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美国环保协会观点 | 疫后经济,“绿色”复苏
2020年06月11日 文章来源:本站  阅读  
在环境变化挑战面前,人们准备不足,但这并不表明人们没有能力应对。各国必须携手合作,共同推动可持续发展。欧盟、中国等主要经济体,以及世界银行、国际货币基金组织等国际机构已经开始采取行动,将环境保护议程与疫情后的经济复苏相结合,大力发展“绿色经济”转型,为人类创造一个更美好的共同未来。

美国环保协会张建宇近日在为中国日报“观中国”栏目撰文(英文原稿+中文翻译)时指出,疫后经济复苏迫切需要采用“绿色”的方式。
 
新冠病毒的全球大流行再次向人们表明,为危机提早做好准备是多么重要。
 
面对病毒,我们没能做到准备充分,导致全球至今仍在与疫情及其带来的经济社会冲击作艰苦斗争。而面对气候变化、生物多样性破坏、空气污染和海洋酸化等诸多迫在眉睫的环境挑战,我们更没能做到准备充分。我们不得不与时间赛跑,以避免即将到来的环境危机。
 
不过好消息是,这些危机都是可以预防或逆转的,我们并非没有能力提早应对。
 
刚刚过去的第49个“世界环境日”提醒我们,要密切关注可持续发展与环境系统之间的相互作用。最明显的例子就是野生动物保护:新冠肺炎的全球暴发让非法野生动物贸易成为人们关注的焦点。疫情期间,中国颁布了“史上最严野生动物交易禁令”,加大了对相关违法行为的处罚力度。
 
除此之外,大流行病还暴露了其他环境问题:空气污染会增加罹患心血管疾病和呼吸系统疾病的风险,使人们对传染病的脆弱性上升,尤其对于贫困人口而言更是如此;清洁水源是防治大流行病的关键;对垃圾进行有效管理,也可以显著降低大流行病对健康和环境的次生影响。
 
所有这些问题在全球范围普遍存在,作为世界主要经济体,中国、欧盟和美国等需要合作应对。
 
欧盟已经迈出了前进的步伐。上月底,欧盟委员会公布了有史以来规模最大的绿色经济刺激方案,作为欧盟疫后复苏计划——“欧盟下一代”计划的核心内容之一。该计划总金额为7500亿欧元,但欧盟委员会表示将动用“全部财政力量”推动该计划,因此这一数字未来可能接近2万亿欧元。其中,数百亿欧元将被用于提高房屋的能源效率,减少煤炭发电,逐步淘汰燃油汽车。这些举措将助力欧盟加快实现2050年“零排放”目标。
 
中国政府在低碳基础设施建设方面投入大笔资金,支持优先发展项目。然而,中国在减少碳足迹方面还可以做得更多。其中的最佳方案之一,就是将碳价格嵌入到对各类项目开展经济分析的过程中。随着中国全国碳市场即将上线运行,上述做法将有助于避免金融机构对于“搁浅资产”的投资。
 
环境保护和可持续发展一直是中国与其他国家合作的中心议题之一。1992年中国环境与发展国际合作委员会成立以来,中国的环境外交得到进一步拓展。
 
应对气候变化的努力当然也需要美国的参与,可是,美国似乎并不重视缓解气候变化行动在经济复苏过程中应发挥的作用。在美国政府今年3月宣布的经济刺激计划中,几乎没有涉及气候变化。例如,该计划包括向航空公司提供500亿美元贷款和补贴,但对航空公司减少排放的要求却只字未提。不仅如此,美国还将继续扶持石油和天然气行业。
 
 
 
不过,无论美国怎样做,通过国际合作实现“绿色经济复苏”的大趋势是不可阻挡的。作为向发展中国家提供贷款的重要机构,世界银行和国际货币基金组织在为应对疫情而增加放贷的同时,也强调了贷款项目的可持续性,得到了许多借款方的纷纷响应。
 
科学表明,温室气体排放必须在今年达到峰值,才能将全球变暖幅度控制在1.5摄氏度以内,实现《巴黎协定》设定的严格目标。2020年也是全球气候治理的重要一年,各国将向联合国气候变化框架公约秘书处提交各自新一轮的国家自主贡献,确定在较长一段时间内的发展道路。
 
为了抓住最后的机会,以可持续的方式遏制全球变暖,为我们的下一代创造一个更美好的世界,世界各国必须共同努力,在这场危机中开始采取减排行动刻不容缓。
 
 
本文原为英文。以上翻译来自中国日报“观中国”微信公众号。以下为发表在中国日报网站上的英文原文:
 
Environmental meltdown looming
By ZHANG JIANYU
 
The world is struggling with the novel coronavirus pandemic, as well as its economic and social consequences. It is also racing against time to avoid an impending environmental crisis. The pandemic shows us the importance of being prepared for a crisis. We were not prepared for the COVID-19 outbreak, and we are even less prepared for the looming challenges of climate change, the collapse of biodiversity, life-shortening air pollution and ocean acidification. The good news is that we can be, as these can all be prevented or reversed.
 
World Environment Day on Friday was a reminder to take a close look at sustainability in the way it interacts with environmental systems. The most obvious example is wildlife protection: the COVID-19 outbreak brought the illegal wildlife trade into the spotlight. Amid the spread of the novel coronavirus, China has issued a nationwide ban on the trade and consumption of wild animals, imposing even harsher punishments on violators.
 
Besides wildlife protection, other environmental problems have been exposed by the pandemic: exposure to air pollution increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and respiratory disease, and increases the vulnerability of individuals and communities, especially the poorest people, to pandemics; water access and quality are key to the fight against pandemics, and effective waste management is essential to minimize the secondary health and environmental impacts of pandemics.
 
All these problems are universal. Thus, China, the European Union and the United States-the world's leading economies-need to work together.
 
The EU has stepped forward, unveiling its biggest green stimulus package in history last week, which puts fighting climate change at the heart of the bloc's recovery from the pandemic. The overall figure is 750 billion euros ($841 billion), but with future budget spending and the total fiscal firepower the commission says it will use, it is close to 2 trillion euros. Tens of billions of euros will be spent on improving the energy efficiency of houses, reducing the carbon content of electricity and phasing out gasoline and diesel vehicles. The idea is to accelerate Europe's efforts to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2050.
 
The Chinese leaders have endorsed big spending on a variety of low-carbon infrastructure and development priorities. However, China could do a lot more to reduce its carbon footprint. One of the best approaches would be to apply an embedded carbon price in the economic analysis for every project under the framework of China's soon to be launched carbon market, in order to avoid stranded-asset investments. Environmental protection and sustainable development is always a central pillar of the cooperation between China and other countries. Since the establishment of the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development in 1992, China's environmental diplomacy has been further expanded.
 
The effort also needs the US, however, that country is ignoring the role that climate change adaption and mitigation actions should play in the recovery. There is little related to climate change in the stimulus package plan the US announced in March, as the plan includes $50 billion in loans and grants to airlines, but leaves out language that would have required airlines to offset their emissions.
 
What's more, the US president has sought to bail out the oil and gas industry. But no matter what the US does, the direction toward international cooperation for a green recovery is unstoppable. As for the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, which are crucial lenders to the developing world they have stressed sustainability as they grow their lending in response to the pandemic, and many of their borrowers have followed suit.
 
Science tells us emissions must peak this year to limit warming to the 1.5 C goal set by the Paris Agreement. And 2020 is also an important year for global climate governance-countries will decide on their development path in a long period of time by submitting a new round of nationally determined contributions (NDC) and the long-term low greenhouse gas emissions development strategy by the middle of this century. In order to seize the last chance to curb global warming and make the world a better place for our next generation by being sustainable, stakeholders across the globe have to work together and start to adopt emission reduction actions amid this crisis.