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The Baltic is a small sea, A ... it becomes В ... very easily. Its water changes slowly through the shallow straits. 150 rivers run С ... the Baltic. There are hun­dreds of factories D ... these rivers and millions of people live among them. Seven industrial countries E ... the Baltic. F ... a lot of big cities lie on its G ... All of this combined with active navigation of the sea naturally H ... the state of the sea water and the shoreline flora and fauna.

Once we I ... a sea it's very difficult to J ... it. Fortunately all the countries in the Baltic area have realized the problem. They co-operate actively К ... solving ecological problems of the Baltic basin. L ... international law and the national laws of the coastal states M ... the regime of environmental protection of the Baltic Sea. The N ... of the agreements among these states is to О ... oil pollution of the sea, to organize rational fishing and the preservation of sea life.

Words and word combinations:

fortunately - luckily; successfully; happily

preservation - security; safety; the act or process of preserving, or keeping safe


A. Choose a correct answer for each gap in the text.

A as because so that so
В muddy dusty dirty greasy
С into out of through across
D at on in above
E gather around encircle surround round up
F quite rather pretty very
G beach coast shore banks
H reflects effects forces affects
I had polluted pollute have polluted polluted
J brush clean polish scour
К in over within for
L either neither and both
M deprive define decline defile
N target point objective aim
O prevent protect preserve pretend


B. Answer the following questions.

1. What do you do with your domestic rubbish (paper, cans, bottles, etc.)? ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

2. Are there any "bottle", "paper", "cans" banks in your city? What can you say about their work? ___________________________________________________


3. What can you say on the subject of litter on the streets? How is this problem solved in your city? _________________________________________________




Level: Pre-Intermediate, time: 45 min.


It was in Britain that the word "smog" was first used (to describe mixture of smoke and fog). As the world's first industrialized country, its cities were the first to suffer this atmospheric condition. In the XlX-th century London's "pea soupers" (thick smogs) became famous through descriptions of them in the works of Charles Dickens and in the Sherlock Holmes stories. The situation in London reached its worst point in 1952. At the end of that year a particularly bad smog, which lasted for several days, was estimated to have caused between 4000 and 8000 deaths.

Water pollution was also a problem. In the XlX-th century it was once sug­gested that the Houses of Parliament should be wrapped in enormous wet sheets to protect those inside from the awful smell of the River Thames. In the middle years of this century, the first thing that happened to people who fell into the Thames was that they were rushed to hospital to have their stomachs pumped out!

Then, during the 1960s and 1970s, laws were passed which forbade the heating of homes with open coal fires in city areas and which stopped much of the pollution from factories. At one time, a scene of fog in Hollywood films was all that was nec­essary to symbolize London. This image is now out of date, and by the end of the 1970s it was said to be possible to catch fish in the Thames outside Parliament.

However, as in the rest of western Europe, the great increase in the use of the motor car in the last quarterof the XX-th century has caused an increase in a new kind of air pollution. This problem has become so serious that the television weather forecast now regularly issues warnings of "poor air quality". On some oc­casions it is bad enough to prompt official advice that certain people (such as asthma sufferers) should not even leave their houses, and that nobody should take any exercise, such as jogging, out of doors.

Words and word combinations:

jogging - running

enormous- extraordinarily large in size or extent or amount or power or degree

to rush - act or move at high speed

to pump out - to make liquid or gas escape from a place

forbade (forbid, forbidden) - to tell someone that they must not do something

wrapped – covered

A. Find English equivalents for Russian words.

Страдать a) surprise b) suffer c) surround d) suggest

Запрещать a) forbid b) forgive c) forget d) foretell

Ужасный a) awkward b) available c) awful d) awful

Предостережение a) warming b) warring c) warrant d) warning

Качество a) quality b) quantity c) quarter d) quarrel

Условие a) conviction b) conclusion c) connotation d) condition


B. Complete the collocates below by adding an appropriate noun. Some can combine with more than one noun.




















fuels waste rain layer warming effect energy fumes changes disasters pollution transport resources gases


C. What environmental problems do these passages refer to?

a. Some experts predict that by 2090 the average temperature can be higher than today; _______

b. For some years scientists checked and rechecked their findings. By October 1984 the "hole" over Halley Bay showed a 30 per cent reduction in ozone; ________________

c. The alarm was sounded in 1970 by the Scandinavian countries where acid rain has destroyed all life in many of their lakes; ________________

d. Gone forever, for example, are seventeen species of bears, five of wolves and foxes, four of cats, five of horses and zebras and three of deer; __________________


e. Around the world between 11 and 15 million hectares of tropical forest are lost every year, an area larger than Austria; ___________________

f. 25% of the world's electricity comes from dams and rivers; ___________________

g. At the moment most countries only turn between 5 % and 10 % of their, rub­bish into energy. ______________________



Level: Pre-Intermediate, time: 45 min.


Here are some ways to beat the throw-away society. All of them are cleaner and cheaper than burying rubbish.

Throw away less rubbish.In Denmark, for example, it's illegal to sell drinks in cans. And it's not just governments which can produce less rubbish. It's ordi­nary people, too. For example, anyone can decide to:

• buy products with as Utile packaging as possible;

• use and throw away fewer plastic bags;

• waste less paper.

Turn rubbish into energy.How? By burning it. The use of rubbish as fuel is a good idea because it:

• saves fossil fuels;

• means burying less rubbish;

• cuts pollution.

Energy from rubbish is clean and cheaper than energy from fossil fuels. Every year millions of tones of rubbish are dumped into the ground. It could be used in­stead to generate electricity, create heat for industrial purposes, of heat hospitals, schools, public buildings or even whole districts.

Use rubbish again.It is possible, in fact, to recycle 80 % of domestic rubbish. This includes paper, glass, metal and plastic. It's important to increase the number of recycling centers. For example, there are more "bottle banks" nowadays than ever before. In many countries there are not only bottle banks but also aluminium banks, steel banks, plastic banks, paper banks, used batteries banks, old clothes banks. Denmark has an interesting system. Aluminium cans are not allowed to be sold, nor are non-standard bottles. Any shop which sells bottled drinks has to ac­cept returned bottles.

This system significantly reduces the amount of glass thrown away as refuse and the amount of broken glass turning up in the countryside and on the beaches.

Spread knowledge about rubbish problem among people and inform them what they can do to reduce it.


Words and word combinations:

significantly - in an important way or to an important degree

to throw-away - to get rid of something that you no longer want

to beat – to strike, to act violently

purpose – a plan, an aim in your life

A. Match English words and word combinations with their Russian equivalents.

plastic bags хоронить мусор
to cut pollution центры по переработке мусора
recycling centers использованные батарейки
to generate electricity топливо
used batteries снижать загрязнение
to bury rubbish бытовой мусор
to reuse вырабатывать электричество
fuel полиэтиленовые пакеты
domestic rubbish неэкономно расходовать бумагу
to waste paper использовать ч.-л. снова

B. Fill in the correct word derived from the words at the end of the sentence.

1. What can we do to reduce the ___________ of the atmosphere? (pollute)

2. The change in the climate has produced ___________ floods. (terror)

3. Many rare species are in danger of _________. ( extinct)

4. Many of gases produced by factories are ____________ to our health. (harm)

5. Exhaust fumes have ___________ effects on the environment. (damage)

6. Many countries must control the growth of the __________. ( populate)

7. Protecting the environment is essential to our ____________. ( survive)

8. The ____________ of the environment is everyone's responsibility. (protect)

9. While some countries get richer, the ________ in the others gets worse. (poor)

10. Millions of people in the world are threatened with ________. (starve)

Level: Pre-Intermediate, time: 50 min.


On September 30, 1999, there was an accident at a nuclear plant in Tokaimura, Japan. On that day, three plant employees accidentally poured too much uranium into a tank, which led to a leak of radiation. At least 90 people were exposed to high radiation. One worker died.

Other countries have had similar accidents. There was a close call at a nuclear plant at Three Mile Island in the United States. On March 28, 1979, there was a reactor meltdown at this plant. A reactor meltdown happens when the fuel inside a reactor melts. Unless immediate safety measures are taken, a meltdown can lead to radiation leaking into the atmosphere.

Probably the most famous nuclear accident occurred at a plant in Chernobyl, in the former Soviet Union. The accident happened on April 26, 1986, when things went terribly wrong during an experiment. This caused a meltdown so serious that the top of a reactor exploded into the sky. Radiation leaked into the atmosphere for more than a week. Wind carried some of the radioactive pollution over large parts of Europe. Many deaths and birth defects throughout Europe have resulted from this horrible event.

The idea of using nuclear power as a form of energy grew out of weapons researchbefore and during World War 2 (1939-1945). Nuclear power was first used to make electricity on December 20, 1951.By the 1960s, nuclear energy was becoming cheap to produce, and utility companies were building plenty of plants. However, in the 1970s, there were concerns about the possibilities of nuclear disasters and environmental problems. Then, those concerns came true with the tragedy at Chernobyl and the near-disaster at Three MiIe Island.

Today, supporters of nuclear energy say it is a necessary source of power. This is especially true in countries like Japan, which depends on nuclear energy for about 35% of its power. Obviously, taking away that source of energy could badly hurt the economy. Also, while minor accidents sometimes happen at nuclear plants, most are contained without deaths or serious injuries.

For now, nuclear energy is probably not going away. Citizens should demand that government agencies have very strict safety measures for nuclear power plants. At the same time, we must find other safer and cheaper sources of energy.

Words and word combinations:

tank - large metal container

were exposed - to had contact with

a close call - a dangerous situation that could have been worse

melts - changes from a solid to a liquid

safety measures - actions to make something safe

things went terribly wrong - very bad things happened

weapons research - work to develop military equipment for war

utility companies - companies that provide gas, electricity, or water

come true - happen; become real

A. True or False? Read the sentences and check.

l. The main idea of this reading is that nuclear energy is a safe source of power. True or False.

2. The accident at a nuclear plant in Tokaimura, Japan occurred because workers forgot to put uranium into a tank. True or False.

3. A reactor meltdown occurs when the fuel inside a nuclear reactor melts. True or False.

4. A meltdown is dangerous because radiation can leak into the atmosphere. True or False.

5. As a result of the accident at Chernobyl, people in the area were exposed to small amounts of radiation. True or False.

6. The pronoun it in line 34 refers to today. True or False.

7. The words taking away in line 36 mean removing. True or False.

8. You can infer from lines 25-28 that nuclear power was not used to generate electricity in the 1940s. True or False.


B. What happened at the places below? Look for information in the text to complete the chart.

Date Place What happened?
  Three Mile lsland  
March 28,1979 Country: U.S.__ a nuclear reactor ____________
  ____________   Country: _______ a nuclear accident; the top of a nuclear reactor ___________
____________ Country: _______ a radiation __________


C. Answer the question below.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of using nuclear power? Add 3 more ideas to it.

· radiation might leak into the atmosphere

· people might be exposed to radiation

· radioactive pollution can cause birth defects

· serious nuclear accidents are rare

· ____________________________

· ____________________________

· ____________________________



Level: Pre-Intermediate, time: 50-60 min.


Scientists say the warming of the Earth's atmosphere has begun try affect plant and animal life around the world. Scientists from the University of Hanover in Germany say global warning is affecting endangered species, sea life and the change in seasonal activities of organisms. Carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gasesin the atmosphere cause global warming.

Studies show that the Earth's climate has warmed by about sixteenths of one degree Celsius during the past one-hundred years. Most of the increase has taken place in the last thirty years.

The German scientists studied different animal and plant populations around the world in the past thirty years. They say some species will disappear because they can not move to new areas when their home climate gets too warm.

The scientists say one of the biggest signs of climate change has been the worldwide reduction in coral reefs. Rising temperatures in the world's warm ocean waters have caused coral to lose colour and die.

In the coldest areas of the world, winter freezing periods are now happening later and ending earlier. Researchers say these changes are having severe effects on animals such as penguins, seals and polar bears.

Changes in temperature in the air can also affect the reproduction of some rep­tiles and amphibians. For example, the gender of baby painted turtles is linked to the average temperature in July. Scientists say even small temperature increases can threaten the production of male turtles.

In Europe, scientists say warmer temperatures are affecting the spring and au­tumn seasons. This is affecting the growth of plants and delaying the flight of birds from one place to another.

Scientists also are concerned about invasions of warm weather species into tra­ditionally colder areas. Rising temperatures have been linked with diseases spread by mosquito insects in areas of Asia, East Africa and Latin America.

Britain's Meteorological Office says worldwide temperatures will continue to rise during the next one-hundred years. It says have much these temperatures in­crease will depend on the success of worldwide policies designed to slow global warming.

Words and word combinations:

invasions – attack, entry

reduction – the process or act of making something smaller

A. Find the English equivalents for the following words and expressions.

вызывать глобальное потепление; повышение температуры; замедлить процессы глобального потепления; испытывать озабоченность по поводу...; задерживать прилет птиц; пол зависит от средних значений температуры; влиять на воспроизводство; оказать серьезное влияние на...; повышение тем­пературы; уменьшение коралловых рифов в мировом масштабе; потеплеть примерно на шесть десятых градуса; парниковые газы; вымирающие виды; оказывать влияние на животный и растительный мир.

B. Answer the following questions.

1.What do scientists from the University of Hanover in Germany say about the effect of global warming? ____________________________________________


2. What do the studies show regarding the Earth's climate in recent years? _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

3. How is the worldwide reduction in coral reefs connected with the problem of climate change? ____________________________________________________


4. Single out the main issues addressed in the present article.

5. What kind of policies should be designed to slow global warming?


Level: Intermediate, time: 30 min.


It was, and still is, one scary movie. Thanks to global warming, in The Day After Tamorrow, the world literally freezes over. Yet how real was the science behind one of the decade's big disaster movies?

'Climate change is a far greater threat to the world than international terrorism,' says the science adviser to the British government. 'Temperatures are getting hotter, and they are getting hotter faster than at any time in the past,' says the international weather expert. 'Climate change is poised to change our pattern of life,' says an African ecologist. But successive governments in the US and elsewhere won't listen.

The number of extreme weather events has doubled from the decade before: lethal heatwaves in Europe, floods in Africa, droughts in Asia and the United States. A record 300 million people flee their homes from natural disasters. Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere hits record levels. Warming increases the range and virulence of diseases. Trees die in New England. Glaciers melt faster in Alaska. There's a major influx of freshwater in the North Atlantic and a slowdown of ocean circulation below the Arctic Circle. Antarctic ice flows faster into the ocean.

What could be next? Rising sea levels swamp coastal cities. Famine in Europe. Nuclear wars for water. A million species threatened with extinction. The end of life on Earth as we know it.

Sounds terrifying, but these aren't scenes from The Day After Tomorrow. They're from the real world. Everything in the second and third paragraphs has happened or is the statement of a real person (including Sir David King, chief science adviser to the British government). Everything in the fourth paragraph is sciencebased speculation.

The movie itself exaggerates the speed with which global warming brings on a new ice age, but the paradox that more heat might lead to more ice is real. If cold water from melting glaciers really does change ocean currents like the Gulf Stream, Manhattan could get colder pretty quickly - though in a decade, not a New York minute, as The Day After Tomorrow would have it. But all by itself, heat is already causing problems like drought, crop failures, disease, violent storms - and is threatening much more as the century proceeds.

Meanwhile, why haven't we noticed all this? Why are we determined to be oblivious? While 72 per cent of Americans said they were concerned about global warming in 2000, by 2004 this had gone down to 58 per cent and only 15 per cent believed it had anything to do with fossil fuel consumption. The combustion of fossil fuels (such as when you drive your car, or fly in a plane) produces carbon dioxide that contributes to the greenhouse effect and releases particles that are dangerous to breathe. Surely Mums and Dads, at least, should be worried about the effect on their children's health and their grandchildren's world? But perhaps it's hard to get upset about something that sounds so moderate and nice as 'global warming'? Even the 'greenhouse effect' sounds decidedly unthreatening. Who's afraid of a greenhouse?

Whatever the reason for our apathy, the climate crisis is the keystone issue of our time. Addressing it means addressing virtually every other significant environmental and energy problem and it must be done soon, because what is newest and most challenging about global warming is that once its effects are clearly apparent, it's too late to stop them.

A. Read these sentences. According to the article, which of them refer to the movie (M), which of them refer to real life (RL) and which refer to scientific predictions (SP)?

a. Three hundred million people have to leave their homes because there are natural disasters.

b. Global warming brings on a new ice age.

c. There is a record level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

d. People in Europe do not have enough food to eat.

e. Fewer than 20 per cent of people in the US know about the effects of cars on the environment.

f. A million species of animals are in danger of extinction.

g. There are more diseases that spread more quickly.

h. Sea levels rise and flood cities that are near oceans.

i. New York becomes frozen in ice very quickly.

j. More than 40 per cent of the US population are not worried about global warming.


B. Answer this question.

According to the author, why is global warming such an important problem?


Level: Intermediate, time: 40 min.


New York used to be the city that never sleeps. These days it's the city that never smokes, drinks or does anything naughty (at least not in public). The Big Apple is quickly turning into The Forbidden Apple.

If you wanted a glass of wine with your picnic in Central Park, could you have one? No chance. Drinking alcohol in public isn't allowed. If you decided to feed the birds with the last crumbs of your sandwich, you could be arrested. It's illegal. If you went to a bar for a drink and a cigarette, that would be OK, wouldn't it? Er .. no. You can't smoke in public in New York City.

What's going on? Why is the city that used to be so open-minded becoming like this? The mayor of New York is behind it all. He has brought in a whole lot of new laws to stop citizens from doing what they want, when they want.

The press are scandalised. Even the New York police have joined the argument. They recently spent $100.000 on a “Don't blame the cop” Campaign. One New York police officer said, “We raise money for the city by giving people fines for breaking some very stupid laws. It's all about money”.

The result is a lot of fines for minor offences. Yoav Kashida, an Israeli tourist. fell asleep on the subway. When he woke up, two police officers fined him because he had fallen asleep on two seats (you mustn't use two seats in the subway). Elle and Serge Schroitman were fined for blocking a driveway with their car. It was their own driveway.

The angry editor of Vanity Fair magazine, Graydon Carter, says, “Under new York City Law it is acceptable to keep a gun in your place of work, but not, an empty ashtray”. He should know. The police came to his office and took away his ashtray.

But not all of New York's inhabitants are complaining. Marcia Dugarry, 72, said, “The city has changed for the better. If more cities had these laws, America would be a better place to Live”. Nixon Patotkis, 58, a barman, said. “I like the new laws. If people smoked in here, we'd go home smelling of cigarettes”.

Recent figures show that New York now has fewer crimes per 100 000 people than 195 other US cities. And it's true - it's safer, cleaner and more healthy than before. But 1et's be honest - who goes to New York for its clean streets?

A. True or False? Read the sentences and check.

1. Some activities have recently become illegal in New York. True or False.

2. It is now illegal to smoke and drink alcohol anywhere in New York. True or False.

3. Eating sandwiches in the park is illegal. True or False.

4. The police like the new laws. True or False.

5. lt is illegal to sleep on the subway. True or False.

6. Elle and Serge Schroitman were fined because they parked in the wrong place. True or False.

7. The editor of Vanity Fair magazine thinks some of the new laws are stupid. True or False.

8. Some people like the new laws. True or False.

9. New York is now clean and safe compared to in the past. True or False.


B. Answer the following questions.

1. What is the writer's attitude to the new laws in NewYork, and to the mayor? ls the article 100% serious? How do you know? _____________________________



2. Do you think the laws in the article are “stupid”? Why? ________________


3. Would these laws be popular in your country? ________________________


4. Should smoking be banned in all public places? Why? _________________



5. Which is more important individual freedom, or health and safety for everyone? ________________________________________________________


Level: Intermediate, time: 50-60 min.


We were appalled at the public's wealth of environmental misunderstanding. This article provides some examples.

One: Recycling is the key. Actually, recycling is one of the least important things we can do, if our real objective is to conserve resources. Remember the phrase "reduce, reuse and recycle"? Reduce comes first for a good reason: it's bet­ter not to create waste than to have to figure out what to do with it. And recycling, like any other form of manufacturing, uses energy and other resources while creat­ing pollution and greenhouse gases.

Rather, we need to make products more durable, lighter, more energy efficient and easier to repair rather than to replace. Finally, we need to reduce and reuse packaging.

Two: Garbage will overwhelm us. The original garbage crisis occurred when people first settled down to farm and could no longer leave their campsites after their garbage grew too deep. Since then, every society has had to figure out what to do with discards. That something was usually unhealthy and ugly-throwing gar­bage in the streets, piling it up just outside of town, incorporating it into structures or simply setting it on fire. Today we can design history's and the world's safest recycling facilities, landfills and incinerators.

The problem is political. No one wants to spend money on just getting rid of garbage or to have a garbage site in the backyard. Thе obvious solution is to stop generating so much garbage in the first place. Doing so requires both the know­ledge and the self-discipline to conserve energy and do more with less stuff.

Three: Industry is to blame. No, it's all people's fault. Certainly industry has played a significant role in destroying habitats, generating pollution and depleting resources. But we are the ones who signal to businesses that what they are doing is acceptable — every time we open our wallets. And don't just blame industrial so­cieties. In his recent book "Earth Politics", Ernst Ulrich von Weizsacker wrote that "perhaps 90 per cent of the extinction of species, soil erosion, forest and wilderness destruction and also desertification are taking place in developing countries". Thus, even non-industrialized, subsistence economies are creating environmental havoc.

Four: The earth is in peril. Frankly, the earth doesn't need to be saved. Na­ture doesn't give a hoot if human beings are here or not. The planet has survived cataclysmic changes for millions upon millions of years. Over that time, it is widely believed, 99 per cent of all species have come and gone while the planet has remained.

Saving the environment is really about saving our environment — making it safe for ourselves, our children and the world as we know it. If more people saw the issue as one of saving themselves, we would probably see increased motivation and commitment to actually doing so.


A. Answer the following questions.

1. Which do you think are the most serious environmental problems today? _________________________________________________________________

2. Is there anything that an individual person can do about these problems?


3. What sort of waste do you recycle? Could you do more?


4. Would you ever join an environmental group like Greenpeace or vote for a green party? _______________________________________________________

5. What are the reasons why these environmental parties are not very popular in Russia? ______________________________________________________________


6. Comment on the headline of the article. What is a myth? ________________



B. Summarise the article (150—200 words), use the opening phrases at the page 34.




Level: Intermediate, time: 50-60 min.


The UK government is not doing enough to tackle climate change, according to a report by a parliamentary committee.

The Environmental Audit Committee attacked ministers for believing that new technology and market mechanisms will reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The committee says Britain and the developed world need to reduce emissions by 60— 80 % by 2050, Committee chairman MP Peter Ainsworth called on the government to draw up a clear plan of action. In its report, the parliamentary committee at­tacked the European Emissions Trading Scheme, which is central in helping the EU to bring down greenhouse gas emissions.

The BBC's environment correspondent, Richard Black, said the committee found the scheme's regulations were too lax, had minimal impact on emissions and might lead to windfall profits for electricity generators. He said the government was currently embroiled in a legal dispute with the European Commission over Britain's emission allowances under the scheme.

This was a dispute which the audit committee said risked "wantonly squander­ing" Britain's reputation for leadership on climate change, he reported. The com­mittee believes Britain and the rest of the developed world need to reduce dramati­cally their emissions, but this cannot be achieved by technology and market mechanisms alone.

MP Peter Ainsworth, speaking on BBC Radio Five Live, called for a plan of action. "The government chief scientist has said that climate change is one of the most serious problems facing mankind, and Government has rightly put it at the head of his international agenda", he said. "The trouble is that the rhetoric isn't translating into action". He said Britain needed to provide clear policies to direct the international community.

"What Britain needs to do is to set out a list of achievable goals for the world community, which involves getting America engaged with this as far as is possi­ble; but it also crucially involves getting the developing world involved.

The time for talking about this problem is drawing to an end; what we really do need now is a programme for action, and that's what we're trying to impress on the government through this report".

A. Find the English equivalents for the following words and expressions.

донести мысль до правительства с помощью доклада; заканчивается вре­мя; подключить Америку к решению проблемы; перейти от слов к делу; по­ставить перед кем-либо достижимые цели; направлять международное сооб­щество; значительные проблемы, стоящие перед человечеством; впутаться в тяжбу с...; квоты на выброс газов; незначительно повлиять на что-либо; быть основным элементом в каком-либо процессе; снизить выбросы парниковых газов; искать пути решения проблемы изменения климата; призвать прави­тельство к...; председатель комиссии; составить четкий план действий; Коми­тет по надзору и охране окружающей среды; развитые страны.

B. Answer the following questions.

1. Define the main idea of the article. ________________________________


2. What did the Environmental Audit Committee attack British ministers for?_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

3. If you were the person in charge of the environmental protection what list of achievable goals for the world community would you set out?


Level: Intermediate, time: 50-60 min.


Climate change is no longer a matter of argument.There is no previous time in recorded history when the world's temperature has risen so much and so quickly. Even the 400,000 year probes into the ice cap reveal no parallel. We are therefore in entirely uncharted waters. Mankind has been pouring unprecedented amounts of filth into the air ever since the beginning of the industrial revolution. We have a planet that supports vastly more people than ever before and their num­bers are still growing fast. Every child has expectations significantly greater than their fathers and mothers. Those expectations, however limited they may seem to the rich, are similarly based upon increased consumption which means more greenhouse gas emissions.

Optimism.What is done can't be undone. We have already changed our cli­mate significantly and there is considerably more change on the way, set in train by the gases we have already released. What we can do is to restrict the growth in that change so that we can cope with it. If we allow global warming to grow unrestrict­edly, then life on the planet will become increasingly impossible as it threatens the Gulf Stream and other crucial elements that sustain the earth's benign atmosphere. Happily, the world is waking up. Just this month, American States are suing the utilities for their refusal to take global warming seriously. The Chartered Institute of Insurance is warning all its members of the present reality of climate change and its impact upon insurance risk. Optimism is rising that Russia will ratify the Kyoto Protocol so it will come into force — even without the Unites States.

Catalyst.So, why Kyoto? It isn't anything like enough. Its targets for reduc­tion in our greenhouse gases are smaller than we need but it is the first step on the journey and that is always the hardest. Already, Kyoto has meant that one of the world's two great trading powers — the European Union — has made major changes in order to meet its targets for reduction.

The likelihood is that, by 2012 the 15 longstanding members will have cut emissions by 8 %. Given how fast emissions were rising, that is a remarkable achievement and another example of the huge value of the EU. The decoupling of economic growth from the growth in emissions is crucial and the latest figures show that it has been done. Even without coming into force, Kyoto has been the catalyst for this change.

Rich countries.Its effect even on the US has been remarkable. American busi­ness and many of the states are responding to its challenge even though President Bush has behaved with such callous disregard. Without Kyoto, there would have been no such rallying, no widely accepted program, and no effective base upon which to build. Kyoto was a deal between the rich countries. Only then could we expect developing countries to join in the global response. After all, it was the rich world that caused the problem. Yet, already, China is developing in a much cleaner way than was forecast. The Kyoto mechanisms which reward clean technology transfer are, indeed, beginning to have some effect not least through international institutions like the World Bank.

Economic pressure.Of course, America still holds the key. With 4 % of the world's population it produces 25 % of the world's pollution. Yet, it depends on world trade and, as the rest of the world makes its investment decisions in the light of Kyoto, American businesses are losing out to European suppliers working within the Kyoto system. No wonder that it is US business that is pushing Bush to change. Of course, any US president will need a way to climb down, if he is in ef­fect to join in. There will be some new package and a different name. But Kyoto is the only game in town and it will mould and probably save our planet's future.

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