Wow! Are you guys as impressed as I am? My opponent really has the rhetoric rolling, doesn’t he? After the debate I’ll have to extend an
invitation for him to join us in the Short Stories forum, where his talent for writing fiction
will be much appreciated.
But for now, welcome back to reality.
In this post, we’ll learn about the scientific evidence that overwhelmingly points to human activity as the cause of accelerated global warming. But
first, let’s talk a bit about tiny numbers. When looking at small percentages, we tend to dismiss them .. but let’s see how they add up.
Suppose we have a little planet somewhere with a climactic cycle of temperature change +/- 10 degrees every thousand years. That is to say, for 1000
years the average temperature goes up ten degrees, then for 1000 years it goes down ten degrees. No matter how long we track this for, the net
will be zero. With me?
Now, suppose we add some gaseous herbivores to the planet – ok, a LOT of gaseous herbivores – which increase methane in the atmosphere and cause
an average temperature increase of 1%. One little percent – a tenth of a degree. So we go up 10.1, down 10; up 10.2, down 10, up 10.3, down 10….
After 50 thousand years (the blink of an eye geographically speaking), where is our net effect? Up 5 degrees! Good grief, that’s a whopping 50% of
the original cycle .. from a one percent increase in just 50 thousand years. And I used only a LINEAR increase and didn’t account for the
amplification effect of other greenhouse gases such as water vapor. So, now you see how little bitty numbers can make a big difference over
On to the evidence:
B -> C
This chart shows us very clearly that, global average temperatures are linked to CO2 levels in the atmosphere. In fact, over the past four hundred
years, during which there have been sunspots, solar flares, variations in solar activity, ice ages, volcanic eruptions, and (supposedly)
at least one visit from Nibiru, what we see is that average temperatures are so tightly linked to CO2 levels that these other factors seem to be
completely irrelevant. In other words, the driving factor for average global temperatures is atmospheric CO2 levels, period. Throw in volcanoes,
tectonic shifts, polar shifts, solar flares & sunspots, anything you like .. it doesn’t matter
, because it’s all happened before, and none
of it was able to cause average temperatures to deviate from atmospheric CO2 levels.
Therefore, we can logically conclude that Atmospheric CO2 levels directly
drive Global Average Temperatures, and that an increase in
Atmospheric CO2 levels will cause a direct, corresponding increase in Global Average Temperatures.
A -> B
This second chart shows the increase in atmospheric CO2 levels since 1880, and the corresponding increase in Global Average Temperatures. As I asked
in my previous post, if man made emissions aren’t causing this steep increase in CO2, then what is? My opponent simply replied that he doesn’t
know, which isn’t surprising. Given the evidence, there really isn’t any other logical explanation. I suspect that the expert skeptics, if they
could somehow be hornswoggled into answering such a direct (and potentially embarrassing) question, would also have to reply “we don’t know.”
This reminds me of the kid’s version of the 5th amendment; if the truth is going to hurt you, say “I don’t know.”
Mom: Who made this mess?
Kid: Not me.
Mom: Well, if not you, then who?
Kid: I don’t know!
Have another look at that first chart. Notice anything interesting? Although it’s not a pretty sine wave like our +10/-10 example would have been,
the Net Effect over the first 350,000 + years was pretty much a big ZERO. It went up, it went down. But if you drew a line across the top spikes and
the bottom spikes, both lines would be rather horizontal. That is, until human industry came along. Then all of a sudden we’re headed up, up, up
Can we really, reasonably think that this is just coincidence? In four hundred thousand years the CO2 levels never rose above 300 ppmv, then during
the 150 or so years since the industrial revolution really took off, they rose from 280 ppmv to 376 ppmv (an increase of 34%!). I don’t see how
anyone can logically conclude anything other than that human industry caused this sharp, drastic rise in atmospheric CO2 levels.
We now have one of the simplest of logic “equations,” a causality chain. If [A] causes [B] and [B] causes [C], then [A] causes [C].
Substituting: [Human industry] causes [an increase in atmospheric CO2 levels] and [an increase in atmospheric CO2 levels] causes [an increase in
Global Average Temperatures]
Therefore, [Human industry] causes [an increase in Global Average Temperatures].
And, since [an increase in Global Average Temperatures] = [Global Warming], we have:
[Human industry] causes [Global Warming].
Socratic Question #1: How can a 34% increase in CO2 levels, which has occurred over the past hundred years or so, but never previously in 400,000
years, be part of a “natural cycle”?
This is simple human logic, but our most advanced tool, the computer, agrees. Computer models of climate change using either natural or human
influences alone do not match up with observed data. However, models using a combination of natural and human influences DO match. Thus, computer
analysis also tells us that human activities are having a significant effect.
Based on results such as these, the IPCC's 2001 report stated emphatically that "concentrations of atmospheric greenhouse gases and their
radiative forcing have continued to increase as a result of human activities."
1. Is this further encroachment of capitalism into these principle elements of the earth’s resources justified on the grounds of avoiding something
about which there is no certainty?
... No? Ok, No. What, exactly, does this have to do with our debate? We aren’t discussing the merits of possible solutions, but
deciding whether or not there is a problem. It’s usually best to define the problem before beginning to evaluate potential solutions.
I must briefly pause here to acknowledge my sincere gratitude to my opponent for jumping into my little trap, feet first.
In beginning my reply to my opponent’s opening statement may I first acknowledge with gratitude the confession that:
The alarmists and activists may, indeed, be overstating the case
It looks to me like he’s agreeing with this statement. The thing is, in order for someone to be “overstating a case,” they must first
a case. I’m not expert or scientific enough to try to figure out to what extent the experts may be exaggerating the danger, but my
intuition - and 50 + years of experience of human nature - tells me that they probably are. Unfortunately, the fact that they are possibly
exaggerating the extent of the problem doesn’t change the fact that there is a problem. Like my Dad says, “When there’s this much smoke
there’s usually a fire somewhere.”
At the moment those other revenues produced by those industries – at the moment.
Exactly. And, let’s take a brief look (I’ll go into this in more depth in my 3rd response) at what the likely result of steps to combat global
warming will be. By looking at what has already been done, we can reasonably extrapolate to see how it will be handled in the future. When “we”
decided to eliminate CFC’s, were laws passed to make it illegal for you to spray paint your lawn furniture? Did they come and confiscate all of your
refrigerators and air conditioners? No. They targeted the companies who made products containing CFC’s and told them to use something different. If
and when decisions are made to reduce CO2 and methane emissions, the focus will be on the auto manufacturers, oil refineries, coal mines, and perhaps
the landfills and sewage treatment plants, etc. .. but not on the individual. Before cost-effective solutions are eventually found, big business will
suffer, and so will revenues to the governments. I seriously doubt that “carbon taxes” and “carbon offsets” will make up for the lost revenues
of corporate and industry taxes, income taxes from industry workers, sales taxes, etc. etc. If we really take immediate and drastic steps to combat
global warming, it’s going to destroy our economic base and cause serious problems for governmental bodies responsible for water treatment, waste
management, transportation, and other services we currently take for granted. It makes no sense, therefore, for “governments” to lie to us about
it; corrective measures are going to hurt them more than they hurt us, especially in the beginning.
...How much of this is because of human action is still a matter of conjecture. 
Nice link there. I encourage all of you to take the time to read it. My opponent has omitted part of that sentence, which actually says:
How much of this is because of human action is still a matter of conjecture, but it is widely accepted to be significant.
The article goes on to explain that the satellites are to assess and evaluate CO2 sinks
, natural features like oceans and rainforests which
absorb CO2. This is another aspect of the impact of human activity - deforestation is taking away the Earth's ability to remove CO2 from the