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IELTS Preparation Series 1, Episode 6: Greenhouse Gases


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Hello. I'm Margot Politis. Welcome to Study English, IELTS preparation.

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Today we're going to talk about the environment. Global warming is caused by the presence of

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greenhouses gases in the atmosphere. One of the worst greenhouses gases is carbon dioxide.

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We're going to look at the language of cause and effect while we find out why these greenhouses

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gases are a problem.

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The main problem is our use of fossil fuels. So what we've done is put the whole natural

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system out of balance by digging up coal and oil that took about 200 million years to accumulate

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and we're releasing it all in about 100 years. So it's put the whole system out of balance

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at the moment, which has resulted in higher levels of these gases in the atmosphere.

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That was Dr Roger Francey talking about the natural system. He says that the natural system

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is out of balance.

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He also talked about the causes and effects of this.

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Listen for the main cause of the natural system being out of balance.

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The main problem is our use of fossil fuels.

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He says: The main problem is our use of fossil fuels.

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So if we look at a table of cause and effect, we can say that the use of fossil fuels is

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a cause, and the natural system out of balance is an effect.

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Listen again.

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The main problem is our use of fossil fuels. So what we've done is put the whole natural

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system out of balance by digging up coal and oil that took about 200 million years to accumulate

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and we're releasing it all in about 100 years.

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So the natural system has been put out of balance by people digging up and burning coal

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and oil. This releases gases into the atmosphere. Coal and oil are fossil fuels.

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So if we go back to the table of cause and effect, we can say that digging up and burning

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coal and oil is another cause.

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See if you can hear another effect.

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The main problem is our use of fossil fuels. So what we've done is put the whole natural

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system out of balance by digging up coal and oil that took about 200 million years to accumulate

2:42

and we're releasing it all in about 100 years. So it's put the whole system out of balance

2:43

at the moment, which has resulted in higher levels of these gases in the atmosphere.

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It's put the whole system out of balance, which has resulted in higher levels of gases

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in the atmosphere.

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So here, the natural system out of balance is now a cause.

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It has resulted in, or caused, higher levels of gases in the atmosphere.

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This is an effect.

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To express these relationships, there are many different word choices.

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We can use verbs like causes, leads to, results in.

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So we can express the relationship like this:

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A causes B A leads to B

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A results in B

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Listen to an example here:

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The main problem is our use of fossil fuels. So it's put the whole system out of balance

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at the moment, which has resulted in higher levels of these gases in the atmosphere.

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Our use of fossil fuels has resulted in higher levels of gases.

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But we can also express the cause/effect relationship the other way round:

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Higher levels of gases are the result of our use of fossil fuels.

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Notice that we use a noun phrase here. This is very common.

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We can use nouns like the result, the effect, the consequence.

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If we look at these effect relationships, we can say:

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B is the effect of A B is the result of A

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B is the consequence of A

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Remember that it's always important to have a variety in your language. Make sure you

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use both nouns and verbs to express causes, and effects. This will make you written work

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and your speech sound more interesting.

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OK, so Dr Francey and his team have designed a new way of measuring one of the worst greenhouse

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gases in the earth's atmosphere: carbon dioxide.

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Listen for what they're trying to find out.

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We need to understand what happens in the tropics - that's where the biggest forests

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are and that's where some of the biggest changes are occurring in terms of human modification

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of those forests through conversion to agriculture and regular burning of these forests.

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Our interest is not so much in that diurnal or daily variation. We're interested in what's

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happening on time scales of days or months or years.

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They are interested in what's happening over days, months or years.

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Their interest is not so much in diurnal or daily variation.

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The conjunction 'or' here works to connect alternative meanings.

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In this sense, 'or' means that is, I mean.

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We're interested in diurnal, that is daily, variation.

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We're interested in diurnal, I mean daily, variation.

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The second word defines the first. It tells the reader or listener what the more unfamiliar,

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technical word means.

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Listen again for what diurnal means.

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Our interest is not so much in that diurnal or daily variation.

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He says diurnal or daily.

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Diurnal means daily.

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See if you can work out the meaning of CO2 here.

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One of the main causes of global warming is CO2, or carbon dioxide.

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CO2 or carbon dioxide

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CO2 is carbon dioxide

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When you're looking at environmental issues, like global warming and greenhouses gases,

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it's often necessary to be familiar these kinds of chemical terms.

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You should try to learn the more common ones, like CO2.

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You might want to keep a copy of the periodic table in your notebook. That's the list of

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all chemical elements and their abbreviations.

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Here are some of them:

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hydrogen is H but helium is He

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Notice that with abbreviations of elements, the first letter is always a capital, and

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the others are always small.

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See if you can guess these ones:

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oxygen that's O

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and carbon is C. But they're not always that easy:

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lead is Pb

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and sodium is Na

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OK, now let's listen to Dr Francey talk about the new CO2 measuring device.

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Then we'll look at the names of countries and nationalities.

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There's been interest from Korea, Japan, France and Malaysia, where the analyser could be

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installed on a 100metre tower on the island of Borneo.

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She says there's been interest in their device from Korea, Japan, France and Malaysia.

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It's important to learn and recognise the English names of the major countries of the

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world, their nationalities, and how to spell and pronounce these.

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It's a good vocabulary exercise to make lists of these families of words.

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To help you remember them, try grouping countries according to how the nationalities are formed.

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Notice that they're all spelt with capital letters.

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We have the -an group:

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Australia, Australian

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Korea, Korean

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Malaysia, Malaysian

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Fiji, Fijian

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We have the -ese group:

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Japan, Japanese

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China, Chinese

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Vietnam, Vietnamese

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Then there's the -i group:

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Bangladesh, Bangladeshi

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Kuwait, Kuwaiti

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And some nationalities are formed in an irregular way:

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France, French

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New Zealand, New Zealander

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Philippines, Filipino

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And watch the change in spelling with that one!

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Why don't you start your own list of English names for countries and their people. Some

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countries also take separate adjectives that you can learn along with them.

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And that's all for Study English today.

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I'll see you next time. Bye bye.

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