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The Governor of California, Gavin Newsom, has blamed the recent outbreak of wildfires across the west coast of the USA on climate change. Wildfires are common each year in California but the fires that are currently raging across California, Oregon and Washington are the biggest on record. Each year, fires on the west coast have been getting progressively worse.

Governor Newsom took the opportunity to address the climate crisis that is so badly affecting California. Newsom said, “The debate is over, around climate change” and “This is a climate damn emergency. This is real and it’s happening.” Newsom said that California is proof of the damage climate change is having on the planet. Saying from an area which had been destroyed, “Just come to the state of California. Observe it with your own eyes”. The fires on the west coast have been so big this year that there have been completely orange skies across California. Pictures on social media are so startling that they have been compared to apocalyptic movies. Smoke from the fires has even reached New York which is around 3000 miles (4828km) away.

Governor Newsom and fellow California government officials met with President Trump to address the ongoing crisis. Officials have butt heads with the President in recent days as Trump insists that climate change is not real and blames the fires on poor forest management. During a meeting in front of the press, California’s secretary of natural resources attempted to convince Trump of the issue. “If we ignore that science and sort of put our head in the sand and think it’s all about vegetation management, we’re not going to succeed together protecting Californians”. However, the President continued to disagree.

Trump has also come under attack from Democratic Presidential nominee Joe Biden for his position on global warming. In an unsparing attack on the President, Biden called Trump a “climate arsonist“. Biden blamed Trump’s neglect for the weather-related destruction seen across the US during his Presidency, from hurricanes and flooding to the fires raging right now. Biden painted the fate of America as being at risk in a speech. Saying, “If we have four more years of Trump’s climate denial, how many suburbs will be burned in wildfires?”, “How many suburban neighbourhoods will have been flooded out? How many suburbs will have been blown away in superstorms? If you give a climate arsonist four more years in the White House, why would anyone be surprised if we have more of America ablaze?”

Although the wildfire emergency in the US has undoubtedly turned political in the run-up to the 2020 Presidential election, that doesn’t help the people losing their homes and lives today.

Difficult words

Outbreak (n): A sudden occurrence of something unwelcome, such as disease, war or fire.

Raging (adj): Continuing with great force or intensity.

Startling (adj): Very surprising.

Apocalyptic (adj): Describing the complete destruction of the world.

Butt heads (v): To disagree or engage in conflict.

Unsparing (adj): Acting without mercy, being severe.

Arsonist (n): Someone who criminally and deliberately starts fires.

Denial (n): Not accepting or believing something is true when it is.

Ablaze (adj): Burning fiercely.

Activities

For listening practise, listen to the recorded article here:

American English Audio:

Match the Synonym!

1. OutbreakA. Disagree
2. RagingB. Surprising
3. StartlingC. Merciless
4. ApocalypticD. Set fires.
5. Butt headsE. Eruption
6. UnsparingF. Burning
7. ArsonistG. To not accept.
8. DenialH. Continuing intensely
9. AblazeI. The end of the world.

True or False?

1.  The Governor of California does not believe in climate change. T / F

2.  Recently, wildfires have been raging across the west coast of the United Kingdom. T / F

3. Wildfires are common occurrences every year on the western side of the U.S. T / F

4. Skies across California have been orange. T / F

5. The fires have never been bad enough to reach the east coast of the U.S.  T / F

6. Donald Trump believes the fires stem from poor forest management. T / F

7. Everyone in the U.S. government agrees with President Trump’s views. T / F

8. Joe Biden criticised Donald Trump’s views. T / F

9. Joe Biden is the 2020 Republican nominee. T / F

10. The wildfire emergency in the US has turned political. T / F

Unscramble the sentence!

1. common / Wildfires / year / are / each / California / in

2. the / address / took / the / Governor Newsom / opportunity / crisis / to / climate

3. big / have / been / west / the / so / coast / fires / The / on

4. under / has / Trump / attack / also / come

5. destruction / neglect / blamed Trump’s / Biden / for / the weather-related

Listening and Vocabulary

Listen to the article and fill in the words OR practice vocabulary and fill in the words.

American English Audio:

MediaClimateVegetation
RecordSuburbanWildfires
DestroyedBlamedUndoubtedly

The Governor of California, Gavin Newsom, has blamed the recent outbreak of (1)_____________ across the west coast of the USA on climate change. Wildfires are common each year in California but the fires that are currently raging across California, Oregon and Washington are the biggest on (2)___________. Each year, fires on the west coast have been getting progressively worse.

Governor Newsom took the opportunity to address the climate crisis that is so badly affecting California. Newsom said, “The debate is over, around climate change” and “This is a (3)___________ damn emergency. This is real and it’s happening.” Newsom said that California is proof of the damage climate change is having on the planet. Saying from an area which had been (4)_____________, “Just come to the state of California. Observe it with your own eyes”. The fires on the west coast have been so big this year that there have been completely orange skies across California. Pictures on social (5)________ are so startling that they have been compared to apocalyptic movies. Smoke from the fires has even reached New York which is around 3000 miles (4828km) away.

Governor Newsom and fellow California government officials met with President Trump to address the ongoing crisis. Officials have butt heads with the President in recent days as Trump insists that climate change is not real and blames the fires on poor forest management. During a meeting in front of the press, California’s secretary of natural resources attempted to convince Trump of the issue. “If we ignore that science and sort of put our head in the sand and think it’s all about (6)________________ management, we’re not going to succeed together protecting Californians”. However, the President continued to disagree.

Trump has also come under attack from Democratic Presidential nominee Joe Biden for his position on global warming. In an unsparing attack on the President, Biden called Trump a “climate arsonist“. Biden (7)___________Trump’s neglect for the weather-related destruction seen across the US during his Presidency, from hurricanes and flooding to the fires raging right now. Biden painted the fate of America as being at risk in a speech. Saying, “If we have four more years of Trump’s climate denial, how many suburbs will be burned in wildfires?”, “How many (8)___________ neighbourhoods will have been flooded out? How many suburbs will have been blown away in superstorms? If you give a climate arsonist four more years in the White House, why would anyone be surprised if we have more of America ablaze?”

Although the wildfire emergency in the US has (9)______________ turned political in the run-up to the 2020 Presidential election, that doesn’t help the people losing their homes and lives today.

Conversation Questions

Take turns speaking with a partner or try to answer on your own:

1. Did you find this article interesting? Why or why not?
2. Did you learn anything new from this article? If so, what?
3. What do you think of this story?
4. Do you think the fires in the US are worse because of Global Warming?
5. Has your country experienced any effects from Global Warming?
6. What should the US government do to stop these wildfires from happening?
7. What is the opinion on Global Warming in your country?
8. Are there any natural disasters that occur in your country?
9. Do you think humanity can stop Global Warming?
10. What do you think will be the worst effects of Global Warming?
11. Do you do anything to limit your impact on the environment?
12. How strongly does your government combat Global Warming?
13. Is the US Presidential election big news in your country?
14. Will the outcome of the US Presidential election affect your country?
15. Do you think most people in your country would prefer Trump or Biden to win?
16. Do you agree with all of your country’s leader’s policies?
17. How divisive is politics in your country?
18. What are some controversial topics in your country these days?
19. Do you think Biden was right with what he said about Trump?
20. Have you ever experienced a natural disaster first hand?