Here’s the story: we’re all gonna die.
Climate change is sweeping the world. Storms, droughts, record temperatures of highs and lows: it’s all to blame on climate change. Glaciers are melting, the seas are rising, and the ocean is heating. What’s worse, it’s all accelerating.
Whether you believe we’re all doomed or not, and despite the guilt each of us is ’supposed to’ feel for this destruction, the Climate Change impact is one of the ultimate round-clinchers in a debate.
There’s two ways you can link into climate change: either the other team causes it, or you prevent it.
Most links come via carbon or methane emissions (Greenhouse Gas Emissions or GGE) the key drivers of climate change. And these links can come from anywhere.
Agriculture is one of the lead causes of climate change, so anything related to agriculture— especially meat production— results in more GGE.
Economic growth, usually seen as a good thing, also links to climate change, as richer people tend to drive cars rather than ride bicycles, and eat more meat that drives the agriculture-derived emissions. Even worse, if this economic growth comes in the form of factories, well, I don’t have to tell you how bad factories are for carbon emissions.
Now, let’s terminalize the impact: who cares if weather gets a bit more fun?
Climate change results in the destruction of ecosystems and the subsequent extinction of species. More than a third of species are at risk— from climate change, but also from deforestation, ocean acidification and from pollution.
Sources point to anywhere from 8% to than full 33% of the fault of our current mass extinction owed to climate change itself: but remember than any environmental damage can be tied into your climate change argument.
Oh and, by the way, one of those species may be us. Humankind.
There’s a lot of way you can outweigh on climate change:
First, magnitude. With an impact like ‘human extinction’, only another existential impact can match in magnitude— perhaps nuclear war or an asteroid impact.
You also win on probability, because while climate change is underway, neither nuclear winter nor an asteroid impact is actually happening right now.
In addition, any species extinction impact will beat, say, economic or education or quality-of-life or even mass human death related impacts on reversibility: when a species is extinct, you can’t bring it back (or, anyway, it’s pretty damn hard).
Lastly, solving (or preventing) climate change is a prerequisite to many arguments. For example, climate change will cost a huge amount of global GDP to fight and survive— so solving it first is a great way to outweigh your opponents’ economic impacts, by starting with what’s important.
Now, I can’t let you go without giving you a few of the common rebuttals to the climate change impact.
Non-unique: as we said, many things contribute to Greenhouse Gas Emissions— so, can the other team truly claim their impact is solely caused by their link to the topic? If they’re complaining about methane from cows, how about cars and factories and slash-and-burn farming?
No solvency: climate change is upon us, it’s happening, it’s accelerating, and it’s kinda too late to do anything about. It’s cute that the other team wants to jump in a save the day with their adorable little contention but come on, let’s focus on the problems we actually can solve.
Mitigation: Iberdrola.com says only 8% of species are at risk from climate change— yah, this is really bad, but it’s certainly not the grim picture the other team is painting. And on human extinction— there’s 7 billion of us, each a resourceful soldier of life whose ancestors have seen and survived a lot worse than some warm weather. It’s hard to find scientists who unequivocally say that we’ll all die from this.
Now of course, these are only some impact-level responses— but depending on your opponents’ link, there may be much better rebuttals out there. And keep in mind that many debaters have excellent rebuttals prepared for climate change: so if you're going for this impact, make sure you have your frontlines ready to go.
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