The Instigator
Con (against)
20 Points
The Contender
Pro (for)
5 Points

Mankind Is the Main Cause of Global Warming

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/24/2013 Category: Science
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,766 times Debate No: 34129
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (9)
Votes (5)




I would like to thank JonMilne for agreeing to this topic. Please read everything below before accepting.

Full Resolution

I will be arguing that mankind is the not main cause of global warming. We will not be arguing if global warming exists or not, it will be assumed that it does; only if global warming has an anthropogenic cause.

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


1. The first round is for acceptance.
2. A forfeit or concession is not allowed.
3. No semantics, trolling, or lawyering.
4. All arguments must be visible inside this debate. Sources may be posted in an outside link.
5. 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 pro)
Round 3: Refutation of opponent's arguments (no new arguments)
Round 4: Defending your original arguments and conclusion (no new arguments)




As Con, I will argue that mankind is indeed providing the main cause of global warming. I eagerly await my opponent's argument.
Debate Round No. 1


I would like to thank JonMilne for accepting this debate.

I. The Universe and Global Warming

The current state of the Galaxy and our Sun is affecting our temperatures.

I.i. The Rest of the Solar System

The Sun clearly is in a warmer phase, because all of the other planets have increasing temperatures as well.

"In 2005 data from NASA's Mars Global Surveyor and Odyssey missions revealed that the carbon dioxide "ice caps" near Mars's south pole had been diminishing for three summers in a row.

Habibullo Abdussamatov, head of space research at St. Petersburg's Pulkovo Astronomical Observatory in Russia, says the Mars data is evidence that the current global warming on Earth is being caused by changes in the sun."[1]

"'Global warming on Neptune's moon Triton as well as Jupiter and Pluto, and now Mars has some [scientists] scratching their heads over what could possibly be in common with the warming of all these planets … Could there be something in common with all the planets in our solar system that might cause them all to warm at the same time?'"[2]

Two things can be drawn from this. One, that if other planets are warming, that it is only natural for the Earth to be warming as well. And second, that even if all these planets did have natural causes, then that is a sign of Earth's natural climatic change, instead of man-made.

I.ii. The Position of the Milky Way Galaxy

Every approximately 135 million years, Earth enters a more populated area of the Milky Way, and as a result, more cosmic rays hit the Earth, which causes cooling. Currently, we are in a less populated area of the Milky Way, which means that less of these cosmic rays will be hitting the Earth, which means less cloud formation, and of course, warming.

[3] for the source on this hypothesis. The sun can also cause this through evaporation.

II. Earthly Causes

There are many internal causes of Global Warming as well.

II.i. Ocean Current Anomalies

Ocean temperature anomalies seem to be rising-along with the temperature.

" can model past temperatures as a linear trend (that started well before CO2 was added in any substantial quantity) and periodic bumps... ...temperatures over the last 100+ years look a lot like a linear trend plus ocean cycle-driven bumps"[4]

What is causing all the bumps?:

Reflects the correlation between ocean oscillations and temperature.

As shown in the graph, the PDO, or ocean currents, temperature has affected the average Earth's temperature.

II.ii. Clouds: A Continuation of Point I.ii.

I mentioned about the position of the Milky Way Galaxy and the Sun in regards to these "cosmic rays". Here is a more in depth look at the effects of position.

"The implications, if true, had potentially enormous implications for the debate about natural causes of warming. When the sun is very active, it can be thought of as pushing away cosmic rays from the Earth, reducing their incidence. When the sun is less active, we see more cosmic rays. This is fairly well understood. But if Svensmark was correct, it would mean that periods of high solar output should coincide with reduced cloud formation (due to reduced cosmic race incidence), which in turn would have a warming effect on the Earth, since less sunlight would be reflected back into space before hitting the Earth.

Here was a theory, then, that would increase the theoretical impact on climate of an active sun, and better explain why solar irradiance changes might be underestimating the effect of solar output changes on climate and temperatures."[4]

"Since he first suggested his hypothesis over a decade and a half ago, Svensmark and other researchers have slowly been putting together research to test it." The results were: "Scientists found that when shielding was removed and natural cosmic rays allowed to hit the chamber, cloud seeding increased dramatically, and it increased substantially again when additional artificial cosmic rays were added. Svensmark appears to have gotten it right."[5] Proof here is in the next points.

III. The 1500-Year Cycle

This has to do with a cycle of the climate that can explain the warming.

"Through at least the last million years, a moderate 1500-year warm-cold cycle has been superimposed over the longer, stronger Ice Ages and warm interglacials."[6]

Here is a graph related to this:

Shows that the Medieval Warm Period was warmer than today.

There are two things we can conclude from this graph. First, that up-and-down cycles are normal for the long-term climate. This century's global warming is nothing new. The second thing we can conclude, is that today's global warming is not as bad as the Medieval Warm Period's peak yet, and the Medieval Warm Period was less than the Holocene Maximum Period.

"Even more important, the earth is not "the warmest it has ever been." In fact, the earth was much warmer during the Medieval Warm Period when human agriculture flourished!"[7]

"The scientists found evidence that on average, every 1,470 years, plus or minus 500 years, cold, ice-bearing waters, which today circulate around southern Greenland, pushed as far south as Great Britain."[8]

There seems to be a full cycle of up-down-up temperatures of the climate every 1470 years. And this goes as far back as at least 1 million years ago. Currently, we are in an upswing of temperatures, just coming off of the Little Ice Age, the peak to be in a few hundred years, making the peak-to-peak difference between today's global warming and the Medieval Warm Period a little less than 1500 years. So today's Global Warming is a natural, cyclical occurence.

IV. The Sun: The Proof of Theories I.ii and II.ii

The sun's cycles have a lot to do with temperatures also.

"In this chamber, 63 CERN scientists from 17 European and American institutes have done what global warming doomsayers said could never be done — demonstrate that cosmic rays promote the formation of molecules that in Earth’s atmosphere can grow and seed clouds, the cloudier and thus cooler it will be. Because the sun’s magnetic field controls how many cosmic rays reach Earth’s atmosphere (the stronger the sun’s magnetic field, the more it shields Earth from incoming cosmic rays from space), the sun determines the temperature on Earth."[9]

"Svensmark matched the data on cosmic rays from the neutron monitor in Climax, Colorado, with the satellite measurements of solar irradiance from 1970 to 1990. Over the period between 1975 and 1989, he found cosmic rays decreased by 1.2 percent annually, amplifying the sun's change in irradiance about four-fold"[6]

So, as the sun's activity increases, so does the temperature.

This below graph shows the correlation:

Considers the correlation between temperature and solar activity.

This graph clearly shows that temperature goes up and down with solar activity, because an increase in solar activity directly correlates with an increase in average temperature 1-2 years later.

And as a final side note, I would like to present this graph that helps disprove the anthropogenic cause theory, regarding again, ocean temperature anomalies:

Shows that two periods of warming are the same, yet one is blamed on humans.

So "nature" created the same temperature trend as "humans" did.



I thank Sabutai for letting me part of this debate. I have only just seen the part of the Round 2 requirements which includes the terminology "no rebuttals by Pro", which I do consider somewhat odd being that Con has provided material which I believe probably does deserve an immediate response in order to give Con time to revise or clarify certain parts of his argument. Still, I do have enough in my arsenal for me to present a better case than what Con presents for my case that humans are indeed the main cause of global warming. Let us begin:


Something that people are not so aware of with regards to global warming is the contribution of agriculture - which is to say livestock and farming - which is third in the world for CO2 emissions. CO2 isn"t even the leading GHG emission from farming, as methane is the major contributing by-product. It is huge (1). To quote:

"In 2010, global greenhouse gas emissions from the agricultural sector totaled 4.7 billion tons of carbon dioxide (COv(2)) equivalent, up 13 percent over 1990. Agriculture is the third largest contributor to global emissions by sector, following the burning of fossil fuels for power and heat, and transportation. In 2010, emissions from electricity and heat production reached 12.5 billion tons, and emissions from transport totaled 6.7 billion tons.

Despite their continuing rise, emissions from agriculture are growing at a much slower rate than the sector as a whole, demonstrating the increasing carbon efficiency of agriculture. From 1990 to 2010, the volume of agricultural production overall increased nearly 23 percent, according to data compiled by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) for its program, FAOSTAT. FAO released a new Greenhouse Gas Emissions database for agriculture, forestry and other land use changes in December 2012, which can be found here (

According to FAO, methane accounts for just under half of total agricultural emissions, nitrous oxide for 36 percent, and carbon dioxide for some 14 percent. The largest source of methane emissions is enteric fermentation, or the digestion of organic materials by livestock, predominantly beef cattle. This is also the largest source of agricultural emissions overall, contributing 37 percent of the total."

There is, quite simply, no way that this much methane and nitrous oxide are from natural causes, and the fact that 50%of the earth"s surface is given over to farm and grazing land means a huge loss of forest, which serves as a carbon sink(the main sink is the oceans, however), so combined deforestation plus emissions from agriculture are man made.

The amount of Arctic Ice Loss

This is now greater than it has been in 3 million years, and this absolutely cannot be said to be from natural causes. To quote (2):

"The thaw and release of carbon currently frozen in permafrost will increase atmospheric CO2 concentrations and amplify surface warming to initiate a positive permafrost carbon feedback (PCF) on climate". [Our] estimate may be low because it does not account for amplified surface warming due to the PCF itself". We predict that the PCF will change the arctic from a carbon sink to a source after the mid-2020s and is strong enough to cancel 42-88% of the total global land sink. The thaw and decay of permafrost carbon is irreversible and accounting for the PCF will require larger reductions in fossil fuel emissions to reach a target atmospheric CO2 concentration.

The permafrost permamelt contains a staggering "1.5 trillion tons of frozen carbon, about twice as much carbon as contained in the atmosphere, much of which would be released as methane. Methane is 25 times as potent a heat-trapping gas as CO2 over a 100 year time horizon, but 72 times as potent over 20 years! One of the most conservative assumptions the study made, the lead author Dr. Kevin Schaefer confirmed in an email, is that all of the carbon would be released as CO2 and none as methane."

And to quote from another study about the Arctic (3):

" "The bad news is that there is a clear connection between temperature and the amount of sea ice. And there is no doubt that continued global warming will lead to a reduction in the amount of summer sea ice in the Arctic Ocean. The good news is that even with a reduction to less than 50% of the current amount of sea ice the ice will not reach a point of no return: a level where the ice no longer can regenerate itself even if the climate was to return to cooler temperatures," [lead author Svend] Funder says. "

So chalk up another point for how influential mankind is in contributing to global warming.


This one is plainly simple (4), because according to CO2 NOW, we find the situation where forest loss contributes 9% to CO2 build up, and forests account for 26% of CO2 absorption, so deforestation has been a huge man made contributor as well.

The reliability and enduring nature of the hockey stick graph

According to the New Scientist article covering the 2006 report of the US National Academy of Science (5):

"The report states: "The basic conclusion of Mann et al. (1998, 1999) was that the late 20th century warmth in the Northern Hemisphere was unprecedented during at least the last 1000 years. This conclusion has subsequently been supported by an array of evidence that includes both additional large-scale surface temperature reconstructions and pronounced changes in a variety of local proxy indicators, such as melting on ice caps and the retreat of glaciers around the world".

Most researchers would agree that while the original hockey stick can - and has - been improved in a number of ways, it was not far off the mark. Most later temperature reconstructions fall within the error bars of the original hockey stick. Some show far more variability leading up to the 20th century than the hockey stick, but none suggest that it has been warmer at any time in the past 1000 years than in the last part of the 20th century.
Climate scientists, however, are only too aware of the problems (see Climate myths: It was warmer during the Medieval period), and the uncertainties were both highlighted by Mann's original paper and by others at the time it was published.
The new reconstruction has been generated using two statistical methods, both different to that used in the original study. Like other temperature reconstructions done since 2001 (see graph), it shows greater variability than the original hockey stick. Yet again, though, the key conclusion is the same: it's hotter now than it has been for at least 1000 years.

In fact, independent evidence, from ice cores and sea sediments for instance, suggest the last time the planet approached this degree of warmth was during the interglacial period preceding the last ice age over 100,000 years ago. It might even be hotter now than it has been for at least a million years.

Further back in the past, though, it certainly has been hotter - and the world has been a very different place. The crucial point is that our modern civilisation has been built on the basis of the prevailing climate and sea levels. As these change, it will cause major problems."

It is quite clear that all this evidence is very strong for the weight of man's influence in helping global warming along. I now hand back to Con.


Debate Round No. 2


I would like to thank JonMilne for presenting his arguments.

I. Greenhouse Gases

Before I begin, here is a chart showing which greenhouse gases absorb which wavelengths of light:


I.A. Methane

From the chart, it can be seen that methane has an absorption band (at 8 micrometres) that largely overlaps with water vapor, so an increase in methane has little effect on temperature.[1]

Also, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill put out a lot of methane, but: "methane respiration rates increased to levels higher than have ever been recorded, ultimately consuming it and prohibiting its release to the atmosphere.What the Deepwater Horizon incident has taught us is that releases of methane with similar characteristics will not have the capacity to influence climate."[2][3]

I.B. Nitrous Oxide

In addition to methane, the wavelengths of light that nitrous oxide absorb largely overlap with that of water vapor, so an increase in nitrous oxide also has little effect on temperature.[1]

Also, a new by Lucky Savings" href="#">study found that cattle grazed on the grasslands of China actually reduce another greenhouse gas, nitrous oxide, meaning that agriculture reduces this greenhouse gas.[4][5]

I.C. Carbon Dioxide

There are many proofs that this amount of carbon dioxide will not affect temperatures, but I will post four. But first, again, the wavelengths of light carbon dioxide absorbs also largely matches up with water vapor, meaning it also has little effect on temperature.

First, by the greenhouse effect, global warming should be starting from the lower atmosphere and moving to the surface, but this is not happening: "... by Lucky Savings" href="#">satellite and high-altitude balloon data confirm that the lower atmosphere is not trapping lots of additional heat due to higher CO2 concentrations. It is hard to know how fast the Earth's highly variable surface is warming, but it is warming faster than the lower atmosphere where the CO2 is accumulating. This is strong evidence that CO2 is not the primary climate factor."[6]

Here is a graph showing how the surface has warmed more than the troposphere:

[1] (Blue line is troposphere temperatures)

Second, CO2 is a lagging indicator. The most recent study on this concluded that the results of their tedious but meticulous analysis led them to ultimately conclude that "the CO2 increase lagged Antarctic deglacial warming by 800 +/- 200 years."[7][8]

Here is a graph showing this:


Third, CO2's effect on temperature is logarithmic, meaning that each additional increase has a smaller effect on the climate than the last. "The carbon that is already up in the atmosphere absorbs most of the light it can. CO2 only soaks up its favorite wavelengths of light and it's close to its saturation point. It manages to grab a bit more light from wavelengths that are close to its favorite bands but it can't do much more, because there are not many left-over photons at the right wavelengths."[1][9]

Here is a graph showing the logarithmic curve:


Note how the pre-industrial to modern level increase has had less than a 0.2 C increase in temperature.

Fourth, and most importantly, if greenhouse gases are warming the earth we are supposed to see the first signs of it in the patch of hot air 10 kilometers above the tropics.

However, we don't see that. Here is the predicted "hot spot" of greenhouse gas caused warming:


While here is the actual atmospheric temperature variation:


Even so, CO2 has not correlated well with the climate anyway. Throughout the past 600 million years, almost one-seventh of the age of the Earth, the mode of global surface temperatures was ~22C, even when carbon dioxide concentration peaked at 7000 ppmv, almost 20 times today's near-record-low concentration.[12]

Here is a chart showing CO2 concentrations and temperatures over time:


Overall, CO2 has a correlation coefficient of 0.44, which is considered poor.[13]

II. The Hockey Stick

The hockey stick is wildly inaccurate: "The dataset used to make this construction contained collation errors, unjustified truncation or extrapolation of source data, obsolete data, incorrect principal component calculations, geographical mislocations and other serious defects. These errors and defects substantially affect the temperature index. The major finding is that the values in the early 15th century exceed any values in the 20th century. The particular hockey stick shape derived in the MBH98 proxy construction a temperature index that decreases slightly between the early 15th century and early 20th century and then increases dramatically up to 1980 is primarily an artefact of poor data handling, obsolete data and incorrect calculation of principal component.[1][14]

Temperatures have been warmer than today as recently as 1300 ACE."During the Medieval Warming... . Temperatures may have been as much as 2.5 degrees C warmer [than today] due to a southward shift of the climate belts."[6]

Here is a graph showing temperatures in Greenland over the last 10,000 years:


And on other side of the world in Antarctica:


Both clearly show that today's temperatures are relatively cool compared to earlier times.

Why is the Medieval Warm Period not represented? "A senior IPCC researcher said in an email 'We have to get rid of the Medieval Warm Period.' Christopher Monckton says "They did this by giving one technique, measurement of tree-rings from bristlecone pines, 390 times more weighting than other techniques but didn't disclose this."[1]

The hockey stick has little credibility.

III. Arctic Sea Ice

I'm not going to get so much into this since I already disproved that CO2 causes warming, but I will say two things.

One, here is a graph showing geomagnetic field strength (a measure of solar activity) and CO2 versus temperature (a measure of sea ice loss):


It is clear that solar activity is a lot more important than CO2 is in arctic ice loss.

Two, my opponent neglects the Antarctic. If the greenhouse thoery were valid, temperatures in the Arctic and the Antarctic would have risen several degrees Celsius since 1940 due to the huge emissions of man-made CO2... Recently, a team led by the University of Chicago's Peter Doran published a paper in Nature saying, '...our spatial analysis of Antarctic meteorological data demonstrates a net cooling on the Antarctic continent between 1966 and 2000'. The data from 21 Antarctic surface stations show an average continental decline of 0.008 degrees C from 1978 to 1998, and the infrared data from satellites operating since 1979 show a decline of 0.42 degrees C per decade. They report that satellite imaging shows increases in Souther Ocean sea ice parameters from 1978 to 1996 and an increase in the length of the sea-ice season in the 1990s"[6]

Here is the Antarctic Sea Ice anomaly:


It's increasing, which is a sign of cooling.



For R3, I will focus on rebutting Con's R2.

"The Great Global Warming Swindle"

Much of my opponent's arguments basically borrows from ideas that haven't held up in a long while and are generally dismissed by the vast majority of climate change scientists. This article (6) in New Scientist articulately explains:

"Take the repeated claims that recent global warming is mostly or all due to solar changes. In 1991, for instance, a paper in Science (7) claimed there was a striking correlation between variations in the solar cycle length and temperature between 1880 and 1980, suggesting greenhouse gases have not played as big a role as thought. However, the correlation has not held up after 1980 (8). What is more, it turns out that the apparent correlation before 1980 is due to manipulation of the data (9). Despite being discredited, this graph is still being presented as evidence against human-induced global warming today (see The Great Global Warming Swindle entry in Wikipedia).

Similarly, studies suggesting that the lower atmosphere and the oceans are cooling, contrary to what climate models predict, have turned out to be wrong. Later studies have shown the apparent coolings to be a result of errors in equipment or calibration (See Sceptics forced into climate climb-down) (9).

By contrast, the famous "hockey stick" graph has been the subject of a determined campaign to discredit it (see The hockey stick graph has been proven to be wrong) (10). Yet later temperature reconstructions and other evidence back the key conclusions of the original hockey stick study (See Climate: The great hockey stick debate.)"

Just How Much Influence DOES Solar Energy Have?

The big sticking point in our debate has been the issue of precisely how much influence the sun has on global warming. For this, we must look to what has been found by actual science (11):

"As supplier of almost all the energy in Earth"s climate, the sun has a strong influence on climate. A comparison of sun and climate over the past 1150 years found temperatures closely match solar activity (Usoskin 2005). However, after 1975, temperatures rose while solar activity showed little to no long-term trend. This led the study to conclude, ""during these last 30 years the solar total irradiance, solar UV irradiance and cosmic ray flux has not shown any significant secular trend, so that at least this most recent warming episode must have another source."

In fact, a number of independent measurements of solar activity indicate the sun has shown a slight cooling trend since 1960, over the same period that global temperatures have been warming. Over the last 35 years of global warming, sun and climate have been moving in opposite directions. An analysis of solar trends concluded that the sun has actually contributed a slight cooling influence in recent decades (Lockwood 2008)."

This conclusion is confirmed by many studies finding that while the sun contributed to warming in the early 20th Century, it has had little contribution (most likely negative) in the last few decades. For the purposes of space, these are just a few of the peer reviewed papers I can reference. I have more on demand:

Huber and Knutti (2011): "Even for a reconstruction with high variability in total irradiance, solar forcing contributed only about 0.07"C (0.03-0.13"C) to the warming since 1950."

Erlykin 2009: "We deduce that the maximum recent increase in the mean surface temperature of the Earth which can be ascribed to solar activity is 14% of the observed global warming."

Benestad 2009: "Our analysis shows that the most likely contribution from solar forcing a global warming is 7 " 1% for the 20th century and is negligible for warming since 1980."

Lockwood 2008: "It is shown that the contribution of solar variability to the temperature trend since 1987 is small and downward; the best estimate is -1.3% and the 2? confidence level sets the uncertainty range of -0.7 to -1.9%."


Con appeals to the work of Khabibullo Abdusamatov (12):

"Abdussamatov claims that "global warming results not from the emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, but from an unusually high level of solar radiation and a lengthy"almost throughout the last century"growth in its intensity."[4] This view contradicts the mainstream scientific opinion on climate change as well as accepted reconstructions of solar activity.[5][6][7] He has asserted that "parallel global warmings"observed simultaneously on Mars and on Earth"can only be a straightline consequence of the effect of the one same factor: a long-time change in solar irradiance."[8] This assertion has not been accepted by the broader scientific community, some of whom have stated that "the idea just isn"t supported by the theory or by the observations" and that it "doesn"t make physical sense."[9][10]"

The above article puts it mildly about him being not widely accepted. He has zero papers published in peer review journals, he is a mathematician and astrophysicist " not climatologist " and is a well known cuckoo on CC denier lists. He is not even part of the mere 24 articles out of 13,950 peer reviewed articles on climate change between 1991-2012 that reject global warming (13), not that it would help his case much for as it is so delightfully put: "Of one thing we can be certain: had any of these [24 peer reviewed] articles presented the magic bullet that falsifies human-caused global warming, that article would be on its way to becoming one of the most-cited in the history of science."

But to tackle the actual Mars claim, let's again look at what the experts are saying (14):

"The Sun"s energy output has not increased since direct measurements began in 1978 (see Climate myth special: Global warming is down to the Sun, not humans). If increased solar output really was responsible, we should be seeing warming on all the planets and their moons, not just Mars and Pluto.

One theory is that winds have recently swept some areas of Mars clean of dust, darkening the surface, warming the Red Planet and leading to further increases in windiness " a positive feedback effect (see Dust blamed for warming on MarsMovie Camera).

There is a great deal of uncertainty, though. The warming could be a regional effect. And recent results from the thermal imaging system on the Mars Odyssey probe suggest that the polar cap is not shrinking at all, but varies greatly from one Martian year to the next, although the details have yet to be published."

And also (15):

"Recently, there have been some suggestions that "global warming" has been observed on Mars (e.g. here). These are based on observations of regional change around the South Polar Cap, but seem to have been extended into a "global" change, and used by some to infer an external common mechanism for global warming on Earth and Mars (e.g. here and here). But this is incorrect reasoning and based on faulty understanding of the data."

Thus, the Mars claims must also be considered thoroughly discounted.

Con may now begin R4.


Debate Round No. 3


I would like to thank JonMilne for this great debate.

I. The Sun

My opponent is misrepresenting the evidence when he says that solar activity has dropped while temperatures have increased. As this article explains: "The cycles in the late 20th [century] were short, ~10 years, and high compared to the long term average of ~40 SSN. The minima between them were short too. So although they did reduce in absolute amplitude after the '50s, they made up for it by kicking out more energy more of the time."[1][2]

Here is a graph showing sunspot activity over the last 1000 years:


Notice how sunspots were more numerous during the Medieval Warm Period (MWP), less numerous during the Little Ice Age (LIA), and another "hockey stick" forms at the start of the 20th century. What a coincidence.

A better way to look at the solar influence on climate is to look at a new statistic. Between raw solar activity (solar irradiance) and temperature, temperature lags about 7.5-10 years behind solar irradiance because of the heat capacity of the oceans. A better representation of the sun/temperature correlation is the length of the solar cycle. "This new parameter not only indicated a remarkably high correlation coefficient between solar activity and temperature (on the order of 0.95), but it also eliminated the problem of the 7-year lag encountered by Reid."[4][5][6]

This is a close-up of the above graph:


Notice how solar activity falls around 1990, which, after 7.5-10 years (1999 to be exact) is manifested in a slight temperature drop.

Further, here is a graph showing solar irradiance itself compared to temperature:


While here is temperature compared with sunspot cycle length:


The correlation coefficent increases from 0.57 to 0.95, which are both greater than CO2's correlation of 0.44 (0 is no correlation, 1 is total correlation).

When looking at all of how the sun affects the climate: "For example, the authors of a paper by NASA's JPL remark '...has compared the minimum aa [index of geomagnetic activity] values with the Earth's surface temperature record and found a correlation of 0.95 between the two data sets starting in 1885. The solar irradiance [solar activity] proxy developed from the aa minima continues to track the Earth's surface temperature until the present.'"[7][8] In other words, using the better formulation produces an almost perfect correlation between solar activity and temperature.

"If the Scafetta and West analysis used the uncontaminated satellite data since 1980, the results would show that the Sun has contributed at least 75% of the global warming of the last century.""In particular, a quasi-60-year large cycle is quite evident since 1650 in all climate and astronomical records herein studied ... The existence of a natural 60-year cyclical modulation of the global surface temperature induced by astronomical mechanisms, by alone, would imply that at least 60 to 70% of the warming observed since 1970 has been naturally induced."[6][11][12]

II. Extraterrestrial Bodies

While yes, that particular study focused on the south pole of Mars, the whole planet is indeed warming: "A recent study shows that Mars is warming four times faster than the Earth. Mars is warming due to increased Sun activity, which increases dust storms. The study's authors led by Lori Fenton, a planetary scientist at NASA, says the dust makes the atmosphere absorb more heat causing a positive feedback. Surface air temperatures on Mars increased by 0.65 C (1.17 F) from the 1970s to the 1990s."[6]

Here is a list of just some of the solar system's reactions to increased solar activity:
  • Sun - Recent Activity Highest in 8000 Years [meaning it's not just the 11-year cycle] and magnetic field has decreased in size by 25%
  • 300% increase in galactic dust entering solar system
  • Mercury - magnetosphere experiencing significant increases
  • Venus - 2500% Increase in Green Glow
  • Mars - Rapid Appearance of Clouds, Ozone and Up to 50% Erosion of Ice Features in one year alone
  • Jupiter - Plasma Torus increasing and Jupiter's Disappearance of White Ovals since 1997, recent increase in storms
  • Io - "observing same changes -" 200% Increase in Density of Plasma Torus
  • and Ionosphere 1000% Higher
  • Europa - Much Brighter Than Expected
  • Ganymede - 200% brighter
  • Saturn's - Plasma Torus 1000% Denser andAurora First Seen in polar regions in recent years
  • Uranus - featureless in 1996, now exhibiting huge storms since 1999 and markedly brighter in 2004 than in 1999
  • Neptune - 40% Brighter, Near Infrared Range 1996 - 2002
  • Triton - Severe atmospheric changes, warming
  • Pluto - 300% increase in atmospheric pressure.[13]
In addition, here is hard evidence that the moon is warming:


Further, this shows the comparison between the Sun's, the Earth's, and Neptune's activity:


It is clear that not only is Neptune warming, it is doing so in the same fashion as the Earth's temperature and the Sun's activity, indicating a correlation between the events that is not caused by CO2

III. Other Arguments

First, my opponent claims that tropospheric temperatures have not decreased. "However, since January 2002, the temperatures have been declining at 0.16 C/decade for UAH and 0.24 C/decade for the RSS data." This graph shows two analyses of Microwave Sounding Unit (MSU) satellite temperature measurement data (which is very reliable, compared to surface thermometers) of the troposphere over the tropics from 20 degrees North to 20 degrees South:


Second, my opponent claims that the oceans aren't cooling. However, "Two separate studies through NASA confirm that since 2003, the world's oceans have been losing heat."[15] Also, the PDO graph in R2 confirms this, as the PDO is going into a cool cycle.

Third, my opponent claims that the hockey stick is reliable. I touched on this more in R3, but I will add this: "They used a computer model to draw the graph from the data, but two Canadians [Ross McKitrick and Stephen McIntyre] later found that the model almost always drew hockey-sticks even if they fed in random, electronic "red noise" because it used a faulty algorithm." The MBH 1998 report was never properly peer reviewed before the IPCC used it in their publications."[6][16]


The AGW theory makes several incorrect predictions, and the Earth's warming correlates with solar actiivty, not CO2.



Thank you Con for this debate.

Solar Activity (SA)

Contrary to what Con claims, the intensity of the Sun has dipped (16) Of particular import are these parts:

"It is curious that the theory depends so much on sparse information " what we know about the climates on other planets and their history " yet its proponents resolutely ignore the most compelling evidence against the notion. Over the last fifty years, the sun"s output has decreased slightly: it is radiating less heat. We can measure the various activities of the sun pretty accurately from here on Earth, or from orbit above it, so it is hard to ignore the discrepancy between the facts and the sceptical argument that the sun is causing the rise in temperatures.
Pluto: the warming exhibited by Pluto is not really understood. Pluto"s seasons are the least understood of all: its existence has only been known for a third of its 248 -year orbit, and it has never been visited by a space probe. The "evidence" for climate change consists of just two observations made in 1988 and 2002. That"s equivalent to observing the Earth"s weather for just three weeks out of the year."

In addition, let's consider the Sun's intensity in the variation of the "brightness", it's nonetheless too small to account for the earth's recent warming (17), measuring at only 0.1% over an 11 year solar cycle:

" "The small measured changes in solar output and variations from one decade to the next are only on the order of a fraction of a percent, and if you do the calculations not even large enough to really provide a detectable signal in the surface temperature record," said Penn State meteorologist Michael Mann."

According to NCDC, the earth's base temperature, without greenhouse warming is 0"F, or -18"C. The amount of warming due to GH effect at ~1900C.E. is 57"F (32"C) (18). There has been a .74"C increase in temp over 110 years, and is rising at the rate of .13 , or 1.56"C/century recently:

"Global surface temperatures have increased about 0.74"C (plus or minus 0.18"C) since the late"19th century, and the linear trend for the past 50 years of 0.13"C (plus or minus 0.03"C) per decade is nearly twice that for the past 100 years. The warming has not been globally uniform. Some areas (including parts of the southeastern U.S. and parts of the North Atlantic) have, in fact, cooled slightly over the last century. The recent warmth has been greatest over North America and Eurasia between 40 and 70"N. Lastly, seven of the eight warmest years on record have occurred since 2001 and the 10 warmest years have all occurred since 1995."

The percent change in temperature over the last 110 years is .74"C/32"C = +2.3%, and the change in solar radiance has increased (19):

"Since the late 1970s, the amount of solar radiation the sun emits, during times of quiet sunspot activity, has increased by nearly .05 percent per decade, according to a NASA funded study."

The extrapolated amount of change in solar radiance in the last 110 years is + .55%. The ratio of change of temperature to the rate of change of solar radiance is 2.3%/.55% = 4.2 times as fast. Not only that, but the rate of change of temperature is increasing. Now compare these two graphs, the first is the changes to solar radiance over the last 150 years (20), and then the temperature change(21). The SR baseline is flat and the TC baseline is rising, thus, solar output and global temp over a 150 year period shows no correlation, and there is a 4.2 times greater increase in TC than solar output. So SR can, at most, only account for less than 25% of the total increase in temperature over the last 110 years.

Troposphere Temperature and Cooling (TT) (TC)

On the subject of the troposphere, I will point out that the TT decreases with altitude. With a more energetic dynamic occurring in the troposphere due to heating, or overall energy increase, the higher and lower altitude air will mix more and the resultant surface temps will appear cooler even though the overall heat content of the troposphere has increased!

On Con's source 6 (which, incidentally, comes from a denier site), please observe Con's accompanying graph the length of line the "cooling" is based on. The overall graph shows data consistent with longer term warming. By taking the shorter time frame that the author does (11 years), the graph can be interpreted, for the years 1979 " 1989, to show an even more dramatic cooling effect, even though the long term trend including that time frame is warming. Ten years or so, periods are not relevant, contrary to what the author tries to show. Another method of TC is by the energy expended in increasingly energetic storm systems. These systems have a net cooling effect on the troposphere, as explained in Con's very own [6]:

"I have to wonder whether the atmosphere is currently in a destabilized state. I doubt that surface temperatures anomalies are as anomalously low as the mid-troposphere temperatures are running, which in combination with anomalously cold mid- and upper-tropospheric temperatures means there is extra energy available for storms. "

Oceans and PDO

Con claims the oceans are losing heat and that the PDO is "in a cool cycle". However, this is due to an unusually intense el Nino in 1998, which produced the overall heating, as there is a great lag effect to el Nino of several years. Of course there is cooling as the ocean returns to homostasis. Furthermore, Con's "Examiner" link that he uses to support his claim is extremely suspect, because the whole report is not included in the link Con gives, and leaves out the part where the author of the research doesn"t claim the cooling is long term, but is a possible short term anomaly, and also the author of the Examiner article fudged and discarded data that did not fit his hypothesis. To quote a comment from said article:

"I couldn"t help but notice that your article follows the NASA article almost exactly (though not literally copying from it) and the graphs on your article are also present in the NASA article. But the strange thing is " besides some misquoting, ie Takmong Wong never said the cooling could be due to melting Arctic sea ice " that you don"t finish the story that it turned out there was a problem with the measurements and thus there was no global cooling. You just leave the most important thing out!"

As pointed out earlier in my R3, Con has relied on confirmed climate deniers who aren't even climatologists and also is guilty of relying on outdated data, as BobC also points out about the Examiner article in the sixth comment down.

La Nina has been the influence for ocean cooling since 2006 (22), which paints a considerably different picture on Con's argument. Notice that el Nino didn"t return until 2009, and is not included in Con's studies which only date UP TO 2009. Also note that whatever the ocean temps, it is a red herring. The global temps are still increasing dramatically, and furthermore, no one knows what affects ocean temperatures reliably.

On a side note, the author of this article that Con links to for his ocean temperature arguments ALSO predicted that Arctic ice levels would begin to increase, based on his interpretation of the ocean temp papers. His predictions were wrong. What does that tell us about the veracity of his ocean temp arguments?


That humans are the main cause of global warming is overwhelmingly evident, and SA alone isn't enough.


Debate Round No. 4
9 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Posted by 16kadams 5 years ago
Links fixed itself
Posted by 16kadams 5 years ago
Subutai you could really update this argument with fewer quotes and sources to a much stronger degree. PM me for the sun.
Posted by 16kadams 5 years ago
The links on con seem broken
Posted by TUF 5 years ago
Great debate you guys. I spent an hour and forty five minutes reading it and all the sources involved. I think I learned quite a bit from this debate. Sorry it took me so long to give it a look through!
Posted by JonMilne 5 years ago
Gee, thanks a bunch, Babeslayer. And here was me thinking that maybe this debate could have been treated respectfully. @sshole.
Posted by JonMilne 5 years ago
Thanks, buddy. :)
Posted by Subutai 5 years ago
You have to take out the "%20" at the end of the URL. I don't know how that got there. Anyway, here:

Also, pictures aren't visible when you post a comment. You have to refresh the page.
Posted by JonMilne 5 years ago
And now for some reason your pictures aren't showing up.
Posted by JonMilne 5 years ago
Sabutai, your link on your R4 for your sources doesn't appear to work.
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by Guy_D 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Mr. RoyLatham stole most of my thunder. There are hundreds of peer reviewed papers by scientists who are skeptical of the ?Theory? that man is melting the planet. The scientist that contribute to the U.N, specifically the IPCC have massaged the data (and been caught doing it ) and the message that contend a ?consensus? of a theory is enough to warrant drastic and swift action to combat Global Warming? I mean climate Change.
Vote Placed by TUF 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: These kind of debates are always harder to vote on because basically what they come down to is contradicting evidence being presented by either side. There isn't as many ultimate angles to debate from, as there are in philosophy debates. Debates revolving around science basically result in a mass amount of source spamming. Here is why I think Con won this debate though. Pro was able to show that mankind was responsible for some global warming. But based on all of the evidence provided by both side (I spent a good hour going through all the sources, and actually learned a lot), I have come to the conclusion that Con's evidence is significantly stronger in showing that Natural causes are more of a factor. Con encompassed both arguments in his, even admitting that man kind was partially responsible for warming, if not by a small percentage. Pro's endeavor, in this case, seems next to impossible given the natural phenomena's involvement in warming, compared to human involvement.
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: This is a good debate with a whole lot going on. I think the evidence shapes up as climate scientists who are not statisticians supporting CO2 global warming and statisticians who may or may not be climate scientists being skeptical. Scientists not competent in mathematical statistics are the plague of recent times; the evidence is with the guys who know the math. Pro spent too much time arguing that global warming exists and that greenhouse gases are increasing, points granted, and too little assessing how much warming is due to what cause. Ad hom attacks on "deniers" are no more valid than accusations of being infidels. The skeptics are highly qualified scientists. Pro claimed that there were only a few papers published contrary to CO2 climate theory. That's preposterous given just what was cited during the debate.
Vote Placed by imabench 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Countering babeslayer who is a notorious vote bomber and idiot
Vote Placed by Babeslayer 5 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Obvious