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Global warming

An issue and different schools of thought

Materialien für eine Unterrichtseinheit (Facharbeit / Unterrichtsentwurf / Unterrichtsmaterial / Arbeitsblatt / Worksheet / Referat/ Präsentation / Englisch / Englischunterricht)

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Headlines from the Guardian website

Flood damage could hit £16bn, warns insurer
Australia suffers worst drought in 1,000 years
Plant a billion new trees, says Nobel laureate
African nomads to be first people wiped out by climate change
Little progress at climate summit
We must pay now to avoid climate disaster, says Blair


Find them on or use the Google image sarch. Your query could be Global.warming cartoons

Video has “The Climate Crisis”, a 47-minute programme, consisting mostly of an interview with Al Gore on his movie “An Inconvenient Truth”. Clearly spoken, fairly easy to understand, and in several parts. The trailer for the movie can also be found there.


The Climate Crisis

Introduction: 00:00 - 06:57

Vocabulary: villains, what is at stake, multi-digit growth, what is in store


Part 1: 06:57 - 13:26

Vocabulary: and then some, prior experience, acquire, alter, species, resist, diminish, on our guard, alarmist, hyperbole, become suspect, implications, The Boy Who Cried Wolf, quadruple, lack of concern, the thin shell of atmosphere, wilt, ocean currents, time scale, cyclones, culminate, devastating consequences, Book of Revelation, to alert, procrastination, appeasement, point of no return

Part 2: 13:30 - 25:43

Vocabulary: critical path, convey, paralysis, resolve, renewable resource, "The truth shall set you free" (Jesus says in John 5:32, "And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."), scientific consensus, political advocacy, carbon dioxide, Kyoto agreement, chasm, preliminary steps, preside over, phase out, shift, consumption of fossil fuels, ground rules, cut corners, dump, spill out, CFCs, eliminate, emissions, with a vengeance, weapons proliferation, adjunct, substitute, access, nuclear, silver bullet, mired in poverty, on the cutting edge, dire consequences, Great Hall of the People (used for legislative and ceremonial activities by the People's Republic of China and the Communist Party of China.), enhanced, numerous consequences, environmental harm, co-develop, CO2 emissions, justify, live a carbon-neutral life, buy offsets, blind spot, day of reconing, Richard Branson (an English entrepreneur, best known for his Virgin brand, a banner that encompasses a variety of business organisations.)


Here's a TV discussion on the movie from KPBS. The discussion goes from 2:44 to 15:44 of the news programme.

"An Inconvenient Truth" (The movie is no longer available on YouTube)

Part one:

Vocabulary: exploded in the consciousness, an iconic image, “What gets us into trouble is not what we don’t know. It’s what we know for sure that just ain’t so.”, assumption, lasting harmful impact, vulnerable, the late, coat of varnish, radiation, absorb, reradiate, trap, boundary, layer

Part two:

Vocabulary: choc full, sunbeams, rotting corpses, to combat, to propose, he intuited, remote, hard-nosed, intellectual ferment, startling, land mass, hemisphere, tilted towards, he pledged to regulate, retreat, vast expanse, core drills, tree rings, refreezing, a cyclical phenomenon, mediaeval

Part three:

Vocabulary: a moral issue, deeply unethical, magnify

Part four:

Vocabulary: previous record, textbooks have to be rewritten, velocity, moisture content, horrendous, breach the levees, Winston Churchill, procrastination, soothing, precipitation, evaporation, nature hike through the Book of Revelation, drought, relocate, unfold, Darfur, Niger, to compound, Lake Chad (the shrinking lake), soil evaporation, to total

Part five:

Vocabulary: lay down, climate pattern, canaries in the coalmine, every which way, tundra, meticulous, diminish, giant mirror, planetary effects, non-linear, gradual, prevailing winds, the ocean’s conveyor, recede, remnants, chunk of ice

Part six: (rising sea levels)

Vocabulary: nitrogen, haze, Big Smoky Mountains, migratory birds, hatch, caterpillar, peak, ecological niche, invasive species, pine beetles, Harare, Nairobi, avian flue, West Nile virus, blotch, shelf, ice cube, propped up, Larsen ice shelf

Part seven:

Vocabulary: Is it possible that we should prepare against other threats besides terrorists?, open pit, sound science, respond to, collision, baby boom generation, puts pressure on demand, Haiti, Dominican Republic, gas flares, habits, predictable consequences, bows and arrows, utterly transformed, irrigarion, Aral Sea, the very same, lukewarm, a sudden jolt,

Part eight:

Vocabulary: Surgeon General, connect the dots, day of reckoning, scientific consensus, misconception, memo, leak, "Doubt is our product", American Petroleum Institute, insist on, overrule, misconception, scales, wealth, obstacle, take apart

More parts


Stern Review

Stern Review on the economics of climate change


Lots of graphics on global warming can be found in the wiki Globalwarmingart

Google images for the query greenhouse gases

"Reports form a Warming Planet" (American Public Radio) Text and audio

Climate change on the Web Links from the BBC

BBC Audio & video on climate change

"What if..." - Make a video  (home made)

Blue Man Group on Global Warming  (experimental)

Peter Frumhoff of the Union of Concerned Scientists discusses the catastrophic results of world growing dangerously warmer; he describes his work as a race against time. (WGBH Boston Media Productions, 27 minutes, TV interview) (American English)

Polar Bears and Arctic Global Warming (British English)

MELT (US VERSION ) - A british teenager's view of global warming. A teenager's view of Global Warming. 14 year- old film-maker Ruby Reynolds explores what we're doing to the planet and what we should be doing, now to slow down theprocess of global warming. (estuary English, very easy to understand) 16:26 mins

Global Warming - the evidence BBC News Special in which the front line scientists speak out and show examples of current global warming (12 Oct 06, 25:.31 min) Disappearing ice in the Antarctic; polar bears in danger; carbon dioxide levels are increasing; the Amazon rainforst; melting permafrost in Siberia / methane; London in a heat wave;

Global Dimming Another scary BBC programme. (49 min 7 sec - Sep 18, 2006)

Still more (longer) videos on Google Video about global warming including lectures and TV programmes.

Another short introductory video can be found on Teacher domain. It begins by talking about the disasters of 1988 (!).

Greenpeace Global Warming (Lyrics: It's the end of the world as we know it) - Stop CO2 before it stops the earth.

Greenpeace Hotseat Global Warning Campaign Greenpeace video describing global warming, alternative energy, and how you can help solve the problem through political action. (11:37)

More unusual and useful videos here.

Jon Stewart interviews Al Gore  (8:08)

Colbert Critiques Evangelicals Who Fight Against Global Warming  (3:18)

Assorted news videos form ABC News

Global warming cartoons

Global warming cartoons on Google

Global warming videos on Singing Fish, the multimedia search engine

Useful texts from BBC 4's "Planet Under Threat". Also programmes to listen to.

Klimawandel bei

A simple animation that explains global warming

George Monbiot videos on YouTube

Debate, Ideology & Truth

The Competitive Enterprise Institute fights back against Al Gore's message with videos like these. Transcripts are available. Wonderful stuff to take apart. Look at this one. The Wikipedia writes: "CEI is a think tank that is funded in large part by corporations and organizations interested in the focus of the CEI's work, including the Scaife Foundations, ExxonMobil, the Ford Motor Company Fund, Pfizer, and the Earhart Foundation. (...) CEI has been called an "ideologically-driven, well-funded front for corporations opposed to safety and environmental regulations that affect the way they do business" by Sourcewatch".

Then there's also a parody exposing the "real motives" behind Gore's campaign.

Company lies exposed:

Columns from George Monbiot (Scary!)

A Forum on "Rotten Tomatoes"

Energy sources - The Pros And Cons

Stephen Colbert makes fun of Al Gore    (Video)

Making fun of George W. Bush  (Video)

Europe's Dirty 30

A lecture on "Biofuels: Think Outside The Barrel" can also be found on Google Video.

The Climate Change March, London 2005.

Fighting against new roads - The third battle of Newbury


Using the Web it is easy to construct translation exercises that contain the vocabulary of the topic you are working on. For examples and various constructions see exercises below.

The Abitur Speech

You are deeply concerned about global warming and want to inform people about practical steps they can take. Use this English text to write a speech you could give to your schoolmates.

Tips for teachers

1) Tell students to study some of the material on this web page. Ask them to find out how organisations and companies try to combat global warming. The advertisements on this page might already lead to useful sources but more can be found on the web. You could, however, limit the scope of the exercise to this page and ask students to choose which of the concepts available here makes most sense to them.

2) To find lots of lesson plans go to Google and enter the following query: filetype:pdf lesson.plan global.warming

3) Similarly, to find worksheets use the query filetype:pdf worksheet "rising sea levels". We recommend you also use Yahoo to find material. Go to the Advanced Search and choose PDF as the file format.

4) The taboo game. Step 1: Hand out small cards (A7 will do) or sheets of paper. Ask students to write one word from the field of environmental studies at the top and draw a line below it. Step 2: Students should then think of three words they would use in a definition of the word and write them below the line. Step 3: Collect the cards and shuffle them. Step 4: Organize students in groups of four (or play as a pleanry game). One student is given a random card. His/her task is to define the word above the line WITHOUT using the words below the line. these are the taboo words. The other people in the group then have to guess the word that stands above the line.

5) Sentence puzzle. To revise vocabulary related to the saving of energy print out a web page that deals with the topic and gives a set of tips such as this one. One such tip could read:


Many houses are poorly insulated. Investing in extra insulation for floors, walls and ceilings, along with replacing old windows, can quickly generate big savings.

Hand out the beginning words of each tip to the students. In this case:


Many houses are poorly insulated. Investing in extra

Cut the remaining text into slips of paper so that one line of text (whether it's a complete sentence or not) is on one slip of paper. Students then put the slips of paper into the correct order. It might be useful to enlarge the sentences first.

6) Dictogloss Choose a short passage form a text on the topic. Dictate it to students once speaking much faster than they can write. Each student will then only have bits of the whole text. In groups the try to put the complete text together.

7) Ecological memory.The gave Memory is a popular classic with children. The variation "Creative Memory" is equally popular in the classroom. Here's a description. To mae the game ecology-oriented make sure to include a fair amount of pictures that show power stations, exhausts, bicycles, glaciers, etc

8) A toolkit for teachers from the US Environmental Protection Agency

PROS AND CONS: Global warming


-- Keeps Al Gore busy

-- Can swim year-round

-- Icebergs, schmicebergs


-- Might kill us all




The danger of global warming refers to all the wasted hot air which teachers generate when telling their pupils about the advantages of doing their homework themselves in order to get good grades which will result in the qualifications which tomorrow's labour market needs, thus increasing the chances of getting a good, satisfying and well-paid job. Pupils who fail to heed this advice stand a good chance of finding themselves on the Orkney Isles, but unfortunately without a job.

"An inconvenient truth" - selected videos

The trailer

The credits

A cartoon (from the movie) on global warming

Part 1 (of 10) of the movie "An Inconvenient Truth" 


Global Warming: Part II, The Weather Makers (Stephen Colbert)

"We Are the Weather Makers"  (Tim Flannery's website)
A video of a talk by the author to students in Melbourne in Australian English

A message from American industry: "Carbon dioxide - They call it pollution. We call it life." The "Energy" video.

A message from American industry: "Carbon dioxide - They call it pollution. We call it life." The "Glaciers" video.

Also from the CEI: "Al Gore - An inconvenient story"

Another anti-Gore video on YouTube thanks to American industry

More about its makers...
About the CEI propaganda machine etc. The Denial Industry.  


Iraq - The hidden story

A video from

Stephen Colbert makes fun of Al Gore (5:02)
Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert take a look at how the right wing and corporate interests are spinning global warming and environmental destruction. (5:25)

ABC News on global warming - Results of polls


Topical translation and grammar exercises - The sentences have all been taken from the Web.
Translating infinitive constructions

1) Aubrey Eneas, a Boston inventor, was among the first to bring solar power to America.

2) The first to go into business making silicon solar cells in space may well become the first to dominate that business.

3) The studies done in 1980 were the last to be funded by the US government.

4) I want to buy a new car but I have a problem. What's the best one to buy?

5) So for solar power to be making a big impact in the year 2050, we have to start now and that is why Shell is committed to renewable energy sources.

6) It took hundreds of millions of years for solar energy to gather under the surface of the Earth as coal, oil and natural gas.

7) It takes ten million years for solar energy to travel from the sun's core to its surface, but only 8.3 minutes to reach the Earth.

8) Many people would agree that Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, part of California and part of Texas are the best states for solar power to be used.

9) For solar power to be usable for the rest of us, the big gap between low-cost, inefficient cells and high-cost, efficient cells needs to be addressed.

10) Many also expressed a desire for solar power to become more accessible for the average person.

11) For solar power to become the backbone of electricity generation will require enormous investment.

12) For solar power to become widely used, most agree that the cost must fall below $3 per watt.

"...for solar power to..."       "...for alternative energies to..."


Translating “…for global warming to…”

1. You know, there is no proof for global warming to exist.

2. We are still waiting for global warming to hit us below the belt.

3. Anyone who expects mitigation for global warming to work is deluding themselves.

4. The IPCC issues three reports, declaring the evidence for global warming to be incontrovertible.

5. Now they have started to fully appreciate the potential for global warming to harm economies

6. Now just pray for Global Warming to skip us and hit Pluto.

7. For global warming to be controlled capitalism will also have to be controlled.

8. An increased emphasis on methane would be seen as shifting the blame for global warming to developing countries.

9. Besides, I am very eager for global warming to stop being a liberal issue.

10. For global warming to improve we need hundreds, if not thousands of people to make changes to their lifestyle.

11. Countries should switch away from the fossil fuels blamed for global warming to cleaner energy such as solar or wind.

More such sentences

Translating "...if global warming were..."

If global warming were found to be not much of a problem, what do you think would happen to the budgets, employment and advancement opportunities of those with a vested interest in global warming?

If global warming were to trigger widespread melting of glaciers and polar caps, rising sea levels would put a lot of our favorite places underwater.

Even if global warming were to occur at the fast pace predicted by the alarmists, it wouldn't unleash the New Ice Age predicted in "The Day After Tomorrow”.

I would expect, if global warming were taken to its ultimate extreme, we would see many more earthquakes in Antarctica and Greenland.

Tropical storm intensity and frequency would only be increasing if global warming were occurring.

However, if global warming were constantly becoming worse than previously thought, climate scientists would be revising their warming estimates upwards.

If global warming were to occur, it would not be the disaster that many doomsayers have predicted.

He said if global warming were indeed a global phenomenon that increased hurricane activity and strength, then the change would be measurable in storms across the entire planet.

At the time the 2004 NASA study was published, the common belief was that if global warming were to affect hurricanes, such changes would not be noticeable.

If global warming were to lift the sea level, coastal peoples would be more vulnerable to massive future inundations.


More such sentences


By burning fossil fuels such as coal, gas and oil and clearing forests we have dramatically increased the amount of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere. – Rewrite the underlined words, using the noun increase.

The evidence is overwhelming and undeniable. – Rewrite, using the verb corresponding to undeniable.

Plants and animals are being forced from their habitat. By burning fossil fuels such as coal, gas and oil and clearing forests we have dramatically increased the amount of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere. – Rewrite the underlined words, using the noun increase.

The evidence is overwhelming and undeniable. – Rewrite, using the verb corresponding to undeniable.

Plants and animals are being forced from their habitat. – Put into the active.

The number of Category 4 and 5 hurricanes has almost doubled in the last 30 years. – Replace the underlined word by the noun increase and rewrite.

At least 279 species of plants and animals are already responding to global warming. – Replace the underlined word by the verb affect and rewrite.

Deaths from global warming will double in just 25 years. – Replace double by twice and rewrite.

Heat waves will be more frequent and more intense. – Replace frequent by its adverb and rewrite.

Droughts and wildfires will occur more often. – Replace occur by the verb see and rewrite.

More than a million species worldwide could be driven to extinction by 2050. – Replace extinction by the adjective extinct and rewrite.