1.

A company wants to build an aluminium smelting facility near Puerto Aysen (population
14 000) in Chile. The total cost of the project is estimated at US$ 2.8 billion and will employ
about 8 000 people during construction. Average annual precipitation is approximately 3 000
mm and the area has enormous hydroelectric power potential. (The proposed project includes
three hydroelectric power plants.) 95 km of access roads will also be built. 1 100 000 tonnes per
year of goods (primarily aluminium ore from Jamaica, Brazil or Australia) will be imported for
the annual production of 440 000 tonnes of aluminium. The waste products (approximately
660 000 tonnes per year) will remain in Chile. An environmental impact assessment (EIA) is
soon to be submitted for this project, including a baseline study.
(a)

State what is meant by a baseline study and outline methods for measuring two biotic and
two abiotic parameters relevant to this project.
(6)

(b)

The investment of capital in this area will provide employment and higher wages for the
local inhabitants. The project includes the building of schools, health centres and other
community projects. Suggest what impact this will have on the ecological footprint of the
people in this area. Explain your answer.
(6)

(c)

Explain how reuse, recycling and re-manufacturing on a national scale could reduce the
demand for natural capital, such as aluminium. Include references to energy and material
use in your answer.
(5)
Expression of ideas (3)
(Total 20 marks)

2.

An understanding of sustainability is crucial for the effective management of natural resources.
(a)

Define what is meant by the term sustainability.
(2)

(b)

With reference to either soil resources or water resources, explain how your chosen
resource has been managed unsustainably and the consequences this has had for
ecosystem. Your answer should be supported with case studies/examples.
(10)

(c)

Suggest ways in which your chosen resource could be managed more sustainably.
(5)

Expression of ideas
(3)
(Total 20 marks)

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3.

“...we can no longer afford to ignore the dependency of the economy and social progress on the
environmental resource base. It is the content of economic growth, with natural resources
factored in, that counts in the long term, not just the yield in products and currency. A country
that levels its forest, drains its aquifers, and washes its topsoil downriver without measuring the
cost is a country traveling blind.” Edward Wilson (2002)
(a)

With reference to the statement above, outline what is meant by the terms “natural
capital”, “natural income” and “sustainability”.
(5)

(b)

Describe and explain how societies are using water and soil resources unsustainably.
(13)
Expression of ideas (2)
(Total 20 marks)

4.

(a)

Define the following terms.
(i)

Negative feedback
...........................................................................................................................
...........................................................................................................................
(1)

(ii)

Positive feedback
...........................................................................................................................
...........................................................................................................................
(1)

(b)

Suggest why most ecosystems are negative feedback systems.
......................................................................................................................................
......................................................................................................................................
(1)

2

The diagram below represents a coal fired power station.

smoke

.................

coal

warm water

[Source: Adapted from D D Kemp, Global Environment Issues, A Climatological Approach, (Taylor & Francis,1994)
p. 7. Reproduced by permission of Cengage Learning]

(c)

Complete the diagram above by naming the missing input and the two missing outputs.
(2)
(Total 5 marks)

3

5.

The figure below shows the cost of generating electricity from different sources.
Energy source

Cost/pence per
kilowatt hour
at 1991 prices

Coal

low 3.5, high 4.0

Gas

low 2.3, high 2.8

Nuclear

low 5.0, high 7.5

Wind onshore

low 2.9, high 5.2

Wind offshore

approx. 8.0

Hydro-power

6.0

Waste to energy

6.5

Landfill gas

5.7

Note: Both nuclear power and renewable energy
receive a discount on price which is paid for
by the NFFO.
Electricity legislation passed in 1989 in the UK introduced the non fossil fuel obligation
(NFFO), which is partly paid for by fuel bills. It is designed to ensure that electricity companies
generate a certain percentage of electricity through non-fossil fuel sources, part of which must
be from renewable sources, although the majority comes from nuclear power.
[Kevin Byrne, Environmental Science, (Nelson Thornes Ltd., 1997) p. 167.
Reproduced by permission of Nelson Thornes Ltd.]

(a)

(i)

Identify which energy type provides the cheapest electricity and which provides the
most expensive.
Cheapest ............................................................................................................
Most expensive .................................................................................................
(1)

(ii)

Suggest reasons for your answers to (a) (i).
...........................................................................................................................
...........................................................................................................................
...........................................................................................................................
...........................................................................................................................
(2)

(b)

Explain how energy can be obtained from waste.
4

......................................................................................................................................
......................................................................................................................................
......................................................................................................................................
......................................................................................................................................
(2)

(c)

(i)

Predict how the costs of production for fossil fuels might be different 50 years from
now.
...........................................................................................................................
...........................................................................................................................
(1)

(ii)

Justify your prediction in (c) (i).
...........................................................................................................................
...........................................................................................................................
...........................................................................................................................
...........................................................................................................................
(2)

(d)

Outline some of the advantages and disadvantages of hydro-power (hydroelectric power).
Advantages ..................................................................................................................
......................................................................................................................................
......................................................................................................................................
......................................................................................................................................
Disadvantages ..............................................................................................................
......................................................................................................................................
......................................................................................................................................
......................................................................................................................................
(4)

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(e)

Explain the link between increasing use of renewable energy sources and the ecological
footprint of a population.
......................................................................................................................................
......................................................................................................................................
......................................................................................................................................
......................................................................................................................................
(2)
(Total 14 marks)

6.

The table below gives a list of energy sources used to generate electricity and their cost per
kilowatt hour.
Energy source

(a)

Unit cost / kw hr–1

Coal

4.8 – 5.5

Natural gas

3.9 – 4.4

Nuclear

11.0 – 14.5

Wind

4.0 – 6.0

Hydro electric

5.1 – 11.3

Solar

15.0 – 30.0

Identify the two energy sources with the average lowest cost in the table above, and state
one advantage and one disadvantage of each.
Energy source

...........................................

...........................................

Advantage

Disadvantage

...........................................

...........................................

...........................................

...........................................

...........................................

...........................................

...........................................

...........................................
(3)

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(b)

Outline two reasons why a country may not use the cheapest energy source to produce
electricity.
......................................................................................................................................
......................................................................................................................................
......................................................................................................................................
......................................................................................................................................
......................................................................................................................................
......................................................................................................................................
(2)

(c)

Suggest two reasons why it is so difficult to persuade people to reduce the amount of
energy that they use.
......................................................................................................................................
......................................................................................................................................
......................................................................................................................................
......................................................................................................................................
(2)

(d)

Describe how the second law of thermodynamics applies to environmental systems.
......................................................................................................................................
......................................................................................................................................
(1)
(Total 8 marks)

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