English Paper 2 Form 4 End of Term 1 Examination 2020
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Read the following passage and then answer the questions that follow.
The question is at least as old as Socrates: If we know what the right thing to do is, why do we not do it? It is an especially acute question when applied to global warming. The science showing that carbon dioxide emissions are already changing the planet’s climate, and are likely to have severe effects (melting ice caps, sea-level rise, and species extinction), are compelling and now barely disputed. Almost 90% of Europeans say they recognize climate change as a major issue, and 75% identify fossil fuel emissions as a major cause.
And yet, as was widely discussed at a conference of environmentalists, geologists and writers in May 2006 in Ankelohe, Germany, public understanding has not translated into even the simplest of public actions. Less than 1% of Britons, for example, have switched their home electricity to renewable sources, even though it requires little more than a phone call to one’s existing provider. Proportions on the continent are slightly higher, but there is clearly no rush to go green or — shudder — stop driving cars.
Why such a disconnect between information and action? Part of the problem is that environmental advocates emit mixed messages. In mid-May 2006, Britain’s Guardian published a front-page story showing that five companies in Britain produce more CO2 pollution in a year than all the country’s motorists combined. That is a strong argument for targeting industries, but the average reader could hardly be blamed for thinking, “Why should I bother to cut down my driving?”
Similarly, not enough thought has been devoted to the best role for government. Climate change is too vast a problem for individuals to solve alone, and some big businesses have an incentive not to solve it. That leaves government to take the lead, which is tricky, because over-reliance on government can allow individuals to
fob off their own responsibilities. What is worse, government power seems to tickle autocratic fantasies. In my experience, environmentalists spend far too much energy advocating hard-line government ‘solutions’ that do not stand a chance of being enacted. Sure, it might be good for the planet if governments banned the use of sports-utility vehicles or, for that matter, of all fossil fuels. Yet not only is it hard to sell outright prohibitions to voters, but the sad truth is that governments have a woeful record in even the mildest interventions. One of the most