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广州翻译公司:美国大选为何避谈“气候变化”

作者: 来源: 日期:2016/9/6 8:37:13

US election: Nobody is talking about climate change

美国大选为何避谈“气候变化”

 

广州翻译公司:卢斯:我们大多数人通过日常问题来感受生活,因此选民们更担心的是自己的工作保障问题或者全家人的医疗保险。

 

You would never guess it from the US election. But for the third year running the world is on course to exceed a record temperature in 2016 — having suffered the hottest July in history last month. People are right to worry their children may not have it as good as they did. Yet the changing planet plays little role in their foreboding. By any barometer, US politics has hit extreme weather in 2016, yet global warming ranks near the bottom on the list of voter concerns. Illegal immigration, on the other hand, is near the top, even though net inflows came to a halt five years ago. Is democracy on course to duck the biggest challenge of our age?

你永远不会从美国选举中猜到这一点——全球在2016年连续第三年有望超过历史最高温度,今年7月是全球历史上最热的一个7月。人们担心他们的孩子可能不会像他们自己那样幸运——这一预感是正确的。然而这个正在变化的星球与他们产生这样的预感关系不大。按任何标准来看,2016年的美国政治都遭遇了“极端天气”,然而,全球变暖问题在选民的关心事项榜单上几乎垫底,而非法移民问题则接近位列榜首——即便移民净流入5年前就已停止增长了。按照现在的趋势,民主政治是否将要回避当今时代面临的最大挑战?广州翻译公司。

 

In the near future it surely will. It would be simplistic to lay all the blame on Donald Trump. The Republican nominee dismisses man-made global warming as a hoax concocted by China to increase its trade surplus with the US. He has also done more than any figure to demonise Hispanic immigrants.

在不久的将来肯定会。不能简单地把所有责任归咎于唐纳德•特朗普(Donald Trump)。这位共和党候选人对全球变暖是人为造成的说法不以为然,认为这是中国为增加对美贸易顺差而炮制的骗局。在妖魔化拉美裔移民方面,他也比其他所有人都不遗余力。

 

Yet voter concerns would probably be little different if Mr Trump had not entered politics at all. Most of us encounter life through our day-to-day problems. Politics, like charity, begins at home. It is natural to worry more about your job security, or your family’s healthcare, than about the grander themes of our time. Questions of war and peace rarely alter US elections. Why should meteorology?

然而,即便特朗普根本没有进入政界,选民关心的事情也很可能没有什么不同。我们大多数人通过日常问题来感受生活。与慈善一样,政治始于家中。与当今时代的更宏大主题相比,人们自然更担心自己的工作保障问题或者全家人的医疗保险。战争与和平的问题很少改变美国选举。气象学又凭什么做到?广州翻译公司。

 

If you pause to think about it, the answer is obvious. Global warming is no longer just a documentary film by Al Gore. It is affecting our daily lives in a growing number of ways. Last month, America’s east coast suffered from an unusually long “heat dome” — summer temperatures so high the authorities in New York, Washington and elsewhere urged people to keep their children inside and stay well hydrated. My home in Washington was hit by two nights of electricity outage. The power company’s crew said they expected many more such cuts. Their underground cables were not designed to withstand so many days of daytime temperatures near 100F (38C).

如果你停下来想一想,答案是显而易见的。全球变暖不再仅仅是一部阿尔•戈尔(Al Gore)讲解的纪录片。它在以越来越多的方式影响着我们的日常生活。7月,美国东海岸遭遇了异常漫长的“热盖”现象(heat dome)——夏季气温高到那样的地步,以至于纽约、华盛顿以及其他地方的有关当局敦促人们不要让孩子外出并多喝水。我在华盛顿的住所有两个晚上停电。电力公司的工作人员表示,他们预计还会有更多此类停电。他们的地下电缆在设计时没有考虑到要承受住这么多个高温天——白天温度接近华氏100度(38摄氏度)。

 

People living in southern California, which has suffered from a rise in the ferocity of wildfires; Louisiana, which earlier this month was flooded by “once-in-a-thousand-year” rainfall; or large tracts of midwest America, where drought is no longer freakish, are feeling the anecdotal force of climate change. Westerners may find it hard to identify with people in the Gulf, where years of growing heat intensity threaten to make it uninhabitable. But they feel the impact when insurance rates shoot up in low-lying coastal areas, such as Florida, Alabama and even New Jersey.

居住在加州南部、路易斯安那州或者美国中西部大部分地区的人们感受到了传说中的气候变化的威力。加州南部的山火越来越凶猛,路易斯安那州8月早些时候遭遇“千年一遇”的暴雨导致的洪灾,而在美国中西部大部分地区,干旱不再是异常现象。西方人可能很难与海湾地区居民产生共鸣——海湾地区气温多年来持续上升,有可能让该地区不再适合居住。但是当佛罗里达州、亚拉巴马州乃至新泽西等低洼沿海地区的保险费率飙升的时候,他们感受到了气候变化的影响。广州翻译公司。

 

Climate alarm is no longer a monopoly of environmentalists. Earlier this month, Zillow, an online property site, forecast that one in eight homes in Florida would be underwater by the end of the century. You might want to think twice about buying that beachfront home in Miami. The big reinsurance companies last month called on Washington to take urgent steps to stop catastrophe, which threatens to make nonsense of their risk models. Meanwhile, farmers in the midwest fret about the uncertainty of “extreme weather”. But can voters connect the dots? Will their experience of climate change translate into public action?

就气候变化提出警告不再是环保主义者的专利。上月早些时候,房地产网站Zillow预计,到本世纪末,佛罗里达州八分之一的住房将被水淹没。如果你想购买迈阿密海滨的房子,最好还是再考虑考虑。各大再保险公司7月呼吁华盛顿采取紧急措施阻止灾难爆发——这些灾难有可能让他们的风险模型失去意义。与此同时,美国中西部的农民在为“极端天气”的不确定性发愁。但选民们能把这些孤立的事件联系起来吗?他们对气候变化的体验会转化为公众行动吗?

 

There are two big obstacles. The first is that voters increasingly distrust experts nowadays. Whether it is fear about the side-effects of vaccines on children, the impact of fluoride in drinking water, or climate change forecasts, scepticism about science has been rising in the past few years. There is no way most people will ever have the time, or the education, to understand climate science. If we distrust those who do, we will not hear what they say. Scientists have consistently said that global warming will take place unevenly, unpredictably and by step-change rather than on a linear curve. That means next year may be less hot than this year. It will not mean that global warming is a hoax. Here is one prediction: next time it snows in Washington DC, several US senators will send tweets mocking global warming.

这里有两个主要障碍。首先,如今选民越来越不相信专家。无论是担心疫苗对孩子们有副作用、饮用水中氟化物的影响,还是气候变化预测,人们在过去几年日益怀疑科学。大多数人根本不可能有那个时间或教育背景,去搞懂气候科学。如果我们不信任那些懂气候科学的人,我们就不会听他们说什么。科学家们一直在说,全球变暖将是不规则、不可预测的,变化将呈阶梯状、而非光滑曲线状。这意味着明年可能没有今年这么热,但即便如此也不代表全球变暖是一个骗局。我在这里预测,下次华盛顿特区下雪的时候,将有数位美国参议员发推文调侃全球变暖。广州翻译公司。

 

Second, people are afraid that doing something about global warming will make them poorer. Terms such as “carbon tax” imply a higher cost of living. This makes the politics very hard. To avoid the word tax, governments have resorted to far less efficient remedies such as cap and trade schemes, which are floundering in Europe, California and elsewhere, since they are run by bureaucrats and vulnerable to lobbying. It would be far better to let the market decide how to cut emissions by putting a price on carbon. In theory, the solution is easy. For every dollar raised from carbon, we should receive a dollar in tax cuts — or better still, have it rebated in our tax returns. The purpose should not be to raise money but to cut emissions.

第二,人们担心,就全球变暖采取措施会让他们更加贫穷。“碳税”等术语意味着更高的生活成本。这使得这件事在政治上非常难办。为了避免使用“税”这个字眼,各国政府诉诸于“限额与交易”项目等效率低得多的方案——“限额与交易”项目在欧洲、美国加州以及其他地方都陷入了困境——因为它们由官僚管理,而且容易受到游说的左右。一个好得多的做法将是让市场对碳排放定价,从而决定如何减排。理论上说,这个解决方案不难实现。政府对碳排放每收1美元,我们纳税人就应该获得1美元的减税——或者更好的是,获得1美元的退税。这件事的目的不应是收钱,而应是削减碳排放。

 

Will the 2016 election make any difference? Forecasting short-term politics is harder than long-term weather. But it is safe to say the hidden costs of climate change — the federal disaster relief, higher insurance rates, bigger levees and so on — will only grow. Most global risk warnings for 2016 put a Trump win high on their lists. We will know about that soon enough. By contrast, it could take years before the public reaches a verdict on global warming, by which time we may be reaping the whirlwind.

2016年大选会带来任何不同吗?预测短期政治局势比预测长期天气更难。但可以肯定地说,气候变化的隐含成本——联邦救灾、保险费率上涨、更大的防洪堤等等——只会不断增长。大多数对2016年全球风险的预警,都将特朗普赢得大选列为突出风险之一。这件事究竟会不会发生,我们很快就会知道。相比之下,公众可能要过好几年才能对全球变暖做出判断,届时我们可能已经遭受报应。

 

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