Comprehension Exercise – 34

Comprehension Exercise – 34

Creative Writing – 92

Read the following write-up and answer the questions that follow

Article source: Washington Post

President Trump and leaders of the other Group of Seven nations will meet at the seaside French town of Biarritz this weekend for a ritzy get-together that hopes to be defined by its eco-friendliness. Summit attendees will be made aware of local reforestation plans that help offset the event’s carbon footprint; they can drink water from “environmentally responsible” bottles, pedal around on hydrogen-powered bikes, hop on trams that run on renewable energy, and dine on food sourced from local and sustainable supply chains.

If it all feels a bit cosmetic, it should. In the form of Trump, the G-7 is playing host to the world’s climate denier in chief, a president who has called global warming a hoax and, since taking office, worked assiduously to roll back U.S. environmental protections. Then there’s the backdrop to the proceedings: By the end of the summer, some 440 billion tons of ice will have calved off Greenland’s ice sheet — the consequence of record heat waves. And when the planet isn’t melting, it’s ablaze.

This week, global attention fell on the Amazon rainforest, where widespread fires led to the city of Sao Paulo — the largest metropolis in the Western hemisphere — being cloaked in dark smoke. Videos uploaded on social media showed vast stretches of devastation, with animals scurrying for shelter within the charred husk of the forest. Online hashtags urging action and prayers for the Amazon went viral, proliferated by Hollywood celebrities, French President Emmanuel Macron and others. “According to the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service, the fires have led to a clear spike in carbon monoxide emissions as well as planet-warming carbon dioxide emissions, posing a threat to human health and aggravating global warming,” noted Andrew Freedman of the Capital Weather Gang.

“The Amazon rainforest serves as the lungs of the planet, taking in carbon dioxide, storing it in soils and producing oxygen. Scientists agree that it is one of the world’s great defenses against climate change,” wrote my colleague Terrence McCoy. “In Brazil, it has suffered 74,155 fires since January, the space research institute reported. That’s up 85 percent from last year and significantly higher than the 67,790 blazes at this point in 2016, when there were severe drought conditions in the region associated with a strong El Niño event.” In this instance, climactic conditions don’t explain the surge in fires. Instead, many point to the government of far-right Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who came to power vowing to end or loosen up protections for forested areas inhabited by indigenous people in favor of the country’s powerful agribusiness industry. Some of the blazes were probably started by emboldened cattle ranchers or farmers seeking to clear new land for cultivation or pasture. In the space of little more than a year, critics argue, Bolsonaro has reignited the “arc of fire” that ravaged the Amazon rainforest in the 1970s and ’80s.

“I cannot remember any other big fire episode like this one,” Vitor Gomes, an environmental scientist at the Federal University of Para, told my colleagues. “It is also sharply overlapped with the increased deforestation. Attributing the whole episode to natural causes only is practically impossible.” Bolsonaro, though, is contemptuous of his domestic opponents and international critics. He has dismissed the findings of his own government’s scientific agencies as “lies” and advised those concerned about global warming to eat and defecate less, because that would collectively bring down emissions.


1. Where is Biarritz?
2. What is it in the news?
3. What arrangements the hosts have made in Biarrtz to underline the importance of sustainable living?
4. Why is the author of the article critical of the presence of President Trump in the summit?
5. Why does the author say that the planet is ‘ablaze’?
6. How have the Amazon fires affected Sao Paulo?
7. What is happening inside the Amazon forest?
8. How are the celebrities of the world reacting to the fire?
9. What is Andrew Freedman’s observation of the situation?
10. What Terrence McCoy writes about the ramifications of the Amazon fires?
11. How the number of fires increased or decreased in the last few years?
12. What policy President Bolsonaro adopted in respect of the Amazon forest lands?
13. Apart from natural causes, who else are suspected to be behind the fires? What could be the purpose?
14. What are Votor Gomes views on the cause of the fire?
15. How does President Bolsonaro react to the views expressed by the scientists about the cause of fire?

Continued on Comprehension Exercise – 35

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