Nations Need Climate Change Policies, Says UN

October 14, 2012

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

1. policy (n.)
[pol-uh-see]  – a set of rules that must be followed
Example: The government approved a policy that does not allow farmers to use harmful chemicals.

2. drought (n.) [drout] – a long period of time wherein there is no rain
Example: The drought in Somalia killed many cows and forced people to leave the country.

3. climate (n.) [klahy-mit] – a regular pattern of weather in a certain area
Example: The climate in Hokkaido is much colder than the climate in Okinawa.

4. combat (v.) [kuh m-bat, kom-bat, kuhm-; kom-bat, kuhm-] – to stop something bad from happening or getting worse
Example: Scientists are making new medicines to combat the spread of the deadly disease.

5. binding (adj.) [bahyn-ding] – requires others to follow because of a promise or agreement
Example: The contract we signed is binding.

Read the text below.

Governments across the world are urged to create national policies to lessen the damage of longer, more severe and more frequent droughts brought about by climate change.

According to U.N.’s World Meteorological Organization (WMO), several parts of the world are already experiencing damaging droughts. India is experiencing 70% less rainfall in 70% of the country. Australia, Brazil, Mexico, and some parts of Europe are also suffering from extreme dryness.

In the United States, ¼ of the country is affected by drought which is the worst it has seen since 1895. This causes a problem to the U.S. since it exports corn worldwide. It is predicted that this year’s corn crop will be reduced by 27%.

The U.N. and International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) urge the U.S. to stop its bio fuel program, which is said to be partly responsible for worldwide food shortages and price hikes. U.S law states that 40% of the corn produced must be used to make bio fuel.

Food prices have increased by 6% because of drought. If the drought continues, these prices will get even higher, U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization warns.

It is important that countries develop policies and not just plans to combat the effects of drought, stresses Dr. Mannava Sivakumar, a WMO director. Policies are better than plans, because policies are legally binding.  By law, the government has to follow policies, Dr. Sivakumar explains.

Plans, on the other hand, can be set aside if the ruling political party considers them unimportant.

Currently, Australia is the only country with a national policy addressing climate change.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         Do you think that climate change is a real issue? Why do you think so?
·         What for you is the best thing that governments can do to address climate change?

Discussion B

·         Is climate change an issue that all countries in the world should try to resolve? Why or why not?
·         How can individuals help lessen the effects of climate change?


October 14, 2012