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珊瑚白化绝种,大堡礁面临严重生存危机

更新时间:2016-12-3 8:15:01 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Great Barrier Reef Threatened by Climate Change, Chemicals and Sediment
珊瑚白化绝种,大堡礁面临严重生存危机

SYDNEY, Australia — Climate change and the flow of farm chemicals and coastal sediment into the waters that wash over one of Australia’s most significant nature areas, the Great Barrier Reef, pose the biggest threats to its survival, according to a government report to Unesco released early Friday.

澳大利亚悉尼——据周五早间向联合国教科文组织(Unesco)提交的一项政府报告称,气候变化以及农用化肥和沿海沉积物的流入对澳大利亚最重要的自然区域大堡礁(Great Barrier Reef)的生存造成最大威胁。

The report was intended to reassure the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization that those risks were well managed and that the reef should not be placed on an “in danger” list. But it paints a grim picture of the scale of protecting the 1,400-mile-long reef, and may severely understate the cost of doing so.

该报告旨在打消联合国教科文组织的顾虑,表明这些风险得到了很好的控制,大堡礁不应该被列入“危险”名单。不过,保护1400英里长的珊瑚礁的任务之浩大,在报告的描述中显得令人担忧,而且它可能严重低估了保护成本。

A scientist assessing coral mortality on a section of the Great Barrier Reef in an undated photograph. A new report from the Australian government paints a grim picture of the scale of protecting the 1,400-mile-long reef.
在一张没有注明日期的照片中,一名科学家在评估大堡礁珊瑚的死亡率。

The report also ignores plans by the Queensland State government to allow the development of one of the world’s biggest coal mines about 200 miles inland from the reef, and it does not acknowledge the damage to the reef that could flow from the mine or from coal-burning.

该报告也没有提到,昆士兰州政府正计划在离大堡礁约200英里的内陆批建一座全球最大煤矿,没有承认该煤矿或者煤炭燃烧会对珊瑚礁造成危害。

This week, scientists from the ARC Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies reported that the reef had suffered the worst coral bleaching and die-off ever recorded, with stretches of its northern reaches dead after the coral was bathed in warm summer waters. The reef extends along much of the eastern coast of Queensland.

本周,澳大利亚研究理事会珊瑚礁研究项目中心(ARC Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies)的科学家们报告称,大堡礁出现了有记录以来最严重的珊瑚白化和绝种现象,由于浸泡在温暖的夏季海水中,大堡礁北部的珊瑚出现大面积死亡。大堡礁主要沿昆士兰州的东部海岸线分布。

Queensland’s environment minister, Steven Miles, and the federal environment minister, Josh Frydenberg, who is also responsible for Australia’s energy policy, said in the report that “good progress has been made in the first 18 months of this 35-year plan.” They were referring to the governments’ Reef 2050 Plan, released in March 2015.

昆士兰州环境部长史蒂夫·迈尔斯(Steven Miles)和澳大利亚联邦环境部长乔希·弗赖登伯格(Josh Frydenberg)——后者还负责制订该国的能源政策——在报告中表示,“该35年计划的前18个月取得了很大进展”。他们指的是澳大利亚政府2015年3月发布的《大堡礁2050年计划》(Reef 2050 Plan)。

The update shows that of 151 planned measures, including the limiting of sediment and chemical runoff from farms and the better management of starfish predators, 32 have been completed and 103 are underway or on track to begin. At least one is stalled, after the Queensland Parliament rejected laws to prevent land clearing, which speeds erosion and can lead to more sediment flowing into the Pacific Ocean.

最新数据表明,在151项计划采取的措施中——包括限制沉积物和农用化肥,更严格地管理海星捕捞——32项已经完成,103项正在进行或即将开始。但至少有一项已经搁浅:昆士兰州议会拒绝立法禁止开荒——开荒会加速土壤侵蚀,导致更多沉积物流入太平洋。

But in an introduction to the report, Ian Chubb, formerly Australia’s chief scientist and now the chairman of an independent panel on the reef, warned that climate change posed the most significant threat. “The major impacts on the reef will most likely result from the long-term release of substantial quantities of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere,” he wrote. The burning of fossil fuels creates emissions that contribute to the Earth’s warming.

但是在报告的序言中,现为一个大堡礁独立研究委员会主席的前澳大利亚首席科学家伊恩·查布(Ian Chubb)警告称,气候变化是最严重的威胁。“大堡礁受到的最大影响将最可能来自大量温室气体的长期排放,”他写道。燃烧化石燃料产生的气体会助长全球变暖。

“There are effects already,” Mr. Chubb continued. “This year saw the most significant coral bleaching event ever recorded for the reef. The clear implication of global warming is that bleaching conditions are highly likely to become more frequent and prolonged.”

“已经产生了一些影响,”查布接着写道,“今年大堡礁出现了有记录以来最严重的珊瑚白化现象。全球变暖最明显的后果是,白化状况很可能会变得更频繁,持续时间更长。”

Reef 2050 was a response to the Unesco World Heritage Committee’s call for a long-term management plan to ensure the reef retained the World Heritage status it received in 1981. Last year, the United Nations warned that the reef’s outlook was poor, and it asked for an updated report and for evidence of the plan’s effectiveness, as well as an investment strategy to finance the efforts.

联合国教科文组织世界遗产委员会(World Heritage Committee)此前呼吁提供一份长期管理计划,《大堡礁2050年计划》就是对此的回应,它旨在保住大堡礁在1981年获得的世界遗产地位。去年联合国警告称,大堡礁的前景非常糟糕,要求提供最新报告、计划可行性的证据,以及计划的资金筹措策略。

In the interim, the Queensland government commissioned a study to estimate the costs of achieving water quality targets that would significantly improve the reef’s health. Queensland and the federal government have said that halting nitrogen runoff from farms and fine sediment that leeches into the ocean would improve the water quality and allow the reef to better withstand the impacts of climate change and shocks from severe weather like cyclones.

在此期间,昆士兰州政府委托进行了一项研究,评估实现水质改善目标所需的成本——那将极大改善大堡礁的健康状况。昆士兰州和澳大利亚政府已经表示,遏制农田氮流失以及细小沉积物流入海洋将改善水质,让大堡礁更能承受气候变化以及气旋等恶劣天气的影响。

That study, released in July, said the cost for meeting targets along the length of the reef was 8.2 billion Australian dollars, or about $6 billion, to be spent over 10 years. That figure was sharply higher than the roughly $1.5 billion the state and federal governments said would be spent over the next decade on all measures to protect the reef.

7月发布的这项研究称,在这么长的大堡礁实现这些目标需要在10年时间内花费82亿澳元(约合416亿人民币)。这个数字远远高于昆士兰州和澳大利亚政府的计划,它们打算在未来10年里向所有大堡礁保护项目总共投入约15亿美元(约合103亿人民币)。

“The scale of the investment required is commensurate with the scale of the challenge,” the study said. “Virtually all of the relevant science indicates the Great Barrier Reef is in decline.”

“投资的规模要与面临的挑战相称,”该研究称,“几乎所有相关科学研究都表明,大堡礁目前每况愈下。”

The report to Unesco on Friday said that about $950 million had already been committed to reef-specific measures over the next five years. That amount is part of the federal and the state governments’ $1.5 billion commitment over a decade.

周五提交给联合国教科文组织的报告称,大约9.5亿美元已被承诺用于未来5年内针对大堡礁的措施。它是澳大利亚和昆士兰州政府计划在未来10年内投入的15亿美元的一部分。

The federal and Queensland governments said the study’s overall cost estimate included “some very expensive high-risk actions,” like nearly $4.2 billion for erosion in one valley to prevent the flow of sediment into the ocean. Removal of that big-ticket item brought the study’s report closer into line financially with the government report to Unesco.

澳大利亚和昆士兰州政府称,该研究的总体成本估算包括“一些非常昂贵的高风险措施”,比如在一个山谷中投入近42亿美元,以遏制水土流失,防止沉积物流入海洋。如果去掉这个高价项目,该研究报告的投入资金更接近澳大利亚政府向联合国教科文组织提供的报告。

The report on Friday was only an update. It did not offer new spending measures for the reef, nor new targets to reduce pollution. It is likely to draw sharm criticism from environmentalists.

周五的报告只是汇报最新情况,没有提供新的开支方案或减少污染的新目标。它很可能会引发环保人士的强烈批评。

The government ratified the Paris Agreement on climate change last month. The agreement’s target is to cut greenhouse gas emissions to between 26 percent and 28 percent of 2005 levels by 2030. But environmentalists say the development of new coal mines highlights the government’s lack of commitment to halting global warming. Opening up a new mine is incompatible with Australia’s environmental obligations, Greenpeace said.

上个月,澳大利亚政府批准了对抗气候变化的《巴黎协议》(Paris Agreement)。该协议的目标是,到2030年,将温室气体排放量缩减至2005年的26%至28%。不过环保人士称,批准开发新煤矿表明澳大利亚政府缺乏遏制全球变暖的决心。绿色和平组织(Greenpeace)称,开设新煤矿与澳大利亚政府的环境义务相背离。

The report to Unesco said the reef’s scale and resilience meant it could recover from the bleaching this year. It said that managing the risks to the reef would be difficult, but that there was a determination to succeed. “The progress to date does not reduce the urgency to address key issues and risks,” it said.

提交给联合国教科文组织的报告称,大堡礁的规模和复原力意味着,今年它能从白化现象中恢复过来。报告还称,控制大堡礁承受的风险将十分困难,但澳大利亚政府下定决心取得成功。报告称,“目前取得的进展没有缓解解决关键问题和风险的紧迫性。”

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