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Zero CO2 economy - a tricky one

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Zero CO2 economy - a tricky one [#permalink]

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02 Sep 2013, 01:15
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Hi Everyone,

Here's another question from e-GMAT. It is an evaluate question type, which, as experience of recent test takers suggest, is becoming more important on GMAT.

A zero-CO2 U.S. economy can be achieved within the next thirty to fifty years without the use of nuclear power. The U.S. renewable energy resource base is vast and practically untapped. Available wind energy resources in 12 Midwestern and Rocky Mountain states equal about 2.5 times the entire electricity production of the United States. Given that we can satisfy our electricity needs by harnessing only 40% of the wind energy resources in these 12 states, it is extremely likely that we will be able to do away with CO2.

Which of the following would be most useful to evaluate the above argument?

A. What is the amount of wind energy resources available in rest of the states in the United States?
B. Are there any other renewable energy resources such as solar power, which can be used?
C. With the use of current technologies, what proportion of electricity generated through wind energy can be stored for use at future times when wind may not be blowing?
D. Are there strong corporate lobbies which will strongly oppose any move to substitute non-renewable sources of energy?
E. What proportion of wind energy is available only at inaccessible areas?

-Chiranjeev Singh
[Reveal] Spoiler: OA

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Last edited by egmat on 19 Sep 2013, 22:55, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Zero CO2 economy - a tricky one [#permalink]

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02 Sep 2013, 01:50
Answer should be C - As option C helps us to determine/evaluate the scenario - whether US will be able to deal with situation OR Whether US is able to stay CO2 free in the absence of wind/ Wind energy.
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Re: Zero CO2 economy - a tricky one [#permalink]

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02 Sep 2013, 03:39
C, It is helpful in evaluating whether the strategy to use wind energy will work in all scenarios. If wind does not blow, during some time period, the energy would not be produced and hence you will not be able to rely on wind energy. But, if you can harness it and store it in some form, you will be able to use it later on.
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Re: Zero CO2 economy - a tricky one [#permalink]

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02 Sep 2013, 05:09
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I like this question. I f you do not read carefully then you will stumble in a possible trap.

The key here is to understand really well the argument and try to figure out a possible scenario

We talk about energy so we can think about several possible things that could be in handy: something related to price of the nergy, or its transportation, or something related to its conversion for consumer usage and so on..........

For me only C make sense.

Only E is a bit cumbersome and I'm not sure what it means really..........so go for C

+1
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Re: Zero CO2 economy - a tricky one [#permalink]

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02 Sep 2013, 12:07
From all possible answers option C stands out as if the wind doesn't blow then there will be no power but if there is a way to store electricity generated through wind energy, the wind energy resources could be considered.
Hope I am right!! Help please
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Re: Zero CO2 economy - a tricky one [#permalink]

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02 Sep 2013, 13:19
Is this an OG question? If yes then it is not a typically well framed one..
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Re: Zero CO2 economy - a tricky one [#permalink]

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02 Sep 2013, 14:37
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egmat wrote:
Hi Everyone,

Here's another question from e-GMAT. It is an evaluate question type, which, as experience of recent test takers suggest, is becoming more important on GMAT.

A zero-CO2 U.S. economy can be achieved within the next thirty to fifty years without the use of nuclear power. The U.S. renewable energy resource base is vast and practically untapped. Available wind energy resources in 12 Midwestern and Rocky Mountain states equal about 2.5 times the entire electricity production of the United States. Given that we can satisfy our electricity needs by harnessing only 40% of the wind energy resources in these 12 states, it is extremely likely that we will be able to do away with CO2.

Which of the following would be most useful to evaluate the above argument?

A. What is the amount of wind energy resources available in rest of the states in the United States?
B. Are there any other renewable energy resources such as solar power, which can be used?
C. With the use of current technologies, what proportion of electricity generated through wind energy can be stored for use at future times when wind may not be blowing?
D. Are there strong corporate lobbies which will strongly oppose any move to substitute non-renewable sources of energy?
E. What proportion of wind energy is available only at inaccessible areas?

-Chiranjeev Singh

The question stems talks about the US achieving a zero CO2 economy in the next 30 to 50 years. Wind energy seems to be a viable source of alternative energy and that it is extremely likely that the US will be able to do away with CO2. The assumption behind this argument is that the demand for the use of energy would not have exceeded the current amount of energy that wind can generate in the next 30 years. Who knows? There may be some other assumptions that I have not considered. But at least I understand the prompt and the right answer is likely to jump at me.

A. What is the amount of wind energy resources available in rest of the states in the United States?
Well, we already the amount of wind energy that is available. The question is how viable is the current wind energy that we have even discovered? Can we use it? This option is irrelevant.

B. Are there any other renewable energy resources such as solar power, which can be used?
We have not finished using wind energy. So this opion has nothing to do with the argument since we already know that wind energy is enough to meet with our needs. Why look to the sun?

C. With the use of current technologies, what proportion of electricity generated through wind energy can be stored for use at future times when wind may not be blowing?
This options looks popular but I disagree with it. We are talking about achieving zero CO2 economy in 30 years or so. What has current technology got to do with it? I-phone 5 will be an obsolete technology in 3 years time, not to talk of 30.

D. Are there strong corporate lobbies which will strongly oppose any move to substitute non-renewable sources of energy?
Quite trickish. Not all lobbies are successful. Popular demand can throw lobbies into a tailspin. But we need to do the acid test. If we answer yes to the question, it looks as if the argument may no longer hold. What if we answer no? Makes no difference; it doesn't make the argument stronger in any way. We still need to know if we can even use the wind.

E. What proportion of wind energy is available only at inaccessible areas?
There you go! If the proportion of the wind that is available in inaccessible area is very , low, say 5%, then that means 95% of the wind is available for use. What if only 1% of the wind is accessible for use and the remaining 99% is 100,000 feet above sea level? That means all the wind energy discovered is not even available.

I am 95% sure the answer is E.
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Re: Zero CO2 economy - a tricky one [#permalink]

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02 Sep 2013, 19:34
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Interesting discussion so far!

4 for C and 1 for E. No takers for others.

Well, as the title says, it's a tricky one An option that seems most relevant on the face of it may not be the right one

-Chiranjeev
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Re: Zero CO2 economy - a tricky one [#permalink]

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02 Sep 2013, 20:40
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I will go with D

D says that

Are there strong corporate lobbies which will strongly oppose any move to substitute non-renewable sources of energy?

The answer to this question will decide whether renewable sources of energy can be used or not.

If the answer to this Question is YES then, use of renewable energy might not be possible.

Evaluation of D is importtant to analyse the Argument.
IMO D
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Re: Zero CO2 economy - a tricky one [#permalink]

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02 Sep 2013, 22:49
D for me.. Waiting for the correct answer..
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Re: Zero CO2 economy - a tricky one [#permalink]

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03 Sep 2013, 07:36
A zero-CO2 U.S. economy can be achieved within the next thirty to fifty years without the use of nuclear power. The U.S. renewable energy resource base is vast and practically untapped. Available wind energy resources in 12 Midwestern and Rocky Mountain states equal about 2.5 times the entire electricity production of the United States. Given that we can satisfy our electricity needs by harnessing only 40% of the wind energy resources in these 12 states, it is extremely likely that we will be able to do away with CO2.

Which of the following would be most useful to evaluate the above argument?

A. What is the amount of wind energy resources available in rest of the states in the United States?
Irrelevant.
B. Are there any other renewable energy resources such as solar power, which can be used?
Out of scope as the discussion is regarding Wind energy.
C. With the use of current technologies, what proportion of electricity generated through wind energy can be stored for use at future times when wind may not be blowing?
Lets try extreme answers. 100% of the electricity generated can be stored for future usage. Thus achieveing zero CO2 is possible. If none of the energy generated can be stored, then in situations when wind is not blowing, it is likely that achieving zero CO2 economy is not possible. I believe here the usage of 'current technologies' is redundant.
D. Are there strong corporate lobbies which will strongly oppose any move to substitute non-renewable sources of energy?
If there is any opposition, that doesnt mean that complete change over to renewable source is not possible. It is not a strong argument.
E. What proportion of wind energy is available only at inaccessible areas?
It is not possible that All of the energy generated through wind power is in inaccessible areas because the given statement 'Given that we can satisfy our electricity needs by harnessing only 40% of the wind energy resources in these 12 states'----means 40%of the energy can be harnessed i.e 40% is accessible. Thus extreme answers to this question don't provide strong statements to support and weaken the conclusion.

Thus I go for C. Awaiting for correct answer.

Regards,
Heman2727
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Re: Zero CO2 economy - a tricky one [#permalink]

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03 Sep 2013, 12:59
Was confused between C and E, but go with option C . Awaiting the OA.

Also, thank you so much Chiranjeev, for your awesome articles and these brain -rattling questions :D
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Re: Zero CO2 economy - a tricky one [#permalink]

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03 Sep 2013, 18:50
I think E fits the bill. C is close, but it talks about availability of technology at present. The argument is about something to be happening in next 20 -30 years.
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Re: Zero CO2 economy - a tricky one [#permalink]

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03 Sep 2013, 19:33
Initially I thought answer is C but re-reading the arguments makes me feel that answer is A.

Reasoning :
The conclusion of the argument:
'it is extremely likely that we will be able to do away with CO2' - Author suggests that by harnessing 40 % of wind energy will lead to Co2 free US in next 30-40 yrs.

Thus based on the conclusion , answer should be A (What is the amount of wind energy resources available in rest of the states in the United States?) as its important to know the amount of wind energy available in rest of the states to ensure that the goal of CO2 free US is met .

E-gmat : Request you to pl let us know the correct answer.
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Re: Zero CO2 economy - a tricky one [#permalink]

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04 Sep 2013, 01:31
Hello Everyone,

I'll be posting the OA tonight.

Just a teaser right now - Only a couple of guys on this thread have selected the correct choice.

Thanks,
Chiranjeev
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Re: Zero CO2 economy - a tricky one [#permalink]

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04 Sep 2013, 02:19
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egmat wrote:
Hello Everyone,

I'll be posting the OA tonight.

Just a teaser right now - Only a couple of guys on this thread have selected the correct choice.

Thanks,
Chiranjeev

C. With the use of current technologies, what proportion of electricity generated through wind energy can be stored for use at future times when wind may not be blowing?
D. Are there strong corporate lobbies which will strongly oppose any move to substitute non-renewable sources of energy?
E. What proportion of wind energy is available only at inaccessible areas?

In ques E if it's assumed that 100% of wind energy is located at inaccessible areas clearly this will weaken the argument.If it's assumed that 0% of wind energy is located at inaccessible areas the argument would be strengthened.Hence E

Problem C talks about the future possibility of wind energy not being available.The argument does not talk about this situation .Hence this is out of scope.

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Re: Zero CO2 economy - a tricky one [#permalink]

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04 Sep 2013, 10:11
OA has been posted. It is option E. People in this thread who chose option E have given correct explanations for the same.

Let me know if anyone still has doubts

Thanks,
Chiranjeev
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Re: Zero CO2 economy - a tricky one [#permalink]

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05 Sep 2013, 10:31
egmat wrote:
OA has been posted. It is option E. People in this thread who chose option E have given correct explanations for the same.

Let me know if anyone still has doubts

Thanks,
Chiranjeev

Can we discuss why C is not the correct answer. I want to discuss so that I can have more clear thought process.

Regards,
Himanshu
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Re: Zero CO2 economy - a tricky one [#permalink]

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06 Sep 2013, 00:11
egmat wrote:

A zero-CO2 U.S. economy can be achieved within the next thirty to fifty years without the use of nuclear power. The U.S. renewable energy resource base is vast and practically untapped. Available wind energy resources in 12 Midwestern and Rocky Mountain states equal about 2.5 times the entire electricity production of the United States. Given that we can satisfy our electricity needs by harnessing only 40% of the wind energy resources in these 12 states, it is extremely likely that we will be able to do away with CO2.

Which of the following would be most useful to evaluate the above argument?

A. What is the amount of wind energy resources available in rest of the states in the United States?
B. Are there any other renewable energy resources such as solar power, which can be used?
C. With the use of current technologies, what proportion of electricity generated through wind energy can be stored for use at future times when wind may not be blowing?
D. Are there strong corporate lobbies which will strongly oppose any move to substitute non-renewable sources of energy?
E. What proportion of wind energy is available only at inaccessible areas?

-Chiranjeev Singh

I was split between (C) and (E). I chose (C) because it was the better of the two but after realizing I got it wrong, I took another look at (E) and got what the answer was saying. I totally misunderstood it. Yes, it would make more sense, to know how much of that available wind energy could be actually harnessed in assessing this claim. So (E) makes sense.
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Re: Zero CO2 economy - a tricky one [#permalink]

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06 Sep 2013, 03:16
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heman2727 wrote:
egmat wrote:
OA has been posted. It is option E. People in this thread who chose option E have given correct explanations for the same.

Let me know if anyone still has doubts

Thanks,
Chiranjeev

Can we discuss why C is not the correct answer. I want to discuss so that I can have more clear thought process.

Regards,
Himanshu

Hi Himanshu,

Good that you brought this up. A lot of students marked choice C.

C. With the use of current technologies, what proportion of electricity generated through wind energy can be stored for use at future times when wind may not be blowing?

So, option C asks what proportion of electricity can be stored?

Now, tell me what proportion do we want?

The answer is: We don't know.

Nowhere the passage talks about the times in which wind is not blowing. If the passage had said. let's say, that the wind does not blow for one month every year, then in that case, we would have wanted to store 1/11th of the electricity. In that case, it might have made sense to know how much electricity we can store.

But the given passage does not talk about a scenario in which the wind does not blow. Rather, we don't even know if there is a period in which doesn't blow. Probably, the wind blows all the time. We don't know. In such a scenario, option C does not help us evaluate the argument.

On the other hand, option E is extremely relevant to the argument. We require 40% of wind energy. Right? How much can we access? Less than or more than 40%? This is what option E asks.

Frankly, option C was specially crafted with a lot of relevant and common sense words to confuse students and placed before the correct choice so that when students read the correct choice, they read it with a bias against the correct choice (because in their mind, they have already found the correct choice)

Thanks,
Chiranjeev
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Re: Zero CO2 economy - a tricky one   [#permalink] 06 Sep 2013, 03:16

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