QUESTION TYPE: Necessary Assumption
CONCLUSION: Government incentives to plant trees increase global warming.
REASONING: Trees don’t store CO2 as well as native grasses do. Governments give farmers incentives to plant trees.
ANALYSIS: You can conclude that the incentives aren’t encouraging the best possible policies. Farmers could trap more CO2 if they planted grasses instead of trees.
Further, if farmers remove native grasses to plant trees, then the incentives are clearly bad.
But you don’t know what farmers would do without the incentives. Maybe farmers would plant crops, rather than grasses. Crops might not store CO2. There’d still be no native grasses. So the argument assumes farmers would plant grasses if there were no incentives.
- It doesn’t matter. The stimulus said that trees reduce CO2 on average. The point is that grasses are even better at reducing CO2, so we’re not encouraging the best use of the land.
- The only necessary assumption with respect to trees is that at least some farmers plant trees in response to incentives. “Most” statements are poor answers on necessary assumption questions, as the negation of most is just ‘not most’, which could be as high as 50%.
- This might strengthen the argument, but it’s not necessary. It just adds an additional reason trees are bad. We don’t need two reasons.
- CORRECT. Negate this answer. If no trees are replacing native grasses, then there’s no problem.
NEGATION: No trees planted due to the incentives are planted where native grasses grow.
- This isn’t necessary. In fact, the argument is stronger if this isn’t true and many governments promote native grasses.
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