It was once thought that air pollution affected only the area immediately around large cities with factories and heavy automobile traffic. Today we know that although these are the areas with the worst air pollution, the problem is literally worldwide. On several occasions over the past decade a heavy cloud of air pollution has covered the entire eastern half of the United States and led to health warnings even in rural areas away from any major concentration of manufacturing and automobile traffic. In fact the very climate of the entire earth may be affected by air pollution.
Some scientists feel that the increasing concentration of carbon dioxide in the air resulting from the burning of fossil fuels (coal and oil) is creating a "greenhouse effect" -- holding in heat reflected from the earth and raising the world's average temperature. If this view is correct and the world's temperature is raised only a few degrees, much of the polar ice cap will melt and cities such as New York, Boston, Miami, and New Orleans will be under water.
Another view, less widely held, is that increasing particulate matter in the atmosphere is blocking sunlight and lowering the earths temperature -- a result that would be equally disastrous. a drop of just a few degrees could create something close to new ice age and would make agriculture difficult or impossible in many of our top farming areas.
At present we do not know for sure that either of these conditions will happen, though one recent government report prepared by experts in the field concluded that the greenhouse effect is very likely. Perhaps, if we are very lucky the two tendencies will offset each other and the world's temperature will stay about the same as it is now.
28. According to the passage, people today think that air pollution _________.
A. exists merely in urban and industrial areas
B. may have an effect on the entire earth
C. causes widespread damage in the countryside
D. is not so serious as it used to be
29. What does the author think of the possibility of a new ice age?
A. He rejects it as being ungrounded.
B. He holds the same view.
C. He is uncertain of its occurrence.
D. He thinks that would happen soon.
30. The word "offset" (Line3,Para4) means ____________.
A. slip into
B. catch up with
C. set up
D. make up for
31. The passage is mainly about ____________.
A. the potential effect of air pollution
B. the possibility of a new ice age
C. the effects of global warming
D. the causes of climate change