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In a low-carbon world, renewable energy technologies | CAT VARC Questions- Reading Comprehension

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The question below is from previous year CAT question from CAT 2020 exam comes from CAT Reading Comprehension: In a low-carbon world, renewable energy technologies . Find out by answering this question which tests an aspirant’s CAT VARC skills:

CAT 2020 – Slot -2 - Question 3 - In a low-carbon world, renewable energy technologies

Set-3:The passage below is accompanied by a set of questions. Choose the best answer to each question for RC about "In a low-carbon world, renewable energy technologies" ;

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.


Q10. All of the following statements, if true, could be seen as supporting the arguments in the passage, EXCEPT:

a. Marginalised people in Africa, Asia and Latin America have often been the main sufferers of corporate mineral extraction projects.

b. The example of agricultural finance helps us to see how to concentrate corporate activity in the renewable energy sector.

c. One reason for the perpetuation of social injustice lies in the problem of the disposal of toxic waste.

d. The possible negative impacts of renewable energy need to be studied before it can be offered as a financial investment opportunity.

10. D.

Statements A and C, if true, support the argument in the passage that 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”.

 

According to the passage, “agricultural finance reveals the concentration of control of corporate activity facilitates profit generation”. Statement B is based on the same idea.

 

Statement D, however, is different from the arguments in the passage. According to the passage, though investment in renewable energy is a “straightforward choice”, further scrutiny is needed before declaring that it will lead to a low-carbon future.

Q11. Which one of the following statements, if false, could be seen as best supporting the arguments in the passage?

a. Renewable energy systems are not as profitable as non-renewable energy systems.

b. Renewable energy systems are as expensive as non-renewable energy systems.

c. The production and distribution of renewable energy through small-scale, local systems is not economically sustainable.

d. Renewable energy systems have little or no environmental impact.

11. D.

Trickily worded question. The statement that, if false, supports the arguments in the passage is the one that, if true, does not support the arguments in the passage.

 

Clearly, statement D goes against one of the key ideas in the passage.

 

All other statements are based on ideas in the passage.

Q12. Which one of the following statements, if true, could be an accurate inference from the first paragraph of the passage?

a. The author’s only reservation is about the profitability of renewable energy systems.

b. The author does not think renewable energy systems can be as efficient as non-renewable energy systems.

c. The author has reservations about the consequences of non-renewable energy systems.

d. The author has reservations about the consequences of renewable energy systems.

12. D.

“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.” Clearly, the author has reservations about the consequences of renewable energy systems.

Q13. Which one of the following statements best captures the main argument of the last paragraph of the passage?

a. Renewable energy systems are not democratic unless they are corporate-controlled.

b. Renewable energy produced at the household or neighbourhood level is more efficient than mass-produced forms of energy.

c. The development of the renewable energy sector is a double-edged sword.

d. Most forms of renewable energy are not profitable investments for institutional investors.

13. C.

Option C is the main idea of the passage. All other options can be easily eliminated.

 

Option A is clearly incorrect, as it implies corporate control ensures democratic access. The last paragraph states the exact opposite of options B and C.

Q14. Based on the passage, we can infer that the author would be most supportive of which one of the following practices?

a. The study of the coexistence of marginalised people with their environments.

b. Encouragement for the development of more environment-friendly carbon-based fuels.

c. More stringent global policies and regulations to ensure a more just system of toxic waste disposal.

d. The localised, small-scale development of renewable energy systems.

14. C.

The author discusses the social injustice perpetuated through the disposal of toxic waste in the passage. He is hence likely to be supportive of more stringent global policies and regulations to ensure a more just system of toxic waste disposal.

 

The study of the coexistence of marginalized people with their environments is not related to the main idea of the passage. The author clearly states that small-scale renewable energy systems do not produce high returns. The author does not broach upon the idea of more environment-friendly carbon-based fuels in the passage.

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