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Argument fuel and the environment

fuel and the environment
This is the next in my series of sample IELTS essays for download. The topic of the
environment is very common and it is certainly one you need to practise

Thinking about the question
Very often the key to writing a good IELTS essay is to read the question well. It is:

The best way to solve the world’s environmental problems is to increase the cost of fuel. To
what extent do you agree or disagree?

The best?
This is very strong language. It may be “a” way, but is it the best? The natural way to approach
this type of question with “most” or “best” in them is:

discuss why it may be a good idea

suggest another idea

compare the two ideas

decide which idea is best
This way you will certainly have enough to write.

To what extent
This means “how much”. If you get this type of question, in your conclusion you need to say one


not at all

something in between
Typically, the easy (and the academic) answer in a timed exam is to choose something in
between. To do this, you need to discuss the advantages and the disadvantages in the main
body and then say in your conclusion that there are both advantages and disadvantages.

The essay structure
The essay structure is:
intro: restate the question and outline that “the best” is too strong language

para 1: explain that there are many different environmental problems not affected by fuel
para 2: explain that education is a better solution in the long-term
conclusion: restate the introduction (best is too strong) and summarise the main point
(education is more effective)


This is an area you need variety of language (see my post The language of problems). I suggest
that you note down some variations before you start writing. Here are some I use:

Increase the cost of fuel
Again, you want to try not to repeat the language of the question too much. Try these:

Environmental problems
There are a large range of possible environmental problems. The environmental language I use
in this essay is:

The essay
The best way to solve the world’s environmental problems is to increase the cost
of fuel. To what extent do you agree or disagree?
Most people would accept that one of the highest priorities today is to find a solution to the
various environmental problems facing mankind. It has been suggested that best way to
achieve this is for governments to raise the price of fuel. I am, however, not sure that this is
necessarily the case.
One reason why this approach may not work is that there is not just one environmental
problem the world faces today. If governments did make fuel more expensive, it might well
help reduce the amount of carbon dioxide we produce and so slow down the rate of global
warming and air pollution. However, it would not help with other major problems such as
intensive farming, overpopulation, the hole in the ozone layer or water pollution. For these
problems we need to find other solutions.
A second reason why this policy may not be the most appropriate is that it places the emphasis
on governmental policy and not individual responsibility. Ultimately, most environmental
problems are the result of the way we as individuals live our lives. If we wish to find a longterm and lasting solution to them, we need to learn to live in a way that it is greener or kinder
to the environment. What governments need to do to make this happen is to ensure there is a
global programme to educate people of all ages about the environmental consequences to their

In summary, I believe that increasing the level of taxation on fuel is at best a short-term
solution to only one environmental problem. If we wish to provide a home for our children’s
children, education is likely to be the key to making this happen. (283 words)

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