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

Mankind Is the Main Cause of Global Warming

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Voting Style: Open Point System: Select Winner
Started: 5/9/2016 Category: Science
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,090 times Debate No: 90832
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (9)
Votes (2)




You asked to accept this.

Full Resolution

I will be arguing that mankind is the main cause of global warming. We will not be debating whether global warming exists or not. It will be assumed that it does.

BoP is shared.


Mankind: "The human race; human beings collectively without reference to sex; humankind."[1]

Main: "Chief in size, extent, or importance; principal; leading;"[2]

Cause: "A person or thing that acts, happens, or exists in such a way that some specific thing happens as a result; the producer of an effect."[3]

Global Warming: The rise in the average temperature of Earth's atmosphere and oceans since the late 19th century, and its projected continuation.[4]


1. A forfeit or concession is not allowed.
2. No semantics or trolling.
3. All arguments must be visible inside this debate, and character limits must not be broken. Sources may be posted in an outside link.
4. Debate resolution, definitions, rules, and structure cannot be changed without asking in the comments before you post your round 1 argument. Debate resolution, definitions, rules, and structure cannot be changed in the middle of the debate.

Voters, in the case of the breaking of any of these rules by either debater, all seven points in voting should be given to the other person.

Debate Structure

Round 1: Acceptance
Round 2: Presenting all arguments (no rebuttals by con)
Round 3: Refutation of opponent's arguments
Round 4: Defending your arguments and conclusions (no new arguments)




I accept this debate and will be arguing against the resolution that mankind is the main cause of global warming. The main thrust of my argument will be thus: that although mankind may (or may not be) a contributor to global warming, he is by no means thee main cause of it.

I look forward to this debate.

Debate Round No. 1


I would like to thank Dann for accepting this debate.

CO2's Effect on Temperature

First, correlation. The climate data over the last 700,000 years or so show that temperature and CO2 track very close to each other. "...there is a close correlation between Antarctic temperature and atmospheric concentrations of CO2. The extension of the Vostok CO2 record shows that the main trends of CO2 are similar for each glacial cycle. Major transitions from the lowest to the highest values are associated with glacial-interglacial transitions. During these transitions, the atmospheric concentrations of CO2 rises from 180 to 280-300 ppmv. The extension of the Vostok CO2 record shows the present-day levels of CO2 are unprecedented during the past 420 kyr."[1]

This graph shows the CO2-temperature correlation over the last 650,000 years[2]:

CO2 can be the dominant forcing for the climate. Consider the Cenozoic era (the last 65 million years). Overall, solar activity increased 0.4% over this period. "Because Earth absorbs about 240 W/m^2 of solar energy, that brightness increase is a forcing of about 1 W/m^2. This small linear increase of forcing, by itself, would have caused a modest global warming through the Cenozoic Era." The CO2 levels caused a much higher forcing. "In contrast, atmospheric CO2 during the Cenozoic changed from at least 1000 ppm in the early Cenozoic to as small as 170 ppm during recent ice ages. The resulting climate forcing, as can be computed accurately for this CO2 range... exceeds 10 W/m^2. It is clear that CO2 was the dominant climate forcing in the Cenozoic."[3]

But then, there's also the matter of causation. CO2's effect on temperature can be explained by appealing to the carbon cycle. The Earth receives all of its energy from the sun. Some of this is reflected by the Earth's surface and by clouds and other particles present in the atmosphere. In addition, some of the built up energy in the Earth's surface can be emitted back into the atmosphere. Greenhouse gases like CO2, methane, and nitrous oxide trap some of this emitted heat by reflecting the radiation back to the surface. However, greater concentrations of greenhouse gases cause more of the energy that is being emitted from the surface to be reflected back to the surface. This causes more heat to build up, warming the planet.[4]

Now consider climate sensitivity. Climate sensitivity is the amount the temperature would rise if the CO2 concentration were doubled. Obviously, if there's a large climate sensitivity, then increases in CO2 have large effect. It is known that the climate sensitivity is around 1 degree C. However, this can be amplified through feedbacks. Positive ones amplify the sensitivity, while negative ones diminish the sensitivity. The evidence overwhelmingly comes down on the former, that positive feedbacks are happening. Increases in CO2 cause temperature increases, which are amplified by water vapor and the effect on clouds.

"Since the radiative effects associated with the buildup of water vapor to near-saturation levels and the subsequent condensation into clouds are far stronger than the equilibrium level of radiative forcing by the non-condensing GHGs, this results in large local fluctuations in temperature about the global equilibrium value."[5]

This can be shown in the below graph[5]:

Now back to the carbon cycle. Global warming can result in the death of vegetation (due to droughts) and the warming of the ocean. Both of these further reduce the maximum absorption of the Earths carbon cycle, thus resulting in even more CO2 being released into the atmosphere. And with this, CO2 increases even more. In other words, CO2-caused temperature increases are amplified by positive feedbacks and the mechanics of the carbon cycle.

So, the positive feedback amplifies the climate sensitivity. How much it is amplified can be determined through study. Using a Bayesian statistical approach, which is “the dominant [method] in the literature”, these findings support the notion of climate sensitivity as maximum 4 degrees C, a mean of 3 degrees C, and likely not lower than 3 degrees.[6]

The graph below gives a statistical analysis[7]:

The mean is around 3 degrees C.

The CO2 that humans emit thus has an effect of 3 degrees C per doubling of CO2. This can be shown by the fact that CO2 concentrations have increased from around 275 ppm to around 400 ppm. This is an increase of around 40%. This should manifest itself with a temperature increase of a little less than 1.5 degrees C. Indeed, temperatures have increased around this amount over the last 150 years. The anthropogenic-forcing climate models thus match observations.[8]

In other words, in addition to the direct evidence of how the Earth is warming, the climate models based on a greenhouse gas cause to global warming explain almost perfectly the recent global warming. This is a lot of evidence for a human case to the recent global warming.

Humans' Emission of CO2

It would be rather coincidental if the recent rise in global warming happened to start just around the time that humans started to emit large quantities of greenhouse gases. However, there is direct evidence as well, in addition to the already established correlation between temperature and CO2.

Now, it is known that CO2 levels are increasing. "In pre-industrial times over the last 10,000 years, CO2 was relatively stable at around 275 to 285 parts per million. Over the last 250 years, atmospheric CO2 levels have increased by about 100 parts per million." CO2 levels are increasing at a level not seen in at least 500,000 years, if not longer.[9]

Here is a graph showing CO2 concentrations over the last 10000 years[10][11]:

The evidence that this excess CO2 is the cause of the recent global warming is voluminous. One of the biggest indicators is the fact that less heat is escaping into space. Satellites measure less heat escaping out into space, particularly at the specific wavelengths that CO2 absorbs. In other words, the Earth is retaining a greater percentage of the heat that it receives from the sun than it did before. This excess heat manifests itself through global temperature increases. "If less heat is escaping to space, where is it going? Back to the Earth's surface. Surface measurements confirm this, observing more downward infrared radiation. A closer look at the downward radiation finds more heat returning at CO2 wavelengths, leading to the conclusion that '...this experimental data should effectively end the argument by skeptics that no experimental evidence exists for the connection between greenhouse gas increases in the atmosphere and global warming.'"[12][13][14]

Another piece of evidence is a comparison of warming in the troposphere and stratosphere. Because the CO2 is in the upper troposphere, the troposphere temperature would increase, while the stratospheric temperature would decrease, because there would be less heat reaching the stratosphere. "Computer model estimates of the ‘human influence’ fingerprint are broadly similar to the observed pattern. In sharp contrast, model simulations of internal and total natural variability cannot produce the same sustained, large-scale warming of the troposphere and cooling of the stratosphere."[12][15][16]

This graph shows this[15]:

Related to this is the fact that the tropopause, the boundary between the troposphere and stratosphere, is rising. This is because the temperature gradient between the top of the troposphere and the bottom of the stratosphere is greater, as just described above. This causes the warmer air from the troposphere to rise, pushing the troposphere up. "Observations indicate that the height of the tropopause - the boundary between the stratosphere and troposphere - has increased by several hundred meters since 1979."[12][17]

Another related piece of evidence to this is the cooling of the ionosphere. The ionosphere is the layer of the Earth's atmosphere where ionization takes place. It comprises the upper mesosphere, thermosphere, and lower exosphere. More precisely, it extends from 60 km to 1000 km above the surface. Studies indicate, "...moderate negative trends of about 2 to 3 K per decade at heights of 50 to 70 km... slightly larger cooling trends at heights of 70 to 80 km in the low and middle latitudes... essentially zero temperature trends between 80 and 100 km... at heights near 350 km, a negative trend of about –17 K per decade."[12][18]

Yet another piece of evidence is the frequency of cold days and nights. Because the sun only shines in the day time, if the sun was causing global warming, the days would warm faster than the nights, while if greenhouse gases were causing global warming, this wouldn't be observed. It is the latter's prediction that is observed. "What we observe is a decrease in cold nights greater than the decrease in cold days, and an increase in warm nights greater than the increase in warm days."[12][15][19]

This can be shown in the below graph[15]:

Overall, the evidence shows that human-emitted greenhouse gases are the main cause of global warming. CO2, in addition to other greenhouse gases like methane and nitrous oxide are being emitted by humans in very large amounts, and this is manifesting itself in an increase in the average global temperature.


Greenhouse gases cause global warming because of their heat trapping abilities. Humans have been emitting vast amounts of greenhouse gases over the last 150 years, and this shows itself on the CO2 measurements. The atmospheric warming pattern and greater heating at night are evidence that the recent global warming is caused by those human emitted greenhouse gases. These increases are amplified through the water vapor and cloud positive feedbacks and the positive feedback that arises through the climate cycle. The climate sensitivity ends up being around 3 degrees C. Finally, the CO2-temperature record shows that the two correlate with remarkable correlation.


Sources in comments.


I would like to call for a forfeit on Subutais part. It has come to my awareness that Subutai is simply cutting and pasting an argument he has used in many debates in the past. Subutai took his full allotment of time to post his argument, but it was not because he was formulating an argument. He simply pasted an oft-used argument verbatim from several of his previous debates.

I wanted to have a fair and fluid debate with original debate but I find myself instead with the option to argue an automaton. Move to have the debate nullified or my opponent forfeited.
Debate Round No. 2


Never in any of my debates, and, in fact, never in any debate I'd ever seen on DDO, has someone complained that one side copy-and-pasted their own arguments. I really don't see what the problem with me doing that is. Many people on DDO do this, and it is by no means a shunned act. And considering that copy-and-pasting your own arguments was not forbidden in the rules, which, I might add, you agreed to by accepting the debate, you don't have the authority to force this on me. You therefore can't ask voters to vote against me. In fact, by doing this, you yourself forfeit this debate, and all votes should be in my favor.

I'm honestly pissed that you think this is breaking the rules. I wanted a good debate on global warming, and all I got was an accusal of violating some BS rule. Don't accept any more of my debates.


It might not be against the rules per se, but it's certainly against good sporting spirit.

Perhaps you have had this debate at least one too many times.

Let the voters vote against me if they wish, but you should accept your rebuke for unsporting conduct.
Debate Round No. 3


You don't get to decide if self copy-and-pasted arguments are bad conduct, you don't get to control how other people should view my conduct, and you don't get to regulate how many debates I have on the same subject. It's downright silly that you think copy-and-pasting my own arguments into other debates is bad conduct. There's absolutely nothing wrong with it. Am I supposed to start from scratch every time I create another debate on a subject I've debated before? And I really don't see why you can't respond to my copy-and-pasted arguments. It's not like they hold any less water when I use them multiple times.

Seriously, get off your high horse. Also, don't accept any more of my debates, and don't pull this nonsense on anyone else you debate.


Your tactic here is simply in bad taste. Debates are supposed to pull forward original thought. You have merely carbon copied an argument you have used multiple times before. And why do you keep emphasising that it is "your own" argument? I never so much as suggested otherwise, although your pressing of the point leads me to wonder whether it isn't just yourself you have been plagiarising...

Accept your rebuke. This is supremely unsporting. I suggest you never conduct yourself in this manner again.
Debate Round No. 4
9 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Posted by Subutai 2 years ago
Now you're accusing me of plagiarism? You just can't stop can you? The emphasis was there because there's absolutely nothing wrong with a person reusing their own arguments. You didn't answer this question, but do you honestly expect me to create totally new arguments when I formulated a perfectly good argument earlier? And I'm going to continue doing this because there's nothing wrong with it, regardless of what you say.
Posted by Dann 2 years ago
Go on then, I'll debate you
Posted by Subutai 2 years ago
The distinction between global warming and climate change is not that important. While they do refer to two different types of climactic processes (all global warming is climate change, but not vice versa), in standard modern terminology, they refer to the same thing, namely, the rise in global temperatures over the last 150 years. While variability is part of the "climate change", there is an unmistakable warming trend pervading all variations.
Posted by elikakohen 2 years ago
Subutai - I am glad you introduced the debate, by clarifying definitions. However - I am afraid there is a bit of an equivocation in your debate challenge. First - the issue you are actually alluding to is "Anthropogenic Climate Change" - not "Global Warming". "Warming" is a consequent of the "Greenhouse Effect" - which has many, many, contributors. "Climate Change" is a reference to "Climate Variability", (extremities in weather). "Anthropogenic Climate Change" - is the assertion that Humanity's Pollution is the main cause of, or at least significantly contributes to - "Climate Change". In recent years - the IPCC's presentation of what "Climate Change" actually is - has emphasized "Climate Variability" - and NOT necessarily relentless increases in Global Temperatures.
Posted by Subutai 2 years ago
While the warming trend did start back before humans inputted significant amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, the amount of warming that in the last 150 years would have been lot less if we had not been emitting greenhouse gases. By "main", I'm arguing that humans have caused over 50% of the global warming we've seen. I'm not sure if you want to accept this debate or not.
Posted by 7Clouds 2 years ago
Mankind is not the main cause of global warming. I actually made a science project on this. Global Warming is a natural occurrence just like the Ice Age. A couple thousand-hundred thousand years of this, then it switches. The thing is, many scientists are predicting that this global warming is going to last way longer, possibly even stay forever. This is because man-kind is taking away vial things that lessen the wrath of global warming; deforestation, greenhouse gases, etc. So global warming is a natural occurrence, but IS being lengthened by humans.
Posted by Subutai 2 years ago
I actually was getting tired of it, but then I switched sides, and I started fresh again. Also, I've only done a quarter of the number of debates on global warming than you've done on gay marriage.
Posted by 16kadams 2 years ago
How do you not get tired of this topic XD
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by tejretics 2 years ago
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
Reasons for voting decision: Debate is about one's own ability in persuasion - Pro showed their own ability in persuasion by using their own material. Con does nothing to show that this is, in any way, harmful to debate. Pro sufficiently fulfills the BOP to show that mankind is the primary cause of global warming, and Con fails to refute Pro's case in any means.
Vote Placed by dsjpk5 2 years ago
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
Reasons for voting decision: Pro was the only one who made an argument, so arguments to Pro by default. Copying your own work is not plagiarism or bad conduct in any way.