Lesson AWF-5

Welcome! Please consider how your attitude affects your and other students' experiences of the lesson. 

Be respectful, come prepared, and show interest to have the best possible educational experience. 

Lesson goals

Read and understand texts on climate change, study new vocabulary and participle grammar as well as practice discussing their impact on the future using your writing and grammar skills.

Lesson activities

Vocabulary exercise

Reading comprehension

Broad or narrow path

Vocabulary exercise

Time for the  activitity: ~10-15 minutes

Answer key

Reading comprehension

Time for the  activitity: ~10-15 minutes

Why scientists are using the word scary over the climate crisis

Why scientists are using the word scary over the climate crisis

The former BBC environment analyst Roger Harrabin has spent his career talking to scientists. Now they’re telling him they’re scared of what they’re seeing.

Back in the 1980s, when climate research began to really take off, scientists were desperate to retain their credibility as they unravelled the potentially dire consequences of the “new” phenomenon of global warming. Most journalists tiptoed round this topic because no one wanted to lose their reputation by scaremongering. But as the science steadily became overwhelming researchers pushed their conclusions in the face of policymakers.

More and more scientists are now admitting publicly that they are scared by the recent climate extremes, such as the floods in Pakistan and west Africa, the droughts and heatwaves in Europe and east Africa, and the rampant ice melt at the poles.

That is not because an increase in extremes was not predicted. It was always high on the list of concerns alongside longer-term issues such as sea level rise. It is the suddenness and ferocity of recent events that is alarming researchers, combined with the ill-defined threat of tipping points, by which aspects of heating would become unstoppable.

The heat phenomenon in the Canadian town of Lytton, for instance, produced a “dome” of trapped heat that cranked up the temperature to 49.6C. Wildfires raged and the town was razed. I broke the news to one of the Royal Society’s leading members, Prof Sir Brian Hoskins, but at first he did not believe me. Then he said: “Oh, my god, that’s really scary.”

The high temperature itself was shocking enough but amazingly it topped the previous record by five degrees, when records are normally beaten by just a few tenths of a degree. Hoskins told me later: “Climate models have generally projected very smooth changes, whereas the real world is suffering rapid regional changes. The rise in globally averaged temperature is a useful metric of how far climate change has got, but it doesn’t bring home the message of the likely local and regional impact.

Prof Hannah Cloke, from Reading University, said: “This sort of thing is really scary. It’s just one statistic amongst an avalanche of extreme weather events that used to be known as ‘natural disasters’.”

But it is the threat of unstoppable long-term change that most worries Prof Dame Jane Francis, director of the British Antarctic Survey. She has witnessed temperatures in the Antarctic of 40C above the seasonal norm, and 30C above in the Arctic.

She said: “It’s really scary. It seems some of [these trends] are already under way.” She said she feared for the permafrost, the Greenland ice sheet, the Arctic sea ice, and Antarctica’s Thwaites glacier and western ice sheet.

Prof Piers Forster, from the University of Leeds, said: “I have tried to change the way I communicate to make it more personal and emotional. Extreme impacts are bad now and going to get a whole lot worse. But then you need to give people hope, and ourselves, as scientists hope. We can slow the rate of warming immediately if we act now.”

Roger Harrabin, The Guardian, Mon 7 Nov 2022

Used with permission. Abridged.


Broad or narrow path

Select between the two paths to improve your vocabulary, grammar and comprehension

The broader, less challenging, path - for students who want to grow using basic exercises. 

The narrow, more challenging, path - for those who want to grow using advanced exercises. 


Study the quizlet from AWF-4 & 5.

Decide which of the two articles (social media or climate change) that you want to write an exercise about next lesson.

Exit ticket

How optimistic are you about climate change?