As you may have read yesterday, global warming is kind of a big deal in debate. Missed that post? Find it here:
The warming debate is difficult to answer mainly because there are just so many different internal links to so many different things (poverty, hunger, species, war, disease, sea levels, mass death). Being silent on the impact question in warming debates is an easy way to lose rounds that you may otherwise have won. Not into losing? Check out the following arguments (with example cards):
1. U.S. not key/tipping point arguments.
Can’t solve – US not key, past the tipping point.
Burnett, 10 [“Climate Change: Developing Countries Control the Thermostat,” H. Sterling, senior fellow with the National Center for Policy Analysis. February 25, NCPA, http://www.ncpa.org/pub/ba694]
Before the conference, many officials claimed that failure to reach an agreement would lead to disaster. But the truth is that no agreement reached in Copenhagen would have reduced anthropogenic (human-caused) greenhouse gas emissions worldwide - much less reduced projected global temperature increases (assuming that humans are causing climate change). Indeed, it has long been recognized that no policies undertaken solely by Western countries can reduce future global warming, regardless of the developed world's past and current contributions to atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations. Rather, fast-growing developing countries control the climate change thermostat. Predictions versus Reality. As early as 1995, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the International Energy Agency (IEA) recognized that most of the growth in emissions in the 21st century would occur in the developing world: •The IPCC predicted that developing nations would account for the majority of greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. •The IEA stated that by 2025 China would emit more CO2 than the current combined total of the United States, Japan and Canada. These predictions proved to be very optimistic. Since 2003, China has doubled its greenhouse gas emissions, surpassing the United States as the world's largest emitter. In fact, China already emits more CO2 than the United States and Canada combined, and will likely surpass the combined total of the United States, Canada and Japan by 2015. Current Realities. Recognizing its contribution to greenhouse gas emissions, President Hu Jintao reported that China plans to reduce its CO2 emissions intensity - emissions per unit of gross domestic product (GDP) - by 4 percent per year for five years. Assuming this policy continues, China's CO2 emissions intensity will fall 70 percent by 2040. India, currently the fourth biggest greenhouse gas emitter, indicated that it will reduce its CO2 intensity 20 percent by 2020. The problem, however, is that reducing intensity will not reduce overall emissions or atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations. Richard Muller, a physics professor at the University of California, Berkeley, recently examined IEA data and found: •China's emissions intensity (CO2 per dollar of GDP) is five times greater than that of the United States. •Even if China cuts its emissions intensity 45 percent, it will still surpass the United States in per capita annual CO2 emissions by 2025. •Indeed, every 10 percent cut in U.S. emissions would be negated by one year of China's growth. Furthermore, Muller's calculations show: •Because China's economy is growing annually by 10 percent, a 4 percent cut in intensity is actually a 6 percent annual increase in emissions. •CO2 emissions are increasing at a similar rate in India and other developing countries - far surpassing industrialized countries' output. [See the figure.] He concludes that even if China and India's goals are met - and other developing countries make similar cuts- total atmospheric CO2 would rise from 385 parts per million currently to 700 parts per million by 2080. What This Means for Warming. The economic consequences of Western CO2 emissions reductions may discourage reductions in the developing world. U.S. efforts to cut emissions will require less use of plentiful, inexpensive and reliable fossil fuels. If cuts in U.S. CO2 output reduce economic growth and GDP, and increase unemployment - as most economists believe they will - developing countries will not follow the United States' lead. What Can Be Done About Future Warming. Muller suggests that if developed countries believe that anthropogenic climate change is a threat, they should assist developing countries in making reductions. First, he recommends that Western countries subsidize the development of carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technology, and the construction of CCS facilities to capture CO2 from such sources as coal-fired power plants. The CO2 could be transported by pipeline to sites where it is injected deep into subsurface geological formations for indefinite isolation. This technology would be especially valuable in China, where a new, traditional coal-fired power plant is installed each week. Subsidizing CCS technology in places like China would be a cost-effective strategy, because a dollar spent in China can reduce much more CO2 than a dollar spent in the United States. Geoengineering solutions are a second response to climate change. For instance, increasing the amount of sulfur dioxide (SO2) in the atmosphere would reflect more sunlight back into space, cooling the climate. This happens naturally during volcanic eruptions. A 1991 eruption in the Philippines spewed such huge amounts of SO2 that the average global temperature fell 0.5 degrees Celsius for almost two years - dropping by about the same amount as the climate warming experienced over the last 100 years. A third option would be to simply learn to adapt to global warming. Conclusion. By itself, even an 80 percent cut in U.S. CO2 emissions would probably not have a measurable effect on future warming. The best climate policy would be to help emerging economies conserve energy and move rapidly toward less carbon-intensive energy sources, while developing the U.S. capacity to adapt to future climate change. Most importantly, politicians and the public need to recognize that make-the-West-bear-the-burden emissions reduction proposals are meaningless and likely counterproductive.
The first argument:
1. The U.S. is not the key. This is basically an argument that, even if the affirmative is able to slow or even drastically cut emissions by the United States (and remember, the affirmative can only guarantee U.S. action by fiat), it won’t matter. Developing countries are growing fast. Some, like China, burn a ton of fossil fuels and use less clean tech than the U.S. Developing countries are by definition developing industries and growing their economies really fast. In doing that, they’re going to consume a bunch of resources and are unlikely to be able to afford more expensive green tech. These nations are unlikely to stop pursuing development because it’s driving wealth creation. The affirmative approach, then, is misguided because it can never reduce enough global emissions to offset the developing world. Warming won’t get better but U.S. industries may get poorer (at least that’s what this evidence says.)
The second argument:
2. Past the tipping point. Although this evidence really only hints at it, some authors argue that, if we accept the premise of global warming, we’re probably too late to fix it. GHG’s stay in the atmosphere awhile and can’t really be removed (except through sequestration, which has its own problems). Thus, even drastic reductions would do little to change the composition of the climate or avert warming.
2. Not human caused.
Best data prove humans aren’t to blame
S. Fred Singer et al., Distinguished Research Professor, George Mason University, NATURE, NOT HUMAN ACTIVITY RULES THE CLIMATE, Heartland Institute, Science and Environmental Policy Project, 2008, http://www.heartland.org/pdf/22835.pdf, accessed 4-27-08.
! Global warming prior to 1940 was not anthropogenic. Most agree that the pre-1940 warming signals a recovery from the Little Ice Age and was not caused by GH gases but by natural factors, amongst which solar variability was probably most important. Yet the IPCC in 2001 [IPCC-TAR, p. 716] still quoted a paper that maintains the cause was anthropogenic. That analysis [Wigley 1998] was based on an idiosyncratic statistical approach that has been criticized as spurious. [Tsonis and Elsner 1999] Another way to show that this analysis is wrong is to divide the data into pre-1935 and post-1935 periods, and then apply Wigley’s statistical method. The results for post-1935 correspond to those derived from an unforced (i.e., no increase in GH gases) model calculation. This is contrary to expectation and also suggests the pre-1935 warming is not anthropogenic. Conclusion: The claim that man is the primary cause of the recent warming is not supported by science. The scientific evidence cited by the IPCC is largely contradicted by observations and analysis. If human influences on global climate are minor, what are the major influences? There are many causes of global climate change, each one prominent depending on the time scale considered. On a time scale of decades to centuries, solar variability may be the most important factor. There are also natural oscillations of internal origin, especially on a regional scale, that do not appear to be connected to human causes either.
This argument is fairly basic. It starts from the premise that lots of things can influence the earth’s temperature (the sun, internal oscillation, etc.) Some authors argue that the data on warming may be correlative, not causative. That is, the earth has always gone through warmer and colder periods. Mapping the climate using scientific models may conflate natural temperature shifts with a change in human activity when, in fact, warming was caused primarily by other factors that just happened to co-exist with an increase in emissions. Singer is arguing that some of the data used to support the conclusion that humans are responsible suffers from this problematic oversimplification. Although this argument generally devolves into a qualifications and evidence quality debate (given there is data to support either conclusion) it’s useful to make the affirmative defend that warming is anthropogenic. It’s a controlling question that challenges their ability to solve warming (reducing emissions may be useless) while also shedding doubt on their impact claims (normal climate fluctuations have been happening for a long time and may not be catastrophic).
3. Adaptation solves.
No Extinction from global warming.
NIPCC 11. Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change. Surviving the unprecedented climate change of the IPCC. 8 March 2011. http://www.nipccreport.org/articles/201 ... 011a5.html
In a paper published in Systematics and Biodiversity, Willis et al. (2010) consider the IPCC (2007) "predicted climatic changes for the next century" -- i.e., their contentions that "global temperatures will increase by 2-4°C and possibly beyond, sea levels will rise (~1 m ± 0.5 m), and atmospheric CO2will increase by up to 1000 ppm" -- noting that it is "widely suggested that the magnitude and rate of these changes will result in many plants and animals going extinct," citing studies that suggest that "within the next century, over 35% of some biota will have gone extinct (Thomas et al., 2004; Solomon et al., 2007) and there will be extensive die-back of the tropical rainforest due to climate change (e.g. Huntingford et al., 2008)." On the other hand, they indicate that some biologists and climatologists have pointed out that "many of the predicted increases in climate have happened before, in terms of both magnitude and rate of change (e.g. Royer, 2008; Zachos et al., 2008), and yet biotic communities have remained remarkably resilient (Mayle and Power, 2008) and in some cases thrived (Svenning and Condit, 2008)." But they report that those who mention these things are often "placed in the 'climate-change denier' category," although the purpose for pointing out these facts is simply to present "a sound scientific basis for understanding biotic responses to the magnitudes and rates of climate change predicted for the future through using the vast data resource that we can exploit in fossil records." Going on to do just that, Willis et al. focus on "intervals in time in the fossil record when atmospheric CO2 concentrations increased up to 1200 ppm, temperatures in mid- to high-latitudes increased by greater than 4°C within 60 years, and sea levels rose by up to 3 m higher than present," describing studies of past biotic responses that indicate "the scale and impact of the magnitude and rate of such climate changes on biodiversity." And what emerges from those studies, as they describe it, "is evidence for rapid community turnover, migrations, development of novel ecosystems and thresholds from one stable ecosystem state to another." And, most importantly in this regard, they report "there is very little evidence for broad-scale extinctions due to a warming world." In concluding, the Norwegian, Swedish and UK researchers say that "based on such evidence we urge some caution in assuming broad-scale extinctions of species will occur due solely to climate changes of the magnitude and rate predicted for the next century," reiterating that "the fossil record indicates remarkable biotic resilience to wide amplitude fluctuations in climate."
Adaptation solves better.
Burnett, 9 [“Reasonable Responses to Climate Change,” H. Sterling, senior fellow with the National Center for Policy Analysis, September, Policy Report # 324, NCPA, http://www.ncpa.org/pdfs/st324.pdf]
Many scientists and politicians have declared that global warming is the most important environmental challenge facing the planet.57 In a joint declaration, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and former French President Jacques Chirac declared climate change the “world’s greatest environmental challenge.”58 Contrary to these claims, the magnitude of the problems caused by unmitigated climate change is generally smaller than the problems due to nonclimate-change-related factors; and where it is not, as in the case of coastal flooding, adaptation is a more economical remedy. For the next several decades, any mitigation scheme would expend scarce resources without commensurate improvements in global wellbeing. Thus, the focus should be on increasing adaptive capacity over all time horizons and implementing no-regrets policies that produce benefits beyond their impact on climate. No-regrets policies and increased adaptive capacity are likely to reduce risks from climate change faster, more economically and by a greater amount — making mitigation more cost-effective if and when it becomes necessary. Equally important, various indicators of human well-being that aren’t sensitive to climate change would also be advanced much further, faster and more efficiently. These measures would, incidentally, also contribute to mitigation and increase mitigative capacity. These policies, taken together, could substantially minimize the risks of global warming while simultaneously promoting economic growth and global development.
This argument can be found in a few forms. There’s the strict biology standpoint (evolution proves that some species can adapt, so fish may be able to adapt to warmer ocean temps, etc all outlined in the NIPCC evidence). There’s also the perspective in the Burnett evidence above – i.e. that warming is mostly troubling because of its effects (flooding, disease, hunger). His argument is that, since there are causes of hunger, disease, etc that are unrelated to warming, we should focus our energy on developing solutions to those problems instead of focusing energy on solving warming. That way, if warming is not as important a proximate cause of these impacts, we’ll still have done something good for people (“no-regrets policy”). He also argues that, since solutions to warming can be expensive and difficult for businesses, this may be a better approach (saving money now so we can spend more later).
4. Long timeframe: We don’t need to act now and would be better off if we acted later.
Henderson, 09 [“Climate Change Policy: Should We Tax the Poor to Help the Rich?” David, research fellow with the Hoover Institution, Brief Analysis # 644, NCPA, http://www.ncpa.org/pdfs/ba644.pdf]
Immediate Action versus Waiting. Acting now might slow global warming so that major adjustments will not be needed later. But there are two huge disadvantages. First, actions today will be based on current technology. Because technology will almost certainly improve, solutions implemented in the future are likely to be more efficient — more effective per unit of cost. By comparison, solutions implemented today would use cruder, more expensive technology. Second, money spent now to offset global warming could instead be invested in ways that would increase national income and wealth, creating more options to deal with any future negative effects of a warmer world. Future generations will likely be wealthier than present generations, just as the people living today are wealthier than past generations. Imposing large costs today to create environmental benefits for future generations would sacrifice current potential consumption for people in the future who will almost certainly have higher living standards. Comparing Today’s Costs to Tomorrow’s Benefits. Economists use discount rates to compare costs and benefits that occur at various points in time. A discount rate converts a future cost or benefit into a present cost or benefit. Discount rates reflect the fact that a dollar received today is more desirable than a dollar received in the future. For example, $10 invested today in the capital market, earning a 10 percent rate of return, will grow to $25.94 at the end of 10 years. Thus, $25.94 received in 10 years is worth $10 today when discounted at a rate of 10 percent. Discount rates make explicit the tradeoff between a dollar’s worth of services consumed now and future consumption that would be possible if the same amount were invested and allowed to grow.
This is a fairly sophisticated argument about economics. You should know that there’s a version of this argument out there that’s MUCH simpler (just that warming is slow and we have plenty of time to do something about it). This argument expands on that notion by explaining that it may be wise to forestall a solution because we’ll have more money and more technology later. If we act now, however, that diminishes the pool of resources and technology available to invest in a future solution. The idea of a discount rate is an interesting one. The argument is essentially that, if money is invested and saved for future use, it will grow. That growth means purchasing power of the same 10 dollars can be much greater if it’s saved than if it’s spent now.
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