Hi everyone. I’m Jennifer from English with Jennifer, and I’m ready to share another current issue. If you’d like to communicate more confidently and effectively in English, remember to subscribe to my YouTube channel. I have videos on many different topics, from current issues to grammar, and everything in between: pronunciation, vocabulary, reading, writing, listening, and American culture. Let’s get started with our new topic. A couple of things have made the environment a central issue in U.S. news. First, it’s election season here, and all the top Democratic presidential candidates have laid out their plans to address climate change. We’ll see how Trump responds as we get closer to the general election. Second, most of us have heard the passionate voice of a 16-year-old Swedish girl. If you don’t know who I’m talking about, then stick around. In this video, we’ll focus on the environment and climate change. As has been my practice, I’m going to make the effort to remain neutral. My goal here isn’t to support any political party or political agenda. I’m not going to pass judgment on any politician, any activist, or any corporation. An English language teacher, I’m here to offer vocabulary and information that learners will need to follow and participate in discussions about the environment. Because it’s election season, American voters are giving the environment high priority. But it’s fair to say that this is a global issue, so we need to have conversations at different levels: global, national, and local. All the talk is about climate change. When usual weather patterns are replaced by new ones, that’s climate change. There’s a lot of concern about global warming. That’s the rise in temperature here on Earth. If temperatures rise, what are the possible effects? Well, ice melts and heat, right? So we need to pay attention to the glaciers, those large pieces of ice. If they melt, they add water to the sea. If there’s more water going into our oceans, we can worry about sea levels. Higher sea levels endanger coastal towns. Rising sea levels are a possible result of global warming. When scientists and activists warn us, they talked about the dangers of global warming, the consequences of global warming, the dangers of climate change, the consequences of climate change. I’m not a scientist, but I have a basic understanding of what’s going on with the environment, so I’ll just keep explaining in simple terms. Okay? I apologize if I’m not wholly accurate, but I promise you’ll get the main ideas and key vocabulary. You see, people worry and argue about how much human activity has contributed to global warming. Individuals, companies, and countries all have what’s called a carbon footprint. That’s the carbon or CO2 that we put into the atmosphere. Too much carbon dioxide traps heat and leads to higher temperatures. Deforestation certainly doesn’t help. We can’t cut down all our forests and expect to survive. We need enough trees to help us deal with greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide. Our use of fossil fuels, namely coal, oil, and gas, contribute to the greenhouse effect. That’s the idea of our Earth becoming like a warm greenhouse that traps in heat. Too much heat is bad. Many people view the current situation as a global crisis, a climate crisis. If we agree that we’ve created a problem, then we need to talk about solutions. Our politicians are proposing different climate plans. There are different ideas about how we can stop and reverse global warming. Some discussions and actions have already taken place at the international level. You’ll hear politicians and the media mention the Paris Climate Agreement or the Paris Climate Accord. They’re the same thing, I think. This is an international plan to address environmental issues, specifically climate change. The U.S. was part of this agreement in the past, but has since pulled out. Rejoining the agreement seems likely if a Democratic presidential candidate wins the next election, but we’ll see. Trump had his reasons for withdrawing. International discussions are complex because we’re a mix of developed and developing countries. Do we all share the same climate goals? Policies will continue to be made and negotiated. When you hear people talk about mitigation policies, they’re talking about lowering something, decreasing something. In this case, we want to mitigate greenhouse gases. We want to mitigate carbon emissions. To achieve mitigation, we have to rethink our energy infrastructure, that is, how the whole system is set up. For a long time, we relied on fossil fuels in the fossil fuel industry. There’s general agreement that we need to be more energy efficient. We need to make good use of our resources and protect our resources, like land. There’s a lot of talk about how to transition away from fossil fuels to clean energy, renewable energy. To stop the use of something, the government has to say no. In other words, they have to create a ban, a ban on something. As part of their climate plans, some politicians propose banning certain practices, banning practices that don’t use renewable energy and that hurt the environment. Proposals include banning mountaintop coal mining, also called mountaintop removal mining; banning offshore drilling for oil; banning energy extraction in general; banning fracking, which is short for hydraulic fracturing. Just say “fracking.” Fracking is a process of drilling into the ground to get oil or gas from shale rock. Some arguments against fracking include concern about the possible tremors that result from the drilling, and concern that fracking can hurt drinking water, and concern over the huge amounts of water that are needed for this process. But on the flip side, supporters of fracking say that fracking compared to other forms of extraction has lower carbon emissions and fracking has made the U.S. less dependent on foreign oil. Supporters of fracking say that it’s not realistic or economically wise to stop fracking in the immediate future. If we stop many of our current energy practices, how will we pay for all the changes as we build a new infrastructure? Each country will have to figure that out. U.S. politicians are proposing ideas, like a carbon tax. The government could tax fossil fuel companies. Some have set very ambitious goals of using 100% renewable energy by a certain deadline. Members of the European Union are pushing for a target date of 2050. Finland has set their date as 2035, and Copenhagen Denmark, aims to be carbon neutral by 2025. As for the U.S., we’ll see. It partly depends on who wins the next presidential election. Note how we can talk about a city or a country being carbon neutral, meaning they won’t have any carbon emissions and they pledge to use only clean energy. Let’s pause and look at phrases that are similar. Carbon neutral Carbon neutrality Become carbon neutral Zero carbon emissions
Zero out emissions Net-zero emissions Get to net-zero emissions Net-zero greenhouse emissions Have net-zero greenhouse emissions 100% renewable energy
Power the country by renewable energy 100% clean energy
Use clean energy Climate goals
Set a climate goal Clean energy goals
Adopt clean energy goals Decarbonization
Decarbonize Energy efficient
Energy efficiency One young woman has demanded that the governments of the world take action to fight climate change. Greta Sundberg from Sweden is only sixteen years old, but she’s already appeared before the United Nations, and she recently visited the U.S to speak publicly. Her passionate climate talks have received a lot of attention and, as a climate activist, she has a huge following. The media is both supportive and critical, but given her age and the topic, that’s not too surprising. The issue of climate change can unite and divide a crowd. On the one hand, Greta is young, so her passion and her strong voice are admirable. On the other hand, some question whether this young girl is being used by adults for political gain. In any case, Greta’s actions raise important questions: Who’s to blame for the current climate crisis? Who will take responsibility? Can one individual achieve anything? A sixteen-year-old may not lead us, but she can make us think about the future. What steps should we take as a nation and as a global society? Some politicians say we should stop using nuclear energy. Others say that’s not realistic in the near future. Some are pushing for geoengineering. I don’t understand too much about it. I know it’s also called climate engineering, and it’s like a form of mitigation. Engineers have thought of ways to manipulate the environment to fight global warming by reducing carbon emissions and reflecting sunlight away from the earth to cool it down. Some climate plans call for building a new infrastructure and investing in disaster planning. For example, if sea levels are rising, we could build seawalls to protect people in coastal areas. Or maybe we should relocate them inland. All of this costs money. Maybe we should budget for it. The automotive industry has a lot to think about. We all know that hybrid cars have become more common. Some climate plans say we should move toward electric vehicles and build recharging stations across the country. What do you think about driving electric cars and electric scooters in the future? Can you picture your town without any gas stations? Only recharging stations? Some climate activists speak out against agricultural practices. Some say, for example, we should give up meat. Others say, “No way.” They’ll never give up their hamburgers and steak. The compromise is to rethink the agricultural system. It currently has carbon emissions. What can be done to reduce those emissions? How can agriculture become more sustainable? Do you have any ideas? This lesson wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t mention the Green New Deal. This is a very progressive proposal from Democrats who see a need for significant changes, not just with our environmental practices, but in our economy and in our social structure. The proposal aims to make the U.S. carbon neutral by 2050. So the proposal offers a plan to use clean energy and offer clean air, clean water… But to counter the loss of jobs in fossil, fuels the Green New Deal proposes creating jobs in clean energy industries. The proposal isn’t just about the climate. It aims to address economic needs and economic inequality in the U.S. The Green New Deal is very ambitious, just like the program it was named after. Back in the 1930s, President Franklin D. Roosevelt rolled out a plan called the New Deal. It was to help the country recover from the Great Depression. Today there are those who love the Green New Deal and praise it. Then there are those who reject it and criticize it for being unrealistic and for trying to make the U.S. a socialist country. In short, the Green New Deal has a lot of people talking. Time will tell what path the U.S. will take. I’ll end here. Feel free to post a comment. I ask that you express ideas respectfully. Let’s continue the discussion and be open to hearing different views. If you found this lesson useful, remember to like this video. As always, thanks for watching and happy studies! I’d like to say a very special thank you to the current members of my channel. Hopefully, more of you will join us for the next livestream. Follow me and gain more practice on Facebook and Twitter. I also have new videos on Instagram. If you haven’t already, subscribe to my channel so you get notification of every new video I upload to YouTube.