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"Global warming is forcing us to think about our energy consumption."

"People are producing more rubbish than ever before."

These are supposed to be general statements. Is it okay to use present progressive here? I did some research and pres. progr. can be used to describe changes and developments. But still, in my opinion simple present would be better. But is pres. progr. okay as well?

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On their own, present progressive is preferable because it emphasises the fact that these actions are ongoing.

The simple present would not be incorrect, but it would lack that emphasis.

The simple present is though slightly snappier.

Either are correct, the difference is one of subtle shifts of focus upon immediacy or continuation.

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The present progressive constuction is used

  • for an action happening now - "Is it raining?", "Why are you sitting here?"
  • for a definite arrangement in the near future - "I'm having French lessons at 6 p.m. and I'm meeting my girlfriend afterwards."
  • for an action happening about this time but not necessarily at the moment of speaking - "I'm reading Understanding Power by Chomsky.", "I'm studying French", "People are travelling by air more than ever before."

This last use is what we see in your sentences. They are perfectly grammatical and this verb tense should be preferred.

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