CAT 2020 Reading Comprehension Solution 08

[PASSAGE]

Direction for Reading Comprehension: The pass ages given here are followed by some questions that have four answer choices; read the passage carefully and pick the option whose answer best aligns with the passage

In a low-carbon world, renewable energy technologies are hot business. For investors looking to redirect funds, wind turbines and solar panels, among other technologies, seem a straightforward choice. But renewables need to be further scrutinized before being championed as forging a path toward a low-carbon future. Both the direct and indirect impacts of renewable energy must be examined to ensure that a climate-smart future does not intensify social and environmental harm. As renewable energy production requires land, water, and labor, among other inputs, it imposes costs on people and the environment. Hydropower projects, for instance, have led to community dispossession and exclusion . . .Renewable energy supply chains are also intertwined with mining, and their technologies contribute to growing levels of electronic waste . . . Furthermore, although renewable energy can be produced and distributed through small-scale, local systems, such an approach might not generate the high returns on investment needed to attract capital.

Although an emerging sector, renewables are enmeshed in long-standing resource extraction through their dependence on minerals and metals . . . Scholars document the negative consequences of mining . . . even for mining operations that commit to socially responsible practices[:] “many of the world’s largest reservoirs of minerals like cobalt, copper, lithium,[and] rare earth minerals”—the ones needed for renewable technologies—“are found in fragile states and under communities of marginalized peoples in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.” Since the demand for metals and minerals will increase substantially in a renewable-powered future . . . this intensification could exacerbate the existing consequences of extractive activities.

Among the connections between climate change and waste, O’Neill . . . highlights that “devices developed to reduce our carbon footprint, such as lithium batteries for hybrid and electric cars or solar panels[,] become potentially dangerous electronic waste at the end of their productive life.” The disposal of toxic waste has long perpetuated social injustice through the flows of waste to the Global South and to marginalized communities in the Global North . ..

While renewable energy is a more recent addition to financial portfolios, investments in the sector must be considered in light of our understanding of capital accumulation. As agricultural finance reveals, the concentration of control of corporate activity facilitates profit generation. For some climate activists, the promise of renewables rests on their ability not only to reduce emissions but also to provide distributed, democratized access to energy . . .But Burke and Stephens . . . caution that “renewable energy systems offer a possibility but not a certainty for more democratic energy futures.” Small-scale, distributed forms of energy are only highly profitable to institutional investors if control is consolidated somewhere in the financial chain. Renewable energy can be produced at the household or neighborhood level. However, such small-scale, localized production is unlikely to generate high returns for investors. For financial growth to be sustained and expanded by the renewable sector, production and trade in renewable energy technologies will need to be highly concentrated, and large asset management firms will likely drive those developments.


Question: 1

Based on the passage, we can infer that the author would be most supportive of which one of the following practices?

  1. The localised, small-scale development of renewable energy systems.
  2. More stringent global policies and regulations to ensure a more just system of toxic waste disposal.
  3. Encouragement for the development of more environment-friendly carbon-based fuels.
  4. The study of the coexistence of marginalised people with their environments.
Option: 2
Solution:

The question asks us to pick a choice that the author would be most supportive of. 1 goes out because the author in the last paragraph says that localised renewable energy systems is unlikely to generate high returns for investors. 2 can be definitely inferred because the author clearly says at the end of second last para that disposal of toxic waste has perpetuated social injustice. Thus 2 is the right choice. For many 3 might be a tempting choice, but it is beside the point. The author is not concerned with more environment friendly carbon based fuels. He is talking about renewable energy sources, and the social and financial costs behind it. The whole discussion in the passage is based on the premise that we have already taken the path low carbon based renewable energy path. So the suggestion in 3 is pointless. 4 goes out because the author is not favouring any study. He wants resolution to the problem, so he wants action.


Question: 2

All of the following statements, if true, could be seen as supporting the arguments in the passage, EXCEPT:

  1. Marginalised people in Africa, Asia and Latin America have often been the main sufferers of corporate mineral extraction projects.
  2. The example of agricultural finance helps us to see how to concentrate corporate activity in the renewable energy sector.
  3. One reason for the perpetuation of social injustice lies in the problem of the disposal of toxic waste.
  4. The possible negative impacts of renewable energy need to be studied before it can be offered as a financial investment opportunity.
Option: 4
Solution:

This is a slightly difficult question. But 1 definitely supports the author. It must go out. We can find the evidence in the second paragraph. The second sentence of the last paragraph provides evidence for the 2nd choice. The third choice has already been inferred while solving the earlier question. It can be found in the last sentence of the second last para. 4 is the right answer because there is no reference for it in the passage. We have to mark the answer based on the evidence that we see in the passage.


Question: 3

Which one of the following statements, if false, could be seen as best supporting the arguments in the passage?

  1. Renewable energy systems are not as profitable as non-renewable energy systems.
  2. Renewable energy systems are as expensive as non-renewable energy systems.
  3. The production and distribution of renewable energy through small-scale, localsystems is not economically sustainable.
  4. Renewable energy systems have little or no environmental impact.
Option: 4
Solution:

This is the easiest question of the passage. We have to first falsify the choice and then see whether it is supporting the arguments in the passage. Choice 4, when falsified, says that renewable energy systems have an environmental impact. If that is the case, the author’s arguments find support in the passage. Thus 4 is the right choice. 1 goes out because the author says in the passage that renewable energy systems are not as profitable as non-renewable energy systems. The Last sentence of the first paragraph provides evidence for this. The profitability aspect has been discussed in the last paragraph of the passage. Thus it takes care of both 2 and 3, because if the profitability is low, it means that the expense is high, and therefore economically unsustainable. Thus all 1,2 and 3 support the author without being negated, whereas 4 supports the author only when it is negated


Question: 4

Which one of the following statements, if true, could be an accurate inference from the first paragraph of the passage?

  1. The author has reservations about the consequences of non-renewable energysystems.
  2. The author’s only reservation is about the profitability of renewable energy systems.
  3. The author has reservations about the consequences of renewable energy systems.
  4. The author does not think renewable energy systems can be as efficient as non-renewable energy systems.
Option: 3
Solution:

This question is an easy question because to find the answer we have to read only the first paragraph. The author says “...but renewables need to be further scrutinized...”. This suggests that the author has some reservations or doubts pertaining to renewable energy. Thus 3 is the right choice. A very easy question indeed. 1 goes out because it talks of non-renewable energy systems. 2 goes out because the author is equally concerned about environmental and social impact of renewable energy systems. 4 finds no mention in the passage and the first paragraph.


Question: 5

Which one of the following statements best captures the main argument of the last paragraph of the passage?

  1. Most forms of renewable energy are not profitable investments for institutional investors.
  2. Renewable energy produced at the household or neighbourhood level is more efficient than mass-produced forms of energy.
  3. Renewable energy systems are not democratic unless they are corporate-controlled.
  4. The development of the renewable energy sector is a double-edged sword.
Option: 4
Solution:

This is a pretty interesting question. The author says “renewable energy can be produced at the household or neighbourhood level...but such small scale localised production is unlikely to generate high returns for investors.” This is a double edged sword. 2 goes out because efficiency has not at all been discussed in the last paragraph. Corporate control is indeed discussed but not in reference to democratic distribution of energy. Thus 3 goes out. 1 goes out because renewable energy has been discussed as a single idea, without any forms and types. Thus 1 also is a distortion


CAT 2020 RC passage with solution