going on.

Now, my opponent mentions the greenhouse gases (CO2 in this case) and that with humans, their concentration increases, therefore causing global warming. While humans do, in fact, increase the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere (as my opponent proved), this does not significantly impact the process of global warming.
(I request that the voters take a look at this as well)

These graphs clearly show that even hundreds of thousands of years ago, when humans were not pumping CO2 into the atmosphere, the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere and atmospheric temperatures regularly cycled. They peaked about every 100,000 years before dropping back to a minimum. This correlation shows that even without the effect of humans, global warming is a natural process that occurs about every 100,000 years before subsiding once again.

It is evident that humans do not significantly affect the process of global warming and it is only a big deal right now because we are reaching a peak (as shown on the graphs).

I await my opponent's response.


I would like to thank the opponent for his short response.

Now, in debunking the opponent’s case, we have to observe one thing; accordingly to the Industrial Revolution/Co2 release correlation graph, we can see that the Co2 release has gone outside the main tenants of the normal Co2 equilibrium, which accordingly is around (when effected by negative feedback) 200ppmv. However, we humans now have a ppmv-Co2 rate of 380ppmv, henceforth this may be an offspring, but very unlikely, of huge negative feedback, or it may be the beginning of huge positive feedback in the creation of a new Venus-like Equilibrium.

The opponent mentions the 100,000 years Ice Age Cycle phenomenon; henceforth, we are heading towards another “Ice Age” in the opponent’s view. Firstly, the world’s orbit-tilt, which causes the earth’s temperature to change (as well as volcanoes), are not acting as strong as they were during the last Ice Age. This means that the current Interglacial might be extended by 10,000 years. Apart from this, the plethora of Greenhouse Release, from Co2 and other gasses, outweigh the cooling capacity of the world. If they weren’t, then the world would have been experiencing a period of cool-down, perhaps a mini-Ice Age, from the 1950s. However, as seen, this has not been the case. [1]

Apart from this, the opponent’s graph seems to show that in each 100,000 year Ice Age cycles; there has been a natural release of Co2 that has caused a gradual change in temperature. However, scientists know about how this change of temperature came about already. Interglacial epochs were characterized by the balance of Co2 concentration in the air and the Co2 sink in the ocean. There have been occasional times of massive Co2 release rise from volcanic eruptions known as large igneous provinces. These large igneous provinces have been known to cause a sudden change in temperature; however, there are no large igneous provinces that are active. Apart from this, one must observe the fact that today’s volcano does not emit as much Co2 as humans.

In fact, accordingly to the USGS, annually humans generate 130 times more Co2 gas than volcanoes. The opponent is implying that there are natural causes for Co2 and other greenhouse gas release in the world; however, there is a plethora of evidence that suggests the contrary. This data has already been presented. Apart from this, correlation is not causation; because the current Co2 rates in the atmosphere correlates with those of ancient times (which it does not, as already stated), does not mean that this rapid release of Co2 has not been caused by humans.

The opponent must observe; there is a difference between gradual change and sudden change. Gradual change implies that the change is made clear gradually. Sudden change is built upon the common knowledge that this change is sudden and unexpected. If this were to have been gradual change, then we humans would have knew about this much later; however, that is not the case.

The opponent seems to argue that this change is normal for the earth; however, we must see that before 1750, Co2 was at a rate of 20ppm in the atmosphere; however, this Co2 rate rose rapidly from 1750, after the industrialization of human capital output capabilities. Now it is at 379ppm, an 18 times increase from the pre-1750 rate. Fossil fuel usage has released 7.2 gigaton of Co2 in 2000-2005. (gigaton-1 billion metric tons). One cannot simply argue that humans do not play a massive role; we are messing with the earth’s ability to absorb Co2 via deforestation, as well as adding 42% more Co2 into the earth’s atmosphere within the last 300 years.

Humans have, in a significant manner, effected the overall global temperature.



Debate Round No. 2


"I would like to thank the opponent for his short response."
My opponent points out that my response was significantly shorter in an attempt to make it seem weaker. Length of the response has nothing to do with the quality of it. It's not about the amount of words in your argument, it's about the amount of argument in your words. The main reason why my opponent had such a large argument is because he decided to explain the entire process of global warming, which was completely unnecessary.

In my opponent's second paragraph, he addresses the fact that we "should've" had an ice age, but we didn't. In this way, my opponent's attempts to debunk my claims. I do not see the point of the paragraph. It is evident from the graph that I provided that cool-downs and peaks do not occur on a perfect 100,000 year schedule, and there are variations, plus or minus 10,000-15,000 years. My opponent also says that "we are heading towards another Ice Age in the opponent's view". My argument never centered around Ice Ages. Yes, I believe we are heading towards an Ice Age that will only occur in several more millenniums, but that is not my argument. My argument is that global warming is a naturally occurring process which humans have little to no control over. My opponent must have the graph wrong, because the last ice age occurred less that 50,000 years ago. If so, how in the world was there supposed to be an ice age in the 1950s?

Next, my opponent addresses the CO2 concentrations and shows a little cloud diagram. Although humans pump tons of CO2 into the atmosphere, global temperatures are not changing proportionally. According to my opponent's diagram, volcanic CO2 emissions reach up to 319 million tonnes per year, while human-burned fossil fuels produce 29 billion tonnes a year. That means that humans put out at least 90 times more CO2 into the air than nature does. If we are the cause of global warming, then logically, global temperatures would increase by an enormous factor. But do they? The graph that I provided clearly shows that there has not been any earth-shattering increase in temperature as there should have been when humans are increasing the amount of CO2 from its natural levels by a factor of 90.

The rest of my opponent's argument is also different facts about how much CO2 humans are putting into the atmosphere. I will note that my opponent pays no attention to temperature itself, but only focuses on the changes in CO2 amounts. We are not arguing about CO2, we are arguing global warming, which is the change in temperature, not CO2 concentration. As I proved in the above paragraph, global temperature is not changing proportionally to the amount of CO2 increase, meaning that although there may be a correlation, it is not strong enough to base your entire argument on it.

It so happens that CO2 is not the number 1 greenhouse gas. Water vapor is. Water vapor accounts for up to 70% of the greenhouse effect. Water vapor is everywhere and when its amount increases, so does the global temperature. While CO2 also plays a role, it is minuscule compared to water vapor and humans have no effect on the amounts of water vapor in the atmosphere.

This debunks my opponent's entire argument.

Something else that I would like to note is that most/all the graphs my opponent uses are using information about the last 100-200 years. Of course, on those graphs the temperature is actively increasing with CO2 because of how "zoomed in" they are. If you look on a broader scale (the graph that I provided), it is obvious that CO2 levels cycle just like global temperature, and my opponent simply zoomed in on the peak, so it seems like it is forever increasing.

I will now recap my points and show that humans have little to no impact on global warming.

1. Even though CO2 concentrations have increased by a factor of 90, the temperature has not increased anywhere near that amount, suggesting that there is not such a strong relationship between CO2 and global temperatures. While CO2 does make a difference, the correlation and effect is not strong enough to make any conclusions and base entire arguments on it.

2. The cycle of global warming followed by ice age, followed by another global warming has been going on for hundreds of thousands of years, and we currently reaching the peak of temperature. Humans have little to no impact on this naturally occurring process.

3. CO2 is not the "biggest" greenhouse gas, water vapor is. Meaning that with an already weak correlation between CO2 and temperature, CO2's impact was just proven even smaller because it is not the only nor most effective greenhouse gas. Water vapor accounts for up to 70% of the greenhouse effect, meaning CO2 accounts for less than 30% of it (because there are many other greenhouse gases such as methane).

As a result of these three main points, I believe it is reasonable to conclude that humans have no significant impact on global temperatures.

Thank you for the good argument.


4R1NRC: On Ice Ages

The opponent misinterprets my argument. I have stated that hypothetically, if this were a natural cycle, then the natural cycle would have started the cooling process since 1950; however, this is not the case. Without human involvement, a decline in solar activity and increase surge of volcanic activity should have led to the decrease of earth’s temperature.

The causes of Ice Ages are not fully understood, but the scientific community has agreed on two fundamental facts; one is that greenhouse gases are causing an increase in temperature. This has in turn caused a huge melt in ice in the North and South poles; as stated, this ice loss, accordingly to the theoretical ice age predictions, should have been reversed. The second fundamental fact that the scientific community has agreed upon is that the dinosaur release of methane was at a correct level for the world to be at a warm environment, or at least an environment worth of life. However, this methane rates are at such low rates when compared to current rates that it would be almost impossible for us to reach an Ice Age in millenniums.

Theory in this case does not correlate with actuality; theory states that humans should be experiencing a decrease in temperature, and increase in Polar Ice Levels. We are experiencing the opposite of that. As the earth’s temperature has been increasing for the last 30 years, and the Polar Ice levels are decreasing, one must understand that this change is not natural. This change can be enacted only via humans, and humans alone caused this. One must understand that for one to reach an interglacial like ours, one would need to go back 430,000 years. Our interglacial interval, called the Holocene, has been in existence for 17,000 years, yet it is experiencing conditions of interglacial periods which have been in existence for 30,000 years. Without significant human involvement, this would have been impossible.

4R2NRC: On Co2 and its effects

Before we start dissecting this argument, note that the resolution here is “humans significantly affect global warming” not “humans are the cause of global warming” Although both propositions are true, and is not normally debated; the complete defense of the first proposition is enough for the opponent’s BoP to not be fulfilled. With this in mind, it can be said that Co2 causes a lot of global warming.

Fig One

Take this graph for example; this graph shows the amount of Co2 present in the atmosphere, when compared with other greenhouse gasses (excluding water vapor, which shall be touched upon in my next argument). The x-axis shows the radiance, or the amount of radiation that is emitted into the surface. As we can see, the radiance of Co2 is incredibly high in radiance when compared with Carbon Oxide and Dinitrogen Monoxide. Co2 can trap an incredibly high amount of heat and emit it in all directions, more so than many other greenhouse gasses.

With this said, the high increases in Co2 will cause an increase in temperature. Apart from this, the opponent seems to object the 100% increase in the running average of temperature. From 1882, the running average is at about -0.6 degrees Celsius. In the early 2000s, that figure is at 8 degrees Celsius; during the early 1980s, this figure skyrocketed. This is due to the increase consumption of fossil fuels and many other substances, like coal, which has created a huge impact on the temperature of the earth.

This graph demonstrates the sources of human Co2 in the world; albeit one may say that us adding 29 billion g/T to the Carbon Cycle does not affect the Carbon Cycle significantly, this previous proposition can be proven false as the Carbon Cycle is only designed to absorb certain amounts of Co2 and apart from that, humans are destroying the main apparatus of Co2 absorption, which is, naturally, trees!

The opponent here accuses me of talking purely about Co2, and not climate change. However, Co2 is the main cause of climate change, as proven by the above graph provided in this contention. Co2, as demonstrated in R1, is one of the most fatal gasses and could cause a huge increase of temperature. Henceforth, the increased in release of Co2 would have caused the huge increase in temperature that humans are experiencing in the last 30 years.

Apart from this, one cannot simply state that historically, there has been more Co2 lurking in the atmosphere, because currently we have the most atmospheric Co2 in 800,000 years. If this is not enough, then the opponent would be satisfied in knowing that humans also release an excessive quantity of methane; albeit methane does not linger as long as Co2, its short term effects on the environment are devastating. In a measure of effectiveness in terms of trapping heat, methane traps 120 times more heat than Co2. Methane causes 25% of the current global warming crisis.

The above pie graph shows the sources of methane; as one can see, only 29% of methane releases are from natural causes. Is this not enough evidence to show that humans effectively have a significant effect on global warming? (btw cow fart also release methane)

4R3NRC: On Water Vapor

Fig One shows us the radiance of several greenhouse gases excluding water vapor. Why is this? Because indeed, water vapor is the most evident greenhouse gas in the air, with twice as much concentration of water vapor in the air than Co2. Is water vapor the main cause of this crisis? Before we answer that question, two objections must be raised.

“It is better safe than sorry” is a classic statement of the old. It is very illogical; perhaps even a non-sequitur, to say that water vapor is the main cause of global warming, so we should release as much Co2 as possible. As stated and demonstrated, Co2 can cause huge climate change within the area of release.

Our second objection is this; if water vapor is the cause of global warming, then why are temperatures rapidly rising now? A slow increase can be understood, but a sudden increase cannot. For scientists have such an advanced knowledge that the study of geological structures (of rocks, fossils et all) can prove, quite accurately, the temperatures of the world at stages in history; with this knowledge, theoretical predictions about the earth should be satisfied. However, they are not. This cannot be because of nature, but because of anthropological causes.

With this stated, we must dissect this water vapor case. To assume that Co2 cannot have a significant effect on global warming is illogical; all greenhouse gasses cause global warming. If water vapor is the cause of global warming, then for one degrees Co2 causes to warm the planet, water vapor would cause another degree of this same temperature to rise. However, this is not the case, as Water Vapor causes one degrees Celsius of this warming, whilst Co2 causes three. Apart from this, although water vapor is the most powerful greenhouse gas, its lifetime is relatively short lived; unlike carbon, the earth’s atmosphere allows water vapor to return as substance form in the form of rain. This is done so due to the water cycle; however, the warming caused by Co2 also affects the water cycle, as the warmer the planet gets, the more water vapor is evaporated into the sky, causing a change in temperature and climate throughout the world.

In conclusion, Co2 release, methane release, failures in Ice Age prophecies and the increase in release of water vapor due to the increase in anthropogenic Co2 release causes global warming.

Because of these reasons, the resolution is negated.


All used from last round

Debate Round No. 3
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by Kc1999 7 years ago
Posted by debatability 7 years ago
i want to vote on this

if i forget, please PM me XD
Posted by TheRussian 7 years ago
haha, that's fine
Posted by Kc1999 7 years ago
sorry about the pics couldn't find ones with lower resos
Posted by TheRussian 7 years ago
What do you mean?
Posted by CountCheechula 7 years ago
Can this be an opinion debate not a resourceful one?
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by FuzzyCatPotato 7 years ago
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro had 1 refuted argument. Con had many unrefuted arguments.
Vote Placed by TruthHurts 7 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: One graph does not a case make, and Pro's entire premise was based upon a graph from an unclear source, which Con dismantled with numerous scientific analyses. Con also built a significant case in negation, none of which was sufficiently rebutted by Pro. Con also provided more reliable and relevant sources, which directly buttressed his arguments. Thus, this must be a Con ballot for arguments and sources.
Vote Placed by SPENCERJOYAGE14 7 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Arguments for Con because he successfully negated the resolution and built the better case.
Vote Placed by Splenic_Warrior 7 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: I award arguments to Con because he argued his case better; Pro spent little time constructing a positive case. I award sources to Con because he had more sources which directly supported his points.
Vote Placed by 9spaceking 7 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: con gives a lot of information, much more than pro, that all suggested human give off more to contribute to global warming than the nature does.

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