Debby's Corner

Training for Learners
of English as a foreign language

Learn English like a Native American!
Inspiring people to become linguistically autonomous

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Translation, Grammar, ...


*Al Gore's 2000 documentary on Global Warming
INSTRUCTIONS: Listen to the PBS news clip and do the comprehension exercise by clicking on this icon:
The United Nations Convention on Climate Change created the Conference of the Parties or COP in 1995 and they have been meeting annually since then. This year the COP17 is meeting in Durban, South Africa from November 28 to December to December 9, 2011. Only those countries who signed the Kyoto Protocol can participate in the debates although other countries who did not sign can observe. They are going to try to implement the Convention and the Kyoto Protocol as well as the Bali Action Plan (agreed at COP13 in 2007) and the Cancun Agreements (reached at COP16 last December). Many observers are skeptical that this convention will be able to achieve anything. What do you think? Listen to the PBS news program to form an opinion:
James Hansen is Adjunct Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University’s Earth Institute. He was trained in physics and astronomy in the space science program of James Van Allen at the University of Iowa. His early research on the clouds of Venus helped identify their composition as sulfuric acid. Since the late 1970s, he has focused his research on Earth's climate, especially human-made climate change. Hansen is known for his testimony on climate change to congressional committees in the 1980s that helped raise broad awareness of the global warming issue. Hansen is recognized for speaking truth to power, for identifying ineffectual policies as greenwash, and for outlining the actions that the public must take to protect the future of young people and the other species on the planet.
"The scientific excitement in comparing theory with data, and developing some understanding of global changes that are occurring, is what makes all the other stuff worth it." In this "Ted Talks" he tells the story of his involvement in the science of and debate over global climate change. In doing so he outlines the overwhelming evidence that change is happening and why that makes him deeply worried about the future. Make sure you turn on or off the "Subtitles" (bottom right of video box) to help you with your comprehension. You can also print out the script by clicking on the transcript box.

2. Look at this graph and try to explain how greenhouse gases are formed:
The legendary broadcaster and naturalist Sir David Attenborough was long unsure about the causes of the observed climate warming. In his documentary,The Truth About Climate Change, he sheds doubt and explains what convinced him. Listen to his short talk and explain what convinced him. Do you think his arguments are valid? Why or why not? Discuss them with a partner or instructor.

Jeff Corwin, of the Defenders of Wildlife Association, shows off his Boston accent and his pride at Massachusetts fisherman and lobster industry as an example of what can be accomplished when a dedicated group of people put their efforts towards saving a species. Part of Defenders of Wildlife's Feeling the Heat series. This was recorded on October 7, 2009

3. Click on the bookcase to read a historical text about Global Warming to learn your vocabulary in context.
This page is devoted to the topic of global warming and other environmental issues. Try to learn as many new words as possible by doing the vocabulary exercises and then watch the videos to strengthen your oral recognition of these terms. Finally do some of the discussion activities with a partner and/or an instructor. If this topic is important for your exams, choose one of the discussion questions and write a short essay expressing your opinions and future predictions based on the facts exposed here or elsewhere. Don't forget to scroll down to the bottom of the page for some pronunciation practice in the "Pronunciation Zone". Good luck!
Practice your pronunciation and accent by repeating the articles which are read by an American speaker.