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双语:中国天气的“五十度灰”

2015-12-08    来源:Eco中文论坛    【      美国外教 在线口语培训

双语:中国天气的"五十度灰"

Climate change
气候变化

Raise the green lanterns
高举环保大旗

China is using climate policy to push through domestic reforms
中国以环境政策推动国内改革


WHEN world leaders gathered in Paris to discuss cutting planet-heating emissions, a pall of smog hung over Beijing. In parts of the capital levels of fine particulate matter reached 30 times the limit deemed safe. Though air pollution and climate change are different things, Chinese citydwellers think of them in the same, poisoned breath. The murky skies seemed irreconcilable with the bright intentions promised in France.
当各国领导人齐聚巴黎讨论有关减少温室气体排放的问题,北京被厚厚的雾霾笼罩。在首都的某些地方,大气细颗粒物的含量达到了最低安全指标的30倍。尽管空气污染和气候变化不是一件事,但生活在城市的中国居民认为他们都会在我们呼吸的过程中毒害我们的健康。灰蒙蒙的天空似乎和领导人在法国所承诺的美好意愿不太相符。
 
Yet a marked change has taken place in China’s official thinking. Where once China viewed international climate talks as a conspiracy to constrain its economy, it now sees a global agreement as helpful to its own development.
然而中国官员的思维模式开始有了显著的变化。曾经中国认为国际气候谈判是一场阻碍其发展的鸿门宴,现在中国领导人将全球气候协议看成是有助其发展的一种推动。
 
China accounts for two-thirds of the world’s increase in the carbon dioxide emitted since 2000. It has come a long way in recognising the problem. When China first joined international climate talks, the environment was just a minor branch of foreign policy. The ministry for environmental protection had no policymaking powers until 2008. Only in 2012 did public pressure force cities to publish air-pollution data.
自2000年以来,全球三分之二二氧化碳排放量的增长量都来自中国。而中国在很长一段时间后才开始正视这个问题。当中国第一次参加国际气候谈判时,环境问题仅仅只是其外交政策的一个小分支。环境保护部在2008年以前都没有制定政策的权利。而出于公众舆论的压力,各市政府在2012年才公布了空气污染数据。
 
Yet today China pledges to cap carbon emissions by 2030 (reversing its former position that, as a developing power, it should not be bound to an absolute reduction); and it says it will cut its carbon intensity (that is, emissions per unit of GDP) by a fifth, as well as increase by the same amount the electricity generated from sources other than fossil fuels. The latest five-year plan, a blueprint for the Communist Party’s intentions that was unveiled last month, contains clear policy prescriptions for making economic development more environmentally friendly.
但是中国决定在2030年前控制碳排放(该决定与中国过往的立场完全不同,中国之前的立场是作为发展中国家的中国不应该被规定做出绝对数目的减排目标),宣布大幅减少碳浓度(即每单位GDP的排放量)达五分之一,同时中国将增加五分之一用除化石燃料以外的清洁能源来发电的电量。在上个月最新出炉的五年计划包含着共产党对中国未来的规划,其中明确包含促使经济更环保发展的政策。
 
There’s more 更多内容
Right after the Paris summit, however it ends, China is expected to make more promises in a new document, co-written by international experts, that presents a far-reaching programme of how China should clean up its act. It is based on models that account for both economic and political viability. On top of existing plans, such as launching a national emissions-trading scheme in 2017, the government may even outline proposals for a carbon tax, something that has eluded many prosperous countries in the West.
不管过程如何,各国在巴黎峰会上通过了一份由各国专家共同撰写的文件,其中要求中国在环境问题上给出更多的承诺,同时该文件中还有一个计划长远的项目用以指导中国该如何规范其行为。该文件是基于那些给出经济可行性和政治可行性的模型。在现存计划之外,如2017年开始运行的全国碳排放交易系统,中国政府甚至开始拟定征收碳排放税,而在许多发达的西方国家,这都是一件避而不谈的事。

The big question is why China is now so serious about climate change. The answer is not that Communist leaders are newly converted econuts. Rather, they want to use environmental concerns to rally domestic support for difficult reforms that would sustain growth in the coming decades. Since a global slowdown in 2008 it has become clear that to continue growing, China must move its economy away from construction and energy-intensive industry towards services. At the same time, China faces an energy crunch. For instance, in recent years China has been a net importer of coal, which generates two-thirds of China’s electricity. It all argues for growth plans that involve less carbon.
问题是中国为什么现在对气候变化如此重视?答案不是因为共产党领导人向环境保护论低头。相反,中国领导人希望用环境问题来召集国内支持,增援改革瓶颈,维持接下来几十年的经济增长。自2008年全球经济增长放缓以来,中国领导人开始明白,要实现经济的持续增长,中国经济需要摆脱建筑业密集型和能源密集型的特点,转向服务集中型经济。与此同时,中国面临能源枯竭问题。举个例子,近几年中国是煤炭净进口国,而煤炭发电量占中国总发电量的三分之二。这些都让低碳经济增长计划成为讨论热点。
 
This is where signing international accords, such as the one hoped for in Paris, come in, for they will help the government fight entrenched interests at home. Observers see a parallel with China’s joining the World Trade Organisation in 2001. It allowed leaders to push through internal economic reform against fierce domestic opposition. In the same way, a global climate treaty should help it take tough measures for restructuring the economy.
正如巴黎气候大会所预设达成的协议一样,签署这些国际协议能够让各国政府更有利地对抗国内根深蒂固的利益集团。有分析人士认为中国2001年加入世贸组织的行为也同样有着这一目的。此举让中国领导人能够在强烈的国内反对声音中继续推动内部经济改革。同样,全球性的气候条约能够使得一些重构经济的硬措施成为可能。
 
It will not be easy. Provincial party bosses and state-owned enterprises hate to shut factories, particularly in those parts of the country, such as Shanxi and Inner Mongolia in the north, where coal is a big employer. Cutting demand for energy is even harder. Even if the amount of electricity used by state industry falls, that used by private firms and households is bound to increase. What is more, environmental regulations and laws laid down by the centre are routinely flouted.
但是这不会是件简单的事。各省级政府以及各个国企领导不希望关闭工厂,特别是像山西和内蒙古这些以煤矿业提供工作岗位的北方省份。降低能源需求就更苦难了。即使国有产业的用电量下降了,民用和私营企业的用电量一定都会上升。另外,由中央政府制定有关环境的法律法规常常遭到各地政府的无视。
 
But cleaning up China’s act has, for the central government, become a political necessity too. Environmental issues have been major public concerns for over a decade, says Anthony Saich of Harvard University, which has conducted polls. True, rural people fret most (and with good reason) about water pollution. But those in the cities gripe about their toxic air. Both represent a reproach to the government over its neglect of people’s lives and health.
但对于中央政府来说,变更中国的行为模式也开始有了政治必要性。哈佛大学的安东尼·塞挈进行了一项投票调查,称环境问题在过去十年中变成了公众关心的一大问题。事情确实是这样的,比如农村居民最担心的是水污染问题(这个担心也是非常合理的)。但那些居住在城市的人抱怨空气中的毒害成分。这两种人都表达了对政府忽略人民生命健康的斥责。
 
That is why national economic goals, political goals, public opinion and international pressure all point towards trying to cut emissions, pollutants included. In particular, says Zhang Zhongxiang of Tianjin University, now that dealing with climate change is a pillar of China’s diplomacy, the government must show it can keep its promises. It has some tools at its disposal. Across the country, the environmental record of government officials has become a crucial part of their evaluation by the Communist Party; and cadres will be held accountable for their actions even after leaving their position. Several provinces have already punished officials for environmental accidents and for not enforcing environmental laws.
这也是为什么国家的经济目标、政治期望、民众意见以及国际压力都将矛头指向了减少某些污染物在内的排放量。就像天津大学的张忠祥所说的一样,现在气候变化问题成为中国外交的重点之一,政府必须要拿出遵守承诺的行动。中国有着其自身可用的方法处理环境问题。环境行政档案成为了共产党评定一个政府官员的重要依据,各级政府官员即使在离职后依然要对其在职时所作的决策负责。某些省份已经因为出现有关环境问题的事故或者没有依环境法行政等问题对一些官员进行了惩处。
 
Fifty shades of grey 五十度灰
 
But there are obstacles to real change. The electricity grid and national power market are ill-equipped to increase renewable generation by much. Corruption in industrial procurement remains widespread, which does nothing to promote long-term efficiency or reductions in emissions. Competing incentives are also in play: earlier this year, the authorities forced a big Chinese investment company to buy back shares it had sold in old-fashioned industrial fields, for fear that it might depress share prices (which crashed anyway in a more general stockmarket meltdown). The government will not trust market mechanisms alone, says Yang Fuqiang of the Natural Resources Defense Council, an activist group.
但想要真正做到改变,前面还有一些拦路虎。国家电网和国家能源市场对于新能源大量涌入没有足够的准备。行业采购中的腐败行为依然泛滥,这对于提高长期效率以及减少排放没有好处。竞争激励依然起作用:今年早些时候,一家大型中国投资公司在旧工业领域出售了许多股份,但有关部门因为担心抛售会使股份价格贬值(虽然其股价在股市暴跌情况下依然跌至低谷),于是强制要求其购回相应股份。维权团体自然资源保护委员会的杨富强称,政府不会把宝都压在市场机制上的。
 
Nor are leaders yet pushing for change on all fronts. For instance, government efforts to cut emissions of carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide are greater than for many other greenhouse gases. Scarce and polluted water, one of China’s most severe environmental challenges, is almost entirely beyond the scope of the current raft of reforms. And China refuses to publish its estimate of the environmental toll of economic growth.
但政府也没有在每个方面都推进改革。例如政府对于减少二氧化碳和氮氧化物所采取行动明显大于其他温室气体。稀缺且日益受到污染的水资源是中国最严重的环境威胁之一,但却几乎没有没能在这一轮改革的方案之中看到相关措施。而且中国政府拒绝透露经济增长所带来的环境破坏预估值。
 
Sceptics scoff that China’s promises in Paris are irrelevant because emissions will probably peak regardless, long before the promised 2030. Nor has the government said how high that top might be. Yet the sceptics underestimate the importance of an international agreement for China and beyond. Like other countries, China has to date followed a pattern of “grow first, clean up later”. Yet very quickly it has recognised the dangers and drawbacks of such a policy and has been pouring money into clean energy and other innovations it hopes will provide green growth. In that, it may prove a model for other fast-developing countries. That might signal a small patch of blue sky.
持怀疑态度的人嘲弄称中国在巴黎气候大会上的承诺根本毫无意义,因为远在2030年前,全球温室气体排放量不论如何都会达到最大。尽管没有政府预计过这个最大的具体数值是多少,但这些人都低估了国际协议对于现在和以后的中国的重要性。和其他国家一样,中国曾经采用“先污染后治理”的模式。但是很快中国政府就意识到了其中的危害和缺点,并投入大量资金建设清洁能源和其他有助于绿色增长模式的研发。因此,中国或许能够成为其他高速发展国家的可模仿的例子。这可能标志着天空那一抹蔚蓝色出现。



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