The Environment | Vocabulary for B2 First (FCE)

Here’s a list of essential vocabulary if you’re preparing for the Cambridge English B2 First (FCE) exam. These are excellent words and phrases that you can use in the writing and speaking papers of the exam to get top marks.

General

environment
place where people, plants, and animals live
Petrol cars are having a negative effect on the environment.
environmental
relating to the environment
Petrol cars are causing huge environmental damage.
wildlife
animals, birds, and plants living in their natural habitat
We must protect our country’s magnificent wildlife.
carbon footprint
amount of carbon dioxide produced by a person or company’s activity
I try not to fly too much in order to keep my carbon footprint low.

Problems

endangered species
animals or plants that may soon become extinct
Because of hunting, rhinos are now an endangered species, 
become extinct
to longer exist (plants and animals)
Scientists are worried that Rhinos could become extinct very soon.
extinction
a situation where an animal or plant does not exist
Rhinos are facing the threat of extinction.
flood
when a place is covered with water
The city flooded because of the heavy rain.
greenhouse effect
the gradual warming of the Earth due to pollution and gases
The greenhouse effect is one of the major causes of global warming.
greenhouse gases
gases, especially carbon dioxide, that cause the greenhouse effect
The level of greenhouse gases has been rising for many years.
fumes
gas or smoke which is usually dangerous
Cars and factories give off many fumes.
unsustainable
using more of something than can be replaced naturally
Unsustainable farming is causing huge damage to the environment.
traffic
lots of cars, lorries etc using roads
We can reduce traffic by driving our cars less.
congested roads
roads which are blocked with traffic
Traffic is moving slowly because all the roads are congested.
overpopulation
too many people in a place for the amount of food, space and resources
The government is worried about overpopulation in some parts of the country.
climate change
changes in the planet’s weather, particularly causing it to get warmer
If we act now we can stop the effect of climate change.
global warming
the gradual increase in the earth’s temperature caused by greenhouse gases
Scientists believe that global warming is the biggest threat to our lives.
emissions
gas that is sent out to the air
Carbon dioxide emissions have increased this year.
pollution
release of harmful materials into the environment
Fumes from cars are causing huge levels of pollution.
ozone layer
protective layer in the Earth’s atmosphere that protects from UV radiation
We must do more to protect the ozone layer.
hole in the ozone layerEmissions of certain gases have caused the hole in the ozone layer
rising sea levels
the increasing level of the sea’s surface
Sea levels have been rising for the past decade.
carbon dioxide levelsCarbon dioxide levels are increasing every year.
deforestation
process of cutting down trees in a large area
The rainforest has seen mass deforestation due to development.
toxic waste
poisonous waste
It is illegal for factories to dump their toxic waste in the sea

Energy

fossil fuels
fuel that comes from the ground, such as oil or coal
We need to rely less on fossil fuels in order to save the planet.
solar energy
energy from the sun
Solar energy is a growing industry.
solar panels
a special panel which convert sunlight into electricity
Many people these days are installing solar panels on their roofs.
solar farm
a large installation of solar panels for generating electricity
New solar farms will mean less dependence on fossil fuels.
wind energy
energy from wind
Wind energy is a very cost-effective way to produce electricity. 
wind turbines
large constructions which convert wind into energy
Some people complain about the site of wind turbines.
wind farm
a large installation of solar panels for generating electricity
The government are investing more in wind farms
nuclear energy/power
energy produced by a nuclear reactor
Scientists are aware of the risks of nuclear power.
natural resources
materials from nature which we can use such as wood, coal, minerals, water
The country’s natural resources are running out.

Solutions

environmentally friendly
not harmful to the environment
Nowadays I only buy environmentally friendly house products.
renewable resources
natural sources of energy which don’t run out, e.g. solar and wind
People are becoming more aware of renewable resources.
organic
free from artificial chemicals, in food and animals
More people are switching to organic food these days.
sustainable
able to continue over a period of time and not harmful to the environment
Sustainable farming methods are becoming more popular because of climate change.
sustainabilityThe company is focusing more on sustainability for the long term.
recycle / recycling
use waste materials again
We can all recycle our paper, glass and plastic.
biodegradable
able to break down naturally
Many supermarkets now use biodegradable bags instead of plastic bags.
green energy
energy that is clean and doesn’t pollute the environment
The government are going to invest more money in green energy.
conserve energy
save energy
Conserving energy saves money and is good for the environement.
cut down (on)
reduce, use less of something
We are trying to cut down on our use of plastic bags.
reduce
do less of something
The company want to reduce its emissions next year.
reuse plastic bagsIt’s better to reuse your plastic bags instead of throwing them away.
reforestation
planting lots of trees to replace ones that have been cut down
The government is going to plant thousands of trees as part of their reforestation project.
switch off electrical equipmentI try to switch off all my electric equipment before I go to bed.

Politics

Paris Agreement
international agreement between countries to make changes to affect climate change
The Paris Agreement was signed in 2016 by 196 countries.
activist
person who takes action in order to make political change
Environmental activists have been trying to change the law on petrol cars.
protest
make a strong public expression of disagreement
People are protesting against the government this week in the capital city.
What other words and phrases can you think of? Have any questions? Please let me know in the comments.

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