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  • Hello. This is 6 Minute English from BBC Learning English. I'm Neil.

  • And I'm Rob.

  • In this programme, we'll be discussing climate change and teaching you some useful vocabulary so you can talk about it, too.

  • Such as 'emitters' - a word used to describe countries, industries or just things that produce harmful substances that harm the environment.

  • Substances such as carbon dioxide - an example of a greenhouse gas.

  • These gases contribute to our warming planet.

  • And we're going to be discussing whether the world's two biggest emitters of greenhouse gases - the USA and China - can work together for the good of the environment.

  • But a question for you first, Rob.

  • In November this year, world leaders are due to meet at a climate conference.

  • In which city will this be taking place? Is it a) Brisbane, b) Glasgow, or c) Vienna?

  • Well, I've heard about this, so I think it is the Scottish city of Glasgow.

  • OK, Rob, I'll tell you if you are right or wrong later.

  • Let's talk more about climate change then. Back in 2015, world leaders met in Paris.

  • It was the first time virtually all the nations of the world came together to agree they all needed to tackle the issue.

  • Under the terms of the Paris deal, countries promised to come back every five years and raise their carbon-cutting ambitions.

  • An ambition is something you want to achieve even if it's difficult to do so.

  • President Trump pulled out of this Paris agreement but now President Biden has brought the USA back into it.

  • But the USA still has a lot to do to help reduce its contribution to air pollution.

  • In China, where smog is a common occurrence, President Xi Jinping has pledged the country will be carbon neutral by 2060.

  • That means it will do things to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide by the same amount that it produces.

  • The BBC World Service programme, The Climate Question, has been looking at this is in more detail.

  • BBC journalist, Vincent Ni, explains why Xi Jinping's plans might be tricky to achieve.

  • What I'm really thinking is that this is actually a real inherent paradox of today's China.

  • It is leading in many ways on green initiatives while at the same time, it's also a big polluter and greenhouse gas emitter.

  • It's got to alleviate poverty as well as fight pollution.

  • The thing to watch now is how this dynamic will play out in the next few years.

  • So, China currently has two things going on - one good, one bad - an impossible situation because it has two opposite factors - what Vincent called a paradox.

  • And this paradox is that, on one hand, China has many projects to improve the environment, but on the other hand, it is a big polluter.

  • And as well as tackling pollution, Vincent also said China has to alleviate poverty - alleviate means make less severe or serious.

  • But as we've said, China is not alone.

  • The USA is another big polluter which is also trying to develop ways to clean up its act - an informal way of saying change the way it behaves for the better.

  • President Biden wants the US to achieve an 100% clean energy economy and reach net zero emissions by 2050.

  • He also wants to create 10 million new 'green' jobs.

  • 'Green' means related to protecting and helping the environment.

  • The former governor of California, Jerry Brown, who's now with the California-China Climate Institute at Berkeley, also spoke to The Climate Question programme.

  • He thinks the USA should do its bit to help climate change, but it also involves working together, globally.

  • We have to really face reality with humility.

  • We have put more heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere that are still there than China has - that's the historical fact.

  • So, I think we need to stop pointing fingers as though evil is outside and we have to work with China and Russia and Europe and everywhere else,

  • as partners in humankind's very dangerous path forward.

  • So, I'd worry more about that than figuring out all the flaws of which there are many in my competitive friends and enemies.

  • Jerry talks about facing the situation with humility so, not trying to be more important than others and admitting your bad qualities.

  • He says the USA should not think evil - the polluters in this case - are from elsewhere.

  • Stop pointing fingers at other people!

  • Yes. The solution, maybe, is not to blame others but to work together, trust each other, and make tough choices rather than pointing out each other's flaws - faults or mistakes.

  • Hopefully, many countries can work together more when they attend this year's climate conference, Rob.

  • But in which city?

  • Yes. I said Glasgow, in Scotland.

  • Was I right?

  • You were, Rob. Well done. World leaders are due to meet there in November this year.

  • Right, now there's just time to recap on some of the vocabulary we've discussed.

  • Yes. We talked about emitters - countries, industries or just things that produce - or emit - harmful substances that harm the environment.

  • 'Ambitions' are things you want to achieve even if they are difficult.

  • A 'paradox' is an impossible situation because it has two opposite factors.

  • To 'alleviate' means, make less severe or serious.

  • 'Humility' involves trying not to be more important than others and admitting your bad qualities.

  • And 'flaws' is another word for faults or mistakes.

  • Well, hopefully there are no flaws in this programme! That's all for now, but we'll be back again soon to discuss more trending topics and vocabulary here at 6 Minute English.

  • Goodbye for now!

  • Bye!

Hello. This is 6 Minute English from BBC Learning English. I'm Neil.

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US and China vs climate change - 6 Minute English

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    林宜悉 posted on 2021/05/09
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