warming happens: but is it “catastrophic”?
- Go through the article and number the paragraphs.
- Look at the source of this article. What does it say about the target readership?
- After 2 articles which have made free use of terms such as ominous, ravaged, devastation, threatening and nightmare,
to describe global warming, this piece deals less with the issue itself
than with the language others use to approach it. It is an article
about emotive language and its possible negative impacts.
- Paragraph 1 suggests that Joanna Public (you and I) is likely to respond to emotive terms like those cited –identify them and learn to spell them!- by running away from so unmanageably huge a problem. Thus, the warnings become counterproductive.
- Paragraph 2 makes it clear that bad things are happening –identify the 4 problems expected to highlighted in the April 6 report-…
- …But (see what I did there?) in paragraph 3 turns the reader’s attention away from the science and towards the language. Identify the emotive terms which are being queried. Make sure you can use and spell them. Biblically, Armageddon is the final destruction of the earth at the end of time.
- Paragraph 4 quotes an authoritative source – about time too, I
feel, after all those anonymous references to “some experts”, “leading
climate scientists” and “2500 scientists”. Steiner, presents a balanced
view in paragraphs 4 & 5, arguing that warnings about “specific
scenarios” are “clearly right” and “legitimate”. These “specific
scenarios” are contrasted with “the whole climate change debate”.
- Note how Steiner uses colloquial language – “doom and gloom” – and a questioning technique to involve the lay reader.
- In paragraphs 6 & 7 we hear from another authoritative
source who identifies 4 possible responses to the emotive language
habitually used in the climate change debate. Define/explain each of these possible reactions.
- Express the point being made in paragraph 8 in your own words.
- It seems ironic to me that James Inhofe, the US senator quoted
in paragraph 9, when complaining about the exaggeration of the dangers
of global warming, uses language as emotive as that against which he is
- Paragraph 10 seems somewhat lame, causing me to wonder
whether the IPCC’s response is truly about responsible behaviour, or
whether they are “chickening out”
- I’d ask you to chart the argument in this piece by
recourse to topic sentences, but the article doesn’t lend itself to
that approach; look at the length of some of those sentences! So
instead, boil each paragraph down to one SHORT sentence, in your own words. I want to see that you know what is going on.