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WE AND THE ENVIRONMENT

Task 1.Discuss the questions.

1. What are the most urgent and important environmental issues nowadays?

2. What is the greenhouse effect?

3. Do you know the basic mechanism of the greenhouse effect? What problems can the greenhouse effect cause?

4. What have you heard about global warming in the news lately?

5. Is the scientific evidence for global warming in question?

6. Are politicians and world leaders doing enough to control carbon emissions?

Task 2.How much do you agree with these statements? Give them a mark out of 5 (1=completely disagree; 5=completely agree). Compare your opinions with your partner and discuss the statements.

 

1. We can’t stop global warming. It’s too late.

2. My government has been doing a lot to reduce global warming.

3. Nuclear power is the best way to replace fossil fuel power.

4. These should be an extra eco-tax on flights.

5. The way I live my life is bad for the environment.

 

Task 3. Watch the video “Global Warming” and complete the text.

 

For ______million years, the Earth’s climate has fluctuated, cycling from ice ages to warmer periods. But, in the last century, the planet’s temperature has risen unusually fast, about ____ to _______degrees_______. Scientists believe it’s human activity that’s driving the temperatures up, a process known as ‘________ ________’. Ever since the industrial revolution began, factories, power plants and eventually cars have burnt _____ _______such as ______and________, releasing huge amounts of _________ ________and other gases into the atmosphere. These greenhouse gases trap heat near the Earth through a naturally occurring process called the ‘Greenhouse Effect’. The greenhouse effect begins with the sun, and the energy it radiates to the Earth. The Earth and the atmosphere absorb some of this energy, while the rest is radiated back into space. Naturally occurring gases in the atmosphere trap some of this energy and reflect it back, warming the Earth. Scientists now believe that the greenhouse effect is being intensified by the extra greenhouse gases that humans have released. Evidence for global warming includes a recent string of very warm periods. Scientists report that ______ was the warmest period in measured history with _______ coming in second. Meanwhile, radiants taken from ice cores show that the greenhouse carbon-dioxide and methane have hit their highest level in the past 420 thousand years. Arctic sea ice is also shrinking. According to NASA studies, the extent of arctic sea ice has declined about ___in the last 30 years. As long as industrialized nations consume energy and developing countries increase their fossil fuel consumption, the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere will continue to rise. Researchers predict that temperatures will increase about 2 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century. What is less certain is what rising temperatures mean for the planet. Some climate models predict subtle changes. Others forecast rising sea levels which could flood coastal areas around the world. Weather patterns could change, making hurricanes more frequent. Severe _____could become more common in warm areas. And species unable to adapt to the changing conditions would face _______.



 

Although much remains to be learned about global warming, many organizations advocate cutting greenhouse gas emissions to reduce the impact of global warming. Consumers can help, by saving energy around the house, switching to compact fluorescent light _____, and driving fewer miles in the car each week. These simple changes may help keep the Earth cooler in the future.

 


a) 2005

b) Global Warming

c) 1.2

d) oil

e) 2.5

f) extinction

g) 10%

h) carbon dioxide

i) 1.4

j) Fahrenheit

k) fossil fuels

l) coal

m) 1998

n) droughts

o) bulbs


 

Task 4. Discuss with a partner – What effects does Global Warming have on the Earth?

 

Task 5. Work with a partner to read about the consequences of Global Warming. Take notes in the table.

 

Weather Patterns     Wildlife    
Health     On Glaciers and Sea Levels    

This rise in average temperature will have far-reaching effects on the earth's climate patterns and on all living things. Many of these changes have already begun.

 

STUDENT A

 

Weather Patterns   More Powerful and Dangerous Hurricanes Warmer water in the oceans pumps more energy into tropical storms, making them stronger and potentially more destructive. Even with storms of the same intensity, future hurricanes will cause more damage as higher sea levels exacerbate storm surges, flooding, and erosion.   Warning signs today: ü The number of category 4 and 5 storms has greatly increased over the past 35 years, along with ocean temperature. ü Hurricane Katrina of August 2005 was the costliest and one of the deadliest hurricanes in U.S. history and caused economic losses in the order of $125 billion.   Drought and Wildfire Warmer temperatures could increase the probability of drought. Greater evaporation, particularly during summer and fall, could exacerbate drought conditions and increase the risk of wildfires.   Warning signs today: ü The 1999-2002 national drought was one of the three most extensive droughts in the last 40 years. ü Warming may have lead to the increased drought frequency that the West has experienced over the last 30 years. ü The 2006 wildland fire season set new records in both the number of reported fires as well as acres burned. Close to 100,000 fires were reported and nearly 10 million acres burned, 125 percent above the 10-year average. ü Firefighting expenditures have consistently totaled upwards of $1 billion per year.   Intense Rainstorms Warmer temperatures increase the energy of the climatic system and can lead to heavier rainfall in some areas. Scientist’s project that climate change will increase the frequency of heavy rainstorms, putting many communities at risk for devastation from floods.   Warning signs today: ü National annual precipitation has increased between 5 and 10 percent since the early 20th century, largely the result of heavy downpours. ü The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports that intense rain events have increased in frequency during the last 50 years and human-induced global warming most likely contributed to the trend. ü According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Northeast region had its wettest summer on record in 2006, exceeding the previous record by more than 1 inch.
Health Deadly Heat Waves More frequent and severe heat waves will result in a greater number of heat-related deaths.   Warning signs today: ü In 2003, extreme heat waves claimed as many as 70,000 lives in Europe. In France alone, nearly 15,000 people died during two weeks of soaring temperatures, which reached as high as 104 degrees Fahrenheit. ü Much of North America experienced a severe heat wave in July 2006, which contributed to the deaths of over 140 people, including some who owned working air conditioners. ü In the 1995 Chicago heat wave, 739 heat-related deaths occurred in a one-week period.   Bad Air, Allergy and Asthma Global warming could increase smog pollution in some areas and intensify pollen allergies and asthma. Hotter conditions could also aggravate local air quality problems, already afflicting more than 100 million Americans.   Warning signs today: ü Scientific studies show that a higher level of carbon dioxide spurs an increase in the growth of weeds such as ragweed, whose pollen triggers allergies and exacerbates asthma. ü The number of pollen allergy and asthma sufferers has increased worldwide over the last several decades. Some researchers have suggested that this could be an early health effect of human-caused climate change. ü Air pollution makes allergies worse: Diesel exhaust particles can interact with pollen and deliver it deeper into the lung. ü Rising temperatures increase ground-level ozone smog production, which presents a serious threat to asthmatics.   Infectious Disease and Food and Waterborne Illness Outbreaks Warming temperatures, alternating periods of drought and deluges, and ecosystem disruption have contributed to more widespread outbreaks of infections like malaria, dengue fever, tick-borne encephalitis, and diarrheal illnesses. People living in poverty will be hardest hit by the global surge in infectious diseases. Warning signs today: ü Disease-carrying mosquitoes are spreading as the climate allows them to survive in formerly inhospitable areas. Mosquitoes that can carry dengue fever viruses were previously limited to elevations of 3,300 feet but recently appeared at 7,200 feet in the Andes Mountains of Colombia. Malaria has been detected in new higher-elevation areas in Indonesia and Africa, posing new risks to millions of impoverished people whose health is already challenged. ü Heavy rainfall events can wash pathogens from contaminated soils, farms, and streets into drinking water supplies. An outbreak of diarrheal illness in Milwaukee in 1993 which affected 403,000 people was caused by the parasite Cryptosporidium, which washed into the city's drinking water supply after heavy rains. ü Higher outdoor temperatures can cause increased outbreaks of foodborne illnesses such as salmonella, which reproduces more rapidly as temperatures increase. Another foodborne bacteria, Vibrio parahaemolyticus, once native to subtropical regions, has expanded its range as far north as Alaska, where in 2004 it sickened unlucky cruise ship passengers when they ate raw local oysters.   Dangerous Weather Events A warmer atmosphere can hold -- and dump -- more moisture, contributing to more intense extreme weather events, which in turn put people's lives at risk.   Warning signs today: ü Hurricane Katrina forced the evacuation of 1.7 million people in 2005, and lead to deaths and long-term health problems for 200,000 New Orleans residents. ü A combination of rising sea levels, reduced snowfall and increased rainstorms threatens to flood the homes of 300,000 California residents in the Sacramento-San Joaquin river delta area, potentially contaminating the drinking water of 24 million people. ü Alternating drought and floods have led to food and water shortages, malnutrition, mass migrations and international conflict. Some researchers suggest that 50 million people worldwide could become "environmental refugees" by 2010, displaced by rising sea levels, desertification, depleted aquifers and intermittent river flooding.

 

STUDENT B

 

Wildlife   Ecosystem Shifts and Species Die-Off Increasing global temperatures are expected to disrupt ecosystems, pushing to extinction those species that cannot adapt. The first comprehensive assessment of the extinction risk from global warming found that more than 1 million species could be obliterated by 2050 if the current trajectory continues.   Warning signs today: ü A recent study of nearly 2,000 species of plants and animals discovered movement toward the poles at an average rate of 3.8 miles per decade. Similarly, the study found species in alpine areas to be moving vertically at a rate of 20 feet per decade in the second half of the 20th century. ü The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report found that approximately 20 to 30 percent of plant and animal species assessed so far are likely to be at increased risk of extinction if global average temperature increases by more than 2.7 to 4.5 degrees Fahrenheit. ü Some polar bears are drowning because they have to swim longer distances to reach ice floes. The U. S. Geological Survey has predicted that two-thirds of the world's polar bear sub-populations will be extinct by mid-century due to melting of the Arctic ice cap. ü In Washington's Olympic Mountains, sub-alpine forest has invaded higher elevation alpine meadows. Bermuda's mangrove forests are disappearing. ü In areas of California, shoreline sea life is shifting northward, probably in response to warmer ocean and air temperatures. ü Over the past 25 years, some Antarctic penguin populations have shrunk by 33 percent due to declines in winter sea-ice habitat. ü The ocean will continue to become more acidic due to carbon dioxide emissions. Because of this acidification, species with hard calcium carbonate shells are vulnerable, as are coral reefs, which are vital to ocean ecosystems. Scientists predict that a 3.6 degree Fahrenheit increase in temperature would wipe out 97 percent of the world's coral reefs.
On Glaciers and Sea Levels   Melting Glaciers, Early Ice Thaw Rising global temperatures will speed the melting of glaciers and ice caps and cause early ice thaw on rivers and lakes.   Warning signs today: ü After existing for many millennia, the northern section of the Larsen B ice shelf in Antarctica -- a section larger than the state of Rhode Island -- collapsed between January and March 2002, disintegrating at a rate that astonished scientists. Since 1995, the ice shelf's area has shrunk by 40 percent. ü According to NASA, the polar ice cap is now melting at the alarming rate of nine percent per decade. Arctic ice thickness has decreased 40 percent since the 1960s. ü Arctic sea ice extent set an all-time record low in September 2007, with almost half a million square miles less ice than the previous record set in September 2005, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center. Over the past 3 decades, more than a million square miles of perennial sea ice -- an area the size of Norway, Denmark and Sweden combined -- has disappeared. ü Multiple climate models indicate that sea ice will increasingly retreat as the earth warms. Scientists at the U.S. Center for Atmospheric Research predict that if the current rate of global warming continues, the Arctic could be ice-free in the summer by 2040. ü At the current rate of retreat, all of the glaciers in Glacier National Park will be gone by 2070.   Sea-Level Rise Current rates of sea-level rise are expected to increase as a result both of thermal expansion of the oceans and melting of most mountain glaciers and partial melting of the West Antarctic and Greenland ice caps. Consequences include loss of coastal wetlands and barrier islands, and a greater risk of flooding in coastal communities. Low-lying areas, such as the coastal region along the Gulf of Mexico and estuaries like the Chesapeake Bay, are especially vulnerable. Warning signs today: ü Global sea level has already risen by 4 to 8 inches in the past century, and the pace of sea level rise appears to be accelerating. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts that sea levels could rise 10 to 23 inches by 2100, but in recent years sea levels have been rising faster than the upper end of the range predicted. ü In the 1990s, the Greenland ice mass remained stable, but the ice sheet has increasingly declined in recent years. This melting currently contributes an estimated one-hundredth of an inch per year to global sea level rise. ü Greenland holds 10 percent of the total global ice mass. If it melts, sea levels could increase by up to 21 feet.

 

Task 6. Summarize the main ideas from your parts to your partner. Complete all the parts of the chart.

 

Task 7. Work in groups.Think of some ways to slow down the global warming. Discuss your ideas with your partners. You may use the Internet to find necessary information.

Task 8.Present your ideas and findings to the class.

ADDITIONAL TASK.

Task 1a. Discuss. Do you agree or disagree with the following statements?

 

1. Future generations will look back on ours as having ignored clear warnings about the harmful effects of climate change.

2. The unusually heavy snowfalls and cold weather are a sign that global warming is an illusion.

3. Despite the discovery of at least two mistakes in scientific work published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), global warming is happening and is caused by the actions of humans.

4. The government does not need to do anything drastic right now to curtail climate change.


LESSON 2


Date: 2016-03-03; view: 81


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