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That preventing climate change is futile

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adminadmin (PRO)
First of all, I want to thank my opponent for taking on this challenge, and welcome her to the site for her first debate! Good luck.

1. There is no climate change
Climate always goes through natural cycles of rising and falling temperatures. This is normal - a change would be if we were to shift to a constant temperature and maintain that. Currently we are in a very long ice age, which is periodically broken up by various shorter warm periods. Nothing we have seen in terms of actual scientific evidence is unusual if you look at world history. It is futile to prevent something that isn't going to happen anyway.

The IPCC, the world's preeminent body of climate scientists, has never once been able to correctly predict our future average global temperatures despite numerous attempts over the past forty years. Every single estimate has been an overestimate. They're predicted the end times more often than any cult and they've always been wrong so far. One thing is clear - there is no direct correlation between atmospheric carbon dioxide levels and global average temperature.  The last decade is a case in point, with declining global temperatures yet increasing carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere. Beyond that the fact is that we don't understand climate as well as we think we do. We can model local weather pretty well, but nothing much on a global scale.

(image: Prof Geoff Duffy)

Even if it did happen, my opponent then further needs to prove what the harm would be. Humans have easily survived much warmer and much colder periods than this in the past, after all, without too much trouble. Indeed, warmer climates have seen all kinds of plant and animal species thrive. That's the reason why we don't have sloths the size of elephants running around the earth any more.

Actual scientific research backs up this point too - very recent studies on ice core samples show the planet is not actually experiencing any unusual temperatures. Research from geology yields the same result, consistently.

2. Climate is in no way significantly influenced by human behavior
With modern chemtrail technology and the like we can change the weather. Changing the climate of the planet, however, is a whole different story. It is totally futile to try to change something that we cannot significantly influence.

Excluding water vapor, greenhouse gases are about 0.05% of the atmosphere. Mankind has released about 3-5% of them, and the rest are naturally there. This tiny amount of gas might make a big difference when first introduced, but there are diminishing returns - the marginal impact of each additional unit of greenhouse gas is smaller the more of that greenhouse gas there is available. Short of perhaps removing carbon dioxide from our atmosphere (and killing ourselves in the process) we could not have a significant influence on temperature in that mechanism.

Other mechanisms (ie, lighting a huge bushfire) are far too small and localized to be effective to change the global climate.

3. Even if I'm completely wrong about all that, it's too late
Trying to prevent climate change is futile because if I'm wrong, then we've already set in motion unpreventable events that will fall like dominoes. The latest IPCC report, headed and edited by the top UN scientists and leaders, effectively argues that climate change cannot be prevented, only mitigated or adapted to. Climate change is thus simply a reality we need to face. The greenhouse gases and such we have already released will slowly raise our temperature over time, and we'll just have to live with it.

I look forward to reading my opponent's case. The resolution is affirmed.

Return To Top | Posted:
2014-04-28 01:30:28
| Speak Round
Zosime StormZosime Storm (CON)

  Before I start, thanks to admin for welcoming me! I must admit, I was quite relieved that the topic was something I wasn't wholly ignorant in...

My opponent stated that there is no climate change and mentioned past temperatures as proof. I believe this is what he was talking about. 20140303-214740.jpg

 I acknowledge that there is a pattern. If an observer looks at this graph, it seems as if carbon levels are rising naturally and will follow this pattern and nothing will happen. However, this is not what scientists are worried about, but rather they fear that our added carbon emissions may push the carbon level over the edge.  My opponent mentioned that humans are very resilient and a bit of heat will not kill anyone. However, humans cannot live under water, no matter how resilient we are. Every single degree the temperature rises leads us closer to the melting of the ice caps. This is a reasonable worry as of such, considering that most of the ice surface of Greenland melted during the course of one July. If carbon levels keep on rising as they do now, it isn't just Greenland that will melt, but most of the ice around the world. Consider how dramatically water levels will rise as a result. It will lead to floods around the world and most, if not all, land will be submerged. Would we be able to survive such an ordeal? I realise that my opponent stated that human behaviour cannot effect the climate, but that is what we are doing indirectly, through global warming and the rising of carbon levels.

 However, all is not lost. We can still recover from this, although we do not have much time. Humans are very resilient, and if we stick together, we can do almost anything. Heck, we've already gone to the moon, so why would our own planet be such an effort? It isn't still too late to stop this terrible event from happening and saving our future generations. This is why we need to try to reduce our carbon levels.

 We need to use our growing population to our advantage to unite ourselves against climate change. Things as simple as using less electricity, or switching petrol with biofuels can be effective if it is done by over 7 billion people. There are already many alternative ways of producing energy and scientists are inventing new things by the day. Even something like making sure there are more green plants can help, as they take in carbon dioxide for photosynthesis. My opponent may state that something as small as that would not have an effect, but every penny contributes to a pound and every resource contributes to a better world. With this, I state that preventing climate change is not futile as (and I'm sorry for stating such a corny line) nothing is ever futile as long as you believe.

Return To Top | Posted:
2014-05-01 19:46:11
| Speak Round
admin: Can you prove that there is a causation, or at least a correlation, between carbon emissions and global average temperature?
Zosime Storm: Firstly, thanks for pointing th
Zosime Storm: Sorry about that... Firstly, thanks for pointing this out to me. Now, I could show you a graph that would clearly show the correlation between carbon emissions and global average temperature, but many graphs also exist that show the opposite, which woul
Zosime Storm: First of all, thanks for pointing this out to me.
Zosime Storm: I noticed you said 'we don't understand climate as well as we think we do. We can model local weather pretty well, but nothing much on a global scale.' If you say this, how can you be so sure that climate change can't exist, considering the fact you say
Zosime Storm: - that we we don't understand it as well as we think we do? And what makes you dismiss the possibility of climate change if, as you say, we can't even make an accurate model of global temperature? (Sorry, it's acting up for some reason)
admin: Oh. Sorry that it's acting up. There is a limit for how many characters per message, but some of that looks out of order which is really strange. Anyway...
admin: Every climate change prediction is based on a model of something that we can't model accurately. No physical evidence at all suggests climate is at all changing due to human factors. Its all based on models.
admin: Can you present me with examples of specific actions you think people could take that would have a significant impact on the climate?
Zosime Storm: By taking actions such as cutting down entire forests AND increasing carbon emissions, which is adding onto carbon emissions
Zosime Storm: With us adding onto natural carbon emissions and taking the human population into account, we could seriously effect the global temperature, indirectly having a significant impact on the climate
Zosime Storm: Could you expand on how exactly we can adapt to climate change?
admin: Same way we've been adapting to different climate for millions of years. Just 2000 years ago the climate was an average 2 degrees warmer in most human-settled parts of the planet.
admin: If that's so, given that only a tiny fraction of all carbon in the air man-made, even if carbon dioxide did cause some warming, why do you think mankind has a serious impact?
Zosime Storm: There are factors to consider other than carbon emissions. Take the cutting down trees, for example. Cutting down trees mean there is less photosynthesis and less carbon is removed from the environment. Therefore, there is a greater amount of carbon in t
admin: In 2005, alarmist scientific estimates said mankind cut down a terrible 0.1% of trees on the planet. Since then it's dropped to about a third of that, particularly in the Amazon.
admin: Is that really any less negligible than the impact people have had on carbon dioxide?

Return To Top | Speak Round
adminadmin (PRO)
Over a millennium ago, the Viking explorer Erik the Red set out and discovered Greenland. He built two settlements, one to the west and one to the east. This is more or less what remains of them today:

Viking settlement in Greenland

It's no secret what happened: the climate got too cold. I guess it looks sort of green now, but this actually used to be a forest with huge pines. There were fields here with crops and cattle. Now the whole land is cold and desolate.

This debate is not about whether changing the climate would be a good idea. I think that's a clear no - we're already naturally on track to improving conditions for human life on earth. Perhaps one day we can grow crops in Greenland once more. Despite much warmer periods in the past, the sea level has never swamped the most low-lying country in the world, the Maldives (funnily enough, that same July Greenland mostly melted also saw record levels of sea ice around Antarctica - this is simply seasons). But it's all irrelevant - this debate is about whether preventing such changes to the climate is futile.

1. There is no climate change
All my opponent has shown has been changes in co2. She has not shown abnormal changes in temperature. There is a claim she made, that all this extra co2 might tip the temperature out of balance one day, but she has not actually presented any evidence to support that conclusion. No worry is reasonable if there is no reason to believe it will ever happen.

2. Climate is in no way significantly influenced by human behavior
Humans do produce a lot of co2, but not compared to the total amount of co2 in the atmosphere, and co2 is only a tiny fraction of all the greenhouse gases. Likewise humans do cut down a lot of new trees (although we are cutting less and less by the year), but it's nothing compared to the number of trees in the world. When you have a global frame of reference, humans have had significantly less of an impact on the world than most climate alarmists like to believe. There is no evidence at all that any of these things have actually led to a temperature change, because my opponent has still not shown a link between co2 and temperature. But even if she does, the impact would be negligible, because humans have had a negligible impact on the atmosphere.

3. Even if I'm completely wrong about all that, it's too late
My opponent just asserts we can do it if we set our minds to it. Not good enough. She actually needs to explain what we can do. None of the world's top scientists have any idea, as I explained last round, so that means she needs to provide a model. All she's said is plant trees, presumably to offset co2 emissions. Even if this would reduce co2 in the atmosphere and that had a corresponding temperature effect, it's too late. The trees would need to grow first to be effective, and we don't have enough co2 in the air for instantly growing trees. Therefore, by the time the trees have grown, climate will have already changed.

Thanks again to my opponent. The resolution is affirmed.

Return To Top | Posted:
2014-05-08 22:16:51
| Speak Round

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Hey Zosime Storm - in case you didn't know, this "cross examination" is a time for us to ask each other questions and answer them in a chat-like interface. If you haven't already, try clicking on the "Engage in Cross-Examination" button to see what I mean. I've put up a question for you! :)
Posted 2014-05-03 20:31:11
Thanks! Good luck to you too!
Posted 2014-04-25 21:03:26
Zosime StormZosime Storm
Good luck! This is my first debate so I'm pretty psyched!
Posted 2014-04-25 21:02:25
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