Instigator / Pro

We should avert, rather than adapt to global warming


The debate is finished. The distribution of the voting points and the winner are presented below.

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After 5 votes and with 25 points ahead, the winner is...

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Three days
Max argument characters
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One week
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Contender / Con


Global Warming - the Earth's increase of temperature caused by human means
Avert - reduce our emissions enough so that Earth's temperature influx is within natural boundaries
Adapt - adjust our lifestyle accordingly to the ever changing climate


We can either adapt to global warming, or avert global warming, one or the other. Oh, and please just focus on Earth, arguments about space colonization (colonizing Mars for example) and similar are discounted.

If we avert climate change, we will reduce our emissions enough so that Earth returns back to it's natural temperature influx. This may take a couple of years, or even a few decades, but in the end, we must assure that the solution is more or less permanent.

If we adjust to climate change, we will have to develop new or existing technologies to keep up with the ever worsening climate (for example flood barriers). We will only have to do this until the year 2100, when then we can try new methods such as averting global warming.

Round 1
Hello PoliceSheep and thanks for accepting this debate. Let's jump right into it...

Side Note - For the sake of this debate, we are going to assume that it is possible to adapt or avert global warming; so questioning the realistic side of averting or adapting are off-topic.


Round 1 - Presenting my first argument
Round 2 - Some clash, and presenting my second argument
Round 3 - A lot of clash, and summary


  1. Why we shouldn't adapt - What are the consequences of adapting to global warming?
    • The long term effects aren't so good
    • Good for us maybe, but bad for everything else
  2. Why we should avert - What are the benefits to averting global warming?
    • Focus on new challenges
    • Long term benefits
      • Ensures a good future


Why we shouldn't adapt - What are the consequences of adapting to global warming?

  • The world will open up into a wasteland...
We will stop adapting to global warming by the year 2100, and until then, we can try new methods. But it's already too late. Top researches say that we will be too late to stop climate change, and some others say that it's already here! So why shouldn't we adapt? Won't adapting be faster? Won't it be less risky?

Yes. In the short term it will. But adapting to global warming is not fixing it. It's fixing it for us, but once that safety bubble breaks, all we have left to do is to suffer our consequences. Oh, and thousands of homes will be underwater.

Temperatures will rise 3-5 degrees (Celsius, always Celsius; no one likes Fahrenheit, by that's a topic for another debate) by 2100. Now that may not sound like a lot, but think about it this way. What's the difference between 0 and 1 degree? Ice and water. Need examples? Since 1880, the world temperature has risen 0.8 degrees. And as said by Climate Reality Project:

Intense rainstorms, severe droughts, and heat waves are becoming more frequent. Rising seas are damaging homes near the water. Some populations of animals are starting to die out.
And that's less than 1 degree!

Ice caps gone. Santa Claus gone. Low lying cities underwater. Atlantis rises. Droughts and fires spread. Adorable little cute fluffy baby pandas that roll over happily and eat bamboo in the most cute way die.

This also brings up a good point. We can adapt. Can the rest? Animals and plants are not well know for adjusting to rapid changes in temperature over a short period of time, and if we help them adjust, that would be even more expensive and time consuming! But, for the sake of the debate as mentioned earlier, we can do anything.

We'll help animals adapt too. Good. Problem solved.


Relating back to my first point, once we stop adapting, we are now living in a hellhole (if you don't mind me saying so). Entire ecosystems will be dead or underwater. Animals will have nowhere to stay, or to go!

  • How will we fix the damage?
So we can adjust, but can we fix? Entire cities underwater, ice caps melted, ecosystems torn down. Can we rebuild? Thousands of people, if not millions will have to be relocated elsewhere inland. The Bays on San Francisco, Malibu, California, Florida, Hawaii, and more will all be underwater! Refugee camps and disaster homes will be overfilled, social services will be expended. Charities fighting climate change will be overworked. The political side will be a mess. The list just keeps going on and on.

And all of these relocation and overflowing will be happening during the 21st century's global warming disaster!

So how do we fix the damage?

We can't.


In this round, I have talked about how adjusting to the aftermath of global warming is impossible. Cities, ecosystems, will all be underwater. Ice caps gone. 

In my next round, I will be talking about why we should avert to climate change, and all the benefits that come from it.

I await PoliceSheep's arguents.

Thank you.


I am looking forward to this debate and I thank DynamicSquid for their kindness in amending the time allowed for arguments.

Although I completely understand your desire to,"for the sake of this debate, we are going to assume that it is possible to adapt or avert global warming; so questioning the realistic side of averting or adapting are off-topic." however, it is key to this debate. Whether it can be done, and in what timescale is key to what approach we should take. If our small steps towards aversion rather than adaption have little to no effect, then there is no point.

I also note that you have yourself gone against this assumption by concluding that to adapt to global warming is impossible.

I would like to completely agree with my opponent's view on celsius. As a Brit, it's good to see some common sense with units from North Americans! 

Note: I will be using all currency in United States Dollars (USD) as it is used as a universal measure. [1]


Why we shouldn't avert

The cost of averting global warming is so astronomical, it is hard to determine an accurate figure. However, a good starting point is to outline the steps we would need to take to successfully avert global warming and start from there.

  • A report from the International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates it would cost $44 trillion just to switch "from fossil fuels to low-carbon sources of energy" by 2050. [2]
  • According to the United Nations, it will cost $300 billion just to get 20 years to avert global warming. That does not include any steps towards the actual aversion, simply getting the time to do such actions. An additional 20 years would only take us to 2040, still leaving 10 years needed by most estimates. [3]
  •  A report from Morgan Stanley analysts finds that the cost of halting global warming and reducing net carbon emissions to zero by 2050 is $50 trillion. [4]
  • According to NASA, even if we shut down every factory in the world and stopped every polluting car, it still wouldn't avert global warming. That act in itself would bring the global economy into a meltdown with unmeasurable economic and fiscal damage. [5]
This means that to solve global warming, we are looking at a bare minimum of $9.43 x10^13 with that only taking us up to solving it by 2040, which by most estimates is unfeasible. To put that number into perspective, the gross world product is $8.08x10^13 meaning it would cost just over the entire planet's economy. [6]

Why we should adapt

As argued by the World Resources Institute, "It can be argued that mankind has been adapting to all kinds of conditions, especially climatic conditions, for millennia and has done so with relative success so far." [7]  As they go on to explain, as my opponent does in their answer, that the core issue is to adapt to "climatic hazards" such as floods, droughts and hurricanes.

There is a considerable consensus that there can be very effective ways of adapting to floods [8], droughts [9] and hurricanes [10]. We as a society have already taken steps to do this.


Other than a reference, I have not attacked my opponent's argument and will do so in R2.

Thank you,
Police Sheep


Round 2
Thanks for responding. Let's start of with some clash...


key to this debate. [...] whether it can be done, and in what timescale is key to what approach we should take
Sounds good then.

I also note that you have yourself gone against this assumption by concluding that to adapt to global warming is impossible.
Did I? I was referring to after the year 2100. My argument questioned how the period between now and 2100 will be fine, but what happens after?

The cost of averting global warming is so astronomical
Con then lists a couple of numbers concerning the cost of averting. But what Con failed to realize is how important global warming really is. You know that only a fraction of a degree can lead to sever storms, deadly droughts, and increased sea levels, so what will a couple degrees do?

And besides, some study's have shown that global warming isn't as expensive as one might think.

If we take a look at the long term benefits, a study actually found that switching to low carbon technologies actually might earn us some money on ROI.

mankind has been adapting to all kinds of conditions
Although your sources fails to treat global warming as a serious issue. In the upcoming years, global warming will not just be about rising sea levels, floods, and hurricanes. No. It will be about entire ecosystems being wiped out. Millions of people will be displaced due to rising sea levels. Floods will ravage cities, while droughts and heat waves destroy land.

Oh, and here's an interesting argument. Climate change will actually extend the breeding interval for insects, making mosquito populations more numerous. Allergies and diseases will spread faster, and linking back to my previous concern, will be costly.


Why we should avert - What are the benefits to averting global warming?

  • Ensures a good future
With all this money and effort devoted into solving global warming, we can safely assure that our future generations will grow up in a clean, and safe environment. We can assure that our future generations won't have to worry about relocation, or water risks. They won't have to worry about glaciers (which contain fresh water) melting into the sea, or dry seasons affecting many of their foods.

We can assure them, that they can grow and proper in a world that is safe, and sustainable for many years to come.

  • We can focus on new problems
With global warming finally out of the way, the people could finally start focusing on new and equally important problems.

If this whole Earth thing flops again, then we could invest in space exploration like Mars. We could focus on profitable acts like asteroid mining, or potentially even work on more vital tasks that would determine the fate of the galaxy, like the Space Force.

We could work together to stop poverty, clean the oceans, or better and more efficient technology.

The list is endless.


In this round, I have talked about how climate change is worth the cost, and how averting it is the right solution.

In my next round, I will be clashing heavily, and also summarizing this debate.

I await Con's response.

Thank you.


Round 3
I'll leave this round blank to make it fair for my opponent.
Although it is an extremely interesting debate, I simply don't have enough time to satisfy a decent argument. 

Therefore, I concede this debate and urge you to vote for PRO.

BTW, my real view is that we should avert.

Thanks and apologies.