“Delay means death’: We’re running out of ways to adapt to the climate crisis new report shows. Here are the key takeaways.” R. Ramirez, CNN
ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key
Excerpt: Delay Means Death By Rachel Ramirez, CNN February 28, 2022
“Climate change is on course to transform life on Earth as we know it, and unless global warming is dramatically slowed, billions of people and other species will reach points where they can no longer adapt to the new normal, according to a major report published Monday.
The UN-backed report, based on years of research from hundreds of scientists, found that the impacts from human-caused climate change were larger than previously thought. The report’s authors say these impacts are happening much faster and are more disruptive and widespread than scientists expected 20 years ago.
The authors point to enormous inequities in the climate crisis, finding that those who contribute the least to the problem are the worst affected, and warn of irreversible impacts if the world exceeds 1.5 degrees Celsius of global warming.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres called the report ‘an atlas of human suffering and a damning indictment of failed climate leadership,’ and he warned that ‘delay means death.’
He also said that “current events” showed the world was too reliant of fossil fuels, calling them ‘a dead end,’ in an apparent reference to the Ukraine conflict and energy crisis…Warming beyond 1.5 degrees could have irreversible consequences…And some changes may be permanent, even if the planet cools back down…With every extreme event, ecosystems are being pushed more toward so-called tipping points beyond which irreversible changes can happen, according to the report…And although the natural world has adapted to changing climates over millions of years, the pace of human-caused global warming is pushing many of the planet’s most critical systems — like rainforests, coral reefs and the Arctic — to the brink. More extreme weather doesn’t just affect humans, it is causing mass die-offs in plants and animals.
‘What we really wanted to show is that ecosystems and all sectors of human society and human well-being fundamentally depends on water,’ Tabea Lissner, a scientist at Climate Analytics and an author on the report, told CNN… Decision makers also need to be intentional in helping the most disadvantaged communities and countries, so no one gets left behind in the process.”
NOTE: Lessons can also be used with native English speakers.
Level: Intermediate – Advanced
Language Skills: Reading, writing, and speaking. Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.
Time: Approximately 60 minutes.
Materials: Student handout (from this lesson) and access to news article.
Objective: Students will read and discuss the article with a focus on improving reading comprehension and improving oral skills. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views on the topic through group work and writing.
I. Pre-Reading Activities
Predictions: Analyzing headings and photos
Directions: Examine the titles of the post and of the actual article. Examine any photos, then create a list of words and ideas that you and your group members think might be related to this article.
II. While Reading Activities
Directions: Try to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. You use a dictionary, thesaurus, and Word Chart for assistance.
- Unless global warming is slowed, billions of people and other species will die.
- Scientists, found that the impacts of climate change were larger than previously thought.
- Scientists say these impacts are happening much faster and are more disruptive and widespread than 20 years ago.
- The facts are undeniable.
- This abdication of leadership is criminal.
- The world’s biggest polluters are guilty of arson of our only home.
- Warming beyond 1.5 degrees could have irreversible consequences.
- Scientists have warned for decades warming needs to stay below 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels.
- Greenhouse gas emissions will push warming to 1.5ºC.
- With every extreme event, ecosystems are being pushed more toward tipping points.
Grammar Focus: Structure and Usage
Directions: The following groups of sentences are from the article. One of the sentences in each group contains a grammatical error. Identify the sentence (1, 2, or 3 ) from each group that contains the grammatical error.
- At warming of 2 degrees, as many as 18% of all land species will be at high risk of extinction.
- Coral reefs in much locations are already beyond tipping points.
- We’re running out of ways to adapt.
- Adaptation are finding ways to live with the change.
- A lot of the world’s resources goes toward reducing greenhouse emissions.
- The report focuses on the interconnectedness between the Earth’s ecosystems and humans.
- Humans fundamentally depend on water.
- The people who is least responsible are the most affected.
- As the climate crisis advances, more people will be forced to relocate.
Reading Comprehension: Identify The Speakers
Directions: Read the following quotes from the speakers in the article. Then identify the speakers.
- This person called the report “an atlas of human suffering and a damning indictment of failed climate leadership,” and he warned that “delay means death.”
- “At warming of 2 degrees, for example, as many as 18% of all land species will be at high risk of extinction, according to the report. At 4 degrees, 50% of species are threatened.”
- “We have seen that the vast majority of climate finance goes towards mitigation rather than adaptation…So although adaptation is taking place, there is not enough funding, and it is not a high priority, which are then leading to these limits.”
- “What we really wanted to show is that ecosystems and all sectors of human society and human well-being fundamentally depends on water.”
- “We live in an unequal world…The losses are inequitably distributed among communities, especially those communities that have historically been disadvantaged from decision-making, and now we’re seeing some of that inequality manifest as well in the choices we make to adapt.”
- “as climate change worsens, more indigenous people will lose the land, water and biodiversity they depend on.
- “When the Earth doesn’t become farmable, the dependence in the livelihood that communities have on farming and on production of food, not only will the incomes be lost, but that food security will be lost.”
Directions: Have students use the WH-question format to discuss or to write the main points from the article.
Who or What is the article about?
Where does the action/event take place?
When does the action/event take place?
Why did the action/event occur?
How did the action/event occur?
Discussion Questions for Comprehension /Writing
Directions: Have students discuss the following questions/statements. Afterwards, students share their thoughts as a class. To reinforce the ideas, students can write an essay on one of the topics mentioned.
- The following article is about the climate change crisis we are currently experiencing.Have you noticed any changes in the weather in your area in the past two years? For example, does it seem warmer or colder than usual? Does it snow more or less? Are the days getting warmer? Has there been any change in the plant or animal life in your area?
- What will happen to the earth if warming goes above 1.5 degrees Celsius?
- According to scientists, even if the planet cooled down can the damage be undone?
- Explain the ‘lowest emission scenario’.
- Provide examples of what will happen if ecosystems are pushed more toward so-called tipping points.
- What are researchers saying about coral reefs?
- According to the article not only does extreme weather affect humans, what other damage does it cause?
- Which people are the most affected by drastic climate change?
- Where in the U.S. is water shortage at dangerous levels?
- As the climate crisis advances, what happens to the people who depend on farming for survival?
- List three new ideas that you’ve learned about the topic from the reading, two things that you did not understand in the reading, and one thing you would like to know that the article did not mention. Share your responses with your class.