Landmark UN report: Climate disruption locked in for decades, if not centuries

Category: Science/Environment


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. landmark / ˈlændˌmɑrk / (n.) – an important achievement, event, or stage in the development of something

    Their landmark research helped in developing a new medicine.

  2. unequivocally / ˌʌn ɪˈkwɪv ə kli / (adv.) – very clearly and strongly, without any doubt

    The union unequivocally supported the fired workers.

  3. gargantuan / gɑrˈgæn tʃu ən / (adj.) – extremely big

    There are gargantuan ice sculptures in the park every winter.

  4. deafening / ˈdɛf ə nɪŋ / (adj.) – very loud

    Turn down the volume! Your music is deafening.

  5. death knell / dɛθ nɛl / (n.) – an event or sign that warns about the end of something

    The new laws were a death knell for journalism in the country.


Read the text below.

Global warming is dangerously close to spiraling out of control, a U.N. climate panel said in a landmark report Aug. 9, warning the world is already certain to face further climate disruptions for decades, if not centuries, to come.

Humans are “unequivocally” to blame, the report from the scientists of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said. Rapid action to cut greenhouse gas emissions could limit some impacts, but others are now locked in.

The deadly heat waves, gargantuan typhoons and other weather extremes that are already happening will only become more severe.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres described the report as a “code red for humanity.”

“The alarm bells are deafening,” he said in a statement. “This report must sound a death knell for coal and fossil fuels, before they destroy our planet.”

Starting on Oct. 31, the U.N. COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland, will try to wring more ambitious climate action out of the world’s nations, and the money to go with it. (Reuters)

This article was provided by The Japan Times Alpha.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • The report said that humans are “unequivocally” to blame for global warming. Do you think that all humans share equal blame, or are there people who are more responsible than others? Why? Discuss.
  • In recent years, many companies and people have focused on small actions like switching to paper straws. Do you think these small actions are helpful, or are they just a distraction from the bigger changes that are needed? Why? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • According to the report, the world will face further climate disruptions for decades, if not centuries, to come. What actions, if any, should countries take to minimize the damage from this (ex. make big changes to infrastructure, move people away from unsafe areas)? Why? Discuss.
  • A recent survey showed that nearly 60% of young people between the ages of 16 and 25 feel worried or very worried about climate change, and almost 40% are afraid to have children because of it. Does this surprise you at all? Why do you think this generation feels so strongly about climate change compared to older generations? Discuss.