LSAT Reading Comprehension Practice Questions
One major obstacle in the struggle to lower carbon dioxide emissions, which are believed to play a role in climate change, is the destruction of tropical rain forests. Trees naturally store more carbon dioxide as they age, and the trees of the tropical rain forests in the Amazon, for example, store an average of 500 tons of carbon dioxide per hectare (10,000 square miles). When such trees are harvested, they release their carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. This release of carbon dioxide through the destruction of tropical forests, which experts estimate accounts for 20% of global carbon dioxide emissions annually, traps heat in the earth’s atmosphere, which leads to global warming.
The Kyoto treaty set forth a possible measure to curtail the rate of deforestation. In the treaty, companies that exceed their carbon dioxide emission limits are permitted to buy the right to pollute by funding reforestation projects in tropical rain forests. Since forests absorb carbon dioxide through photosynthesis, planting such forests helps reduce the level of atmospheric carbon dioxide, thus balancing out the companies’ surplus of carbon dioxide emissions. However, attempts at reforestation have so far been unable to keep up with the alarming rate of deforestation, and it has become increasingly clear that further steps must be taken to curtail deforestation and its possible deleterious effects on the global environment.
One possible solution is to offer incentives for governments to protect their forests. While this solution could lead to a drastic reduction in the levels of carbon dioxide, such incentives would need to be tied to some form of verification, which is extremely difficult, since most of the world’s tropical forests are in remote areas, like Brazil’s Amazon basin or the island of New Guinea, which makes on-site verification logistically difficult. Furthermore, heavy cloud cover and frequent heavy rain make conventional satellite monitoring difficult.
Recently, scientists at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency have suggested that the rates of deforestation could be monitored using new technology to analyze radar waves emitted from a surveillance satellite. By analyzing multiple radar microwaves sent by a satellite, scientists are able to prepare a detailed, high resolution map of remote tropical forests. Unlike photographic satellite images, radar images can be measured at night and during days of heavy cloud cover and bad weather.
Nevertheless, critics of government incentives argue that radar monitoring has been employed in the past with little success, citing the Global Rain Forest Mapping Project which was instituted in the mid 1990s amid concern over rapid deforestation in the Amazon. However, the limited data of the Mapping Project was due only to the small amount of data that could be sent from the satellite. Modern satellites can send and receive 10 times more data than their predecessors of the mid 1990s, obviating past problems with radar monitoring. Furthermore, recent technological advances in satellite radar that allow for more accurate measurements to be made, even in remote areas, make such technology a promising step in monitoring and controlling global climate change.
1) Which one of the following most accurately expresses the main point of the passage?
- Although scientists continue to search for a solution, there is, as yet, no good solution for the problem of rain forest deforestation.
- One major obstacle to lessening the contribution of atmospheric carbon dioxide caused by deforestation may be removed through satellite radar monitoring.
- Recent increases in the rate of deforestation of tropical rain forests have caused serious concern and spurred efforts to curb such deforestation.
- Although an excellent first step, the solutions set forth by the Kyoto treaty will not significantly curb the rate of deforestation unless companies begin to lessen their carbon dioxide emissions.
- Through the Kyoto treaty, companies that produce an overabundance of carbon dioxide are allowed to offset that carbon dioxide by contributing to reforestation efforts in tropical rainforests.
2) It can be inferred from the passage that photographic satellite images
- are impervious to bad weather
- cannot be used efficiently at night
- are less expensive than radar monitoring
- can send only a small amount of data from a satellite to a base
- were extensively used in the 1990s to measure tropical forest deforestation
3) Which one of the following most accurately describes the author’s attitude toward radar monitoring as expressed in the passage?
- wary skepticism
- cautious ambivalence
- grudging respect
- qualified support
- reasoned optimism
4) The information presented in the passage implies which one of the following about the Mapping Project?
- The project was unsuccessful because it used only satellite radar monitoring.
- If the satellite had been able to send more data, the project may have been successful.
- It was established by the Kyoto treaty in response to widespread concern over deforestation.
- The project used only conventional satellite monitoring and on-site verification visits.
- The project was designed to monitor only forests in Brazil’s Amazon basin and the forests on the island of New Guinea.
5) According to the passage, each of the following is true about tropical rainforests EXCEPT
- harvested trees release carbon dioxide
- they are sometimes subject to heavy cloud cover.
- they are protected from deforestation by the Kyoto treaty.
- they are not always easily reachable by modern transportation.
- in such forests, the older a tree becomes, the more carbon dioxide it will store.
6) Which one of the following, if true, most weakens the author’s argument against the critics of government incentives?
- Radar images sent by satellites in the mid 1990s would have needed to have stored 100 times more data in order to have been useful for radar monitoring.
- New technology promises other forms of monitoring that may be even more effective than radar monitoring.
- The cost of radar monitoring may render it more expensive than some countries can afford.
- Some data from the 1990s satellites was later found to be more accurate than was originally believed.
- No form of monitoring can ever offer complete assurance of a government’s compliance with deforestation incentives.
7) Which one of the following best describes the organization of the passage?
- A problem is described and a possible solution to the problem is suggested; the methodology for implementing such a solution is described, difficulties with the implementation are noted, and the solution is dismissed.
- A problem is described and a possible solution to the problem is suggested; the solution’s shortcomings are noted, an alternative solution is suggested, then qualified in light of new evidence.
- A solution to a problem is described, multiple solutions to the problem are discussed, the possible outcomes of each solution are evaluated, and one solution is recommended over the others.
- A problem is described and a possible solution to the problem is suggested; possible shortcomings of the solution are noted, an alternative solution is suggested, and a potential obstacle to the solution is discussed.
- A theory is stated, objections to the theory are noted, and the theory is dismissed in light of new evidence.