关于减少温室气体排放

帕洛阿尔托—去年秋天,英国发布了一份在一流经济学家尼古拉斯·斯特恩爵士指导下出台的有关全球气候变化的重要政府报告即《斯特恩气候变化经济评价》。这份报告呼吁人们采取行动,它认为未来我们将为全球变暖所付出的巨大代价可以通过今天逐步付出的相对较低的代价得以避免。

对《斯特恩报告》持批评态度的人并不认为采取认真的行动以限制二氧化碳的排放是合理的,因为对于全球气候变化到底将带来怎样的代价还存在相当大的不确定性,何况这些代价还是将在遥远的将来才会发生的。不过,我认为斯特恩的基本结论是正确的:即我们实质性地减少二氧化碳的排放肯定比因为没有采取行动而冒由此带来的后果的风险要好得多,即便对于一个与斯特恩意见相左、大大低估不确定性和未来影响的人也是如此。

有两种因素使全球气候变化问题区别于其他环境问题。首先,尽管大多数环境对人体的各种伤害,比如,水质污染、酸雨或二氧化硫排放,在污染源被清除后立即或在很短的时间得以缓解,但是二氧化碳和其他痕量气体将会在大气层里停留几个世纪。所以今天减少排放对于遥远未来的人类是极具价值的。

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