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逆全球化是不是解決氣候變化問題的良方

更新時間:2019/9/23 21:35:56 來源:紐約時報中文網 作者:佚名

How localisation can solve climate change
逆全球化是不是解決氣候變化問題的良方

Over the past two centuries, millions of dedicated people – revolutionaries, activists, politicians, and theorists – have yet to curb the disastrous and increasingly globalised trajectory of economic polarisation and ecological degradation. Perhaps because we are utterly trapped in flawed ways of thinking about technology and economy – as the current discourse on climate change shows.

在過去的兩百年,數以百萬的有志之士——革命者、活動家、政治家和理論家——一直想法遏制因日益全球化而造成經濟兩極分化和生態退化的災難性發展軌跡,但至今徒勞無功。或許是因為我們對技術和經濟的認識陷入一種有缺陷的思維方式,正如當前關于氣候變化的論述所顯示的那樣。

Rising greenhouse gas emissions are not just generating climate change. They are giving more and more of us climate anxiety – public concern over climate change in the UK, for example, is at a record high. Doomsday scenarios are capturing the headlines at an accelerating rate. Scientists from all over the world tell us that emissions in 10 years must be half of what they were 10 years ago, or we face apocalypse. School children like Greta Thunberg and activist movements like Extinction Rebellion are demanding that we panic. And rightly so. But what should we do to avoid disaster?

溫室氣體排放的不斷增加不僅導致氣候變化,讓越來越多的人焦慮不安,例如,英國公眾對氣候變化的擔憂達到了創紀錄的高度。世界末日般的景像正以越來越快的速度登上新聞頭條。全世界科學家告訴我們,未來10年內的碳排放量必須是10年前的一半,否則我們將面臨文明的末日。像在全球發起關注氣候變化的瑞典少女格力達‧桑貝格(Greta Thunberg)這樣的學生和像“滅絕叛亂”(Extinction Rebellion)這樣的激進運動發出的警世之言,就是要求我們人類能夠對未來感到恐慌不安。這種警世是對的,不是危言聳聽。但是人類又可以做些什么來避免這場氣候變化帶來的災難呢?

Most scientists, politicians, and business leaders tend to put their hope in technological progress. Regardless of ideology, there is a widespread expectation that new technologies will replace fossil fuels by harnessing renewable energy such as solar and wind. Many also trust that there will be technologies for removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and for “geoengineering” the Earth’s climate. The common denominator in these visions is the faith that we can save modern civilisation if we shift to new technologies. But “technology” is not a magic wand. It requires a lot of money, which means claims on labour and resources from other areas. We tend to forget this crucial fact.

大多數科學家、政治家和商界領袖都傾向于把希望寄托于技術進步。不管意識形態如何,人們普遍期望新的科技將以可再生能源,如太陽能和風能等,來取代造成氣候暖化的罪魁禍首,即化石燃料。許多人還相信,科學家將發明新的技術能去除大氣中的二氧化碳,甚至創建“地球工程”來改善氣候。這些愿景的共同點是,相信如果人類能夠采用新的技術,就能拯救人類現代文明。但“技術”并不是一根可以點石成金的魔杖。還需要大量的資金,也就是說,人類需要從其他領域獲得勞動力和資源。但我們往往會忽略這個關鍵事實。

The cost of going green

環保的代價

As much as 90% of world energy use comes from fossil sources. Meanwhile in 2017, only 0.7% of global energy use derived from solar power and 1.9% from wind. So why is the long-anticipated transition to renewable energy not materialising?

全球能源至今90%仍來自化石燃料。在2017年,全球只有0.7%的能源來自太陽能,1.9%來自風能。那么,人們期待已久的向可再生能源的轉型為何沒有實現呢?

One highly contested issue is the land requirements for harnessing renewable energy. Energy experts have estimated that the “power density” – the watts of energy that can be harnessed per unit of land area – of renewable energy sources is so much lower than that of fossil fuels that to replace fossil with renewable energy would require vastly greater land areas.

一個爭議很大的問題是生產可再生能源需要大量土地。能源專家估計,可再生能源的“功率密度”即單位土地面積能量瓦數傳輸速度,是遠低于化石燃料,因此用可再生能源取代化石能源將需要更大的土地面積。

In part because of this issue, visions of large-scale solar power projects have long referred to the good use to which they could put unproductive areas like the Sahara desert. But doubts about profitability have discouraged investments. A decade ago, for example, there was much talk about Desertec, a 400bn euro (£364bn) project that crumbled as the major investors pulled out, one by one.

部分因為這個原因,長期以來人們所設想的大規模生產太陽能計劃,是充分利用諸如撒哈拉沙漠這類寸草不生的地區。但是,因為懷疑是否能盈利而妨礙了投資。例如,10年前,有很多人在談論一個投資4000億歐元(3640億英鎊)在撒哈拉沙漠生產太陽能然后輸往歐洲的計劃“沙漠科技”(Desertec),但因太昂貴和不切實際,主要的投資者一個接一個地撤出,計劃最終破產。

Today the world’s largest solar energy project is Ouarzazate Solar Power Station in Morocco. It covers about 25 sq km (9.6 sq miles) and has cost around $9bn (£7.5bn) to build. It is designed to provide around a million people with electricity, which means that another 35 such projects – that is, $315bn (£262bn) of investments – would theoretically be required to cater to the population of Morocco. We tend not to see that the enormous investments of capital needed for such massive infrastructure projects represent claims on resources elsewhere – they have huge footprints beyond our field of vision.

當今,全球最大的太陽能工程是摩洛哥的瓦爾扎扎特太陽能電站,占地約25平方公里,造價約90億美元。這個工程將為摩洛哥大約100萬人提供電力,這意味著理論上還需要另外35個如此規模的太陽能工程,即3150億美元的投資,才能滿足摩洛哥全部人口的能源需求。我們往往忽視這樣一個事實,建造如此大規模的基礎設施所需要投入的巨額投資,也是對其他資源的巨大消耗,其產生的巨大碳足跡已超乎我們的想像。

The cheapening of solar panels in recent years is to a significant extent the result of shifting manufacture to Asia. We must ask ourselves whether European and American efforts to become sustainable should really be based on the global exploitation of low-wage labour, scarce resources and abused landscapes elsewhere.

太陽能電池板的售價近年不斷下調在很大程度上是因為制造業轉移到亞洲的結果。我們必須反躬自省,歐美國家為實現可持續發展所作的努力,是否真的應該讓全球其他地方付出代價?去利用這些國家的廉價勞動力,去開采其稀缺資源和濫用他們的土地?

Also, we must consider whether renewable energy sources are really carbon free. Wind turbines and nuclear power remain critically dependent on fossil energy to produce, install and maintain. And each unit of electricity produced by non-fossil-fuel sources displaces less than 10% of a unit of fossil-fuel-generated electricity. At the current rate, the renewable power revolution is going to be very slow.

另外,我們還必須考慮可再生能源是否真的是零碳排放。風力發電機和核能電廠的生產、安裝和維護仍然嚴重依賴化石能源。而且,每單位非化石燃料發電所產生的電力只能替代不足10%的每單位化石燃料的發電。以目前的速度,可再生能源革命將非常緩慢。

Meanwhile, our atmospheric CO2 concentrations continue to rise. Because this trend seems unstoppable, many hope to see extensive use of technologies for capturing and removing the carbon from the emissions of power plants and factories.

同時,地球大氣中的二氧化碳濃度仍在繼續上升。由于這一發展趨勢看來不可阻擋,許多人希望能廣泛使用可捕捉和消除發電廠和工廠之碳排放的技術。

Of course, it is easy to retort that until the transition has been made, solar panels are going to have to be produced by burning fossil fuels. But even if 100% of our electricity were renewable, electric-powered aircraft and boats are a novelty and not capable of replacing the masses of vehicles in our global transport networks. Likewise, steel and cement production – required for many renewable technologies – are still major sources of greenhouse gases.

當然,人們不難反駁說,在轉型完成之前,太陽能電池板也必須使用化石燃料來生產。但是,即使我們100%的電力是可再生的,電動飛機和船只是一種新事物,還無法取代我們全球交通網絡中的大量車輛。同樣,許多可再生技術所需的鋼鐵和水泥生產仍然是溫室氣體的主要來源。

Among most champions of sustainability, such as advocates of a Green New Deal, there is an unshakeable conviction that engineers can solve the problem of climate change. Central to the Green New Deal’s vision is a large-scale shift to renewable energy sources and massive investments in new infrastructure. This would enable further growth of the economy, it is argued.

大多數鼓吹可持續發展的人士,比如美國要求立法實現綠色新政的活動家,堅信不疑地認為,氣候變化問題工程師可以解決。綠色新政提出的解決方案之核心是將能源生產大規模轉移到可再生能源,并且對新能源生產的基礎設施做大規模投資。這個方案認為,大規模投資綠色能源將推動經濟進一步增長。

The problem with global tech

全球科技的問題

The general consensus seems to be that the problem of climate change is just a question of replacing one energy technology with another. But a historical view reveals that the very idea of technology is inextricably intertwined with capital accumulation. And as such, it is not as easy to redesign as we like to think. Shifting the main energy technology is not just a matter of replacing infrastructure – it means transforming the economic world order.

一般的看法似乎是,氣候變化問題無非是用一種能源技術替代另一種能源技術的問題。但是歷史告訴我們,技術本身與資本的積累是緊密關聯的。既然如此,重新設計新的能源模式并不如想象般的容易。能源技術的大轉換不只是另建基礎設施的問題,還意味著世界經濟秩序的改變。

The steam engine, for instance, is simply considered an ingenious invention for harnessing the chemical energy of coal. While this might be the case, the steam-driven factories in 19th-Century Manchester would never have been built without the triangular Atlantic trade in slaves, raw cotton, and cotton textiles. Steam technology was not just a matter of ingenious engineering applied to nature – like all complex technology; it was also crucially dependent on global relations of exchange.

譬如,蒸汽機被看作是利用煤的化學能的天才發明。蒸汽機誠然是天才發明,但如果沒有大西洋三角貿易的奴隸、原棉和棉織品,19世紀英國的工業城市曼徹斯特由蒸汽器推動的大量紡織工廠就永遠建不起來。蒸汽機不僅僅是一個善用自然之力的天才工程,這如同所有復雜的技術一樣,蒸汽機技術能夠投入生產還得依賴全球貿易關系。

This dependence of technology on global social relations is not just a matter of money. In quite a physical sense, the viability of the steam engine relied on the flows of human labour and other resources that had been invested in cotton fibre from South Carolina, coal from Wales and iron from Sweden. Modern technology, then, is a product of the metabolism of world society, not simply the result of uncovering “facts” of nature.

技術依存于全球的社會關系不僅僅只是錢的問題。從物質角度來看,蒸汽機的成功有賴于勞動力及其投資于南卡羅來納州的棉花纖維、威爾士的煤炭和瑞典的鐵礦等資源的流通。因此,現代技術是現代世界的社會新陳代謝之產物,而不僅僅是發現自然世界“真相”的結果。

Many believe that with the right technologies we would not have to reduce our mobility or energy consumption – and that the global economy could still grow. But is that an illusion? It suggests that we have not yet grasped what “technology” is. Electric cars and many other “green” devices may seem reassuring but are often revealed to be insidious strategies for displacing work and environmental loads beyond our horizon – to unhealthy, low-wage labour in mines in Congo and Inner Mongolia. They look sustainable and fair to their affluent users but perpetuate a myopic worldview that goes back to the invention of the steam engine.

很多人自以為,只要我們有了正確的技術,我們就不必減少流動性或能源的消耗,而全球經濟仍有可能增長。但這難道不是癡人說夢嗎?這說明我們并沒有搞清楚何為“技術”。電動汽車和許多其他“綠色環保”的設備可能看起來令人欣慰,但也常被人揭露是一種陰險的掩飾手段,只是將剛果和中國內蒙古環境惡劣的煤礦,領取低廉工資的礦工,這樣的工作和環境負荷轉移到我們的視線之外,來一個眼不見心不煩而已。對于富裕社會的能源用戶來說,這些能源看起來是可持續的、公平的,但卻延續了一種短視的世界觀,這種世界觀可以追溯到蒸汽機的發明。

Is our goal to overthrow “the capitalist mode of production”? If so, how do we go about doing that?

難道我們的目標是要推翻這種“資本運作生產模式”嗎?如果是的話,我們該如何行動?

In making it possible to exchange almost anything – human time, gadgets, ecosystems, whatever – for money, people are constantly looking for the best deals, which ultimately means promoting the lowest wages and the cheapest resources in less developed nations.

人類用世間幾乎所有的萬事萬物,大至人類所支配的時間、生態系統,小至小機件等來換取金錢之時,一直孜孜不倦尋找本小利大的交易,這最終意味著會去利用欠發達國家的最低工資和最廉價的資源。

Despite good intentions, it is not clear what Thunberg, Extinction Rebellion and the rest of the climate movement are demanding should be done. Like most of us, they want to stop the emissions of greenhouse gases, but seem to believe that such an energy transition is compatible with money, globalised markets, and modern civilisation.

瑞典女孩桑貝格、《滅絕叛亂》的成員和其他氣候運動人士雖然動機良好,但尚不清楚要求采取什么樣的行動。他們和我們大多數人一樣,希望停止溫室氣體的排放,但似乎又認為這樣的能源轉型與資金、全球化市場和現代文明能夠兼容并蓄。

Redesigning the game

重新設計游戲

In order to see that "all-purpose money" is indeed a fundamental problem, we need to see that there are alternative ways of buying and selling. Like the rules in a board game, they are human constructions and can, in principle, be redesigned.

為了認識到“通用貨幣”確實是一個根本性的問題,我們需要研究,是否有其他買賣交易的方式。就像棋類游戲中的規則是人類構建的,原則上人類也可以重新設計。

The only way to change the game is to redesign its most basic rules. The “system” is perpetuated every time we buy our groceries, regardless of whether we are radical activists or climate change deniers. It is difficult to identify culprits if we are all players in the same game. In agreeing to the rules, we have limited our potential collective agency.

改變游戲的唯一途徑是重新設計最基本的游戲規則。無論我們是激進分子還是否認氣候變化的人士,只要我們購買食品雜貨,就是幫助這個“體系”延續下去。如果我們都是同一種游戲的參與者,就難以找到罪魁禍首。因為贊同現行的游戲規則,我們限制了我們作為共同體為共同目標而努力的能力。

National authorities might establish a complementary currency, alongside regular money, that is distributed as a universal basic income but that can only be used to buy goods and services that are produced within a given radius from the point of purchase. This is not “local money” in the sense of the Local Exchange Trading System (Lets) or the Bristol pound. With local money you can buy goods produced on the other side of the planet, as long as you buy it in a local store, which in effect does nothing to impede the expansion of the global market. Introducing special money that can only be used to buy goods produced locally would be a genuine spanner in the wheel of globalisation.

國家當局可以在通用貨幣之外建立一種補充性貨幣,這種補充貨幣應惠及所有居民,作基本日常開支之用,但只能購買所居地某個方圓之內的商品和服務。這不是社區交易系統(LETS)所謂的“當地貨幣”,或布里斯托英鎊。使用當地貨幣,只要你去當地商店購物,買到的大有可能是地球另一端生產的商品,實際上并未阻止全球市場的擴張。只限于購買本地產品的特種貨幣,將是讓全球化車輪緊急剎車的一把貨真價實的扳手。

This would help decrease demand for global transport – a major source of greenhouse gas emissions – while increasing local diversity and resilience and encouraging community integration. It would no longer make low wages and lax environmental legislation competitive advantages in world trade, as is currently the case.

只有如此,才會有助于減少對全球運輸的需求,而這正是溫室氣體排放的主要來源,同時也能增加地方經濟的多樣性和彈性,并能鼓勵社區的整合及認同。同時低工資和寬松的環境立法在世界貿易中也不會再像目前一樣具有競爭優勢。

Re-localising the bulk of the economy in this way does not mean that communities won’t need electricity, for example, to run hospitals, computers and households. But it would dismantle most of the global, fossil-fuelled infrastructure for transporting people, groceries and other commodities around the planet.

以地方化方式重新規劃大部分的經濟,并非意味地方社區,如醫院、電腦和家庭將不需要電力。但將拆除大部分著眼于全球化,以化石燃料驅動的基礎設施,這些基礎設施是用于全球性地運輸人口、雜貨和其他大宗商品。

Solar power will no doubt be a vital component of humanity’s future, but not as long as we allow the logic of the world market to make it profitable to transport essential goods halfway around the world. The current blind faith in technology will not save us. For the planet to stand any chance, the global economy must be redesigned. The problem is more fundamental than capitalism or the emphasis on growth: it is money itself, and how money is related to technology.

毫無疑問,太陽能將是人類未來舉足輕重的能源,但前提是我們不能讓只要有利可圖不惜繞半個地球運輸基本物質,這樣一種全球化市場的邏輯仍然當道。今天對科技的盲目信仰不會拯救人類。要讓我們的地球還有希望,全球經濟模式必須重新設計。此問題比資本主義或對經濟增長的強調更為根本,因為這本身就是金錢,以及金錢與技術的關系。

Climate change and the other horrors of the Anthropocene don’t just tell us to stop using fossil fuels – they tell us that globalisation itself is unsustainable.

人類世紀發生的氣候變化和其他恐怖事件不僅警告人類必須停止使用化石燃料,同時還警告我們,全球化本身將無以為繼。

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