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经济学人:气候问题(4)

来源:经济学人 编辑:Magi    |  可可官方微信:ikekenet
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It is foolish to think all this can be done in ten years or so, as demanded by many activists and some American presidential hopefuls. But today’s efforts, which are too lax to keep the world from two or even three degrees of warming, can be vastly improved. Forcing firms to reveal their climate vulnerabilities will help increasingly worried investors allocate capital appropriately. A robust price on carbon could stimulate new forms of emission-cutting innovations that planners cannot yet imagine. Powerful as that tool is, though, the decarbonisation it brings will need to be accelerated through well-targeted regulations. Electorates should vote for both.

认为这一切都能在10年左右的时间内完成,就像许多活动人士和一些美国总统候选人所要求的那样,是愚蠢的。但是,今天的努力,由于太过松懈而无法使全球气温上升2度甚至3度,可以得到极大的改善。迫使企业披露其气候脆弱性,将有助于日益担忧的投资者合理配置资本。一个强有力的碳价格可以刺激新形式的减排创新,这是规划者们还无法想象的。尽管这个工具很强大,但它带来的脱碳需要通过目标明确的监管来加速。选民应该为两者投票。
The problem with such policies is that the climate responds to the overall level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, not to a single country’s contribution to it. If one government drastically reduces its own emissions but others do not, the gallant reducer will in general see no reduced harm. This is not always entirely true: Germany’s over-generous renewable-energy subsidies spurred a worldwide boom in solar-panel production that made them cheaper for everyone, thus reducing emissions abroad; Britain’s thriving offshore wind farms may achieve something similar. But it is true enough in most cases to be a huge obstacle.
这些政策的问题在于,气候是对大气中二氧化碳的总体水平作出反应,而不是对一个国家的贡献作出反应。如果一个政府大幅减少自己的排放量,而其他政府不这么做,那么这个勇敢的减排者将不会看到任何减少的危害。这并不总是完全正确的:德国过于慷慨的可再生能源补贴刺激了世界范围内太阳能电池板生产的繁荣,这让太阳能电池板对每个国家来说都很便宜,从而减少了国外的排放;英国蓬勃发展的海上风力发电场可能也会达到类似的效果。但在大多数情况下,这足以成为一个巨大的障碍。

The climate issue4.jpg

The obvious fix will be unpalatable to many. The UN’s climate talks treat 193 countries as equals, providing a forum in which all are heard. But three-quarters of emissions come from just 12 economies. In some of those, including the United States, it is possible to imagine younger voters in liberal democracies demanding a political realignment on climate issues—and a new interest in getting others to join in. For a club composed of a dozen great and middling-but-mucky powers to thrash out a “minilateral” deal would leave billions excluded from questions that could shape their destiny; the participants would need new systems of trade preference and other threats and bribes to keep each other in line. But they might break the impasse, pushing enough of the world onto a steeper mitigation trajectory to benefit all—and be widely emulated.

显而易见的解决方案将让许多人感到不快。联合国气候谈判平等对待193个国家,提供了一个所有国家都能发声的论坛。但四分之三的排放量仅来自12个经济体。在其中一些国家,包括美国,可以想象自由民主国家的年轻选民要求在气候问题上进行政治重组,并希望其他人也加入进来。对于一个由十几个伟大的、中等但不太体面的大国组成的俱乐部来说,敲定一项“小范围”协议将使数十亿人被排除在可能决定他们命运的问题之外;参与者将需要新的贸易优惠制度、其他威胁和贿赂,以保持彼此一致。但他们可能会打破僵局,将世界上足够多的国家推向一个更陡峭的减排轨道,使所有国家受益——并被广泛效仿。
The damage that climate change will end up doing depends on the human response over the next few decades. Many activists on the left cannot imagine today’s liberal democracies responding to the challenge on an adequate scale. They call for new limits to the pursuit of individual prosperity and sweeping government control over investment—strictures some of them would welcome under any circumstances. Meanwhile, on the right, some look away from the incipient disaster in an I’m-alright-Jack way and so ignore their duties to the bulk of humanity.
气候变化最终造成的破坏将取决于未来几十年人类的反应。许多左翼活动人士无法想象,今天的自由民主国家会以适当的规模应对这一挑战。他们呼吁对追求个人繁荣进行新的限制,并要求政府对投资限制进行全面控制。与此同时,在右翼,一些人以一种“我还好吧”的方式把目光从刚刚开始的灾难上移开,因此忽视了他们对人类的责任。
If the spirit of enterprise that first tapped the power of fossil fuels in the Industrial Revolution is to survive, the states in which it has most prospered must prove those attitudes wrong. They must be willing to transform the machinery of the world economy without giving up on the values out of which that economy was born. Some claim that capitalism’s love of growth inevitably pits it against a stable climate. This newspaper believes them wrong. But climate change could nonetheless be the death knell for economic freedom, along with much else. If capitalism is to hold its place, it must up its game.
如果在工业革命中率先利用化石燃料的企业精神要生存下去,那么,在化石燃料最繁荣的国家,必须证明这些态度是错误的。他们必须愿意改革世界经济的机制,而不放弃产生这种经济的价值观念。一些人声称,资本主义对增长的热爱不可避免地使其与稳定的气候相矛盾。本刊认为他们是错的。然而,气候变化可能是经济自由的丧钟,还有许多其他因素。如果资本主义想要站稳脚跟,就必须坚持下去。

译文由可可原创,仅供学习交流使用,未经许可请勿转载。

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