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Climate Change Report
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If you weren’t already concerned about climate change, a new UN report may change your thinking. The extraordinary report, written by dozens of scientists from 40 countries who reviewed more than 6,000 studies, reveals a bleak picture for the Earth’s future. The introduction, titled “Chapter 1: Framing and Context” is 61 pages, and the rest of the report is a long, deep dive into the data.

 

The most significant conclusion is that global warming must be limited quickly. The authors write with great urgency that the Earth’s temperature has already increased and that further increases will create heatwaves, eliminate ice in the Arctic Ocean, melt massive ice sheets, devastate coral reefs, and produce intense storms. Further, global warming will result in more poor people: "Climate change is projected to be a poverty multiplier, which means that its impacts make the poor poorer and increase the total number of people living in poverty.”

 

The authors suggest limiting the planet's warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-Industrial Revolution temperatures to avoid catastrophic results. They also warn that this requires "rapid, far-reaching, and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society."

 

A New York Times article, “Dire Climate Warning Lands With a Thud on Trump’s Desk,” describes President Trump’s disinterest in the report findings. Similarly, a text search on today’s Wall Street Journal home page finds an article about Exxon but nothing about the UN report.

 

 

Discussion:

 

  • Analyze the report audience, objectives, writing style, and organization. Which business writing principles are followed?
  • What improvements would you make to improve report readability?
  • What are your views about climate change? What evidence leads to your conclusions?
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