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2015 Tournament: The international community should endorse unilateral climate engineering projects to prevent global warming

8 points
1 point
nzlockienzlockie (PRO)
Hello and welcome to this first round debate of the inaugural New Years Edeb8 Tournament. It is my pleasure to be affirming the resolution, that the International Community should endorse unilateral Climate Engineering projects to prevent Global Warming.
I thank the judges for their time and my opponent for graciously agreeing to play Devil's Advocate on this very topical subject.

The International Community - broadly speaking, the independent nations of the world. 
Should - the preferred option.
Endorse - support, encourage and ultimately sign off on.
Unilateral - in this context, projects brought to fruition without outside aid.
Climate Engineering projects - schemes to directly alter the climate.
To prevent Global Warming -  with the express purpose of preventing the "Global Warming" effect. The full detail of this can be viewed here, but it can be summed up as being the warming effect on the Earth as various greenhouse gases are produced which trap heat that would normally leave Earth's atmosphere. It's a whole big thing. You probably saw it on the news. We'll be going into more detail during the course of this debate.

To sum up, this resolution proposes that the collective Nations of the world support and encourage efforts made by individuals and collectives to research, design, and develop potential solutions to the Earth's Global Warming situation. Should any of these solutions be completed to a point of implementation, the decision on whether they SHOULD be implemented will be one assessed by the fore-mentioned, International Community.
My side will be affirming this resolution. 

In Broad Strokes:
This resolution is a classic scenario which we deal with every day. There are two separate but related elements to it. Let's break them down.
1. There is an issue. Should this issue be resolved?
2. There is a solution for an issue. Who should be responsible to authorise this solution?

An everyday example would a broken window in my house. (well hopefully not EVERY day, but you get the idea)
Firstly, is a broken window an issue that needs a solution? Yes it is. It is facing the street and it makes me cold and insecure. As the sole person affected by this issue, it logically follows that I endorse finding a solution to it. 
Secondly, I have had a solution proposed to me. We can replace the glass in my window. The question now follows, who should sign off on the actioning of this solution? In this scenario, it will logically be me. I own the house, I am the one affected by the issue and I will be the one paying the cost of the repair. Each of these factors independently dictate that I have the say in whether the window is replaced. 

Applying the same principles of this everyday example to our current resolution will be the subject of this round.
I will do this in three simple stages:
1. Is there an issue that needs solving? I will explain the potential problem presented by Global Warming and why we need to find a solution for it.
2. Who should we get to solve it? I will explain why a unilateral approach is the right method to employ.
3. Who should be in charge of making decisions? I will explain why Global Warming is an issue that needs to be addressed by an International Community as opposed to individual groups.

1. Is there an Issue that needs solving?
What is Global Warming? How does it work and why is it so worrisome?
As explained in the Definitions, Global Warming is a term used to describe the gradual-but-steadily-increasing heating of the Earth's surface, thanks to an increase in heat trapping gases, such as Carbon Dioxide, (CO2).
These gases form a layer which prevents heat from escaping Earth's atmosphere and results in a "Greenhouse" effect, where the temperature on Earth's surface steadily increases over time. 

CO2 is not the only one of these Greenhouse gases, but it's one of the ones we're most concerned with, as its increase can be directly attributed to many human activities, such as deforestation and the burning of fossil fuels. 

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, (IPCC) was established in 1988 as an international group responsible for monitoring and reporting on the issue of climate change. Since that time they have published 5 Assessment Reports. In their latest one, published just November 2014, they had found that Atmospheric levels of CO2 had risen 40% since 1750. 

As this graph shows, unsurprisingly the rise in CO2 levels correlates with the rise in CO2 emissions...

So if Global Warming is happening, why is it such a big deal?
Turning our planet into a greenhouse has some real effects - many of which are evident today. Consider this list: 
  1. Rising Seas--- inundation of fresh water marshlands (the everglades), low-lying cities, and islands with seawater.
  2. Changes in rainfall patterns --- droughts and fires in some areas, flooding in other areas. See the section above on the recent droughts, for example!
  3. Increased likelihood of extreme events--- such as flooding, hurricanes, etc.
  4. Melting of the ice caps --- loss of habitat near the poles. Polar bears are now thought to be greatly endangered by the shortening of their feeding season due to dwindling ice packs.
  5. Melting glaciers - significant melting of old glaciers is already observed.
  6. Widespread vanishing of animal populations--- following widespread habitat loss.
  7. Spread of disease--- migration of diseases such as malaria to new, now warmer, regions.
  8. Bleaching of Coral Reefs due to warming seas and acidification due to carbonic acid formation--- One third of coral reefs now appear to have been severely damaged by warming seas.
  9. Loss of Plankton due to warming seas--- The enormous (900 mile long) Aleution island ecosystems of orcas (killer whales), sea lions, sea otters, sea urchins, kelp beds, and fish populations, appears to have collapsed due to loss of plankton, leading to loss of sea lions, leading orcas to eat too many sea otters, leading to urchin explosions, leading to loss of kelp beds and their associated fish populations.
(List quoted from http://www.nmsea.org/Curriculum/Primer/Global_Warming/fossil_fuels_and_global_warming.htm

The degree to which Humans are responsible for Global Warming may be debated, but its causes and effects are not. Since we know how it works and we know the negative impacts it has, we ought to develop plans to mitigate this harmful effect.

2. Who should get to solve it?
This point is a quick one. Global Warming affects ALL life on Earth. As such, nobody should be prevented in working on a solution. As caretakers of the taxpayer, Government is and should be working on solutions, however there is no reason why it should stop there. Private groups and even private citizens should also be allowed the right to work on solutions. 
Global Warming is a potentially catastrophic effect for human life, and nobody should be prevented in working on a solution.
3. Who should be in charge of making decisions? 
This is the crucial part of this debate. While the collection and collation of data has a low impact on people outside of those carrying it out, the implementation of a potential solution can have massive effect on everyone, and even the planet itself. 
As we humans have learned, the Earth's ecosystem can be a delicate thing. In 1810 Sailors and scientists first landed on Macquarie Island, just south of Australia. Naturally their landing also introduced rats and mice to the island. In 1818, scientists deliberately introduced cats to the island in an effort to reduce the number of rats and mice. This decision proved disastrous - not only for the rats and mice but also for most of the native species on the island. By the time Humans realised their mistake, it was too late. Two native bird species had been wiped out completely.
Scientists then introduced the Myxoma Virus in an effort to curb growing Rabbit population. This succeeded in dramatically reducing the population of rabbits, (while having the side effect of making the survivors possibly immune to the disease) so much so that now the feral cats had lost their primary food supply. They went crazy and started targeting all the remaining bird species. It was estimated they were killing 60,000 birds a year. Finally scientists performed a cull of the feral cats on the island. This was finally completed in 2000. 
But that's not all. 
Since their primary predators have now been removed, the rabbit population of Macquarie Island has made a massive resurgence. They have now wiped out all vegetation from an estimated 40% of the island, a fact which has even been blamed for a recent landslide which wiped out part of a penguin colony.

There are numerous other such examples throughout our glowing track record of interaction with our environment. We stumble along regardless because such mistakes, while disastrous, are usually fairly localised. 
The problem with implementing a solution to the Global Warming effect, is that the solution will affect ALL life on Earth. As such, the only reasonable thing to do is to have the International Community intimately involved in any such decision making process. 
To tie this back to my broken window example - who pays for the cost of the repair? Who lives with the result? 
It's the same thing here. We all have to live with the consequences of the action, we all should be involved in the decision making process. 

Implementing a potential solution which impacts the entire globe, should not be a decision for one company, or even one country. It should be a decision made by all of us. 
Thank you for your time and consideration. Vote PRO - it means you love animals!

A single icy tear rolled down his snout as Bernard considered how cold he was going to get going to Mary's place now.

Return To Top | Posted:
2015-01-07 08:55:32
| Speak Round
WyltedWylted (CON)

I'm actually not playing devil's advocate here. I'm actually very Libertarian, but there are plenty of reasons to reject this proposal regardless of what political persuasion you belong to and I'll be appealing to stuff we can all agree with.


Mother nature is a very complicated thing. With so many factors in play we can never know exactly what the results of our actions will be.

"In 1810 Sailors and scientists first landed on Macquarie Island, just south of Australia. Naturally their landing also introduced rats and mice to the island. In 1818, scientists deliberately introduced cats to the island in an effort to reduce the number of rats and mice. This decision proved disastrous - not only for the rats and mice but also for most of the native species on the island. By the time Humans realised their mistake, it was too late. Two native bird species had been wiped out completely.
Scientists then introduced the Myxoma Virus in an effort to curb growing Rabbit population. This succeeded in dramatically reducing the population of rabbits, (while having the side effect of making the survivors possibly immune to the disease) so much so that now the feral cats had lost their primary food supply. They went crazy and started targeting all the remaining bird species. It was estimated they were killing 60,000 birds a year. Finally scientists performed a cull of the feral cats on the island. This was finally completed in 2000.
But that's not all.
Since their primary predators have now been removed, the rabbit population of Macquarie Island has made a massive resurgence. They have now wiped out all vegetation from an estimated 40% of the island, a fact which has even been blamed for a recent landslide which wiped out part of a penguin colony.

There are numerous other such examples throughout our glowing track record of interaction with our environment. We stumble along regardless because such mistakes, while disastrous, are usually fairly localised.
The problem with implementing a solution to the Global Warming effect, is that the solution will affect ALL life on Earth."

The moral of the story here is that we usually fail to consider all possibilities and the results are disasterous. While typically localized my opponent suggests taking these types of risks on a global level. I don't know about you but I think we should proceed with caution.

According to Damon Matthews in a 2009 study

"dditional interventions do not always bring the intended results, and in
many cases there is evidence that net impacts have increased with the
degree of human intervention. In this letter, we report some of the
examples in the scientific literature that have documented such human
interventions in environmental systems, which may serve as analogues to
geoengineering. We argue that a high degree of system understanding is
required for increased intervention to lead to decreased impacts. Given
our current level of understanding of the climate system, it is likely
that the result of at least some geoengineering efforts would follow
previous ecological examples where increased human intervention has led
to an overall increase in negative environmental consequences."



Geoengineering basically just deals with the symptoms of the problem and doesn't do much to solve the problem itself. What we need to do is focus on the problem by reducing CO2 emissions. Geoengineering is just going to be used as another political weapon to stall real efforts to improve the environment.

The risks we run is that this will be seen as a solution, while the underlying problem is still there and without action will just get worse. According to a study published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2006JC003706/full

In Iron fertilization the amount of carbon dioxide removed from the atmosphere will probably be lower than originally thought, as carbon taken up by plankton may go back into the atmosphere from the dead plankton, instead of being carried to the bottom of the sea and sequestered. (paraphrased from wikipedia article on the subject)

The techniques that take greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, actually do nothing to prevent ocean acidification. http://infohost.nmt.edu/~chem/wingenter/Wingenter_PeECE_III_GRL_2007.pdf

The real risk is in people sitting back and being apathetic towards global warming thinking scientists will take care of the problem.


Depending on who has their hands on this technology. We're talking about technology that can be used to cause droughts or famines to soften the enemy and potentially have a deadly effect on large civilian populations. according to one study headed by Col Tamzy J. House

"A high-risk, high-reward endeavor, weather-modification offers a dilemma
not unlike the splitting of the atom. While some segments of society will
always be reluctant to examine controversial issues such as weather-modification,
the tremendous military capabilities that could result from this field
are ignored at our own peril. From enhancing friendly operations or disrupting
those of the enemy via small-scale tailoring of natural weather patterns
to complete dominance of global communications and counterspace control,
weather-modification offers the war fighter a wide-range of possible options
to defeat or coerce an adversary.

Some of the potential uses of this technology according to the same paper are:

Precipitation Enhancement Precipitation Avoidance
- Flood Lines of Communication - Maintain/Improve LOC
- Reduce PGM/Recce Effectiveness - Maintain Visibility
- Decrease Comfort Level/Morale - Maintain Comfort Level/Morale
Storm Enhancement Storm Modification
- Deny Operations - Choose Battlespace Environment
Precipitation Denial Space Weather
- Deny Fresh Water - Improve Communication Reliability
-- Induce Drought - Intercept Enemy Transmissions
Space Weather - Revitalize Space Assets
- Disrupt Communications/Radar Fog and Cloud Generation
- Disable/Destroy Space Assets - Increase Concealment
Fog and Cloud Removal Fog and Cloud Removal
- Deny Concealment - Maintain Airfield Operations
- Increase Vulnerability to PGM/Recce - Enhance PGM Effectiveness
Detect Hostile Weather Activities Defend against Enemy Capabilities



Rebuttals will be provided in the next round. I'm a procrastinator and running short on time but I'd like to point out that my opponent hasn't made much of a case for why climate engineering will be an effective solution to the problem of global warming or why it's necessarily a better solution than more practical methods like reducing harmful emissions. NZlockie, you have the floor. Good luck.

Return To Top | Posted:
2015-01-09 08:44:05
| Speak Round
nzlockienzlockie (PRO)
I thank CON for his last round. He's brought up a couple of issues which I'd like to address.

How should we proceed?
CON opened his round by quoting my cautionary tale of Australia's Macquarie Island. I'm pleased he did this as it's a lesson that bears repeating. 
I'm going to return the favour and open by quoting him...

"The moral of the story here is that we usually fail to consider all possibilities and the results are disasterous.[sic] While typically localized my opponent suggests taking these types of risks on a global level. I don't know about you but I think we should proceed with caution." - CON, Round one.

"The real risk is in people sitting back and being apathetic towards global warming thinking scientists will take care of the problem." - CON, Round one.

Judges, CON speaks for me as well here. The whole point of this example was that a small group of scientists made a serious of ill-thoughtout, reactionary and often rash decisions and then acted on them with disastrous results. This is the type of action my side of the house is concerned with. This is the reason we strongly support the resolution that, while the research and design of potential solutions for Global Warming can and should be done by anyone, these solutions must NOT be implemented until they have been signed off - not by immediate superiors, not by a scientific peer review, not even by the governing body of whatever country they are from - but by a truely representative panel of the full International Community. 

My side of the house believes that allowing, and indeed, encouraging, potential solutions to be submitted by literally anyone, we can best access the entire pool of talent. The danger there is already mitigated and far outweighed by the benefit of having so many people working to find a solution. 
The danger doesn't come with FINDING the solution to Global Warming, it comes with IMPLEMENTING the solution. Our concern is that countries which may be less affected by the adverse affects of a potential solution may discount the concerns of countries who MAY be affected. For this reason we endorse the resolution that this entire process must be clearly defined as being overseen by an International Community, rather than a group of separate countries, each with their own bias.

On this point, PRO and CON are united. We MUST proceed with caution. But we MUST proceed. 

Does Climate Engineering address the real problem? Shouldn't we just buy a Prius?
In his last round, CON voices his concerns that Climate Engineering solutions only address the symptom of Global Warming and not the cause. He is concerned on the one hand that some of the potential solutions he's mentioned don't go far enough to address the problem, and that implementing partial solutions may make people relax and think the problem has been solved. His point is that because of these outcomes we should not proceed with Climate Engineering. 

To address his first concern, that Climate Engineering is not a complete solution. He is correct and, again, our side agrees with his. This resolution does not call for us to ignore the human causes of Global Warming and we don't personally advocate for that. Deforestation and burning Fossil Fuels are two things that contribute to Global Warming and are two things we can correct. However this alone will not stop the Greenhouse Effect we see today. Partially because it's been going on too long, but mostly because Humans are only partially responsible for the Greenhouse effect. In fact the most dominant "Greenhouse gas" is mere water vapour. I'm going to address that in a second, as well as explain why postive interaction is necessary. But first to address his second concern - that people would grow apathetic. This is pure conjecture on his part. The message about Climate Change and Global Warming has already been out in the main stream media for decades. 
My side of the house has faith that we can educate the public on the proper causes and, more importantly, what the changes humans have to make. It also our contention that involving the entire world in the search for a viable Climate Engineering solution will only aid this cause. 

OK, tell me about the Water Vapour!
The reason Water Vapour is so important is that it comes from the earth heating. The surface temperature is directly related to how much water vapour is formed. The hotter the ground is, the more vapour is formed. This effect creates a postive feedback loop. With the addition of humans into the equation, burning down forests and putting more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, the Earth heats. This causes MORE water vapour, which causes more water vapour which causes MORE... you see where I'm going with this. 

At this stage we need to step in and make an attempt to "clean" the atmosphere, stopping the perpetual loop and returning things back to the natural order. 

So have they already solved this thing then?
The way my opponent talks, it's as if he would have you believe that all of the Climate Engineering solutions have been found and can all be written off as too effective or not effective enough to actually implement. This is not true. 
There are several general principles - two of which, he's mentioned, which certain groups are investigating - but this is the point - we don't know yet! We know that there is a problem, even my opponent agrees with that. We know what the cause is. All we need to do is look for a solution. This resolution discusses the manner in which we carry that action out. 

BOTH sides of the house agree that caution is necessary. BOTH sides agree that it shouldn't just be left to the scientists. 
My side believes that opening the search up to a wider group satisfies the second issue and approaching it as a Global problem with the decision for action resting on a Global Community satisfies the first issue.

Potential for Weaponisation
Well this section was a bit of a downer wasn't it?! I could choose to counter this argument a number of ways. 

Firstly, it could be seen as a "Slippery Slope" fallacy. This is basically when one side objects to a resolution on the grounds that it will inevitably result in some terrible outcome - normally worldwide destruction. This fallacy completely ignores any middle ground or failsafe Schelling points - pre-determined points where it's agreed that progress will stop. Kind of like when Admin says he's going to go out gambling in Otaki's new Casino with all of his Edeb8 Ad money. 
Stag is concerned because once he starts on those dollar slots, Admin finds it hard to stop. "It's just one dollar more!" 
To solve the situation, Admin agrees to set a Schelling Point. A pre-determined amount that he will spend and no more. 

In this case, CON is saying that because there exists a 1996 US Air Force report where they discuss the military benefits to "owning the weather", developing such a tool to prevent Kiribati from literally disappearing off the face of the Earth is not a good idea. 
How about this? How about, as a planet, we set a Schelling point. Let's develop this Climate Engineering Project together - totally open source the whole way. We'll save the Seychelles' tourism industry and help Bernard make it to Mary's without swimming. We'll make a convention, not unlike the Geneva Convention, and numerous others, making it a war crime to weaponise Climate engineering technology. It has worked so far with Nuclear power and we were only stupid teenagers when we worked that one out. 

Secondly, I could address it by pointing out the FAR LIKELIER SCENARIO that we could use it for good! Why make the knee-jerk assumption that humanity automatically wants to hurt each other. Why couldn't we use this technology to save, literally, millions of lives instead? 

Thirdly, I could argue that the potential for weaponisation IS EXACTLY WHY IT SHOULD BE OVERSEEN BY AN INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY! 
As CON's source has already shown us, the US has been considering weaponising the weather for at least 20 years. Had they succeeded - do you think they were planning on sharing that technology? I don't think so. 
Does voting no to this resolution prevent the USA or any other private enterprise from developing this technology for nefarious purposes? Again, I don't think so. 

You know what does? Open Source. Developing it as a group. All of us together. It's the safest way of ensuring that no one group has a bigger stick than any other.

Judges, the POSSIBLE weaponisation of a technology which, a) will save our lives and b) has not even been developed yet is not a cause to negate this resolution. If anything it's a cause to affirm.

Calvin gets it!
Vote PRO - it makes sense to work towards a solution together.

Return To Top | Posted:
2015-01-10 14:22:17
| Speak Round
WyltedWylted (CON)

I'll do all the counter rebuttals next round, to keep the debate fair for my opponent, since he also can only do them the next round. I will point out that my opponent drops my arguments about the unpredictable effects of playing with mother nature and proposes a false dichotomy, where we must choose between apathy and taking, extremely high risk approaches to fixing global warming such as climate engineering projects. My suggestion is that the international community, focuses solely on reducing harmful emissions instead of going into a panic and throwing this hail Mary.

It should be noted that besides my argument for the unpredictability of doing this being dropped, that my arguments on the moral hazard have been dropped as well.

My opponent hasn't really provided much for positive argumentation and I'm in a rush due to just starting school and opting to take an extremely accelerated course, but I digress.

Political Viability

Different countries and large groups of people are going to have different opinions on what constitutes a good average temperature for the planet. Countries are finding it just about impossible to agree on how much emissions to cut. If we're having a difficult time coming to an agreement on that than agreeing on climate engineering will be impossible.

" You recall the Kyoto Protocol. It was never ratified by the United States – defeated 95-0 in the US Senate in 1997, in fact – and has proven just as ineffective elsewhere around the world. It was supposed to be first step in the world's cutback of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide that are warming our atmosphere.

The hard truth be told, essentially none of those who signed onto the treaty have been able to cutback their greenhouse gas emissions.

People – surprise, surprise – demand to be warm at the cheapest prices. Developing countries like China and India have ignored it completely, with their emission rising at 6% to 8% a year. China now emits more greenhouse gases than even the United States." http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/cifamerica/2008/dec/12/environment-climate-change-poznan

I disagree with taking any action at all but on the other hand if action is needed to save the planet, it will be impossible to get the world to agree on and pursue this goal in unison. The evidence for this is what has occurred every single time the world has got together to solve this problem. If action is taken, it needs to be done by a small group of countries or billionaires and they need to ignore the world or risk getting absolutely nothing done at all.

Return To Top | Posted:
2015-01-12 13:23:21
| Speak Round
nzlockienzlockie (PRO)
I thank my opponent for his round and he has my commiserations on his time constraints. I certainly understand, posting this from the road myself. 

In his latest round my opponent has made a couple of statements about my dropping two of his points. I'd like to point out to the judges that this is simply not so. 
His point about caution being required because of the unpredictability of tampering with Mother Nature was addressed several times during my 2nd Round argument entitled, "How should we proceed?" 
In this section we pointed out that caution was absolutely the only way forward. We also noted that although risk is inherent in progress - progress MUST be made. The harmful effects of Global Warming are already being felt in many parts of the world. We noted specifically Kiribati and  the Seychelles, both of whom are now in very real danger of being rendered un-liveable by rising oceans.
It should also be noted that we wholeheartedly endorse the cutting back of greenhouse emissions. My opponent seems to think this is an either/or situation. It's not. We made the point that emissions MUST be cut back, but noted that significant damage has already been done. As our diagram shows, a positive feedback loop requires no further emissions to continue the Global Warming effect. Climate Engineering solutions may provide the answer to this and there is no harm in endorsing further research and development of these projects.

Finally on this point, I think it is ironic that in his first round my opponent argues that moving quickly would be a mistake and in his last round he argues that leaving the overseership of Climate Engineering projects to the International Community would make the progress too slow. It seems that there should be no contest that any actual implementation of successful projects would be done too hastily.

The second point he alleges I've dropped is that of the Moral Hazard - that there would be a risk of apathy. I'll admit to not understanding why people will be apathetic when they see Climate Engineering projects being worked on, but will not be apathetic when they see emissions being cut... as I've stated, there's no evidence that simply cutting emissions will correct the Global Warming effect and, in fact, most of the science points the other way. 
Regardless, this point was not dropped. It was addressed in my second round argument entitled, "Does Climate Engineering address the problem? Shouldn't we just buy a Prius?". In this argument I point out that the damage to the delicate composition of Greenhouse Gases has already been done. It was quite a large point and contained a cool graphic. 
I trust that this satisfies any contention that I've dropped any of his points.

Who deserves to control the weather?
I'd like to remind the Judges of my point here. My Opponent is concerned that a successful Climate Engineering solution could be weaponised. Then he provides proof that the USA has in fact already been working on this idea. Now in his second round, he would have us hand the development and implementation of a Climate Engineering tool over to a small group of countries.
I say enough with the hoarding of Power! Leave this development to the masses. Make the technology open source so that we are all equal. The governship of this technology should be left to the International Community.
Political Viability:
I'd like to submit two quotes from my Opponent's last round.

"Different countries and large groups of people are going to have different opinions on what constitutes a good average temperature for the planet." - CON, Round Two.
Followed shortly after by...
"If action is taken, it needs to be done by a small group of countries or billionaires and they need to ignore the world or risk getting absolutely nothing done at all." - CON, Round Two.
Judges I ask you consider this sentiment from CON. This is EXACTLY the domineering attitude that I have been alluding to throughout this debate. CON is right when he says that different countries have different opinions. CON is wrong when he assumes that this means that most of them lose their right to have those opinions considered. 
I agree that getting a representative group to come to a consensus will have some unique challenges - but we should not assume that such a consensus is an impossibility. 

I suspect that if we were to ask CON who should make up this board of countries and billionaires, the countries most affected by Climate change today would NOT be on that board. In fact I suspect it would actually be made up of the biggest Polluters instead!
But now I'M starting to sound cynical. Judges, the fairest thing we can do is to make these projects open source and rely on a genuinely Internationally representative group to make the final call.

Remember my first round example of the broken window. Our Earth is broken. 
Who owns our Earth? America? China?
Who is most affected by our broken Earth? Bill Gates? Taylor Swift?

This resolution asks two questions. 
Should Climate Engineering projects be endorsed as a potential solution to clean the Atmosphere and reset the balance of the Greenhouse Gas composition?
If so, who should be responsible for this endorsement? A small group of special countries/people - or the International Community?

In answering the first one, we have shown that there is a need for a two pronged attack here. Carbon emissions and deforestation are largely responsible for this mess and should be addressed as a separate issue. Climate Engineering projects give us the potential to reverse the damage which has been done, and the tools to prevent it happening again. (It's even been endorsed by the US Military as a viable solution!)
In answering the second one, we've pointed out that we are ALL affected by Global Warming, and in fact the countries MOST affected are likely to be largely ignored... unless the decision is debated in open style within the whole International Community.
This is a GLOBAL crisis. We have time to resolve it now. The solution should be open for EVERYONE, and the implementation of it should be for the International Community - all of us - to decide.
I thank my opponent again for the debate and Stag for setting up this tournament. I wish my esteemed colleague JMK the very best for the next round!
 To the Judges, I urge an affirmative vote!

Thank you!

Return To Top | Posted:
2015-01-12 20:09:14
| Speak Round
WyltedWylted (CON)
I don't have much time since it's a super busy week for me but my opponent did actually drop my argument about the inevitable consequences of playing God with Mother Nature. His premises actually support my argument.
"It should also be noted that we wholeheartedly endorse the cutting back of greenhouse emissions. My opponent seems to think this is an either/or situation. It's not. We made the point that emissions MUST be cut back"
If you're cutting back on emissions anyway there is absolutely no point in using the extremely high risk climate engineering projects.
"I agree that getting a representative group to come to a consensus will have some unique challenges - but we should not assume that such a consensus is an impossibility. "
Just as the Kyoto treaty has proven to be a total waste of time this will as well. We already know what happens when the international community try to agree on something.
If this extremely high risk way is to work, it has to be done by a few entities that don't care about a consensus.
I find it funny that my opponent brings up the US military endorsing climate engineering, which only goes to support my conclusion.
Conclusion- climate engineering is extremely dangerous and not even practical as evidenced by similar situations such as the Kyoto treaty.
Vote Con

Return To Top | Posted:
2015-01-14 19:29:51
| Speak Round

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I wanted clarification from whiteflame by the way. It may have come across wrong but I know he gets his votes right 100% of the time.
Posted 2015-01-18 22:39:57
I think it's one good way to ensure you're not coming across as arguing. In general anyway. I'm sure there's other techniques involving assertions. Probably.
Posted 2015-01-18 16:27:47
Okay, so in your opinion, questions are good, and assertions are bad?
Posted 2015-01-18 16:19:53
"where do we differentiate arguing with a judgement and giving meaningful criticism?"
I think debaters should (generally speaking) not be critiquing judges, but asking the judges questions about their judgment (like, what did you mean by this, or why didn't you weight this, etc).
Posted 2015-01-18 12:30:12
Haha. "Learn your place". Wow.
Posted 2015-01-18 10:33:29
In no relation to this debate (it just made me think of the topic), where do we differentiate arguing with a judgement and giving meaningful criticism? Is it the use of specifics that crosses the line, or something else? This debate has brought a lot of interesting questions up.
Posted 2015-01-18 08:23:49
Hmm, I wonder...
Posted 2015-01-18 08:22:06
Oh okay, awesome. Thanks.
Posted 2015-01-18 06:57:55
I'll move this to the comments under my judgment and post a response there.
Posted 2015-01-18 06:31:31
Hey Wylted, there's the ability to make comments like these directly underneath the Judge's decision. It makes it easier for people to follow what you're referring to. You should do that!
Posted 2015-01-18 06:21:03
I feel like I should have been able to just copy and paste his argument there and just say "I agree" and win.
Posted 2015-01-18 06:07:29
My opponent did agree with me that Mother Nature typically responds in a worse manner when you try to interfere with it.
Posted 2015-01-18 06:06:40
@Whiteflame, it seemed lock NZlockie agreed that when you mess with nature the consequences are typically totally unpredictable and could be extremely devastating. Shouldn't that impact be given to me?

If we agree that the results of climate engineering are completely unpredictable and potentially devastating, is argument down any other lines even neccesary?
Posted 2015-01-18 06:05:39
@Stag, stop being an idiot. You brought up the judgement vs voting thing in an attempt to get under people's skins. The only motive to bring that up was to imply some form of moral superiority.
Posted 2015-01-18 06:03:43
--- Well obviously you want to continue this menial conversation in the hopes of coming out on top, so how about you back off a little bit? I mean, by god, what are you trying to prove? We have a disagreement on how we should term judgements (which is of deep importance to me), and you are trying to bloat it into some kind of ego play. Back the hell off if you're going to bring this petty bullshit here.

Now please, enjoy the site and stop trying to instigate drama. I told you several times I did not want to argue this, and you dare to tell me to back off? Learn your place, and some respect. Otherwise you can GTFO. We're all friends here, and we do not need to accommodate this kindergarten nonsense.
Posted 2015-01-18 05:18:36
Why would you even bring up the difference of words. They're synonyms and though I think bringing them up is your petty way to feign moral superiority, doesn't mean I think it's a huge ethical issue.

@Stag, you have an over eating presence on this site. Why don't you just back off a little and stop being so present?

I know about 5 people who stay away from this site, strictly my because of your overbearing presence.
Posted 2015-01-18 04:39:54
Although I do believe in superior morals, and since I believe my morals are correct, I guess you would not be wrong in accusing me of having a moral superiority complex. Although is the use of the word judging over voting really a major moral issue, lol
Posted 2015-01-18 03:10:29
You obviously do not understand my personality or my intentions, so maybe you can stop trying to judge me. It is not very productive, and if anything, a little menial, so let us drop it :D
Posted 2015-01-18 03:08:47
Where did I claimed that you said that?

It's clearly implied. The fact you even care implies a moral superiority complex. There was a good way to mention the same exact thing and a bad way. As a debator and somebody who should be intimately familiar with rhetoric, your choice of words is troubling.

Posted 2015-01-18 03:06:13
Where did I claim I was being morally superior? You probably looked farther into this than I did.
I nag people all the time about saying "voting" instead of "judging", because I strongly believe we should use the terms correctly.

Hence nzlockies *eyeroll*
Posted 2015-01-17 09:48:59
You're clearly speaking from a position of implied moral superiority, which is offensive. This isn't about differing opinions but about demonstrating respect. It's not what you say Stag, it's how you say it.
Posted 2015-01-17 07:38:24
Am I a jerk, or just someone who has a differing opinion than yours?
Posted 2015-01-17 05:59:00
It doesn't matter. You just want to be a jerk. We can debate the importance of it soon if you want. Voting and judging are synonyms when used in this context.
Posted 2015-01-17 05:48:08
Great debate, guys! It was a fun read.
Posted 2015-01-17 05:12:51
I think it matters, but we will leave that for another time.
Posted 2015-01-17 01:49:58
Posted 2015-01-16 16:08:00
It really doesn't matter, Stag. I call them judgments but you can call them whatever you like, and whiteflame has that same right. You could call them Stag Units from now on if you wanted to.
Posted 2015-01-16 14:55:31
*eye roll*
Posted 2015-01-16 14:51:55
You mean judgement? We do not vote.
Posted 2015-01-16 14:40:17
Posted 2015-01-16 13:29:04
I'll get a vote up on this sometime this weekend.
Posted 2015-01-16 06:55:56
Me either.
Posted 2015-01-13 17:44:50
*shrug* I don't find a problem with your debating tactics.
Posted 2015-01-13 16:06:06
About 30 minutes to research and write an argument. Sweet, this seems like fun
Posted 2015-01-12 12:52:59
Cool. I can't control what measures you use to judge me and I'm OK with that. I will always present my argument in the most persuasive way possible. For me that means, language, formatting, style and tone.
We totally disagree on misdirection being deception. Deception is lying and untruth. Misdirection is making you focus on what I want you to focus on instead of what you SHOULD focus on. Crucially, the truth is never hidden or misrepresented.

That photo is a classic example. It is clearly photoshopped. My caption below it distracts from that fact and hopefully stops you from focusing on the photo itself and saying, "oh that looks fake." But crucially, nothing has been hidden so it's not deceptive.
Posted 2015-01-09 10:22:10
But misdirection in principal is deception. JSYK, I never will let those little tricks you use weigh into my judgements :D
Posted 2015-01-09 09:50:45
Deception is not even the right word.
I pretend that we are debating as we would politicians.
So obviously a politicians goal is to win, in anyway possible.

That does not change my disgust that they use misdirection or whatever you care to call it.
Posted 2015-01-09 09:49:58
It's not deceptive. At best it might be considered misdirection.
Id actually be quite offended if you accused me of using deception.
Posted 2015-01-09 09:42:24
Welp! 2 hours left.
I do not have a problem with using good speech to persuade an audience.
I'm just a little queasy about intentionally deceptive tactics.
Posted 2015-01-09 07:13:35
Haha! I don't think it's cheap or underhanded. Debate is about the skill of communication and persuasion.
I always put a lot of thought into the specific words I use, not only for their ability to communicate thoughts, but also for their ability to communicate tone and manipulate emotion.

It's nothing new, it's public speaking 101. I doubt that there's anything I've done here that would not be obvious to anyone looking for it.

And to be very clear, I'm not attempting to deceive here. My arguments are valid and I'm attempting to cast them in the best possible light so that they will have the best possible chance to succeed.

Don't hate the playa!
Posted 2015-01-08 15:56:45
@Stag, He can debate however he wants. I'm not worried about any tactics he uses. Thanks for your concern, though.
Posted 2015-01-08 15:45:05
@Stag, He can debate however he wants. I'm not worried about any tactics he uses. Thanks for your concern, though.
Posted 2015-01-08 15:43:42
Ah, I remember now. Cheap and underhanded
Posted 2015-01-08 15:41:26
Okay, I should of fully read the comments. NZlockie, I believe I complained about your debating tactics before. What was the word I used?
Posted 2015-01-08 15:39:01
NZlockie, why did you assume Wylted was playing devils advocate? I think this says something about societal bias on certain issues :P
Posted 2015-01-08 15:36:41
*in a louder voice* Of course all this is an elaborate double bluff. My side is absolutely the obviously correct side in this debate. I never employ these lame tricks, I respect the judges on this site too much to try something lame like that.
This was all a ruse to trick you into confessing that YOU employ such underhanded tactics.
You fell for it sir!
Posted 2015-01-08 14:33:53
There's a few others in there but they may actually be damaging to my case if I point them out so I'll leave it there.
Posted 2015-01-08 14:28:36
Oh I have subtle ones in there as well. I used a gradient colouring for three of my points to distract people from my actual text. If you check my other debates you'll see I never do that.
I spent quite a bit of time on the formatting and layout of this argument for a similar reason.
Posted 2015-01-08 14:27:05
LOL, I actually assumed that. I do the same thing but usually my psychological tricks are a lot more subtle. I don't want people to call me on my crap.
Posted 2015-01-08 14:18:03
I probably shouldn't say this here and now but whenever I find myself arguing a side I wholeheartedly disagree with, I like to use all those stupid psychological things they teach you. They almost never work, but you never know, maybe sub-consciously some of them might stick.

By claiming that you're "graciously" playing devil's advocate, it might sub-consciously communicate to someone reading this that your side is the "obviously wrong" side, and also that even you don't believe it. If someone thinks that you don't believe your own argument it automatically makes it sound weaker.
If they finish reading and still have no idea which way to vote, human nature says they won't want to look stupid, so they'll vote the side they feel is "obviously" right.

It's the same reason I've posted that obviously photoshopped picture of the polar bear and the same reason that I anthropomorphised him by giving him a human name. Believe it or not, I actually spent quite a bit of time trying out different names for him too. I spend way too much time on this crap.

It's pretty much all bollocks anyway, these people are way too savvy to be sucked in by that.
Posted 2015-01-08 14:14:03
I'm not playing Devil's advocate. I'm not sure why you'd think that. The position isn't devil's advocate anyway, the arguments probably won't accurately reflect my reasons for opposing it but I do oppose it.
Posted 2015-01-08 13:57:38
Cool! Me too. Good luck to you as well!
Posted 2015-01-07 16:41:55
Good luck. I actually plan on finishing this one.
Posted 2015-01-07 03:40:41
The judging period on this debate is over

Previous Judgments

2015-01-18 04:27:41
whiteflameJudge: whiteflame    TOP JUDGE
Win awarded to: nzlockie
Have to admit... I'm confused by how this debate progressed. It didn't go as I expected, and I think that's in part due to some interesting choices of emphasis in the debate, some misconceptions, and some odd choices.

I figure the best way to go about this RFD is to do it one round at a time.

Pro R1:

The definitions are... wonky, and the fact that Con doesn't actually attack them seems incredibly problematic to me. I'll look at two of them here.

“Endorse - support, encourage and ultimately sign off on.”

This seems to be moving beyond the scope of the resolution. I agree with support and encourage, but signing off on an action assumes that the international community a) should equate endorsement with regulation, and b) has some form of control over that action. When I see endorse, I see a term that simply signals a encouragement for an activity. Which becomes all the more important when we consider the other definition issue.

“Unilateral - in this context, projects brought to fruition without outside aid.”

I can't find this definition in any dictionary. Pro seemed to be equating unilateral with autonomous. Unilateral means acting without agreement. I understand, based on Pro's definition of endorse, why he would want to have this definition for unilateral – it's a whole lot easier to support actions taking place without outside help than it is to support actions taking place entirely independent of other countries and their views.

But these are the definitions I'm presented with, and as I said, they're left untouched by Con. Maybe that's due to lack of time or analysis on his part, but I'm loathe to punish Pro for something Con didn't spend any time on.

The structure for the case runs into some similar problems. I agree with Pro's analysis that those affected by an issue should be able to act in order to ensure that said issue is resolved. This argument actually would have worked for the real unilateral definition, though with Pro's definition, it actually seems less applicable. If I buy this point, I'm under the perception that there should be no limitations on what, say, third world nations can do to ensure that global warming doesn't affect them. Since that's what you seem to be arguing against, this could have been used to turn your case.

Both sides accept that global warming is a problem, so I grant that point. However, much of the applicable analysis comes up in R2, and I'll address it there, since Pro's analysis in this round simply invites the response of “treat the cause, not the symptoms.”

The case proper just confuses me, all the more so after it becomes clear in R2, so I'll address it there. I don't think it's at all clear in R1, as I don't know what the international community is doing to endorse projects, how it's making those determinations, or any examples of projects that are coming up or exist that should be endorsed.

Con R1:

Con's case ends up being confused as well. He presents a number of disadvantages in R1, but only makes it clear what his actual positive case is in R2. I'll get to it there.

I'll go through it point by point.

1. Chaos

Part of the reason Pro so casually dismisses this point is that it's not well fleshed out. Yes, nature is complicated. It's not enough to say it's complicated, and therefore that most things we do through climate engineering are likely to be bad.

I need examples.

The examples I get aren't particularly relevant. The fact that we've tried intervening in nature before is somewhat relevant, but since it's not a climate engineering project, it's difficult to draw conclusions from this that show that implementing climate engineering is likely to produce similarly harmful results. I don't doubt that the Matthews study has a lot of good cases to draw upon, but since none are mentioned, I can't use them.

2. Moral Hazard

The title's misleading. The argument should be under either the heading “masking” or “opportunity costs.” It's important to clarify which of these two arguments applies here, since throughout the debate, I alternately see both arguments.

The masking point is pretty decent, though it's not well explained. As Pro points out, there's no reason we can't address both the symptoms and the cause at the same time. Really, how a masking argument like this should be built is more along these lines:

A) Society is currently driven to deal with global warming.
B) The reason for that drive is that it's talked about a lot in the media, and it's made out as something huge that will affect everyone.
C) If there exists a method that is broadly used that is supposed to deal with a great deal of present problems, the sensationalism disappears, and it's talked about less in society.
D) That reduced discussion results in fewer people backing projects that reduce CO2 output, less pressures to stop deforestation, etc.
E) As a result, the problem is masked, and even a partial masking is a huge problem when funding is necessary to produce results in the prevention sphere.

I don't see that line of logic. I see pieces of it here and there, but no unifying picture.

The opportunity cost point really doesn't appear. I don't see why pursuing climate engineering somehow reduces the amount of effort put into methods to prevent global warming. This sounds like the masking point, but really, this would have to be a question of why one set of efforts precludes another. If there's a funding issue that's not likely to be dealt with, that would be an opportunity cost argument. If one company picking up climate engineering projects restricts their capacity to engage in other research, that's an opportunity cost. Those could have been points made here, but I don't see them.

As it stands, this is just a mitigating point, showing that these methods aren't wholly effective and therefore cannot be used alone. That's not really the point Pro was going for, so it's not a big deal here.

3. Weaponisation

Yes, the technology can be weaponized, and I think it's is a problem inherent to a world in which climate engineering projects are pursued more doggedly/employed more often. I think those links really needed to be established here. Pro doesn't really challenge the basic logic here that climate engineering projects can create weapons, it's really just a question of why Pro's case ensures that either a) more climate engineering projects are explored, or b) the ones that are pursued are more easily weaponized. Thus, the link to the case is brittle at best, and thus the actual likelihood of this impact is very low.

Pro R2:

First, because I want to get this out of the way, the case.

I shouldn't be needing the kind of clarity I'm getting in this round for what Pro's case is, yet I'm getting quite a bit. This actually would have been a reasonable place to argue that Pro was being overly vague, making it impossible to spend any of the first round attacking the case at all. But I don't see that from Con, so, while I'm personally against doing so, I accept the case specifications given here.

Part of those specifications is that the international community now MUST sign off in order for a solution to be implemented. I didn't see that in the opening round. If Con had argued the definition of unilateral, this might have been a winning point by itself, since I would have bought that now, for certain, the case would have defied the actual definition of unilateral. However, since I'm forced to buy Pro's definition, I accept that this specification is topical, if not altogether kosher.

There's also now specifics about how the international community approves and somewhat regarding who it will see. I don't know who would have to sit on the panel for it to be representative, but that's still more detail, as is the argument that solutions can “be submitted by literally anyone” and evaluated in this panel. This certainly leaves me with some concerns about how they can possibly manage to evaluate what is likely to be thousands of possible projects, and moreover, why it would matter that they do if they can't also enforce or subsidize implementation (which, as far as I can tell, are not part of the policy), effectively making most of these evaluations pointless since the only ones that matter are those coming from countries themselves, but, again, I'm not seeing these responses in the debate.

The Schelling point is another case addition in this round. I'm not sure how this would be enforced by the international community, or how a monitoring system would be put in place, so it's difficult to say what this would really do and who would be left out. I buy that it's happening in status quo, and therefore that weaponization happens regardless, and, as I pointed out above, that there's a limited, weak link to your case, but I'm not sure the Schelling point does anything for you without the key details. The international community is pretty notorious for allowing countries to gain access to very dangerous weapons without response, so I'm not sure why their involvement here dramatically changes things. It just seems like the problem persists, at perhaps a small increased level, though that's difficult to evaluate.

I see yet another extension of the case in the Open Source point, and I'm not really sure why you included this. Again, maybe if the justice point had been present, this would have benefited your case since you're presenting an equal playing field worldwide regardless, but without it, this just seems like yet another unnecessary piece to tack onto your case. Worse yet, it seems you're just flaunting the “unilateral” definition in the boldest way possible, since an Open Source system is literally the opposite of a unilateral actor. Worst of all, this invites two turns:

A) A forced open Open Source system (which would probably be required to make this equal) would ensure that most individuals and companies would never have any financial incentive, which is a problem given that that's the major incentive by which they pursue these things, and many country wouldn't have incentive for developing technologies that they would automatically have to share, thus destroying any advantage they might gain from development.

B) An Open Source system could be viewed as actually less equal. It's the forced sharing of ideas, not resources. As such, countries with tremendous resources will suddenly have access to every idea being produced across the planet and be able to pick and choose based on what they are willing to do, while other countries will be forced to hope for collaborations.

Either of these turns could have been deadly by themselves, though neither is attempted.

1) How should we proceed?

I think that generally, this point needed more work. I can understand that those who are directly affected by global warming in the most stark way should have some stake in finding and implementing the solution, and that their views are often subjugated to those of larger, more powerful countries that aren't as affected. However, I would have liked to see analysis on the following points:

A) Why are some countries demonstrably more affected by global warming than others? I know you got to this somewhat in this round, but I'd have liked to see a general principle and not just two examples. Moreover, why don't those countries have a voice? This is an implicit assumption in the argument, but it's never supported.
B) What is the cost of not involving more countries in the decision? Again, there seem to be several implicit assumptions here based partially on the value of justice, and the importance of having a diverse set of ideas to draw from, but in both cases, I don't get support for why they're important, just a statement that they are.
C) What is the cost of not having these countries also implementing the solution? Again, a justice argument might have worked well here, but I don't see the value of justice being debated or, for that matter, even broached anywhere. What also might have worked here is a general argument that global warming, despite its name, has a lot of local effects before it becomes truly global. We can't and shouldn't ignore those effects, and so the international community needs to endorse their actions to stop it.

2/3) Does Climate Engineering address the real problem? Shouldn't we just buy a Prius?/OK, tell me about the Water Vapour!

Good rebuttal here, and I brought up earlier how well this works. This deals a pretty solid blow to any opportunity cost argument Con might have been going for, as well as the masking point through the education argument (though that might also be moving beyond the bounds of the resolution).

The main point that matters here, as offense for you, is this argument that a greenhouse effect is already happening and needs to be stopped – that prevention alone won't solve. Since that's the brunt of Con's case (that prevention is all we need), it hits rather hard, especially as Con doesn't present a solid objection to this point. It's probably the strongest point made in this debate.

4) So have they already solved this thing then?

Both debaters are really avoiding presenting any examples in their favor, which is a disservice to this debate in general. For Pro, I can understand why you'd want to avoid presenting them because there's not many good examples out there. Nonetheless, I generally I have a problem with this argument that “we don't know yet!” Or, in other words, that we're looking for a solution and will eventually find it, and as such, will solve for global warming at some point. It seems like a fallacy to me, arguing that evidence will someday be discovered with will then support Pro's point. Admittedly, any chance of it occurring at all may be a reason to support Pro's case, but that argument isn't made clearly, and Con could have argued in response that uncertainty is in his favor since all the new tech that's come about has proven pretty damn awful for climate engineering (again, need examples for this though). I get that you're arguing for caution as well, but yours is the only case (up til this point) that's absolutely certain to pursue something eventually, and therefore the only one that's likely to invite those harms.

Nonetheless, this doesn't do any damage to you, just because I'm not given reason enough from Con to think that the risk is likely and damaging enough to favor his case.

5) Potential for Weaponisation

This point from Con probably should have fallen victim to the same fallacy, but he gives more support for it. I don't see Pro countering that support. I understand the slippery slope fallacy being used here (that its usage as a weapon is a less likely outcome), but I'm given little reason to believe that it's exceedingly unlikely through this point.

As I explained above, the Schelling point and Open Source arguments just really don't work for me.

Whew. That was a long one.

Con R2:

I understand that you were short on time here, but this round is really just too short to address Pro's case sufficiently, and I think a lot could have been done this round that ends up going dropped because of the length and breadth of this post.

Again, unpredictability isn't a powerful point unless you can show that it favors you. So far, all I've seen is that there's possible dangers, but no actual examples of climate engineering causing them. If your goal was to keep it vague, then this still requires more effort on your part. Whether that means introducing the Precautionary Principle, or talking about what it means to engage in climate experiments that can have very wide reaching effects (turning the world into a test tube), I'd need a lot of support for a point like this.

And, since I didn't do this before, here's a short list of things that I found through a short search: cloud seeding (look into silver iodide and what China tried to do), the Three Gorges Dam in China (meant to stop floods, displaced over a million people, obviously not the only example of a dam causing substantial harms), and iron fertilization (I know this was mentioned, but there's a lot of good detail about algal blooms, surges in toxic phytoplankton species, explosions of jellyfish, destruction of whale populations, and generally upsetting many ocean ecosystems in irreversible ways) are all good examples. There are good responses to these, but they should have appeared somewhere in this debate in detail.

This new argument in this round is actually pretty confusing, mainly because it looks like we never get to the impact of the argument. Yes, people disagree on what is a good average temperature, but it's generally agreed that increasing temperatures are bad. That's not really an impediment here, as far as I can tell.

Now, there may be a good reason to bring up the difficulty getting agreement on cutting emissions and citing the issues with the Kyoto Protocol... but given the argument as written, it actually supports Pro's case. It makes me believe that dealing with emissions is an impossible venture, and that's the entire point of your case. You had to build on this, first by pointing to a means by which we can ensure that emissions are cut consistently, and second by explaining why the Kyoto Protocol is a reflection of Pro's case (i.e. that his case depends on countries abiding by some implicit or explicit international agreement, which they are unlikely to do for some reason).

I sort of get the first in the next paragraph, but this new case addition is just confounding. Who is this “small group of countries or billionaires”? How would they be selected? How many countries? How many billionaires? Would they get equal say? How would their decisions be enforced? This leaves me with more questions than answers. Maybe there's something good out of all this, but if I have no idea how it functions, I can't really weigh it against something more certain. And, as Pro points out next round, this just sounds incredibly domineering. In fact, it seems more domineering than the international community having to sign off on every single climate engineering project in order for it to be pursued. So it just ends up making your case lose any possible moral high ground it had taken.

Pro R3:

There's not much in the way of new material to cover this round as much of the rebuttal is repetitive. I'll just cover what's new.

You mention that leaving “the development and implementation of a Climate Engineering tool... to a small group of countries” is problematic, but I can't help but notice that that's what you're doing too, unless I'm mistaken. I didn't see any means by which the international community acts, but presumably not every single nation is going to vote every single time on every single project. Similarly, as I mentioned before, not every country's going to be able to implement these projects, thereby limiting involvement in that regard. Even if I discount those, I can't help but think that, even if some enforcement structure exists to ensure that only approved projects are allowed, the bigger and more powerful countries of the world are the only ones that have the capacity to ignore it, thus rendering them the sole countries capable of actual unilateral climate engineering projects. Again, none of these arguments came up, but it's hard not to see the hypocrisy in your statement that Con's case is domineering.

Nonetheless, I think the argument that the biggest polluters are likely to populate Con's voting group is a solid one. These are billionaires, and likely the most powerful countries (though I'm not sure, after reading your case, why they are less affected by climate change – I know those arguments, but I don't see them), and therefore more likely to have other interests that detract from pursuing the stated goal.

I like the way you wrapped up the debate. Reminding us of what's involved in the resolution, what's necessary to win, and what our ballots uphold in terms of real world policy actions are good ways to go, and I think they have a solid punch.

Con R3:

Again, just another very short ground that doesn't seem to get where it needs to go. If this is very high risk, I need to know what kind of harm they can cause and why I should be concerned. I don't think I ever get that message solidly. Pro gives me a much better warranted and impacted argument for why global warming is a big problem, and that at least is agreed by both sides. He also tells me why climate engineering is specifically necessary in order to ensure that it can be stopped.

Many of the assumptions about your arguments keep on trucking. I don't see a solid link between the Kyoto treaty and Pro's case, nor do I see the Kyoto treaty as a complete failure just for want of the participation of certain countries, even if that was true.


Obviously, there was a lot involved in this debate. Nonetheless, the outcome is simple enough for me to assess because the case with the best structure, the most support, the best link story and the strongest impacts is Pro's. Given the vagueness of his case and his taking advantage of multiple opportunities in later rounds to expound upon it in often confusing ways, I'll admit that I am loathe to vote for Pro's case all the same, but since a) Con engages in the same behavior, albeit in a more minimal fashion, b) Con fails to point out these specifications, c) there's apparent rule against it, and d) his central case is still the most potent part of his argument, I don't have much choice but to allow it. Many of those same issues apply to Pro's definitions, which certainly seem abusive to me. Despite my perceptions of his case and definitions, I evaluate the debate as it's presented to me, so I vote Pro.

I've given the vast majority of my feedback in the RFD, but I'll add to it generally.

nzlockie: Make your case as clear as possible in the first round. Take the time to block off that explanation under the heading “case,” “plan” or “model.” It doesn't have to be exhaustive, but it should include the relevant details. If it requires a method for enforcement, include it. If it requires a certain panel acting a certain number of times, you've got to make it clear how that panel is composed and that it's plausible. Don't add new pieces to the case unless it's absolutely necessary, and try when you do present the pieces of your case to keep them directly relevant to the resolution. When it's a debate about endorsing projects, for example, that endorsement shouldn't become a requirement for those projects to occur.

One other thing to be aware of – you don't want too many moving pieces. Your case had at least 4 planks from my count, some of which were better explained than others, but it really doesn't matter, since so many planks gives your opponent a tremendous number of options for attacks. You don't want to be giving him more opportunities unless you garner something very important from each plank, and at most, I see two of these as important. Streamline your case whenever possible.

Also, try to be reasonable with your definitions. I know it's tempting on resolutions like this to try and give yourself the most ground you can, but there is actually a lot of good arguments that you could have presented given the actual definitions of endorse and unilateral. All Wylted really had to do was cite the actual definitions and restrict your case, and things would have gotten very bad very quickly, since he would have skewed you out of most of your arguments.

What really worked for you was the explanation for the positive feedback loop because it was the strongest delineation between yours and your opponent's cases. It's important to make that delineation clear from the first round, since it's the main link leading to your impact of reducing global warming.


Obviously, time was an issue here. I'm sure you had more important things taking up your time, and I understand that, but it ended up doing a lot of damage to your arguments here.

I think that you were mainly too focused on your own case here. Building an off-case argument is important, but there was a lot to work with here from your opponent, more than enough to cover half of your opening argument if you were willing. Don't let your opponent control the debate, attack him on the pieces he thinks he controls most thoroughly.

Similarly to Pro, though, when you present an alternative to the case, you should make it as clear as possible. If your case is solely that climate engineering projects should disappear so that focus can be placed solely on preventing emissions, then you need to present ways to end those projects that occur in status quo and reasons why ending those projects improves other methods. Especially if you're planning on adding a specific panel to accomplish these things, you have to make that extremely clear from the outset.

The main thing that's missing from your arguments are link stories. I need to know why it is that the Kyoto treaty was ineffective, and why those aspects apply to Pro's case. I also want to know what that means for Pro's impacts – it doesn't look like full mitigation, so what does it do to his impacts? The same is true for each of your arguments; I felt you had a lot of the pieces there, but they were missing fundamental links and warrants to improve them. If I'm missing any of those pieces, it makes them that much more difficult to understand, and you want to make it as simple and straightforward as possible.

Both debaters: I think both of you were trying to build off of implicit values (Pro off of justice/equality, Con off of a general “do no harm” principle). Don't do that. If you have a value, make it explicit. I shouldn't be guessing what your values are, especially when they're essential to many of your arguments. Make it clear early and often what your value is and why it matters.
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In response to Wylted's concern in the comments:

The problem with that argument is that nzlockie provided information that showed that there's a certainty of consequences without using climate engineering projects. I buy that it's exceedingly unpredictable, but I didn't see him agreeing that it's tremendously devastating (he agreed that many of the ways we interact with nature are devastating, but not that climate engineering projects can be), nor do I see any examples that shore that up. So I side with the arguments that showcase a demonstrable harm that results from inaction on this front.

Beyond that, even if I do buy the potentially devastating aspect, I don't know what that likelihood looks like. Just because something is unpredictable doesn't mean that the devastating outcome is a plausible one. I get that it can happen, but I need more than a "this is possible" argument to really view this as a big issue. Likelihood is a large part of any impact calculus, and I don't think that got any assessment here. You're asking me to prefer a vague, potentially exceedingly unlikely impact to one where I'm certain of harm that could only be ameliorated through this method. I'd have liked to see arguments about why climate engineering projects can't deal with the feedback loop, but those didn't appear in the debate, so I've got a certain benefit to case that you don't match.
Posted 2015-01-18 06:34:27
Since this feature was designed for giving feedback, please welcome this advice. You often claim you give the majority of feedback in the judgement section of the debate, over the feedback section. Giving feedback in the judgement section actually makes the judgement read less clearly. If you have feedback, you should wait to bring it up in the feedback section. This is a concern I've been having, as I often get lost in the actually decision making process when there are a lot of side comments about what could of been done.
Posted 2015-11-03 14:14:56
I appreciate that view, but I find there's give and take with both methods. By including feedback specific to certain arguments (what was said and could have been said) at appropriate points in the debate as I'm going through it, I find that it's actually simpler to keep things organized. Otherwise, I have to basically outline the debate as a whole in the feedback as well, and place specific feedback in the appropriate locations, dramatically increasing the length of everything and leading me to repeat myself. I also find that it decreases the value of the judgment itself, even if it improves on the feedback, to make such a hard delineation.
Posted 2015-01-18 11:04:51
In response to Wylted's concern in the comments:

The problem with that argument is that nzlockie provided information that showed that there's a certainty of consequences without using climate engineering projects. I buy that it's exceedingly unpredictable, but I didn't see him agreeing that it's tremendously devastating (he agreed that many of the ways we interact with nature are devastating, but not that climate engineering projects can be), nor do I see any examples that shore that up. So I side with the arguments that showcase a demonstrable harm that results from inaction on this front.

Beyond that, even if I do buy the potentially devastating aspect, I don't know what that likelihood looks like. Just because something is unpredictable doesn't mean that the devastating outcome is a plausible one. I get that it can happen, but I need more than a "this is possible" argument to really view this as a big issue. Likelihood is a large part of any impact calculus, and I don't think that got any assessment here. You're asking me to prefer a vague, potentially exceedingly unlikely impact to one where I'm certain of harm that could only be ameliorated through this method. I'd have liked to see arguments about why climate engineering projects can't deal with the feedback loop, but those didn't appear in the debate, so I've got a certain benefit to case that you don't match.
Posted 2015-01-18 11:17:53
*sigh* damn reposting from reloads...
Posted 2015-01-18 11:18:41
About giving integrated feedback: a lot of styles of debate actually encourage this. The main reason why it's done rarely in RL is because of the need to be brief with the decision, as feedback can be given later if time is running short but the tab runner needs to know the decision quite fast so there's no delay in starting the next round. Of course this doesn't translate very well to edeb8, so I guess ultimately it's a moot issue, but keeping the structure is kind of a subtle way I encourage people to actually give feedback at all. So that explains why I have feedback in a separate box anyway.
Posted 2015-01-18 12:04:42
Now that the judging is over on this debate, I want to explain why I took the line I took on this. I do this freely admitting that I am making excuses for what was, by my own admission, not my best work.
Whiteflame, you are right on the money calling me on my definitions. When I saw this resolution, I was not a fan. I knew that I was going to be pushed for time on this debate and, not being a personal fan of any aspect of this, I was not looking forward to it.
I decided that if I tried to argue a model on this debate, and took the resolution in the way it was written, I would find myself quickly buried in science if Wylted chose to attack the seriousness of climate change itself.
I decided that if I could shift the emphasis of the resolution AWAY from climate change and on to who should make final decisions on things that affect the planet, it would bode well for me. (Just as you said!)
Everyone hates bullies and loves equality.

I have to say, this was a very conscious effort on my part to try my hands at a technique I've learned by watching Admin. He often uses a simple analogy which has nothing to do with the more complex actual resolution to rephrase the topic. It usually starts with, "This is basically..." and I find it a very effective, and distracting, technique.
I tried to do that with my window analogy. I thought that by devoting so much effort to explaining something so obvious, I might engage my opponent into arguing that the international community is the wrong group to fix this problem.
Arguing that Kiribati has a voice that deserves to be heard over millionaires and super powers was more down my alley. And it kind of worked, especially towards the end.

My biggest fear was that he would attack climate change itself, something I would have really struggled with.
I was also really annoyed at the use of the word, "prevent" in the resolution, since most of the climate change solutions I found were aimed at addressing the symptoms, not providing a permanent cure. Wylted did bring this up and I tried to deflect. I'm not sure how successful I was.
In the end this single word was the deciding factor of why I to the risk to steer away from specific examples of solutions. None of them prevented the climate change, they just compensated for it. I decided to take the line that potential solutions just haven't been found yet, which is all the more reason to spread the net wide.

So in conclusion, I feel like I worked for this win. It was ugly, and the margin does not accurately reflect reality, but I'll take it gladly.
As I openly said in the comments, I employed every ounce of gamesmanship in here, to drive this debate in the direction I wanted it to go. I knew there was a good chance I'd get called on it, but at the end of the day, I figured I'd have a better chance of winning if I didn't.
I was also using this an a chance to try the "Admin technique", something I've been wanting to try for a while.

Thanks again for the RFD to all judges, this has been a highly educational debate for me!

PS: re " unilateral" - I honestly wasn't trying to stretch it to far. I got that definition from a business/contractual context which I realised I forgot to cite. It basically said that when the project was unilateral, it included the fact that it was self funded- something which, as you pointed out, for all with my definition of "endorse".
Don't know if you picked it up, but the word I was most leary about was my rather loose definition of "endorse". For this to work, it was crucial that people bought the fact that it meant, " final say on BEFORE implementing". I felt that was a stretch, and, had I been CON, I would have attacked that hard!
Posted 2015-08-25 21:59:37
Ugh, so many typos. Typing this on my phone. Sorry.
Also I see you DID call me on the endorse thing. Sorry I missed that. Nice. Like I said, love your work.
Posted 2015-08-25 21:59:37
(Just seeing if tags work in judgement comments...)
Posted 2015-08-25 21:59:37
Doesn't look like it. :(
Posted 2015-08-25 21:59:37
2015-01-22 17:02:02
e4c5Judge: e4c5
Win awarded to: Wylted
Con's example of the negative effects of unforeseen consequences were solid, and Pro failed in rebutting it. Pro's arguments were vague and I couldn't envision exactly how his proposed solution would work.

Pro's arguments were to vague. Pro should have been more specific in his arguments. Pro should have also responded to better to Con's example of negative unforeseen consequences.
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Hi e4c5, if you read my reply to whiteflame above, you'll see that being vague was a deliberate move on my part. I knew I lose marks for it, and you were right to call me on it, I was just gambling that I'd lose less marks for that than if I presented a solution that didn't for the criteria.

I'm disappointed in myself to see that my response to CON's assertion of negative impacts didn't score with you. My contention was that negative impacts from ill conceived or poorly executed solutions would be LESS of they had to get past an international committee first, as opposed to CON's alternative, a small group of the rich and powerful.

I did wonder if I hit that home hard enough, and your comments show me that I didn't. Thanks!
Posted 2015-08-25 21:59:37
2015-01-23 02:26:56
9spacekingJudge: 9spaceking
Win awarded to: nzlockie
I believe Nzlockie showed not only sufficient evidence of Global Warming that was not refuted, but he also managed to hold up the need to protect animals on a global level, thus why unilateral climate engieering is needed. Wylted attacked less and less of Nz's arguments each round, and Nz only grew stronger and stronger with each strengthening of his arguments, and by the end, Wylted was left with a flimsy argument close to "it's not possible or plausible", which was easily refuted by Nzlockie's statistics (and facts concerning the effects of the climate on those countries). Thus, Nzlockie wins.
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2015-01-26 17:49:01
ZeusYodaJudge: ZeusYoda
Win awarded to: nzlockie
I felt PRO made more sense on the resolution.. Arguments more explained and deep analysis on levels or argumentation.

...I encourage a lot more engagement on the debate! We dont respond to people's claims and it ends up as a parallel debate. Rebuttals, are crucial in a debate and should be given out most respect.
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Round 1 of the 2015 Tournament!