Thursday, April 24, 2014
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可持续人道

亚的斯亚贝巴——可持续发展的意思是实现人人得益的经济增长,同时又保护地球的宝贵资源。但是,当前的全球经济是不可持续的,10亿以上的人口没有赶上经济进步进程,地球环境也因人类活动而受到了可怕的伤害。可持续发展要求动员受共同价值指导的新技术。

联合国秘书长潘基文正确地指出,可持续发展是全球日程的重中之重。我们已经进入了一个危险的时期,人口数量庞大且在不断增长,经济增长十分迅速,因而对地球气候、生物多样性和清洁水供给造成了灾难性影响。科学家将这一新时期称为“人类纪”(Anthropocene),即人类称为地球物质和生物变化的主要原因的时期。

潘基文的全球可持续发展委员会(Global Sustainability Panel,GSP)发布了一份新报告,列出了一个可持续发展框架。GSP正确地指出,可持续发展有三大支柱:终结极端贫困、保证繁荣为所有地球人所共享(包括妇女、年轻人和少数民族),以及保护自然环境。它们分别可以称为可持续发展的经济、社会和环境支柱,或统称为“三条基线”。

GSP呼吁世界领导人采用新的可持续发展目标(Sustainable Development Goal),简称SDG,从而在千年发展目标(Millennium Development Goals,MDG)于2015年到期后制定新的全球政策。MDG专注于削减极端贫困,而SDG将专注于可持续发展的三大支柱:终结极端贫困、让全社会分享到经济发展的好处,以及保护地球。

当然,设置SDG是一回事,实现它们又是另一回事。其中的问题可以从一大关键挑战中一窥端倪:气候变化。如今,地球人口已经突破了70亿,平均而言,每个人每年要向大气排放4吨二氧化碳。这些二氧化碳产生于我们燃烧煤、石油和汽油来生产电力、发动汽车或室内取暖的过程中。总的来说,人类每年要向大气层排放300亿吨二氧化碳,足以在短短几十年间让气候发生急剧变化。

到2050年,地球人口极有可能将突破90亿。如果那时的地球人比今天更富有(因而人均能源使用量也更多),那么世界总排放量将可能增长一倍甚至两倍。这就造成了一个两难困境:我们需要减少二氧化碳的排放,但脚下的路却通向更多的排放。

我们必须认真对待这一情景,因为沿着增加全球排放之路走下去几乎肯定造成一场大浩劫,数十亿人口将因干旱、热浪、飓风等灾难遭受苦难。近几年来,我们已经在经历这一浩劫的起始阶段,饥荒、洪水和其他与气候有关的灾难轮番不断地袭击着地球。

那么,世界人民——特别是贫困人口——如何从更多的电力和更现代的交通中获益,同时又实现对地球的拯救而不是破坏呢?答案是我们无法做到这一点,除非我们能够极大地改良我们所使用的技术。

我们需要更加精明地使用能源,同时从化石燃料转向低碳能源。在这方面的决定性改良是可实现的,而且具有经济上的现实性。

比如,我们可以考虑一下汽车能效问题。目前,我们正在使用1 000到2 000公斤的机器运送一个或数个人,每个人的重量大约为75公斤。汽车所使用的内燃机只能利用汽油燃烧所释放的能量的一小部分。大部分能量以废热的形式浪费掉了。

因此,我们可以使用又小又轻、以电池作为能源的汽车,采用高效的电动马达,使用太阳能等低碳能源。更妙的是,使用电动汽车,我们可以用高精尖信息技术使它们智能化,甚至通过高级数据处理技术和定位系统实现自动驾驶。

信息和通信技术所带来的好处可以在人类活动的所有领域看到:GPS和滴灌技术所带来的农业进步、精密制造、能自动实现节约能源的建筑,更不用说消除距离隔阂的互联网了。移动宽带已能将最偏远的非洲和印度农村互联起来,从而大大降低差旅需要。

如今,银行业务也可以通过电话实现,越来越多的医疗诊断也是如此。电子书出现在各式各样的手持设备中,你不再需要跑到书店去,制作图书也不再需要用纸浆。教育也越来越在线化了,很快,各地的学生就能以几乎为零的(增加学生人数的)“边际成本”获得一流的教学服务。

但从现阶段迈向可持续发展光靠技术是不行的。市场激励、政府监管以及对研发的公共支持也是必不可少的。但是,比政策和治理更基本的问题是价值挑战。我们必须理解我们的共同命运,以悲天悯人的胸怀将可持续发展作为共同承诺,让今天和明天变得更好。

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  1. CommentedKen Peterson

    After reconsidering my statement of a couple of weeks ago, I've embarrassed myself. If I complain about a lack of vision, I should give an example. OK...

    As we look with foreboding at the inevitable leadership of the Chinese economy, still we favorably compare patents, innovation, entrepreneurship as well as Chinese-American point guards. Possibly it's time for us to use our ingenuity, skip a step and move on to the latter 21st Century.

    We know what we're facing: 2.8% economic growth -25 year doubling- over 300 years is 4000%+-. Economic growth seems to be tied to a growth in consumption of energy. Agricultural growth is tied to non-renewable petroleum products and water. Many of our most fundamental economic components -housing, for instance- are tied to other non-renewables on a small planet; space.

    One thing that we will inevitably do is move our economy from industries tied to consumption of non-renewables, to recyclables. Products will be designed to be remelted and pumped out in the newer fashion. Some products made for a lifetime's use- cradle to grave wedding gifts.
    Services rather than products: education, entertainment, information. Smith, Marx, and Keynes all looked to the time we had a sufficiency of 'stuff', and eliminated poverty by passing the 'stuff' around. Then, we could all work 30 hour weeks. Possibly spend the rest of our time writing poetry or engaged in orgy's. Sad to say, I'll probably opt for poetry.

    We know it's coming- the end of consumption. Any 6th grader can do the math. If we get ahead of it, this silly leadership thing can be resolved.

  2. CommentedBoris Krumov

    Realizing - without panic, fear mongering and stress - that the question about sustainability in economic and overall development is putting at stake the future of the human race is only the first part of the progress.
    We simply can't pump oil forever, because it is going to end, and we can't buy and dump stuff in the landfills eternally too. We need to start educating children how and where things originate, start acting responsibly for every thing we use and on and on. It is both governments' responsibility to enact what it takes for a shift in sustainable direction, and every single individual's, too.
    Additionally, sustainable does not, and should not mean us "going back in the caves", neither returning to any form of a primitive life. It means responsible attitude, with which technological and economical growth, prosperity and well being of everyone is guaranteed, but without harming the environment. It "only" takes changing the model of living : not "against", but in harmony with nature.

  3. CommentedSandee Roberts

    I totally agree that we all need to understand our shared fate and I am commitment to decency for all human beings.

    The world situation is changing rapidly, and I think we are in need of an integral method of educating humanity so everyone will be prepared for the many changes coming our way.

    Unemployment is on the rise, and hundreds of millions of people who will lose work because the crisis will destroy all the industries that are not vitally important. What will the people do who produced what no one needs any longer? http://www.shadowstats.com/

    We are also seeing that protest movements are growing due to the Internet, with all our mutual communications and influence on each other. All humanity, from the ordinary citizens to their governments, is interested in bringing this process under their control and preventing its development. All our modern weapons plus the unpredictable future events can lead us to such disastrous results.

    In order for us to prevent all kinds of disasters, civil or even world wars, we need to think in advance about global, integral upbringing of the majority of the population.

  4. CommentedSandee Roberts

    Thank you for this article.

    I believe that it is impossible to achieve any sustainable development between peoples without mutual responsibility.


    There are many various methods and plans, but they are totally incapable of being compared to each other. No one has the answer to this question because it is impossible to achieve any solution between peoples without first seeing everyone as one family.

    I think a sustainable development would look something like a round table where everyone, like a family, discuss common problems and you would feel that everyone is equally close to you. Only then could we begin to distribute our common pie and solve the problems between us, only together with each of us and consulting each other and taking all our opinions into consideration. Are we really ready for this? Probably not! But we see that we are all being pushed in this direction. We are discovering that there is no other way to find the answers, because the real issue lies between our relationships with each other.

    How can we achieve equality between us? How can we balance these two parts of humanity? The poor, do you not want the rich? The rich, do you see that you can no longer control anything? But you, the rich enjoy managing and gaining much pleasure from the money in your bank account, but now you are in suffering because there are less zeroes there. The continually increasing gains approach is not benefiting society as a whole, so the question I have for you is can society give something else instead of money? Is money the only thing that satisfies all of humanity in today's world?

  5. CommentedMary Kay Plantes

    As an economist, I am familiar with the arguments for specialization and trade. But, as I look at how the world is evolving, I wonder if we would be better off with less trade, reducing transportation emissions and only trading that which is essential e.g., precious minerals or agricultural plants and advice that help a poor nation grow more food. I was in China for the first time and saw how terrible its pollution is (e.g., airports closed as pl=ilots cannot see through small particle emissions which are the most damaging kinds) due to using archaic coal plant technology. Would not a buy local world, with China shifting to domestic production be better net net for the environment and poor people in need of work? Would appreciate your perspectives. It's been a long while since my international course. At a minimum, I think China with its foreign currency wealth should be held to higher environmental standard to be part of WTO.

  6. CommentedKen Peterson

    I wonder if this organization is run by the same people who structured the Obama administration? You don't know 'how' or 'where' to find answers to humanities problems. Then, like the blind pig, having found an acorn, you don't know 'what' to do with it.
    There is a 'degree of complexity' inherent in the structure of any organization implying the overall capability of the organization. This is an organization of talkers and thinkers involved in advancing the cause of talking and thinking.
    The foolish world admires the ineffectual thinker while scorning the man with the hammer in his hand.

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