Column 1199 Tue Aug 2
Some of you may not remember that in September 2006 former US Vice President Al Gore visited Hong Kong to attend the city\'s first screening of his award-winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth. I was lucky enough to be invited to a cocktail reception at the Convention Centre where he met with guests. After the reception the guests went to the screening hall where he talked about his documentary before the film started. At the time I knew very little about An Inconvenient Truth. I was a little skeptical about its message and tried not to doze off during the screening. If you are skeptical about something it means you doubt it is true. To doze off means to fall into a light sleep without wanting to.
Al Gore\'s documentary was about global warming. As I have explained before, global warming means the long-term rise in average global temperatures caused by the burning of coal and other fuels. Nowadays, experts more often use the expression "climate change" instead. The two are related but climate change has a wider meaning. It includes global warming and its side-effects, such as melting Arctic ice, flooding, and heavier rainstorms and snowstorms. I was skeptical about global warming and climate change in 2006 because the early warning signs didn\'t hit me like a ton of bricks. The expression "hit me like a ton of bricks" used this way means to have a sudden and big impact on me.
I am no longer skeptical about global warming and climate change because they are now hitting me like a ton of bricks. There are heatwaves in many countries this summer. Lakes are drying up. Arctic snow is melting. Flooding is happening everywhere. Rainstorms are fiercer than before. Last week I was out during a Manhattan rainstorm. The thunder, lightning, and rain were so fierce they scared me. Winters are much colder nowadays, with snow in places that never snowed before. Many either doubt or are reluctant to believe in climate change but it is an inconvenient truth.
你們當中或許已經有些人不記得了，前美國副總統阿爾‧戈爾曾在二零零六年九月到訪香港，出席其得獎紀錄片《絕望真相》於城中的首映。他在會展中心的酒會上與嘉賓會面，我有幸獲邀出席。酒會過後，嘉賓去到放映場地，聽他於電影開始前講述他的這套紀錄片。那時候我對於《絕望真相》所知甚少，對於當中的訊息抱持一點懷疑的態度（skeptical），放映期間還要努力不打盹（doze off）。若你對某事物是 skeptical，意即你懷疑它是否屬實。Todoze off 即打瞌睡。
阿爾‧戈爾的紀錄片是關於global warming的。正如我以前解釋過的， global warming即燃燒煤和其他化石燃料導致全球氣溫長期上升。今天，專家們較多以“climate change”一詞代替。二詞互為關連，但climate change有更闊的意思：氣候變化包括了全球暖化（global warming）及其副作用，例如北冰洋海冰融化、水災、更嚴峻的暴風雨和暴風雪。二零零六年時，我對於全球暖化（global warming）和氣候變化（climate change）抱懷疑態度（skeptical），因為早期的危險信號並未 hit me like a ton of bricks——習語“hit me like a ton of bricks”在這裏是指當頭棒喝，給我突然而巨大的衝擊。
我對於全球暖化（global warming）和氣候變化（climate change）不再持懷疑態度（skeptical），因為它們都給我相當沉重的衝擊（hitting me like a ton of bricks）。這個夏天，許多國家都受到熱浪侵襲；湖泊乾涸；北冰洋融雪；處處洪水氾濫；暴風雨比從前來得更兇更猛。上星期，我在曼哈頓一場暴風雨來襲期間外出，雷聲、閃電和暴雨猛烈得令我生畏。現在的冬季也比從前更寒冷，一些從不下雪的地方也有下雪了。許多人對於氣候變化（climate change）不是懷疑就是不願意相信，然而它確實是令人不願面對卻又無法忽視的真相。