稀缺的水的硬智慧

剑桥—在加利福尼亚州,住宅消费者会因为浪费水而被罚款。这一规定的目标是通过将居民用水削减20%来对抗严重干旱。麻烦在于居民用水只占总消费量的15%弱。其余用途主要是农业。即使实现了预期的削减量,它们仍然只占总需求的不到3%,只不过是杯水车薪罢了。

与此同时,在中国,30,000名工人正在试图改变天气,实施飞机人工降雨或用高射机枪发射凝结核,以期从天上“骗”点雨水下来。没有统计证据表明这种天气操控方式有效,但人工造雨者在美国特别是美国西部也是十分繁忙。

这些无用政策我称之为“政治安慰剂”:政府采取措施向公民证明他们正在做些什么——一切!——缓和水短缺。安慰剂在医学中有用,但如果影响到根治病灶的努力,它们就弊大于利了。加州采取这样的措施就好比是让警察在开警车时大鸣警笛以营造他们正在于犯罪活动斗争的印象。是气候变化引起了更深、更频繁的干旱,由此造成的水短缺需要可能相当困难的新解决方案,光是抚慰公众是不够的。

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