The Argument of the Closed System

Having a “debate” with a climate change denier is always fraught with frustrating non-science insertions and blatant name calling. We at Ocean Justice don’t shy away from these people, they have been duped into believing ideology over rational presentation. Also, I truly believe that wearing them down and eventually getting them to at least acknowledge something is wrong or changing is a step in the right direction.

One track of thought that I’ve found works is to talk about a closed atmospheric system; a closed system in chemistry is where no reactants or products can escape. Granted our atmosphere is dynamic with exchanges happening from volcanic to eco-system and ocean, but for the most part the oxygen and CO2 we breathe in and out has been around for millions of years – so the argument is plausible.

Presented to the denier – it goes like this:

“I know you think climate change is a big hoax, but have you ever thought about the fact that our atmosphere is only so thick, has only so much volume, and that its locked and closed on top of our planet?”

“Here’s another way of seeing this, so if our planet is a backyard pool of water, how much crap could you introduce before it was ruined, before you wouldn’t want to swim any longer? Because your pool is like our air, our atmosphere, it has only so much volume.”

“I’m sure you took some basic chemistry or art classes in high school… what happens when you introduce too much color, too much of any material into your project, it changes, the color changes, the smell changes, so how is it any different when we over expose our atmosphere to too much CO2 or methane?  How much is too much?”

These types of questions are really hard for deniers to answer, they stem from logic and forces the conversation about climate change toward a perspective of introducing too much of one element into a closed system – something most people can imagine. Granted they will not yield online, but afterwards, who knows…. Maybe their thinking might change.

Give it a try!

– Jim


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