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面对气候变化,你可以做的七件事

更新时间:2015-12-8 10:05:42 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

What You Can Do About Climate Change
面对气候变化,你可以做的七件事

Seven Simple Guidelines for Thinking About Carbon Emissions

思考碳排放的七个简单准则

Global climate: it’s complicated. Any long-term solution will require profound changes in how we generate energy. At the same time, there are everyday things that you can do to reduce your personal contribution to a warming planet. Here are seven simple guidelines on how your choices today affect the climate tomorrow.

全球气候很复杂,任何长期性的解决方案都将需要我们在能源生产方式上做出深刻的改变。与此同时,也有一些日常行动可以减少个人对全球变暖的影响,这些是你可以做到的。以下是七个简单准则,告诉你当下的选择将如何影响未来的气候:

You’re better off eating vegetables from Argentina than red meat from a local farm.

吃来自阿根廷的蔬菜,胜过吃来自本地农场的红肉。

Eating local is lovely, but most carbon emissions involving food don’t come from transportation — they come from production, and the production of red meat and dairy is incredibly carbon-intensive.

吃当地食品固然美妙,但大多数和食品有关的碳排放都不是来自运输环节——而是来自生产环节,而且生产红肉和奶制品的碳密集程度高得令人难以置信。

Emissions from red-meat production come from methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Experts disagree about how methane emissions should be counted in the planet’s emissions tally, but nearly everyone agrees that raising cattle and sheep causes warming that is an order of magnitude morethan that from raising alternate protein sources like fish and chicken (the latter of which have the added benefit of creating eggs).

红肉生产排放的甲烷是一种重要的温室气体。对于甲烷排放应该如何计入地球排放账目,专家们的意见还不统一,但是几乎所有人都认为,牛羊养殖在气候变暖中起到的作用,比替代性蛋白质来源——比如鱼和鸡(后者还有生蛋的好处)——高出一个量级。

According to researchers at Carnegie Mellon, a typical household that replaces 30 percent of its calories from red meat and dairy with a combination of chicken, fish and eggs will save more carbon than a household that ate entirely local food for a full year.

卡内基梅隆大学(Carnegie Mellon)的研究人员表示,在一个典型的家庭,如果把红肉和奶制品提供的卡路里的30%用鸡、鱼和鸡蛋来源替代,就会比这家人全年都吃当地食品减少更多的碳排放量。

Yes, eating nothing but locally grown fruits and vegetables would reduce your carbon footprint the most. But for people not ready to make that leap, reducing how much meat you eat matters more than going local.

是的,只吃当地种植的水果和蔬菜可以最大限度地减少你的碳足迹。但人们还没有做好完成这个飞跃的准备,所以少吃肉比多吃本地食品更重要。

Take the bus.

乘坐公交车。

To give ourselves a good shot at avoiding severe effects such as widespread flooding of coastal cities or collapse of the food supply, scientists have determined there’s only so much carbon dioxide we can safely emit. Divvying up this global carbon fund among the world’s population (and making some assumptions about future emissions) gives you the average amount each person can burn per year over a lifetime — an annual “carbon budget.”

科学家们已经确定,要想尽量避免一些重大问题的发生,比如沿海城市洪水泛滥,或者食品供应不上,我们排放的二氧化碳有一个安全总量。把这个全球碳排放总量分配给世界人口(并对未来排放做出一些假设),就得出了每人每年可以燃烧的平均量——年度“碳预算”。

The current per capita emissions for Americans is about 10 times this limit, and given the relative affluence of this country, our emissions will not get down to the average anytime soon. But they can still fall from where they are. Consider this: If you drive to work alone every day, your commutingalone eats up more than your entire carbon budget for the year. Taking the bus — or biking! — would sharply reduce your output.

目前美国人的人均排放量是这个数值的10倍左右,鉴于这个国家相对较为富裕,我们的排放量不太可能很快下降到平均值附近。但我们仍然可以降低它。想想看:如果你每天都开车去上班,仅仅是通勤一项就会超过你整年的碳预算标准。如果改坐公交车,或者骑自行车,就可以大大减少你的碳排放了。

Eat everything in your refrigerator.

冰箱里的食品别浪费。

Scientists have estimated that up to 40 percent of American food is wasted — which amounts to almost 1,400 calories per person every day. Food waste occupies a significant chunk of our landfills, adding methane to the atmosphere as it decomposes. Even more important, wasted food adds to the amount of food that needs to be produced, which is already a big part of our carbon load.

科学家估计,美国人的食品浪费率可达40%——这相当于每人每天将近1400卡路里。在垃圾填埋场里,浪费的食品所占的比例相当高,它们分解后产生的甲烷会排放到大气中。而更重要的是,食品浪费增加了需要生产的食品量,而它本来就已经是我们碳负担的一个重要组成部分了。

How can you waste less? For food shopping, plan out meals ahead of time, use a shopping list and avoid impulse buys. At home, freeze food before it spoils. If you find yourself routinely throwing prepared food away, reduce portion sizes.

怎样才能少浪费食品呢?在购买食品时,你可以提前规划用餐量,拟定购物清单,避免冲动购物。买回家后,最好在食品腐烂之前把它们冷冻起来。如果你发现自己经常倒掉熟食,那就减少用餐份量。

Flying is bad, but driving can be worse.

坐飞机不好,但开车可能更糟。

Remember that annual carbon budget we talked about? One round-trip flight between New York and Los Angeles, and it’s all gone. Fliers can reduce their footprint somewhat by traveling in economy class. First-class seats take up more room, which means more flights for the same number of people. On average, a first-class seat is two and a half times more detrimental to the environment than coach.

还记得我们前面谈过年度碳预算吗?只要在纽约和洛杉矶之间来回飞一趟,这个预算就用完了。飞机乘客可以通过选择经济舱来减少自己的碳足迹。一等舱占用的空间比较多,这意味着运载同样多的人需要更多的航班。平均到每个座位,一等舱对环境的危害是经济舱的两倍半。

But as bad as flying can be, driving can be even worse. A cross-country road trip creates more carbon emissions than a plane seat. And while a hybrid or electric car will save on gas mileage, most electricity in the United States still comes from fossil fuels.

坐飞机可能很不好,但开车可能更甚。一趟穿越整个国家的公路旅行产生的碳排放,多过坐飞机。尽管混合动力或电动车会节省每英里的油耗,但美国大部分电还是来自化石燃料。

If you really want to mind your carbon emissions, taking a train or a bus is best, especially for shorter trips. Or try that Internet thing: A Skype call or Google Hangout produces very little carbon dioxide.

如果真在意自己的碳排放,坐火车或公交车是最好的,特别是短途出行。或者尝试通过网络解决:Skype通话或是谷歌环聊(Google Hangout)产生的二氧化碳非常少。

Cats and dogs are not a problem.

养猫养狗不是问题。

Every so often, a news outlet points to pet ownership as being bad for the climate. At first, the argument might seem to make sense: Dogs and cats eat mostly meat, which is extremely carbon-intensive, so they must be driving carbon emissions.

隔三岔五就有这样的新闻,说养宠物对气候变化不利。起初,这些观点看起来似乎有些道理:猫猫狗狗大多数食肉,这类食物碳密集程度非常高,所以它们一定会增加碳排放量。

But our pets generally aren’t chowing down on prime cuts of steak; they’re eating the leftover parts that people don’t want. When a cow is slaughtered, almost 50 percent of the animal is removed as unwanted or unfit for human consumption. The meat that ends up in pet food is a byproduct of human meat consumption, not a driver of it.

但我们的宠物食用的一般都不是什么上等的部位;而是人类不想食用的剩余部分。一头牛被屠宰之后,几乎有50%都作为人类不需要或不适合人类食用的部分被剔除。那些最后化成宠物食品的肉类,是人类肉食消耗的副产品,不会增加这类消耗。

If you do get a dog, you can use it to the climate’s advantage. A dog will help you get in the habit of taking walks. The next time you need to run a quick errand to a nearby store, you can walk rather than hopping in your car.

如果你真的养狗,你还可以让件事有益于气候变化。养狗有助于你养成散步的习惯。下一次需要快速赶到附近的商店时,你可以跑着过去,而不是开车过去。

Replace your gas guzzler if you want, but don’t buy a second car.

如果可以的话,换掉你的油老虎,但不要再买一辆车。

Before you even start driving that new car to add to your first one, you’ve already burned up three and a half times your annual carbon budget. How? By encouraging the manufacturing of all of those raw materials and metals.

在你开上新买的第二辆车之前,你就已经消耗了相当于自己年碳排放预算的3.5倍。为什么?因为你鼓励了所有原材料和金属制品厂商加大产量。

Yet there’s a break-even point at which the carbon savings from driving a new, more efficient car exceeds the carbon cost required to produce it. For example, on average, trading in a 15-mile-per-gallon S.U.V. for a 35-m.p.g. sedan offsets the extra manufacturing costs within two years.

不过,这里存在一个损益平衡点,到达这个点,因驾驶一辆效率更高的新车而节省的碳排量,就会超过制造它的碳成本。比如,将一辆每加仑油耗行驶15英里的SUV,换成每加仑油耗行驶35英里的轿车,平均在两年内就可以抵消掉制造后者的碳成本。

Anything you do to improve mileage will reduce your carbon output. Keeping to the speed limit and driving defensively can improve your mileage by more than 30 percent, according to the Department of Energy. Even something as simple as keeping your tires inflated and having your engine tuned up can give you up to a 7 percent bump in m.p.g. — and an average carbon savings of about what you’d save from eating only local foods all year.

你为提高单位油耗行驶里程而做的任何事,都可以减少你的碳排量。据美国能源部(Department of Energy)统计,保持限速和进行防御性驾驶可以让你的行驶里程提高30%以上。哪怕只是把轮胎气打足,对发动机进行及时养护,也能让你的车辆的每加仑油耗行驶里程增加将近7%,这样平均每年减少的碳排放量,差不多相当于你全年只吃当地食物减少的碳排量。

Buy less stuff, waste less stuff.

少买东西,减少浪费。

It’s not just car manufacturing that adds to carbon emissions. Other consumer goods can have a huge impact: Making that new MacBook Proburns the same amount of carbon as driving 1,300 miles from Denver to Cupertino, Calif., to pick it up in person.

不是只有汽车制造会增加碳排放。其他消费品也会对此产生巨大影响:制造一台新的MacBook Pro笔记本释放的二氧化碳,和驱车1300英里从丹佛至加州库比蒂诺亲自把它取回的排放量差不多。

At the other end of the product life cycle, reducing waste helps. Each thing you recycle is one fewer thing that has to be produced, and reduces the amount of material that ends up in landfills. But the recycling process consumes energy as well, so — depending on the material — it may not be as helpful as you might think. Recycling a magazine every day for an entire year saves less carbon than is emitted from four days of running yourrefrigerator.

在产品生命周期的另一端,减少浪费也有助于减少碳排放。每循环利用一样东西,你就可以帮助减少生产一样新东西,同时还减少了垃圾填埋的量。不过循环利用过程本身也消耗能量,所以它可能并没有你想象的那么有帮助,这取决于你循环利用的是什么东西。每天回收利用一本杂志,坚持一整年下来减少的碳排量,还不及你的冰箱运转四天所消耗的量。

It’s better not to consume the raw materials in the first place, so you may want to think carefully about whether you’re really going to use something before you buy it.

从一开始就不浪费原材料是更好的选择,所以在买一样东西之前,你可以仔细考虑下是不是真的用得到它。

Of course, these individual choices are all small measures.

当然,这些个人选择都是细枝末节。

A sustainable solution that avoids severe damage to the planet will require fundamental changes in the global energy system: transitioning from fossil fuels to renewable energy and sharply reducing the number of cars that run on internal-combustion engines.

可以避免给地球带来严重破坏的可持续方案,需要全球能源系统发生根本性的变化:从使用化石燃料转为使用可再生能源,以及大幅减少驾驶依靠内燃机的车辆。

Advocating public policies that support the development of clean energy and efficient transportation is probably the most climate-friendly thing you can do. But cultural and behavioral change can be part of the solution as well. Might as well start now.

倡导支持清洁能源发展和高效出行的公共政策,可能是你能采取的对气候环境最有益的行动。但文化和行为的改变也是整个解决方案的一部分。最好从现在就开始行动吧。

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