Capitalism is ill-equipped to deal with climate change
All stages have been completed. The voting points distribution and the result are presented below.
With 4 votes and 2 points ahead, the winner is ...
- Publication date
- Last update date
- Time for argument
- Three days
- Voting system
- Open voting
- Voting period
- Six months
- Point system
- Four points
- Rating mode
- Characters per argument
-By "equipped", Con must argue that our current economic system can realistically expect to be able to keep global warming temperatures below 1.5 degrees within the next twelve years.
-This includes "mixed economies" or capitalist societies where the state has a share in the means of production or intervenes in the economy.
-This debate assumes that climate change is man made and poses a significant threat to human civilization.
- This is *not* a debate on capitalism vs socialism, not is it about any socialist alternatives to environmental protection,
-Burden of proof is shared
-Be civil and follow the format.
Capitalism: "An economic system based on the private ownership of the means of production and their operation for profit. Characteristics central to capitalism include private property, capital accumulation, wage labor, voluntary exchange, a price system, and competitive markets" i.e The current international economic system.
ill-equipped: Incapable of achieving, in the context of this debate. Incapable of containing the global average temperature to below 1.5 C degrees within the next twelve years.
Climate change: Climate change is a change in the statistical distribution of weather patterns when that change lasts for an extended period of time (i.e., decades to millions of years). We will be focusing on anthropogenic climate change, climate change caused my humans.
Round 1: Acceptance only, no arguments.
Round 2: Opening Cases
Round 3: Rebuttals
Round 4: Closing closing cases/ Counter-rebuttals (Now new arguments)
According to recent reports from the UN and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, anthropogenic carbon emissions are projected to increase the global temperature to above 2.0 degrees Celsius. With the implications of such spelling potentially apocalyptic implications for our climate . Including but limited to drought, flooding, extreme heat and increased poverty in the decades to come . With the potential flooding of major world cities like Shanghai and Miami. The likes of which could cause a humanitarian crisis likes of which the world has yet to see. In order to prevent this disaster, climate scientists recommend curbing temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius. But to even reach 2 degrees requires unprecedented radical and unprecedented change in our global carbon emissions and how we consume energy .
Pillar One: Failure of the private sector
Well, for one, we have a long standing track record of climate change denialism being deliberately perpetuated by oil companies . In 1991, for example, a group of coal utilities devised a propaganda campaign that would also recruit scientists to “reposition global warming as theory (not fact)” 
A decade later in in 2000, American Republican pollster Frank Lutz produced penned a memo for the energy industry and anyone else challenging the science of climate change. Lutz wrote:
Fossil fuel interests don’t just stop at denialism, but go further into lobbying government entities, directly interfering with the democratic process in some countries. For example, in the US. According to a 2018 article from the Yale School of Environmental studies, Fossil fuel interests have outspent green advocates 10:1 in climate lobbying. These corporations are willing to outspend the public by ten times to one-up any activist action in the American government,
“Special interests dominate the conversation, all working for a particular advantage for their industry,” Brulle told ThinkProgress. “The common good is not represented.” 
For example, the Kyoto protocol was one of the first internationalist efforts against climate, yet it quickly fell apart as certain countries failed to meet the goals set before them. As well as major world powers, such as the US and Russia, demonstrating an unwillingness to commit. 
History is repeating itself once more with the Paris Climate Agreement of 2016. As the US has once again dropped from the agreement. With the current American Trump proving himself to be a blatant climate change denier . As of 2019, The Paris Agreement is failing. As the National Post puts it:
Coincidentally, it seems that the countries with the largest emissions have demonstrated the greatest failure to adapting. Such as Brazilian president Bolsonaro aligning himself with Donald Trump, a known climate change denier. As well as the Brazilian foreign minister describing concerns of Climate change as being part of a “Marxist plot” 
-Saudi Arabia has even gone as far as threaten to block the UN Climate report . An interesting note here would be that Saudi owned oil company Aramco is one of the 100 companies responsible for 71% of greenhouse emissions.
The current policies of Canada, China and Russia could drive our global temperatures to a disastrous 5 degrees Celsius is the status quo kept according to the scientific journal Nature Communications. [17}
The problem of climate change cannot be pinpointed to an issue of individual lifestyle or character, the vast majority of emissions come from just 100 companies. All of whom are more interested in making a profit than lowering emissions. The private sector has consistently shown a complete inability and at times, an active opposition to any practical action against global warming. The liberal capitalist model of either market forces or state intervention as a means to handle climate change has shown time and time again to be a complete failure. Thus showing that capitalism, as we have it now, is ill-equipped to deal with climate change. With that, I rest my opening case.
On to you Con.
Capitalism is an economic system where private entities own the factors of production. The four factors are entrepreneurship, capital goods, natural resources, and labor. The owners of capital goods, natural resources, and entrepreneurship exercise control through companies. The individual owns his or her labor. The only exception is slavery, where someone else owns a person's labor. Although illegal throughout the entire world, slavery is still widely practiced.
The Center for Climate and Life is a program housed at Columbia’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. Its focus is channeling climate change research toward tangible impacts. The work both informs the scientific community and is conducted with the hope of educating the public, which will ideally bring about policy changes.Programs like the Center for Climate and Life have historically been kept afloat through a variety of funding outside of the university. Researchers seek grants from a variety of public and private sources. Public and government sources are anything but stable–some years the funding is plentiful, other times it’s more meager–and programs like the Center for Climate and Life continually look for private funding so it does not have to rely on changing political climates.
The struggle to combat climate change brings out the best and worst of capitalism. Decarbonisation of the economy requires alternatives for coal and cars that run on diesel, and that plays to capitalism’s strengths. Innovation is what capitalism is all about, and there has been staggeringly rapid progress in developing clean alternatives to coal, oil and gas. The cost of producing solar- and wind-powered electricity has collapsed. Great advances are also being made in battery technology, which is vital for the new generation of electricity-powered vehicles. Humans are endlessly creative. In the end, they will crack climate change.
Burden of Proof:
Before I begin my rebuttals this section has two purposes
A) To create a criteria to evaluate RM’s arguments
B) To address several fallacies and red herrings have been made.
In RM’s case, he veered off quite a few times from what the debate was originally about, at one point very blatantly shifting the burden of proof. Therefore, I’ll address these fallacious steps here and move one. But first, to quote from the rules of the debate that my opponent has accepted
“By "equipped", Con must argue that our current economic system can realistically expect to be able to keep global warming temperatures below 1.5 degrees within the next twelve years.”
Pro gives his own definition for what it would mean to be equipped, and while that definition does not conflict with mine, it does leave out one fundamental component. Not just on whether Capitalism has the means to combat climate change but whether it realistically can. It’s simply enough to show that Capitalism has the means to combat climate change, but can we expect it too.
Now to address where Pro shifts the burden of proof. As was explicitly stated in the debate rules
“This is *not* a debate on capitalism vs socialism, nor is it about any socialist alternatives to environmental protection,”
It’s here that Pro has veered the most off track, he has an entire argument where he tries to compare capitalist’s deal with climate change to socialism.
“Socialist regimes have basically done nothing good for the environment and are never, not even once, the Green Party Communist type. From USSR to modern day Cuba and North Korea, the environment is nothing but a means to an end and wastage is... well, it's a 'waste' to deal with for them”
On the subject of fallacies, right after this argument, Pro tries to shift the burden of proof
Points of contention
To summarize this point. Pro argues that it is Capitalism that has allowed for public organizations like NASA to produce the equipment required to research climate change. He then brings the example of Guy Callendar, one of the pioneers of modern climate science, arguing that his private endeavours are what allowed climate science to enter the mainstream.
Two problems with this argument. One, it’s nonsensical to solely attribute innovation to an economic system and two, the individual pursuits of one scientists doesn’t say much about the economic system in question. If anything, that fact that Callendar faced opposition and backlash from the wealthy and governments of his time only further proves the point that the private sector and the state are uncommitted to any meaningful action. The fact that this consistent pattern of pushback from the bourgeoisie can be seen as far back as the birth of climate science itself simply speaks volumes.
Secondly, it’s nonsensical to attribute the technologies of a time purely to it’s economic system. For example, it’s like accrediting the invention of the printing press to monarchy or the first roads to the kings of Sumeria. Now, one can argue that the conditions capitalism creates is one that encourages innovation, and thus you can attribute it to Capitalism, but does it? To bring back my previous example from before, ExxonMobil clearly understood the effects of climate change, but actively sought to mislead the public. To quote said source again
2. Pro goes further to state:
“Imagine if we were still in the days before science and medicine being officially developed. Anarchy, pre-society proper Communism or proper anarchy where we had no economical hierarchy and were fending for ourselves. Let's imagine that we stayed ignorant, do you realise how much pure good luck it is that if we'd left things as they are we'd have lived? Look at the dinosaurs, they got murked by not knowing enough or having the tech to stop the climate change that made them extinct, right? It was only after we used resources from the environment, invading territory of other animals and taking the Earth to be our own that we were able to pinpoint what is positive or negative climate change.”
The problem with this argument is simple, Capitalism had nothing to do with the Agricultural revolution. The agricultural revolution was over ten thousand years ago, Capitalism as we know it today didn’t start developing until the 15th century. Furthermore, if the agricultural revolution never happened or human societies remained as “pre-society proper communism”, then anthropogenic climate change wouldn’t be happening in the first place. It also absurd to attribute the very concept of civilization to capitalism.
3. “Even if that isn't sufficiently achieved, the point is that it's not going to be saved or achieved by sticking our head in the sand and saying 'leave the trees be, let all animals roam and pray that the environment isn't changing negatively despite us refusing to be economically productive or technologically advanced in a privately-funded sense'.”
Pro here is presenting a false dichotomy, implying that the only alternative to capitalism is essentially sticking our heads in the sand. Whilst this isn’t a debate on socialist alternatives to dealing with climate change, his is still nonetheless fallacious. Now would also be an appropriate time to demonstrate just how terrible the private sector is at disaster management. In fact, it is a consistent pattern for markets to always find clever was exploiting traumatized regions during times of disaster. Perfect example of this would be during Hurricaine Katarina.
- The Private Sector hasn't successfully saved the environment when it's acted against it.
- The Government hasn't sufficiently intervened by and large and even when it does, it is unable to do much as parties etc are funded by Corporations that have anti-environmental motives.
Concession from Pro:
By admitting that Capitalism will “deal with this problem as late as possible” RM admits that such urgent change, as advised by IPCC, is unlikely to occur. For all intents and purposes, RM has conceded his central point, and has essentially conceded to this debate.
RM has made another unwitting concession to my point during his rebuttal of my second pillar:
My counter to pillar 2 is twofold. First of all, government intervention happening while Capitalism is happening is proof that there are ways to keep them 'in check' but furthermore, the entire notion that the government intervention is too corrupt or inefficient to stop the abuse to the climate isn't about Capitalism being equipped to deal with climate change... It's about the government being incapable of harnessing the sufficient equipment.
The entire point of my second argument was that public institutions traditionally associated with “checking” the private sector has failed in this regard to influence from the private sector. Government institutions that are tasked with the responsibility of environmental affairs are constantly faced with budget cuts, lobbying from the private sector and hostile administrations (see previous rounds for sources). Not only is this a point that my opponent has failed to address but has also come to agree with me about. While these intuitions may have the means to do something, does not make them sufficiently equipped.
I’ve kept these counter-rebuttals short in order to avoid repeating the same semantic point too much. RM has shifted to his own definition of “well-equipped” whilst ignoring the actual burden of proof that he has in this debate, most of his counter arguments are based of that definition, therefore, I’ll simply refer you back to my first counter point I made in this section.
It seems that the only relevant disagreement between RM and I is on the conclusion that can be made.
Capitalism has failed in the past to deal with climate change, capitalism is currently failing to deal with climate change, so my conclusion is, it will continue to fail at doing so in twelve years. RM seems to agree to everything I said in the last sentence except for the last part. But has still failed to prove why.
That sums up my side of the debate. Your turn Con.