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Edexcel English IGCSE: Climate Change Webpage


Q4. Who does the writer of the ‘Climate Change Webpage’ believe to be responsible for reducing the impact of climate change? How does the writer portray this message?

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 writer’s attribution of responsibility for climate change in this article is quite complex. The government is most strongly implicated, but the article also creates a strong sense of responsibility within the reader.

The government are portrayed as having great responsibility for assuaging the effects of climate change, but as incompetent in doing so. There is a lot of negative vocabulary used to describe the government: they will “miss” their targets and are “failing” to do as they promised. They are accused of “political cowardice”, which is very emotive vocabulary, suggesting that they are corrupt, selfish and uncaring. This negative paragraph follows a much more optimistic paragraph, in which the writer describes how easy it would be to implement environmentally-friendly technologies. The fact that the government are still failing to take “real action” make them seem all the more neglectful of their responsibilities.

Because of the negligence of the government, the article suggests that the responsibility now falls on ‘ordinary people’: that is, the reader. To persuade the reader of this, the writer uses language techniques to make the reader feel part of a global community. The use of the second person plural pronoun throughout the article creates a sense of solidarity amongst humanity. By portraying climate change as a global issue – “this global catastrophe” – the writer assigns the responsibility to all humans together, including the reader. This sense of community is heightened by the phrase, “We’re the last generation”; this unites the current population of the earth as uniquely able to take action, and highlights the sense of urgency in doing so. Solidarity and responsibility are the key messages in the final sentence of the article; there is a strong sense of optimism in the words, “Together, we can”, which shows that the issue can be resolved if people join forces to take responsibility.

As well as creating the impression of a global community with joint responsibility, the writer highlights the reader’s individual role in reducing the impact of climate change. Occasionally, the writer directly addresses the reader, which draws them into the dialogue and reminds them of their personal responsibility. The phrase “we need your help” is repeated towards the end of the article, which is a direct plea for the reader to take responsibility. Thus, whilst the global community is communally responsible, the individual has an important role to play in ensuring that action is taken. This is connected with other links on the webpage, which use imperatives to directly instruct the reader to take action: “Donate now”, “Add your voice”, “Take Action”.

In this article, the government are presented as a crucial force in reducing the impact of climate change. However, since they are being neglectful, it is the responsibility of the global community – of which the reader is a part – to encourage them to face up to their responsibility and take action.

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