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Edexcel English IGCSE: Climate Change Webpage


Q2. How does the writer of ‘Climate Change Webpage’ persuade the reader to take action?

In your answer, consider:

  • the layout of the article;
  • the information provided;
  • the writer’s use of language.

You should refer closely to the passage to support your answer. You may use brief quotations.

Edexcel English IGCSE Model Essay by an Expert

The purpose of the Climate Change Webpage is to persuade the reader to assist Greenpeace in encouraging the government to take action on climate change. The writer uses a number of presentational and language features to achieve this.

The layout of the article places an emphasis on the reader’s responsibility for action. As the reader skim-reads the webpage, the second person address in the main article’s subtitle captures their attention: “What you can do”. This quickly gives the impression that the reader can do something about the issue of climate change. A number of links around the page also persuade the reader to do certain things. The tone of the article itself constitutes pleading, for example with appeals to the reader for help. However, the links around the webpage take a more direct approach, by using imperatives to directly ‘instruct’ the reader to click the links to take action on a variety of issues: “Donate now”, “Add your voice”, “Stop Heathrow Expansion” and “Take Action”.

The information provided in the article also persuades the reader to take action. The first paragraph provides a number of shocking statistics about the current situation and about predictions for the future. The use of statistics provides authority to the writer’s message, and implies that it has scientific support. These statistics capture the reader’s interest, which is piqued when the writer reveals that it is possible to avoid these catastrophic effects. The article outlines the technology which could improve the situation, before moving onto a focus on “action”. The government is blamed for failing to take climate change seriously, with the use of emotive language such as “political cowardice”. This is designed to anger the reader, and thus encourage them to take action themselves.

A number of language techniques are also engaged to encourage the reader to take action. Temporal adverbs are used to show that the situation is an emergency: the government needs to act “urgently” and “immediately”, for example. By suggesting that action must be taken straight away, the reader feels a sense of urgency to do something about the problem. Emotive language is also used to show just how terrible the effects of climate change could be. The evocation of “dying” and “extinction” in the first paragraph shows that this is an issue of life and death. Variants of the word “catastrophe” are repeated throughout the article. This is an extremely emotive word, which is used only for the most terrible scenarios. Such drastic language encourages the reader to take action to avoid such an outcome.

Through a variety of techniques, the writer encourages the reader to want to do something to stop the potentially devastating effects of climate change. The links surrounding the main article offer tempting means by which to do this.

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