I. Reading Comprehension (50 points) A. Multiple Choice (24 points) Please read the passages and choose A, B, C or D to best complete the statements about them. Hot under the Collar One of the Labour Party's many transformations during Tony Blair' s leadership was its conversion to environmentalism. A party with its roots in dirty, heavy industry such as coal-mines and blast-furnaces presented itself as an eco-friendly guardian of the planet' s future. The most visible form of this was a commitment, in Labour's 1997 manifesto, to cut 20% off British greenhouse-gas emissions by 2010 compared with their 1990 levels. That went above and beyond the
  12.5% required by the Kyoto treaty. This pledge has been repeated as recently as the last election, but the promises have not stood up to reality. Since 1999, British greenhouse-gas emissions have been broadly unchanged. Disillusionment among environmentalists has gradually given way to an anger which found an attention-grabbing means of expression this week, when Greenpeace dumped a lorry-load of coal outside Downing Street. Stephen Tindale, its boss and a former government adviser, accused Mr. Blair of empty rhetoric. The WWF went further, claiming that Mr. Blair' s policies sounded identical to those of George Bushthe eco-worrier's nastiest insult. So far, Britain has had an easy ride cutting emissions. The rhythm of technological change and relatively painless policy choices have helped put the country on course to meet its Kyoto obligations. In an attempt to rescue the 20% target, ministers have ordered a policy review, which the Guardian obtained this week. The review, to be formally published next year, acknowledged that cutting emissions further will be hard. Power generation is a good example of why. The government'’s "flagship policy" on climate change has been to offer subsidies to renewable energy. But much of the cut in emissions predates these handouts and owed more to economy than ecology. Newly liberalized electricity firms replaced old, dirty coal-fired power plants with new, clean gas-fired ones in the"dash for gas" in the 1990s because they were cheaper, not because they were cleanerthat was just a happy coincidence. Indeed, part of the reason for modest emissions rises in the past two years is that high gas prices have prompted some companies to switch back to coal. More gas power plants ( and possibly nuclear one., too) will eventnnlly bebuilt, but not fast enough to rescue the governmentfrom its difficulties.Renewables will help, too, but wind farms are often unpopular with local residents, and withthe public financeslookingsickly, call for an extravagant subsidy (recastto reach 1billion--$
  1.72 billionayearby 20
  10). Industry already bears the bruntof Britain's climate commitments through the Climate Change Levy, a taxon energy use, and the European Emissions Trading Scheme( KTS) , which allocates tradable emissions limitsfor firms. Introducing new restrictionswillbe politically difficult. Ministers tacitly acknowledged as much last year, when they bowed to industry pressure to seek a rise, in Britain’sEuropean emissions allowances. So, too, in transport, where emissions have risen by 10% since 1990 and which now accountsfor a quarter of Britain’s greenhouse-gas output. Most of the emissions come from roadtransport, but motorists face only weak incentives to buy carbon-friendly cars (the differencein road tax between the most and least efficient is only ?115 ayear). Labour has been scaredof the road lobby ever since the fuel protests of 2000, which brought the country to a halt andended the policy
of annual fuel-tax rises.the one measure that might curb emissions.Ministers says they want to bring airlines into the ETS, but that would require Europe-wide cooperation. Many greens pin their hopes on energy efficiency. Many people have already installedinsulation and double-glazing, but more is to be done. Higher efficiency standards for newbuildings will help, but will take many decades to affect the overall efficiency of Britain’sdwellings and workplaces. Other savings from conservation tend to call for new habits, whichWilliam Blyth, an environmental analyst at Chatham House, reckons will make them difficult torealise. .People dislike the idea of changing their behaviour for an abstract idea,. he says.They like having the problem taken out of their hands.. Others worry about the reboundeffectthat, while conservation saves money, the gains are spent on such polluting activitiesas, say, holidaying abroad, which offset much of the environmental benefit. Mr Blair’sdomestic reputation is not the only thing at stake. He has been using Britain’s presidency ofthe G8 rich nations’ club to harangue other global leaders on the need for a successor treatyto Kyoto. Preliminary discussions are due to begin later this month at a summit in Montreal. IfMr Blair cannot present a plausible plan to meet his domestic goals, he will be robbed ofinternational credibility. That would be a blow for the prime minister, who is keen to play a part in the delicatenegotiations for a new treaty. Besides, a lack of progress in the talks (which could outlast MrBlair’s premiership) would make it harder for him to impose the policies he needs to defendhis domestic targets. Businesses will object to strict regulations without the prospect of theirinternational competitors in America, China and India knuckling under. And while the public claims to be worried about climate change, its concern runs only so deep. A recent poll from the Stockholm Network, a group of European think-tanks, found that while 94% of Britons thought climate change was important, 62% put economic growthbefore carbon reduction. In other words, a unilateral carbon-reduction policy isunworkable. A draft document is not the same thing as government policy, but the signs are notencouraging. The review has 58 separate recommendations, making it seem more a set ofquick fixes than a coherent policy. These range from the sensible, but difficult (tightening ETSallocations) to gimmicks (stricter enforcement of speed limits on motorways). The draft admitsthat, even if all of them are adopted, Britain may still miss its target. Mr Blair has been anevangelist on climate change. Now comes the big test of his resolve.
  1. Greenpeace dumped a lorry-load of coal outside Downing Street to. A. arouse public attention to the use of coal B. block the government ministers' way to work C. criticize Tony Blair's lack of action in cutting British green-house gas emissions D. demonstrate that the British Labour Party's 1997 Manifesto was against the Kyoto treaty
  2. Britain has been able to meet its Kyoto obligations because . A. the government subsidizes the use of renewable energy B. privatized firms opt for clean energy C. power generation mainly relies on clean energy D. cleaner energy happens to be cheaper
  3. What does the word `harangue' mean in the ninth paragraph? A. To call upon. B. To preach to. C. To teach. D. To guide.
  4. It is suggested in the passage that Britain. A. should take advantage of its presidency of the G8 to change emission standards
B. would undermine its own position in the G8 if its domestic environment policy fails C. has disagreement with other developed countries on emission standards D. is faced with a government crisis over the issue of green-house gas emissions
  5. Britons tend to believe that cutting green-house emissions. A. should not hinder economic development B. will slow down economic growth C. increases the international competitiveness of British business D. does not have impact on the climate change
  6. The writer thinks that. A. Britain will be faced with another energy crisis B. Tony Blair will lose his domestic credibility C. the Labour's 1997 manifesto will fail D. the transport industry is key to greenhouse emission cutting Pricing Terror Of all the catastrophes that could befall America in coming years, a big terrorist attack, perhaps even bigger than those on September 11th 2001 , may be more likely than others. Who would pay for the millions in property damage, business losses and other claims from such an attack? This is thequestion with which America's Congress is currently wrestling. The Terrorism Risk Act(TRIA) was passed sa a temporary measure after September 11th to provide a government back-stop for the insurance industry in the event of a catastrophic attack. It now says government can stepin when insured losses from a terrorist event top $5 m. TRIA has helped to stabilizethe market, and enabled insurers to continue offering terrorism-risk cover even after swallowing the big losses imposed by September 11th. But unless Congress acts fast, TRIA will expireat the end of the year. One likely result is the loss of terrorism-risk cover for thousands of firms and property owners. This, in turn, could disrupt businesses and make some commercial activity impossible. With modifications, TRIA should be extended. The Bush administration has been opposed to extension. It has always seen TRIA as a short-termmeasure, and has argued that the private sector should assume sole responsibility for terrorism insurance. This is the right goal. A purely private solution would be best, liftingany future burden from the taxpayer and relying on the industry to price and spread risks more accurately than any government can do. But relying entirely on the private sector immediately does not look feasible. With TRIA' s expiration looming, insurers and reinsurers have not, as the administration expected, rushedto write new contracts for next year offering to fall gaps in terrorism cover. Why the hesitation? Unlike other risks, the threat of terrorism cannot be forecast in time or scope, making a mockery of insurers' underwriting models. A big chemical, biological or nuclear attack is a prospect few can price, or afford to cover. Insurers are already being threatened with downgrades by rating agencies for the terrorism cover they have sold. One reason is that insurance, far from being a free market, is already one of the most heavily regulated of industries. Operating in a highly distorted marketplace, with 50 state regulators,the insurance industry seems to be having trouble pricing the largest of terrorism risks in a way that is credible and can still offer insurers a profit. Letting TRIA expire, and abruptly withdrawing.thegovernment role in insuring the largest losses, would just exacerbate this problem.
Any renewal of TRIA should, once again, be limited to two years, say. Its extension must also shift more of the burden, and the business, to the private sector. If an extension isagreed and TRIA' s threshold for government intervention is raised substantially, work should begin now to find better longer-term solutions. One place to look is abroad, where governments have dealt with terrorismrisk for years. In Britain, for instance, insurers have created a pool of capital thatis backed by the government and, over time, shifts a greater share of risk on to thee private sector. Other optionsto consider include tax changes that reduce the cost of holding capital by insurers and reinsurers, and facilitating the use of catastrophe bonds. With fewer regulatory distortions of insurance markets, a solely private solution maybe attainable in the long run. In the current environment, though, the same government that regularly warns of terrorist threats must still have a role to play in a solution that safeguards America's financial security.It would be better to plan ahead than wait for a rushed, Katrina-style bail-out after a big attack.. Amid all the uncertainties, one thing seems clear; any such bail-out would be more costly and lead to also greater market distortions without an extension of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act today.
  7. TRIA. A. provides insurance to properties in high-risk areas B. should be extended as it is now C. requires government support to risk insurance D. has caused a substantial loss of revenue to the state
  8. In terrorism insurance, the private sector. A. makes efficient use of the tax revenue in subsidizing insurance loss B. has strength in sharing the risk with other stakeholders in society C. is more economically efficient in offering short-term insurance D. relies on the government to provide insurance for their loss
  9. The private sector is hesitant in taking sole responsibility for terrorism insurance because . A. their current pricing models cannot estimate terrorism attacks properly B. they do not often insure things they cannot forecast C. they are threatened by loss of other insurance takers D. they do not have regulator-approved contracts that cover terrorism attacks
  10. The extension of TRIA should aim at. A. making government intervention more unacceptable B. introducing foreign companies into terrorism insurance C. setting up catastrophe bonds managed by insurers and reinsurers D. pushing the private sector to take sole responsibility
  11. If the government let TRIA expire, . A. it should stop warning the public of terrorist attacks regularly B. it will have to pay more money when large scale catastrophe occurs C. regulatory distortions of insurance markets will be reduced D. private insurance companies will stop insuring terrorism attacks
  12. The writer isin develop
 

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