《经济学人》:联合国气候会谈
日期:2011-09-08 11:34

(单词翻译:单击)

UN climate talks
联合国气候会谈

Pretty basic
“基础四国”举足轻重

Diplomacy ahead of the UN climate conference in Durban augurs little progress
联合国气候大会将在南非德班举行,此前各国态度预示会议进展维艰

Sep 3rd 2011 | from the print edition

NEVER has the UN’s Kyoto protocol looked sorrier. In 2012 the five-year “commitment period” it brought into being—in which developed countries took on legally binding responsibilities to cut their industrial greenhouse-gas emissions against 1990 levels—will end. Already Japan, Russia and Canada have refused to repeat the exercise. America was never part of it. Of the important rich countries, only the Europeans, responsible for around 13% of global emissions, will consider a second go. If cutting global carbon emissions was its aim, the UN scheme has failed.

联合国《京都议定书》遭遇前所未有的失败。2012年,发达国家依法减少工业温室气体排放的五年承诺期即将结束。目前,日本,俄罗斯,加拿大三国已拒绝为此再次承诺。而美国从未加入此议定书。重要的发达国家中,只有占全球二氧化碳总排量13%的欧洲国家,有意向继续实施减排。以降低二氧化碳排量为目标的联合国计划,已注定会失败。

Yet it refuses to die. A UN climate conference will be held in Durban at the end of November, and the protocol’s future will dominate it. This was stressed in a recent statement from several powerful developing countries—Brazil, South Africa, India and China—who have formed a block called the “BASIC Group”. At a meeting in Brazil on August 26th-27th, “agreeing on the second commitment period” was apparently the main issue they discussed. It was hardly likely, they noted sharply, that a country would leave the Kyoto protocol because it wished to cut emissions faster.

但数个国家仍在极力挽救此计划。2011年联合国气候大会将于11月底在德班举行。议定书此后将何去何从,待此次会议决定。由巴西、南非、印度、中国几个主要的发展中国家构成的“基础四国”,在最近的声明中对此事很关注。8月26日和27日在巴西召开的会议上,“第二个承诺期的一致意见”无疑成为了他们讨论的焦点。四国特别强调,任何一国离开《京都议定书》都不可能实现更快减排的愿望。

As far as the rich world goes, they are right. Canada will fail in its emission-curbing commitment (as will, possibly, Japan). Quitting the UN scheme is a way to avoid the punitive burden that would be carried over into a second round. Nor do the other, non-Kyoto, parts of the UN process look promising just now. Negotiators at last year’s climate summit in Cancún promised up to $100 billion a year to developing countries by 2020 to help them deal with climate change, plus arrangements for monitoring the voluntary mitigation efforts of developing countries. But little has been done since—and, in hard times for the rich world, little of the promised money is likely to be forthcoming in Durban.

就目前发达国家的情况来看,这是正确的。加拿大必定不能兑现减排承诺(日本也同样很有可能失败)。那么,要想回避第二轮会谈中会加重的惩罚性负担,退出联合国计划就是一个出路。如今,对联合国成员中其他的非《京都议定书》缔约方国家而言,他们的情况同样不容乐观。去年,在墨西哥坎昆举行的气候峰会上,谈判方曾承诺,在2020以前,将每年资助发展中国家1000亿美元以帮助他们应对气候变化,同时也监督他们自愿减排的成果。但到目前为止,所做甚少。而当前发达国家又遭受金融危机,德班会议上他们能够兑现已承诺资助的希望渺茫。

The BASIC countries’ attachment to Kyoto is rooted in self-interest. As developing countries, albeit major emitters, they need undertake no mitigation commitment. This was America’s biggest objection to the UN scheme and is, above all, what they seek to preserve. This underpins their show of unity, despite big differences in the size and nature of their emissions. China is the world’s biggest polluter. Its reliance on coal-fired power stations means its emissions per head—at around six tonnes of carbon equivalent a year—are also closing on west European levels. India’s, though large and rapidly rising, are well below two tonnes a head. Brazil’s, largely caused by farming practices and deforestation, should be cheaper to curb.

“基础四国”签订的《京都议定书》附件是出于自身利益的考虑。他们虽然是主要的排碳国,但作为发展中国家,并不需要承担任何减排义务。这是美国拒绝加入联合国减排计划的最主要原因,却也是“基础四国”力图保留的权利。所以,四国纵然在碳排量以及碳排种类上有很大差异,在此问题上却有合作的基础。中国是世界上最大的污染源。经济发展依赖煤电,致使中国人均二氧化碳排量逐渐接近欧洲发达国家水平。如今中国年人均碳排量已将近6公吨。印度,经济发展虽然也在大规模迅速进行,人均碳排量仍很好地控制在2公吨以内。巴西的大量二氧化碳排量主要源于农业生产和滥伐森林,因此它的减排成本比较低。

These distinctions are reflected in the climate-related actions each country volunteered in Cancún. For instance, whereas China promised to reduce the carbon intensity of its output by 40% by 2020, Brazil, with the right assistance, is sworn to reduce its expected emissions by over 36%. These, though hard to monitor, could mean a lot if they work. Yet if the BASIC countries are to persuade the European Union to keep Kyoto alive, they, and especially China and India, must promise more. What this might mean is now being debated in Beijing and Delhi; the EU countries are watching, sceptically.

“基础四国”碳排放特征的差异,也反映在坎昆会议上各国志愿减排方面。如,中国承诺到2020年将碳排量减少40%,而巴西,因其有力后援,宣布减少36%预计碳排量。尽管这些减排难以监测,但一旦付诸实施,意义重大。而如果四国想要说服欧盟,以保证《京都议定书》继续运作,那么他们尤其是中印两国,需要承担更多的责任和义务。中国和印度目前就此问题正在激烈争论,而欧盟国家持怀疑态度,尚在观望中。

That European countries, alongside Asia’s rising giants, have emerged as the main hinge of an important international process must please them. Yet whatever promise the BASIC countries offer for a post-2018 dispensation will be modest. And even the most ardent European believers in the sort of “top-down”, legally binding mitigation effort that Kyoto represents are belatedly realising that America and probably China would not join such a scheme. In that case, the world’s climate problem would remain unsolved.

正在崛起的亚洲大国,作为一项重要国际进程的主角地位日益彰显。因而欧洲国家也需要考虑他们的意见。然而对2018年后免除不执行权利一项,不管“基础四国”给出什么承诺,都不会有太大价值。积极参与议定书的欧洲国家,曾以为《京都议定书》具有自上而下的法律约束力的,如今连他们也都意识到,美国甚至可能中国都不会参与此项议程。如果真是这样,那么世界气候问题将持续得不到解决。

And moreover, if the EU can be persuaded to undertake a second commitment under Kyoto, it is likely to accept a more modest target than it has already offered. It has promised a 20% curb in its emissions by 2020—or 30% if America and others show comparable progress. In making a legal commitment, the EU would perhaps enter the lower figure, perhaps leaving the higher one to be forgotten. Hot air aplenty. Pity about the carbon.

而且,如果能够说服欧盟在《京都议定书》框架下再次做出减排承诺,欧盟将有可能只会接受一个较之前更小的目标。欧盟已保证,到2020年将它的温室气体排量降低20%。如果美国和其他国家减排量相应增加,欧盟还可以提高到30%。在承担减排义务方面,欧盟有可能会承担更低的减排量,而更高的减排量弃之不理。温室气体增多,碳已然成为人们心头大患!!

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重点单词
  • reliancen. 信赖,所信赖的人或物
  • modestadj. 谦虚的,适度的,端庄的
  • issuen. 发行物,期刊号,争论点 vi. & vt 发行,流
  • legaladj. 法律的,合法的,法定的
  • statementn. 声明,陈述
  • hingen. 铰链,关键 vt. 用铰链装 vi. 依情况而定
  • schemen. 方案,计划,阴谋 v. 计画,设计,体系,结构,图
  • promisingadj. 有希望的,有前途的
  • equivalentadj. 等价的,相等的 n. 相等物
  • attachmentn. 附件,附著,附属物,依恋,忠诚,依赖 [法律]扣押