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11th Form

Read the following text.

Time to leave the comfort zone

By Sir John Sorrell, Chairman of the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE)

Some people think that cutting carbon means denying ourselves the things that make life
enjoyable - no shopping, no fun - but I see it differently. Tackling climate change isn't about self-denial,
it's about reinvention; reinventing towns and cities, redesigning the way they work, and changing the
way we all manage our lives.
The Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) reviews proposals for
significant new buildings and spaces every year. Out of all those homes, schools and health centres, we
have only seen a handful with any serious ambition for sustainability. Things may be changing, but far too
slowly, which is why we are organising a climate change festival with Birmingham City Council centred
on the way we build and use our cities.
We are not just asking people to see their city through new eyes; we are asking them to dare to
dream about the kind of place that could be created over the next 10 years through cutting carbon.
Which begs the question: how can you tell if you live in a sustainable city?
It currently costs Birmingham up to 1bn a year to import its energy, yet only a tiny proportion
of it is green. The trick is to harness and capture the energy that is already there from the sun, ground
and air, and decentralise the distribution of energy. This is a lost art; the Royal Festival Hall was
extracting energy from the River Thames to heat its building 50 years ago.
Buildings must change. Keeping an even temperature inside any building means serious
insulation. Homes in an average large city produce more than two million tonnes of carbon dioxide
(CO2) each year. This is because the vast majority of older houses leak heat .So if I were to suggest three
tests for a sustainable city, this would be my first: are there grants or local tax incentives available to
help people green their homes?
The second thing is about how we live our lives, not just how we live in our homes. Cutting
private car use generally means civic leaders being prepared to risk a few brave decisions. For
example, when a new suburb was built in the German city of Freiburg, they ran a tram service from the
moment the first resident moved in. This meant empty trams at first, but now nearly half of its
residents are car free. Not so foolish after all. So my second test for a sustainable city is whether you
have a genuine transport choice.
My third test is about greenery. Are a lot more big trees being planted; are acres of new
allotments coming on stream; are parks being properly maintained? Greenery is critical to
counterbalance the "urban heat island" effect from hotter, drier summers, when night-time
temperatures remain high because of heat retained by brick and tarmac. And greening a place properly
includes the roofs. In the northern English city of Sheffield, even bus shelters now sport green roofs to
filter pollution.
Whether you are looking at London leading on congestion charging, or S. Francisco leading on
solar power, it is clear that strong leadership matters most of all. We need that kind of vision when it
comes to planning and managing the towns and cities of towns of tomorrow.

BBC News 20/5/2008 (adapted and abridged)

A. Reread the first five paragraphs of the text and say if the following statements are TRUE or FALSE.
Quote from the text to support your answer.

1. Sir John Sorrell thinks that in order to reduce pollution we must give up things that give us pleasure.
2. Many new buildings are being designed to be "green".
3. It's important that the proposed solutions are innovative and creative.
4. Most of the energy used in Birmingham is extracted from fossil fuels.
5. Most old houses are well insulated.

B. Scan the 6th and 7th paragraphs of the text and find words or phrases which, in the context, are similar
in meaning to:

1. reducing
2. outer residential area of a city
3. without any people
4. essential
5. (to) show off

C. Answer the following questions on the text. Use your own words as far as possible.

1. Identify the three different areas that should be dealt with to "green" our cities
according to the author of the text.

2. Describe one way in which governments and politicians can promote the sustainability
of the cities.

3. Which of the measures referred to in the text will be more effective? Justify your

Dl. Complete the following text with words derived from the ones in brackets.

Last month Birmingham received an _____1____ (invite) to become a member of the global
Connected Urban Developments' Initiative, a project run by former US President Bill Clinton. It brings
together seven of the most ____2____ (success) and ______3_____ (ambition) cities in the world
with regard to tackling issues related to _____4____ (sustain).
D.2. Rewrite the following sentences starting as indicated without changing their meaning.
Make the necessary changes:

a) We will build a more beautiful and liveable environment by making our cities greener.


b) Birmingham has hosted the first Climate Change Festival. It is the 2nd largest city in the UK.
Birmingham __________________________________________________________________

c) People think that going green involves a lot of sacrifice.

Going green_______________________________________________________________________

E. Comment on the opening words of the leaflet of the Climate Change Festival (write about 150

"Every age has its challenge. Ours is climate change."