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全球减排协议面临新挑战:廉价石油

更新时间:2016/1/28 9:51:39 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Climate Deal’s First Big Hurdle: The Draw of Cheap Oil
全球减排协议面临新挑战:廉价石油

Barely a month after world leaders signed a sweeping agreement to reduce carbon emissions, the global commitment to renewable energy sources faces its first big test as the price of oil collapses.

世界各国领导人签署削减碳排放的全面协议还不到一个月,全球对转向可持续能源的承诺就遭遇了第一个重大挑战:油价的大幅下跌。

Buoyed by low gas prices, Americans are largely eschewing electric cars in favor of lower-mileage trucks and sport utility vehicles. Yet the Obama administration has shown no signs of backing off its requirement that automakers nearly double the fuel economy of their vehicles by 2025.

受低油价驱动,美国人基本不愿使用电动车,而是偏爱油耗高的卡车和越野车。然而,奥巴马政府依然毫不动摇地推行新标准,要求到2025年,汽车生产商将机动车的燃油经济性提高将近一倍。

In China, government officials are also taking steps to ensure that the recent plunge in oil prices to under $30 a barrel does not undermine its programs to improve energy efficiency. Earlier this month, the country’s top economic planning agency introduced a new regulation, effective immediately, aimed at deterring oil consumption.

在中国,政府官员正在努力确保新近跌至每桶30美元以下的油价无损其节能项目的展开。在本月初,中国负责经济规划的最高部门出台了一项立即生效的新措施,旨在遏制燃油消费。

For the climate accord to work, governments must resist the lure of cheap fossil fuels in favor of policies that encourage and, in many cases, require the use of zero-carbon energy sources. But those policies can be expensive and politically unpopular, especially as traditional fuels become ever more affordable.

气候协议要想奏效,各国政府必须抵抗住廉价化石燃料的诱惑,采取鼓励乃至要求使用零排放能源的政策。然而,这些政策也许成本极高,在政治上也难受欢迎,特别是当传统燃料变得愈发便宜的时候。

“This will be a litmus test for the governments — whether or not they are serious about what they have done in Paris,” said Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency.

“这将是检验各国政府的试金石,看他们是否在认真对待巴黎气候会议的成果,”国际能源署(International Energy Agency)署长法提赫·比罗尔(Fatih Birol)表示。

So far, there is no sign that the world’s two largest energy consumers — the United States and China — are wavering. With those two countries staying the course, albeit in the early days since the signing, there is optimism among backers of the accord that the momentum is too strong to stop. And despite the recent turmoil in energy markets, renewable industries are prospering.

迄今为止,作为世界上最大的两个能源消费国,美国和中国还没有显示出任何动摇的迹象。尽管目前距离气候协议的签署还没过去多长时间,但当这两个国家坚持向前,气候协议的支持者就依然态度乐观,相信这股势头锐不可当。而且,尽管能源市场近期出现波动,可持续能源产业仍在蓬勃发展。

“The trend toward much greater penetration of low-carbon energy driven by policy and technological advancements is going to continue,” said Jason Bordoff, director of the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University and a former top aide to President Obama. Despite the lower fuel costs, he added, “technological alternatives and policy drivers that are reducing demand for fossil fuels are already really starting to take a bite.”

“受政策和科技进步驱动,使用更高比例低碳能源的势头将持续下去,”哥伦比亚大学全球能源政策中心(Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University)主任贾森·博尔多夫(Jason Bordoff)表示。他曾是奥巴马总统的高级幕僚。他还称,虽然燃料成本走低,但“科技取代和政策驱动,依然在减少化石燃料的需求方面初具成效。”

A few days ago, the Energy Department projected that total renewable power consumed in the United States this year will increase by 9.5 percent, and the longer-term outlook appears bright as costs continue to plummet and after congressional action last December extended federal tax credits for new wind and solar projects.

几日前,美国能源部预测本国今年的可再生能源的总消耗量将上升9.5%。长远来看,前景也显得颇为光明,一是新能源成本在继续下降,二是去年12月国会决定延长风能和太阳能项目的税收抵免。

Utility-scale solar power generation alone is expected to increase by 45 percent by 2017, according to the Energy Department. Administration officials express an ambition to make wind power the source of more than a third of the American electricity supply by 2050.

根据能源部的数据,到2017年,单是电网规模的太阳能发电量就将增加45%。奥巴马政府的官员显现了雄心,决意到2050年用风能来满足美国逾三分之一的供电需求。

In China, the world’s biggest greenhouse gas emitter, the government implemented a new rule that no matter how low world crude oil prices may fall, the price of gasoline and diesel will continue to be set as though the world price of oil were still $40 a barrel. The goal is to prevent gasoline and diesel from becoming so cheap that China’s citizens would start consuming it indiscriminately.

作为世界上最大的温室气体排放国,中国政府发布了一项新规定,要求无论国际原油价格下跌多少,国内的汽油和柴油售价都将维持在国际油价每桶40美元的水平。这一举措是为了防止汽油和柴油价格一泻千里时中国人开始盲目消费化石燃料。

China’s heavily state-owned refining industry will also not be allowed to keep the extra profits from buying crude oil cheaply and selling gasoline and diesel as though the crude oil still cost $40 a barrel. Instead, the Chinese government will take the extra refining profit margin and put the money into a special fund for energy conservation and pollution control.

此外,中国的炼油业绝大部分被国有企业占据,它们不允许保留获得的额外利润——这些利润来自于低价购入原油但依然按照原油价格每桶40美元来销售汽油和柴油。中国政府会将这部分额外利润投入一个特别基金,用于能源保护和污染控制。

But across the globe, the picture is not entirely rosy for zero-emission technologies.

不过,纵观全球,零排放技术的前景并非一片光明。

Several nuclear power plants, which emit virtually no greenhouse gases, have closed in the United States in recent years, and few are under construction in part because of the competition of cheap natural gas.

核电站几乎不排放温室气体。不过近年来,美国关停了多家核电站,正在建设的也寥寥无几,一部分原因是来自廉价天然气的竞争。

Low oil prices also jeopardize the development of alternative fuels to replace petroleum in transportation and industry, including the advanced biofuels that once looked so promising. Cheap oil also reduces the price of diesel, the primary competitor of renewables in spreading electricity generation to impoverished rural areas of Africa and Southeast Asia.

低油价还损害了替代燃料在运输和工业领域取代石油的发展,包括一度看来很有希望的高级生物燃料。石油价格低迷还压低了柴油的价格,而在非洲和东南亚一贫如洗的乡村地区普及电力的过程中,柴油是可再生能源的主要竞争对手。

And if governments’ support wanes, the alternative fuel industries could take a hit.

此外,一旦政府的支持力度减弱,替代燃料行业就可能会遭遇重创。

In Spain, the development of renewables has slowed to a crawl since the government started weakening support in 2009 because of an economic downturn. In Britain, analysts warn that the wind and solar industries could collapse as the government shifts subsidies away from renewables; two global wind developers recently canceled projects there. And in the United States, when an important tax credit lapsed briefly in 2013, installations of new wind farms all but ceased, falling 92 percent for the year.

在西班牙,自从政府因经济下行而于2009年开始减少对可再生能源的支持后,该领域的发展几近停滞。在英国,分析人士警告,随着政府逐步取消对可再生能源的补贴,风能和太阳能行业或许会崩塌;两家国际风能开发商近期就取消了在英国的项目。而在美国,当一项重要的税收抵免政策在2013年短暂失效后,新风电场的安装工作几乎都停止了,当年装机容量下滑了92%。

Ultimately, supporters of the climate accord say that low oil prices can cut both ways in the march to renewables.

到头来,支持气候协议的人士称,低油价可能对转向可再生能源的进程有利有弊。

“It’s a double-edged sword,” said Amy Myers Jaffe, executive director for energy and sustainability at the University of California, Davis. She noted that low oil prices were cutting investments in drilling, which meant fewer emissions of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, at well sites, and “it has clearly not slowed down the switch toward renewable energy.”

“这是把双刃剑,”加州大学戴维斯分校(University of California, Davis)能源与可持续项目的执行主管埃米·迈尔斯·贾菲(Amy Myers Jaffe)说。她指出,低油价减少了钻探领域的投资,而这意味着油井数量和温室效应很强的甲烷气体的排放都有所下降,而且“显然它并没有减缓向可再生能源的转型”。

But at the same time, Ms. Jaffe said, low gasoline prices make driving more attractive, and in larger vehicles as well.

然而,贾菲也表示,与此同时,低油价又让开车变得更有吸引力了,对较大的机动车也是如此。

“It’s crippling for electric cars,” she said, “because the thing that made you think about buying an electric car was it was so painful for you to fill up your car with gasoline that was so expensive.”

“这对电动汽车造成了重创,”她说。“你之所以会考虑买辆电动车,是因为油价太高了,给车加满油实在是太痛苦了。”

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