Sulphur Emissions May Stop Global Warming

July 22, 2011

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. emission (n.) [ih-mish-uhn] – a substance released (usually to the air)
Example: Carbon dioxide emissions from cars add up to air pollution.

2. reflect (v.) [ri-flekt]  – to throw or bend back (like light) from a surface
Example: White clothing has a cooling effect because it reflects sunlight.  
3. cancel out (v.) [kan-suhl] [out] – stop the effect of something
Example: Lessening CO2 emission will cancel out global warming.

4. culprit (n.) [kuhl-prit] – a person responsible for something wrong or unpleasant
Example: Humankind is the main culprit for global warming because of the excessive C02 emissions they have created.

5. shoot up (phrasal verb) [shoot] [uhp] – to increase in amount
Example: The sulphur emissions from Asian countries shoot up due to human coal-fuel industries.

Read the text below.
Sulphur emissions in Asia caused global warming to stop between 1998 and 2008, according to researchers from US and Finland.

Data show that global temperature stopped increasing within this period mainly because the amount of sulphur emission in Asia increased significantly. This increase resulted from industries burning coal as fuel.

Sulphur in the atmosphere is known to have a cooling effect. It allows water vapor to form in the air which then reflects the sunlight back into outer space.

Despite the increase of carbon emission in that period, temperatures remained cool because the sulphur cancelled out the heat. As such, researchers conclude that the sun may have played a more significant role in global warming. However, the sun’s heat was low according to records.

Based on this conclusion, doubts have arisen on whether human activities cause global warming. UN experts, though, are 90% certain that humankind is the main culprit in this global problem.

Regardless whether nature or humans cause the earth to heat up, researchers are more concerned with the long-term situation. Sulphur may temporarily keep temperatures low, but as soon as Asians decide to clean up their air, temperatures will surely shoot up. Researchers say cutting down carbon emission will solve the problem more effectively.      

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A 

·         Can you give examples of human activities that contribute to global warming?
·         What other factors contribute to global warming besides human activities?

Discussion B

·         Do you think global warming is natural?
·         What are the effects of global warming to human beings?

July 22, 2011