QUESTION TEXT: An electric utility has determined that a new…
QUESTION TYPE: Strengthen
CONCLUSION: Environmentalists support building a waste-to-energy plant.
REASONING: The waste-to-energy plant produces three times the pollution of a natural gas plant. However, the waste-to-energy plant can serve as both a power plant and a trash incinerator.
ANALYSIS: We’re trying to support the environmentalists and explain why they want the waste plant. The downside of the waste-to-energy plant is obvious: it pollutes more. Much more. So why would an environmentalist want it?
The only strength of the waste-to-energy plant is that it is also a trash incinerator. So the correct answer will almost certainly use that somehow.
- This fact tells us something (mildly) positive about gas plants. That doesn’t do anything to support waste-to-energy plants.
- This answer tells us that we have a need for energy and trash disposal. But that doesn’t mean we should go with the waste plant. It could be terrible at trash incineration. And we already know that it pollutes more than the gas plant.
- CORRECT. This shows that installing the waste-to-energy plant will reduce pollution. It’s easier with numbers (I made these up):
* gas plant: 20 pollution
* waste-to-energy plant: 60 pollution
* incinerator: 200 pollution
If you use the gas plant, you need the incinerator, for 220 units of pollution total. If you use the waste-to-energy plant, you just need 60 units of pollution. A clear environmental win.
- This shows why environmentalists are interested in which energy plant we use. But it doesn’t explain their support for the waste plant.
- This shows that the power plant isn’t the most important decision. But we should still strive to make good decisions in every area.
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Graeme teaches how to break down arguments, quickly