技术合作

    二月上旬,美国国家工程学院发布了一份题为“二十一世纪工程事业的巨大挑战”的报告。该报告的目的是把注意力集中到帮助世界解决贫困和环境威胁的技术潜力上面来。这一名单包含低成本太阳能、核电站二氧化碳的安全处理、核聚变、新的教育技术以及控制氮肥对环境造成的副作用等潜在的突破。这一报告就像盖茨基金会在全球医疗方面类似的“巨大挑战”名单一样突出了新的全球优先事项,也就是为可持续发展促进先进技术。

    我们已经习惯于在货币政策、疾病控制或者核子武器扩散等领域方面思考全球合作。我们并不是那么习惯于以促进清洁能源、霍乱疫苗或者帮助非洲贫困农民抵御干旱的作物等新技术来思考全球合作问题。大体而言,我们把新技术看作是由企业为市场开发的东西,而不是解决全球性问题的机遇。

    但是,鉴于我们面临巨大的全球性压力、包括收入差异悬殊以及巨大的环境破坏,我们必需为我们的问题找到新的技术解决方案。例如,除非我们大幅度改变我们生产电力、驱动汽车以及给我们的建筑物供热和降温的方式,否则就无法继续安全地扩大全球能源使用。目前不顾及二氧化碳排放而依赖于煤炭、天然气以及汽油十分危险,因为这种情况导致气候变化,造成疾病传播,破坏农作物,产生更多干旱和洪水,或许会大幅度提高海平面从而淹没沿海地区。

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