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Gianna Bevacqua
Professor Christen Enos
First-Year Writing
27 September 2016
Climate Change: Its Not Just a Hoax!
The issue of climate change, as most people know, is a current major global discussion
that concerns our beloved Earth. Some people are firm believers that climate change is just a
deception while others support the fact that it is one of the main causes to Earths slow
deterioration. Nicholas Kristof, an expert in global affairs, advocates that climate change is not
only harmful for the Earth, but for humans as well. In the article Temperatures Rise and Were
Cooked, Kristof joins the trending global discussion on climate change where he proves that
climate change is becoming increasingly detrimental to humans. He contributes to the debate by
publishing this article in early September 2016 because he finds the issue needs attention now,
for that it will only get worse. His purpose is to convince the audience to take a step toward
acting on the major issue with his compassionate persona, credibility, and structure. He utilizes
rhetorical appeals such as ethos and logos to enhance his credibility, and pathos to reinforce his
lively personality. Also, he formats his article in a way that structurally appeals to the audience,
encouraging them to continue. Nicholas Kristof skillfully persuades readers to act on the issue of
climate change through his overall energetic persona, use of rhetorical appeals, and favorable
In Nicholas Kristofs article, he has a variety of intended audiences. His primary
audience is those concerned in the climate change issue whether they support it or not. However,
if the reader believes that climate change is just a hoax, Kristof aims to persuade them otherwise:

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That obstinacy confronts a new wave of research showing that climate change is much more
harmful than we had imagined (1). He states his argument of how climate change is dangerous
for humans and introduces the research that proves it to convince his audience the issue is real.
More specifically, Kristofs article is aimed at an audience with prior knowledge of climate
change. Because he does not go into detail on what climate change is, he assumes the audience
already has sufficient knowledge on the issue.
Kristofs secondary intended audience includes those interested in the well being of
humans. There are people who aim to seek harmful effects to the human body and mind to find
ways to prevent or change them such as doctors or sociologists. In this article, Kristof expresses
his argument in a way that explains how dangerous climate change is to humans. Furthermore,
Kristofs writing piece is for Americans and Donald Trump because he clearly addresses them in
his final words: So its time for Trump and all Americans to reevaluate (Kristof 4). By
directly addressing his audience, Kristof develops a stronger connection with them and makes
himself more relatable. Also, single-handedly calling out Donald Trump implies that the author
does not support Trump and perhaps wrote this article for other non-Trump supporters as well. In
fact, tying in Donald Trump into his article also corresponds with his exigency to write the paper
when he did, considering the presidential election is right around the corner and Donald Trump is
currently one of the main faces of American politics.
To captivate his audience, Kristof uses a friendly yet energetic tone throughout his entire
piece. He uses words such as wackiest and kidding and phrases like were cooked to make
him sound more approachable and less formal (Kristof 1, 4). Moreover, his energetic spirit
coincides with his passive-aggressive tone as he calls the reader to act on the issue: So its time
for Trump and all Americans to reevaluate. Climate change isnt a hoax, and it certainly isnt

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a Chinese conspiracy. Unless we act, were cooked! (Kristof 4). Here, he concludes his
argument by simply stating that the opposing side is wrong and it is up to the audience to act on
the issue. By giving the reader an ultimatum, Unless we act, were cooked!, it convinces them
to respond to Kristofs call to action (Kristof 4). In fact, the title of the article is named
Temperatures Rise, and Were Cooked! as a way to correspond with his compassionate,
vivacious voice. Kristofs amiable yet passive aggressive tone is effective because the audience
can view him as approachable however it also enables them to react in a way that supports his
In order to achieve this affectionate, vibrant persona, Kristof uses a variety of stylistic
strategies. Throughout the article he speaks from a first person perspective using words such as
we and us. This writing strategy allows for Kristof to connect with the audience on a
personal level by including himself as part of his discussion. For example, Kristof states, Heat
affects our bodies as well as our minds, where he uses the personal pronoun our as a means to
relate to his audience (Kristof 2). Using personal pronouns allows the reader to acknowledge that
Kristof is not only telling his audience to act on the dangers of climate change, but he is also
calling himself to as well.
Second, Kristof formats the structure of his writing in a way that is easy for the audience
to read and thus, encourages them to continue. The article is an easy, fast read where the
paragraphs are occasionally as short as one sentence. Also, the font size is not too small which
makes the article seem even shorter. This paragraph structure prevents the reader from losing
interest in the article. Furthermore, Kristof strays from using complex words on what can be a
complex issue. The vocabulary is educated but not to the point where the reader feels lost and
ignorant. This allows Kristof to appeal to a broader audience where he can achieve his purpose of

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calling people to act on this major issue. Corresponding with his overall lively persona, Kristof
incorporates exclamation points to express his energy and motivate his readers. Expressing his
vigor through punctuation effectively wraps up his call to action: Unless we act, were cooked!
(Kristof 4). His final note enables his energy to rub off on the audience in a way that will inspire
Additionally, Kristof brilliantly integrates all three rhetorical appeals to strengthen his
argument. For instance, he incorporates research to prove his claim that rising temperatures
seem to cause more violence (Kristof 3). Edward Miguel, an economist at the University of
California, Berkeley who established a working paper series called Climate and Conflict,
explains how increased temperatures are a trigger for war and riots all over the world: Its
pretty stunning how the relationship between climate and violence holds across the globe
(Kristof 3). Including an expert's study is an appeal to ethos because it improves Kristof's
credibility and further reinforces his purpose. Likewise, he utilizes economic Harvard student
Jisung Park's research to support his claim that climate change negatively impacts the human
body and mind. Park's study showed that students have a 12% greater chance of failing the New
York Regents Exam on a 90-degree day rather than on a 70-degree day. Incorporating a study
from an expert who attends a prestigious school is an appeal to ethos because it tremendously
strengthens Kristof's credibility and, because the study reports statistics, it is also an appeal to
logos. Not only is this integration of Park's work an appeal to ethos and logos but it is also an
appeal to pathos when Kristof quotes Park: "'If students in New York public schools are being
affected by heat stress, one can only imagine what it is like for a student in Dehli'" (2). He takes
his argument a step further by emotionally appealing to the audience in a way that they can relate
and realize how harmful climate change can be to humans, especially those living in third-world

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countries. Kristof strategically takes advantage of all three rhetorical appeals to amplify his
purpose of swaying his audience to partake in the fight against climate change before the issue
becomes worse.
Nicholas Kristof successfully draws his readers to support him in the universal
conversation on climate change. He expertly expresses his stance on the topic while
simultaneously convincing the audience to not only agree with him but to react in a way that
makes a positive impact toward the issue. He makes his writing choices based on his
enthusiastic, passive-aggressive persona and to stabilize his credibility, strengthening his overall
purpose. Kristof expertly writes to persuade readers that climate change is not a conspiracy, and
requires attention and a plan to help save the Earth and the humans that live on it.

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Works Cited
Kristof, Nicholas. "Temperatures Rise, and Were Cooked." The New York Times. The New
York Times, 10 Sept. 2016. Web. 18 Sept. 2016.

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