A global crisis has shocked the world. It is causing a tragic number of deaths, making people afraid to leave home, and leading to economic hardship not seen in many generations. Its effects are rippling across the world.
一場全球危機震驚了世界。它正在造成大量的死亡,人們因此不敢離開家。它還在造成過去幾代人都沒有見過的經濟困難。這場危機的影響正波及全世界。

Obviously, I am talking about COVID-19. But in just a few decades, the same description will fit another global crisis: climate change. As awful as this pandemic is, climate change could be worse.

顯然,我說的是新冠肺炎。但是在未來的數十年中,這些描述將適用於另一場全球危機——氣候變化。新冠疫情很可怕,但氣候變化可能更糟。

I realize that it’s hard to think about a problem like climate change right now. When disaster strikes, it is human nature to worry only about meeting our most immediate needs, especially when the disaster is as bad as COVID-19. But the fact that dramatically higher temperatures seem far off in the future does not make them any less of a problem—and the only way to avoid the worst possible climate outcomes is to accelerate our efforts now. Even as the world works to stop the novel coronavirus and begin recovering from it, we also need to act now to avoid a climate disaster by building and deploying innovations that will let us eliminate our greenhouse gas emissions.

我明白當下我們很難去考慮像氣候變化這樣的問題。當災難來襲時,人類的天性是專注於眼前最迫切的需求,尤其是在面對像新冠肺炎這樣嚴重災難的時候。然而,急劇上升的氣溫看起來可能離我們很遙遠,但這並不會減輕這一問題對我們的影響。為了避免可能出現的最壞後果,唯一的方式就是現在加倍投入。即便全世界正致力於控制疫情和開始從中恢復,我們也需要立即採取行動,通過建立和部署消除溫室氣體排放的創新方法來避免氣候災難。

You may have seen projections that, because economic activity has slowed down so much, the world will emit fewer greenhouse gases this year than last year. Although these projections are certainly true, their importance for the fight against climate change has been overstated.

你們可能已經看到一些預測,由於經濟活動大大放緩,今年全球的溫室氣體排放量將比去年少。儘管這些預測是正確的,但其對於抗擊氣候變化的重要性被誇大了。

Analysts disagree about how much emissions will go down this year, but the International Energy Agency puts the reduction around 8 percent. In real terms, that means we will release the equivalent of around 47 billion tons of carbon, instead of 51 billion.

專家們對於今年將減少多少溫室氣體排放量存在分歧,但國際能源署(International Energy Agency)認為減排量會在8%左右。按實質計算,這意味著我們今年將排放相當於約470億噸的碳,而不是510億噸。

That’s a meaningful reduction, and we would be in great shape if we could continue that rate of decrease every year. Unfortunately, we can’t.

這是個有意義的下降。如果我們每年能夠保持這樣的減排速度,我們將會處於一個良好狀態。不幸的是,我們做不到。

Consider what it’s taking to achieve this 8 percent reduction. More than 600,000 people have died, and tens of millions are out of work. This April, car traffic was half what it was in April 2019. For months, air traffic virtually came to a halt.

想一想為了實現這8%的減排量所付出的代價。超過六十萬人死亡,數千萬人失業。今年四月,汽車交通量僅為2019年四月的一半。在過去的數月,航空交通幾乎陷入停滯。

To put it mildly, this is not a situation that anyone would want to continue. And yet we are still on track to emit 92 percent as much carbon as we did last year. What’s remarkable is not how much emissions will go down because of the pandemic, but how little.

說得婉轉些,這不是一個大家想要延續的情況。但是,我們今年的碳排放量仍將達到去年的92%。值得注意的不是疫情將導致排放量下降多少,而是降得多麼少。

In addition, these reductions are being achieved at, literally, the greatest possible cost.

更何況,為了實現這些減排,人類社會付出了最大可能的代價。

To see why, let’s look at what it costs to avert a single ton of greenhouse gases. This figure—the cost per ton of carbon averted—is a tool that economists use to compare the expense of different carbon-reduction strategies. For example, if you have a technology that costs $1 million, and using it lets you avert the release of 10,000 tons of gas, you’re paying $100 per ton of carbon averted. In reality, $100 per ton would still be pretty expensive. But many economists think this price reflects the true cost of greenhouse gases to society, and it also happens to be a memorable round number that makes a good benchmark for discussions.

要瞭解這背後原因,讓我們看看減少一噸溫室氣體排放所需的成本。這個數字(每減少一噸碳排放所需的成本)是經濟學家用來比較不同減碳策略成本的工具。例如,如果你有一項耗資100萬美元研發的技術,而使用該技術可以減少排放1萬噸溫室氣體,那麼每減少1噸碳排放就要耗費100美元。實際上,每噸100美元仍然非常昂貴。但許多經濟學家認為,這個價格反映了溫室氣體對人類社會的真實成本,而且它恰好是一個容易讓人記住的整數,為大家討論這個問題提供了一個良好的基準。

Now let’s treat the shutdown caused by COVID-19 as if it were a carbon-reduction strategy. Has closing off major parts of the economy avoided emissions at anything close to $100 per ton?

現在,讓我們把新冠疫情造成的經濟停擺視為一種減排策略。由關閉大部分經濟而避免的碳排放,其成本是否接近於每噸100美元?

No. In the United States, according to data from the Rhodium Group, it comes to between $3,200 and $5,400 per ton. In the European Union, it’s roughly the same amount. In other words, the shutdown is reducing emissions at a cost between 32 and 54 times the $100 per ton that economists consider a reasonable price.

並不是。在美國,根據榮鼎諮詢(Rhodium Group)的資料,其成本在每噸3200至5400美元之間。在歐盟,這一數字大致與美國相同。換句話說,新冠疫情造成的停擺的確減少了碳排放,但其成本是每噸100美元這一經濟學家認為合理成本的32到54倍。

If you want to understand the kind of damage that climate change will inflict, look at COVID-19 and spread the pain out over a much longer period of time. The loss of life and economic misery caused by this pandemic are on par with what will happen regularly if we do not eliminate the world’s carbon emissions.

你如果想理解氣候變化將造成怎樣的損害,就看看新冠疫情,然後將其造成痛苦的時間延長。如果我們不消除世界上的碳排放,它所造成的週期性破壞與這種流行病造成的生命和經濟損失相當。

Let’s look first at the loss of life. How many people will be killed by COVID-19 versus by climate change? Because we want to compare events that happen at different points in time—the pandemic in 2020 and climate change in, say, 2060—and the global population will change in that time, we can’t compare the absolute numbers of deaths. Instead we will use the death rate: that is, the number of deaths per 100,000 people.

讓我們首先來看看生命的損失。新冠肺炎和氣候變化會殺死多少人?因為我們比較的是兩件發生在不同時間的事件(2020年的大流行和假設2060年的氣候變化),並且那個時候全球人口也會發生變化,所以我們無法比較絕對的死亡人數。因此,我們將用死亡率代替:即每10萬人中的死亡數。

As of last week, more than 600,000 people are known to have died from COVID-19 worldwide. On an annualized basis, that is a death rate of 14 per 100,000 people.

截至上周,全球已有超過60萬人死於新冠肺炎。按年計算,死亡率約為十萬分之14。

How does that compare to climate change? Within the next 40 years, increases in global temperatures are projected to raise global mortality rates by the same amount—14 deaths per 100,000. By the end of the century, if emissions growth stays high, climate change could be responsible for 73 extra deaths per 100,000 people. In a lower emissions scenario, the death rate drops to 10 per 100,000.

氣候變化與之相比結果怎樣?在未來四十年內,預計全球氣溫升高將使全球死亡率增加相同的數量,即十萬分之14。到本世紀末,如果碳排放量增速依舊很快,氣候變化將導致每10萬人中的73人死亡。在碳排放量較低的情況下,死亡率會降至十萬分之10。

In other words, by 2060, climate change could be just as deadly as COVID-19, and by 2100 it could be five times as deadly.

換句話說,到2060年,氣候變化可能像新冠肺炎一樣致命,而到2100年,氣候變化的致命性可能達到新冠肺炎的五倍。

The economic picture is also stark. The range of likely impacts from climate change and from COVID-19 varies quite a bit, depending on which economic model you use. But the conclusion is unmistakable: In the next decade or two, the economic damage caused by climate change will likely be as bad as having a COVID-sized pandemic every ten years. And by the end of the century, it will be much worse if the world remains on its current emissions path.

對經濟的影響也很嚴峻。氣候變化和新冠肺炎可能產生的影響範圍差異很大。這取決於你使用的經濟模型。但是結論卻很清楚:在未來的一二十年裡,氣候變化造成的經濟損失相當於每十年暴發一次與新冠肺炎相當的大流行。如果世界仍保持目前的排放方式,到本世紀末,情況將更加糟糕。

(If you’re curious, here is the math. Recent models suggest that the cost of climate change in 2030 will likely be roughly 1 percent of America’s GDP per year. Meanwhile, current estimates for the cost of COVID-19 to the United States this year range between 7 percent and 10 percent of GDP. If we assume that a similar disruption happens once every ten years, that’s an average annual cost of 0.7 percent to 1 percent of GDP—roughly equivalent to the damage from climate change.)

(如果你對此好奇,這裡有計算方式。最近的模型表明,2030年氣候變化造成的損失約為美國每年國內生產總值的1%。同時,目前美國新冠肺炎疫情造成的損失估計約為今年國內生產總值的7%到10%。如果我們假設每十年發生一次類似的疫情,那麼平均每年造成的損失就占國內生產總值的0.7到1%,大致相當於氣候變化每年造成的損失。)

The key point is not that climate change will be disastrous. The key point is that, if we learn the lessons of COVID-19, we can approach climate change more informed about the consequences of inaction, and more prepared to save lives and prevent the worst possible outcome. The current global crisis can inform our response to the next one.

我想表達的關鍵不是氣候變化會造成災難性的後果。關鍵是,如果我們從新冠肺炎中汲取了教訓,在對待氣候變化時,我們就應該更加清楚不作為會造成怎樣的後果,也會更加準備好去挽救生命和防止最壞的結果。當前的全球危機可以幫助我們更好地準備應對下一場危機。

In particular, we should:

我們尤其應該採取以下的行動:

 

01讓科學與創新引領方向

Let science and innovation lead the way. The relatively small decline in emissions this year makes one thing clear: We cannot get to zero emissions simply—or even mostly—by flying and driving less.

讓科學與創新引領方向。今年碳排放量只有小幅度的下降清楚地表明瞭一件事:我們不可能簡單地通過減少航空和汽車出行來實現完全的(哪怕是大部分的)零排放。

Of course, cutting back is a good thing for those who can afford to do it, as I can. And I believe that many people will use teleconferencing to replace some business travel even after the pandemic is over. But overall, the world should be using more energy, not less—as long as it is clean.

當然,對那些能夠負擔得起這麼做的人來說,減少航空和汽車出行是一件好事。我相信,即使在大流行結束後,許多人仍會用視頻電話會議取代某些商務旅行。但是總的來說,世界應該使用更多能源,而不是更少——只要這是清潔能源。

So just as we need new tests, treatments, and vaccines for the novel coronavirus, we need new tools for fighting climate change: zero-carbon ways to produce electricity, make things, grow food, keep our buildings cool and warm, and move people and goods around the world. And we need new seeds and other innovations to help the world’s poorest people—many of whom are smallholder farmers—adapt to a less predictable climate.

因此,就像我們需要針對新冠肺炎的新檢測手段、新療法和新疫苗一樣,我們也需要應對氣候變化的新工具——不會產生碳排放的發電、工業生產、食物種植、室內溫度調節以及運輸人員和貨物的方式。我們需要新品種的種子和其他創新技術手段,從而幫助世界上最貧困的人(這其中許多人是只擁有少量耕地的農戶)適應更加難以預測的氣候。

Any comprehensive response to climate change will have to tap into many different disciplines. Climate science tells us why we need to deal with this problem, but not how to deal with it. For that, we’ll need biology, chemistry, physics, political science, economics, engineering, and other sciences.

任何應對氣候變化的綜合方案都必須結合許多不同的學科。氣候科學可以告訴我們為什麼需要重視氣候變化問題,但不可能告訴我們如何來解決這個問題。為此,我們需要生物學、化學、物理學、政治學、經濟學、工程學和其他學科。

02確保解決方案也適用於貧困國家

Make sure solutions work for poor countries too. We don’t yet know exactly what impact COVID-19 will have on the world’s poorest people, but I am concerned that by the time this is over, they will have had the worst of it. The same goes for climate change. It will hurt the poorest people in the world the most.

確保解決方案也適用於貧窮國家。我們尚不知道新冠疫情對世界上最貧窮的人會有什麼影響,但我擔心的是,當疫情結束後他們將遭受最嚴重的影響。氣候變化也是如此。它將會對世界上最貧窮的人傷害最大。

Consider climate’s impact on death rates. According to a recent study published by Climate Impact Lab, although climate change will push the overall death rate up globally, the overall average will obscure an enormous disparity between rich and poor countries. More than anywhere else, climate change will dramatically increase death rates in poor countries near or below the Equator, where the weather will get even hotter and more unpredictable.

我們來看氣候變化對死亡率的影響。根據氣候變化研究機構氣候影響實驗室(Climate Impact Lab)發佈的一項最新研究,儘管氣候變化將使全球整體死亡率上升,但只討論總體平均死亡率將掩蓋富國和窮國之間的巨大差距。在赤道附近或赤道以南的貧窮國家,將比地球上其他任何地方受到更大的影響。氣候變化會大大增加這些國家的死亡率,那裡的天氣將變得更加炎熱且更加不可預測。

The economic pattern will probably be similar: a modest drop in global GDP, but massive declines in poorer, hotter countries.

經濟上的影響也可能遵循這個規律:全球生產總值略有下降,但更貧窮、更炎熱的國家會出現國民生產總值大幅下降。

In other words, the effects of climate change will almost certainly be harsher than COVID-19’s, and they will be the worst for the people who did the least to cause them. The countries that are contributing the most to this problem have a responsibility to try to solve it.

換句話說,氣候變化的影響幾乎肯定會比新冠肺炎的影響更嚴重。那些對造成氣候變化問題責任最小的人,將會遭受最嚴重的影響。對此問題責任最大的國家有義務設法去解決它。

In addition, clean sources of energy need to be cheap enough so that low- and middle-income countries can buy them. These nations are looking to grow their economies by building factories and call centers; if this growth is powered by fossil fuels—which are now the most economical option by far—it will be even harder to get to zero emissions.

另外,清潔能源需要足夠便宜,從而讓中低收入國家也能購買。這些國家正希望通過建立工廠和呼叫中心來發展經濟。如果這種增長都由化石燃料推動(因為化石燃料是目前為止最經濟的選擇),那麼實現零排放將更加困難。

When there’s a vaccine for the coronavirus, organizations like GAVI will be ready to make sure it reaches the poorest people in the world. But there is no GAVI for clean energy. So governments, inventors, and entrepreneurs around the world need to focus on making green technologies cheap enough that developing countries will not only want them, but be able to afford them.

當新冠肺炎疫苗出現時,像全球疫苗免疫聯盟(GAVI)這樣的組織將確保世界上最貧窮的人口得到疫苗。但是清潔能源領域的GAVI還沒有出現。因此,世界各地的政府、發明家和企業家都需要努力使綠色科技足夠便宜,從而讓發展中國家不僅想使用這些技術,並且能夠負擔得起。

 

03現在就開始行動

Start now. Unlike the novel coronavirus, for which I think we’ll have a vaccine next year, there is no two-year fix for climate change. It will take decades to develop and deploy all the clean-energy inventions we need.

現在就開始行動。與新冠病毒不同(我認為我們明年就會有針對這一病毒的疫苗),我們沒有任何在兩年內就能解決氣候變化問題的方案。這可能需要數十年的時間來開發和部署所有我們需要的清潔能源發明。

We need to create a plan to avoid a climate disaster—to use the zero-carbon tools we have now, develop and deploy the many innovations we still need, and help the poorest adapt to the temperature increase that is already locked in. Although I am spending most of my time these days on COVID-19, I am still investing in promising new clean energy technologies, building programs that will help innovations scale around the world, and making the case that we need to invest in solutions that will limit the worst impacts of climate change.

我們需要制定一個避免氣候災難的計畫——使用我們已有的零碳工具,開發及部署許多我們仍舊需要的創新,以及説明最貧困人口適應已經無法避免的氣溫上升。儘管最近一段時間我花了大部分時間在新冠肺炎上,但我仍然在投資具有前景的新清潔能源技術,建立有助於創新在全球大範圍應用的項目,以及解釋為何我們需要投資可以限制氣候變化最壞影響的解決方案。

Some governments and private investors are committing the funding and the policies that will help us get to zero emissions, but we need even more to join in. And we need to act with the same sense of urgency that we have for COVID-19.

一些政府和私人投資者正在為實現零排放制定政策或承諾提供資金,但我們需要更多人的加入。在應對氣候變化的行動上,我們需要有與面對新冠肺炎時同樣的緊迫感。
Health advocates said for years that a pandemic was virtually inevitable. The world did not do enough to prepare, and now we are trying to make up for lost time. This is a cautionary tale for climate change, and it points us toward a better approach. If we start now, tap into the power of science and innovation, and ensure that solutions work for the poorest, we can avoid making the same mistake with climate change.

衛生宣導者多年來一直表示,大流行幾乎是不可避免的。世界並沒有做好足夠的準備,而我們現在正試圖去彌補失去的時間。這對氣候變化是一個警示,也為我們指出一種更好的應對方法。如果我們現在就開始,利用科學和創新的力量,並確保這些解決方案同樣適用於最貧困的人口,我們就能避免在氣候變化問題上犯同樣的錯誤。

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