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欧洲进口美国天然气难以吓倒普京

2014-04-02    来源:网络    【      美国外教 在线口语培训

Calls are mounting for the US to export shale gas to Europe to help free the continent from Russian influence. Observers are right to focus on Moscow’s energy leverage but they are prescribing the wrong response. The most useful thing that Europe could import is not American gas itself but the open economic model that has enabled the US natural gas industry to thrive.
目前有越来越多的人呼吁美国向欧洲出口页岩气,以帮助欧洲摆脱俄罗斯的影响力。观察人士关注俄罗斯政府的能源影响力并没有错,但他们拿出的解决方案错了。欧洲可以从美国引进的最有用的东西不是页岩气本身,而是美国开放的经济模式。美国的天然气行业正是凭借这种模式实现了蓬勃发展。

Europe buys nearly 30 per cent of its natural gas from Russia. This has led to concern that President Vladimir Putin might turn off a few taps to gain leverage in the confrontation with Ukraine. For now, these fears are overblown – among other things, Europe has a lot of natural gas in storage – but the fundamental worry is well founded.
欧洲近30%的天然气从俄罗斯进口。这导致有些人担心,在乌克兰问题上的对峙中,俄罗斯总统弗拉基米尔•普京(Vladimir Putin)可能会关掉几个阀门,借此取得优势。就目前而言,他们有些过虑了,至少,欧洲还有大量天然气库存,但在根本层面上,这种担忧很有道理。

Yet US natural gas exports would do little to reduce Russian leverage. They cannot replace Russian gas in the current crisis since it will be more than a year until any US export terminals are built. Even once these facilities are up and running, the economics of sending shale gas to Europe are unlikely to make much sense. Once the cost of shipping is included, Russian gas is far cheaper; Moscow’s share of the European market is not likely to change much. Instead, American gas will flow mainly to Asia.
不过,美国向欧洲出口天然气,对削弱俄罗斯的影响力起不到多少作用。美国的天然气出口码头要一年多才能建好,因此美国天然气无法在本次危机中取代俄罗斯天然气。即便当相关设施建好、并投入运营,将页岩气从美国运送至欧洲也很可能不划算。考虑运输成本因素,俄罗斯的天然气会便宜得多,因此其在欧洲市场所占份额不太可能发生太大改变。相反,美国出口的天然气将主要运往亚洲。

This is not to say that US exports would not hurt Mr Putin. They would push down the price of gas in Europe, which is one of the many reasons why they should be allowed. But it is fanciful to suppose that they could provide a decisive edge against Moscow in a future crisis.
这并不意味着美国向欧洲出口天然气不会对普京造成损害。允许美国向欧洲出口天然气有许多理由,其中之一是,美国出口的天然气会压低欧洲的天然气价格。但我们不应幻想,在未来的危机中,从美国进口的天然气能让欧洲对俄罗斯拥有一项决定性优势。

Europe’s politicians should instead put their energy into copying the successful US policies that laid the groundwork for a spectacular boom in natural gas production. This might allow Europeans to produce more gas at home instead of buying it from Russia. The US Energy Information Administration estimates that Europe has 598tn cubic feet of technically recoverable shale gas, roughly half as much as the US. Yet almost none of this is being exploited. In part, that is because the continent is playing catch-up with a boom that started elsewhere. But there are deeper reasons, too. Many European countries have banned shale gas production. Those that allow development have slapped on taxes and government royalties that do much to deter it.
相反,欧洲政界人士应把精力投入到借鉴美国的成功政策上,这些政策为美国令人瞩目的天然气生产大繁荣奠定了基础。通过借鉴美国的这些政策,欧洲或许能自己生产更多天然气,从而减少向俄罗斯购买。美国能源情报署(US Energy Information Administration)估计,欧洲理论上可开采的页岩气储量有598万亿立方英尺,大约为美国的一半。但欧洲的页岩气几乎一点都未得到开采。这部分缘于欧洲在这场始于美国的繁荣中仍在追赶,但还有一些深层次原因。许多欧洲国家禁止开采页岩气。允许开采页岩气的国家则设定了针对页岩气开发的税和政府许可费,大大遏制了页岩气的开采。

The US has lessons to offer on both fronts. Most gas-rich US states have rejected calls to prohibit shale gas production; instead, they have allowed development subject to robust environmental safeguards. The specifics vary from state to state. In Texas, a longtime energy producer, the industry has won public acceptance with less oversight than elsewhere. In Ohio or Illinois, which are new to the natural gas game, regulation is more stringent. Europeans would be wise to draw lessons from US states that have struck a balance between development and the environment.
在这两方面,美国都有可供借鉴的经验。美国大多数页岩气丰富的州都拒绝了禁止页岩气开采的呼声;相反,这些州要求开发者在开采过程中采取健全的环保措施。各州的具体要求有所不同。在德克萨斯这个长期的能源大州,页岩气行业的监管较其他地方更宽松,但仍获得公众接受。在较晚才开始开采页岩气的俄亥俄州和伊利诺伊州,监管更为严格。美国许多州在发展和环保之间取得了平衡,对欧洲而言,从美国的这些州汲取经验是明智之举。

The American shale gas industry has flourished on private land, where property owners are susceptible to commercial incentives. In Europe, mineral rights are generally publicly owned and unlikely to be privatized. Still, the more basic lessons – that government policy should be careful not to undermine the economics of gas development, and that care should be taken to ensure that local communities benefit from development – should be listened to carefully.
美国页岩气行业在私有土地上发展得很好,土地的私人所有者比较容易受商业利益诱惑。在欧洲,矿产权一般为公有,而且不太可能私有化。不过,有两条基本经验仍值得欧洲好好借鉴:一、政府制定政策时应小心,不要让页岩气开发变得无利可图;二、应努力确保当地社会能从页岩气开发中获益。

The US can also export lessons about gas markets. The US market responds efficiently to disruptions because regulators insist on open access to infrastructure such as pipelines, and enforce standards of transparency that ensure market participants are adequately informed. Europe has moved in this direction. Unlike the US, it needs to protect itself against foreign producers that might manipulate liberalized markets. Still, it has room to improve.
美国的天然气市场也有可借鉴之处。美国的天然气市场能高效率地对中断做出反应,因为监管机构坚持要求开放利用输气管道等基础设施,并执行各种透明度标准,以确保市场参与者能充分知情。欧洲已在这个方向上有所行动。当然,与美国不同,欧洲必须保护自己的自由市场不受外国生产者操纵。可话说回来,欧洲在这方面仍有改进空间。

Focusing on steps such as these may be less attractive than talking up US natural gas exports: it denies America a chance to brag about its strategic influence and forces Europeans to grapple with their own political problems. The biggest opportunity to improve European security, though, comes from exporting the US model, not selling American gas.
与吹嘘美国向欧洲出口天然气的作用相比,关注于这些措施或许不那么吸引人:既剥夺了美国夸耀自身战略影响力的机会,又迫使欧洲人纠结于自身的政治问题。不过,最有可能提高欧洲能源安全的方法,不是从美国进口天然气,而是进口美国的模式。



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