This model essay aims to provide some useful guidance for writing an insightful and impactful argumentative essay on an A-Level essay question. The essay is periodically interjected with Teacher’s Comments (TC) to allow a better understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the content.

Fully-Guided Model Essay

Scientific discoveries, technological breakthroughs, and innovation are the primary engines for expanding the frontiers of human knowledge and are vital for responding to the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century. In the next decade, mankind is likely to launch into new scientific research areas in the journey to constantly enhance our quality of living. There is a diverse range of potential aspects of scientific research to be considered, and it is crucial for us to make an informed decision on which areas should be prioritized as it vastly affects the extent and speed of our progress. [TC: there is no clear link to the next sentence. Should include a precursor as to why you choose to focus on those specific areas. Population growth leading to increased competition for food & energy? Increased urbanization throughout the developing world leads to the need for environmental protection?] As of now and moving forward, a few of the many aspects of scientific research that are being prioritized include clean energy, environmental preservation and food genetics.

With our increasing global population size, we should prioritise the scientific research and development on food genetics. Studies have shown that globally, the population size is projected to reach 9 billion by 2050. [TC: good evidence but should you state 8 billion by 2030 instead since you are focusing on the next decade?] This would entail a serious shortage of vital resources such as food in future. As of now, we are already facing a problem of food shortage. An article by Science Daily reports that the current increases projected for crop production from biotechnology, genetics, agronomics and horticulture will not be sufficient to meet global food demand. In the report, a professor of horticultural sciences strongly advocates the development of more efficient technologies and high yielding crops to address this challenge. It is thus important for mankind to focus on improving the yield of food production and its nutritional value to adequately prepare ourselves for the drastic increase in population size by 2030. [TC: The idea of nutritional value is not adequately introduced in the essay. Before this line, you were focusing on food shortage, so increasing yield makes sense. Therefore, before this line, you need to introduce the issue of poor nutritional value prevalent in rural areas of developing countries like China where children’s growth and development is stunted.]

Nonetheless, gainsayers might argue that food genetics should not be one of the main focuses of scientific research in the next decade because the food shortage faced in the rural areas of developing world is a result of costly food items that are not affordable to the majority. Hence they might feel that increasing production yield would not be targeting the root cause of the problem, unlike hefty food subsidy handouts. However, these detractors fail to realize that improvements in the quality and quantity of genetically modified food would undoubtedly lead to a lower cost of production for farmers, which in turn would result in lower prices and higher nutritional value for consumers. Thus the concern of exorbitant food prices would be addressed with the improvement of crop yield. Therefore, I believe that by prioritizing the research on food genetics, we would be able to curb the looming issue of global food shortage and world hunger. Hence I feel that food genetics should be one of the three key areas of scientific research in the next decade, especially in the face of a rapidly growing world population.

Another area of scientific research, which would be greatly constructive in the next decade, is renewable energy. The projected population growth will doubtlessly impose a greater constraint on the energy resources as we now live in an era where energy is the engine of economic growth and development. It is thus important for mankind to prioritise the scientific research on renewable energy, especially on the discovery of new renewable energy sources before the issue of the energy crunch kicks in when the global demand for energy accelerates as a result of the rapidly expanding population. Presently, we primarily obtain energy from the burning of fossil fuels such as natural gas, coal, petroleum and oil. Studies have shown that if we are to continue relying on crude oil as our main source of energy at this rate, there will only be enough for 42 years, implying that we may be facing a severe depletion of this precious energy resource. It is hence essential for us to uncover new and innovative means to obtain renewable energy. Renewable energy is important in sustaining mankind’s economic development and environmental preservation. Renewable energy, by definition, is inexhaustible in contrast to fossil fuels, which will eventually run out. This is a pivotal point to consider in the light of our steadily growing population size facing diminishing fossil fuel supplies as the rate of depletion significantly outpaces the rate of discovery and extraction. Hence renewable energy would be a more desirable alternative to fossil fuels. Another major benefit of renewable energy is that such forms of energy have limited environmental impact. Good These clean forms of energy generate minimal pollution and emissions, if not at all. Good On the contrary, the refinement process of crude oil produces many solid toxic wastes such as mercury and other heavy metals, and the burning of fossil fuels often discharges arsenic and lead into surface waters while both release a substantial amount of pollutants into the air. These pollutants cause respiratory illnesses and deaths in humans, and give rise to acid rain, which erodes infrastructure and destroys fragile eco-systems. These harmful effects are very detrimental to our economic development and environment, greatly hampering global productivity as a consequence. Therefore it would be wise to focus on the research on sources of renewable energy.

Last but not least, another important area of research should be targeted at the issues of environmental degradation caused by pollution and global climate change. Increasing technological advancement has also yielded greater environmental damage in the form of pollutant emissions, which have long-lasting effects on our commonly shared environment. For example, the increasing mechanization and commercialization of agricultural produce causes water pollution and disrupts eco-systems and aquatic life. Besides, pollutants emitted from deforestation contribute to global warming, which could escalate into a environmental crisis if not properly managed and dealt with. It also causes soil erosion that results in land degradation. These are pressing environmental issues that can majorly impact mankind and his future.  Thus, it is vital for us to prioritise scientific research in existing and potential environmental issues and the ways to alleviate them. Therefore I feel that in the next decade, environmental preservation should be one of the key priorities of scientific research, especially in an increasingly industrialized world.

In conclusion, the three key areas of scientific research to be prioritized in the next decade are the research and development on food genetics, renewable energy, as well as environmental sustainability and protection. By simultaneously targeting all three areas, the aggregate impact may be substantially greater than the individual impacts since the benefits are mutually reinforcing, such as the use of renewable energy would also help to improve the problem of environmental degradation. This should be the top mandate in the next decade, where technology will continue to flourish alongside with the exponential increase of population, in pursuit of sustainable future progress and growth.

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