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全世界爱上空调,人类的未来却因此陷入危机

更新时间:2018-5-17 20:42:37 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

The World Wants Air-Conditioning. That Could Warm the World.
全世界爱上空调,人类的未来却因此陷入危机

More than crickets and fireflies, more than baseball and cookouts, perhaps nothing signals the arrival of summer in the United States like the soft familiar whir of air-conditioning.

不只是蟋蟀和萤火虫,不只是棒球和露天烧烤,在美国,或许没有什么能比空调温柔而熟悉的声响更能标志着夏天的到来。

But there is growing concern that as other countries adopt America’s love of air-conditioners, the electricity used to power them will overburden electrical grids and increase planet-warming emissions.

但随着其他国家和美国一样爱上空调,人们愈发担心空调的供电会使电网负荷超载,并增加导致全球变暖的排放。

The number of air-conditioners worldwide is predicted to soar from 1.6 billion units today to 5.6 billion units by midcentury, according to a report issued Tuesday by the International Energy Agency. If left unchecked, by 2050 air-conditioners would use as much electricity as China does for all activities today.

根据国际能源署(International Energy Agency)周二发布的报告,到本世纪中期,全球的空调数量预计会从今天的16亿台飙升至56亿台。如果不加管束,2050年的空调耗电量将相当于中国今天所有活动的用电量。

Greenhouse gas emissions released by coal and natural gas plants when generating electricity to power those air-conditioners would nearly double, from 1.25 billion tons in 2016 to 2.28 billion tons in 2050, the report says. Those emissions would contribute to global warming, which could further heighten the demand for air-conditioning.

报告称,到2050年,给空调机供电的燃煤和天然气发电厂排放的温室气体将接近翻倍,从2016年的12.5亿吨增长至22.8亿吨。这些排放将导致全球变暖,可能进一步加剧人们对空调的需求。

Right now air-conditioning is concentrated in a handful of countries, mainly in the United States and Japan, and increasingly in China.

目前,空调的使用集中在少数几个国家,主要是美国和日本,中国也在逐渐增多。

While 90 percent of American households have air-conditioning, “When we look in fact at the hot countries in the world, in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East, where about 2.8 billion people live, only about 8 percent of the population owns an air-conditioner,” said Fatih Birol, executive director of the energy agency.

美国有90%的家庭拥有空调,但是,“当我们实际去看看世界上较热的国家,在大约有28亿人居住的非洲、亚洲、拉丁美洲和中东地区,只有8%的人有空调,”国际能源署署长法提赫·比罗尔(Fatih Birol)说。

As incomes in those countries rise, however, more people are installing air-conditioners in their homes. The energy agency predicts much of the growth in air-conditioning will occur in India, China and Indonesia.

然而,随着这些国家收入提高,越来越多的人正在家里安装空调。能源署预计,空调的增长大部分会出现在印度、中国和印度尼西亚。

Some of the spread is simply being driven by a desire for comfort in parts of the world that have always been hot. But other factors are at play.

在世界上一些向来很热的地区,空调的普及仅仅是因为人们渴望获得舒适。但也有其他因素的作用。

For example, as household wealth increases, so does the presence of household appliances like refrigerators and televisions, the report notes. These appliances generate heat, making homes warmer.

比如,报告指出,随着家庭财富增长,冰箱和电视等家用电器也越来越多。这些电器会产生热量,使屋内更热。

And because air-conditioners work in part by venting hot air outside, they also make the surrounding neighborhood warmer. By some estimates air-conditioning can raise overnight temperatures by about two degrees Fahrenheit (one degree Celsius) in some cities, the report said. Practically speaking, if enough of your neighbors buy an air-conditioner it may increase the temperature in your home enough to drive you to do the same.

而且,由于空调的运行部分是通过向室外排出热气,所以它们也会使周围的环境更热。报告称,据预计,空调将使某些城市的夜间气温提高大约一摄氏度。实际上,如果你有足够多的邻居买了空调,那么你家的温度可能也会升高,从而促使你也买空调。

And then, of course, there’s climate change. India is already one degree Fahrenheit warmer on average than it was a century ago. This has led to more “cooling degree days,” or days when average temperatures are warm enough to necessitate air-conditioning.

当然了,还有气候变化。印度的平均气温已比一个世纪以前高了一华氏度。这就导致“冷度日”更多,也就是平均温度已经热到必须使用空调的日子。

“If you look at cooling degree days for Chennai or Mumbai, these are places that have twice as many cooling degree days as the hottest city in the U.S., Miami,” said Lucas Davis, director of the Energy Institute at the Haas School of Business of the University of California, Berkeley. “It’s unbelievably hot — there’s nothing in the U.S. that compares in terms of heat to these cities in India.”

“如果你看看钦奈或孟买,这些地方的冷度日是美国最热城市迈阿密的两倍之多,”加州大学伯克利分校(University of California, Berkeley)哈斯商学院能源研究院院长卢卡斯·戴维斯(Lucas Davis)说。“热得难以置信——美国没有哪里能比印度的这些城市更热。”

And when it gets hot, forgoing air-conditioning can be deadly. The heat wave that plagued Chicago in 1995 killed more than 700 people, while the 2003 European heat wave and 2010 Russian heat wave killed tens of thousands each. Researchers have found that climate change made the European heat wave deadlier and the Russian heat wave more likely.

天气变热时,不使用空调可能是致命的。1995年席卷芝加哥的热浪造成700多人死亡,2003年的欧洲热浪和2010年的俄罗斯热浪分别夺走了数万人的生命。研究人员发现,气候变化导致欧洲的热浪更致命,俄罗斯则更可能发生热浪。

The introduction of home air-conditioning in the United States has cut premature deaths on hot days by 75 percent since 1960, another study has shown. That is why both Dr. Davis and Dr. Birol say the solution lies not in convincing countries to forgo air-conditioners, but in making air-conditioning more energy efficient. That could cut by half the additional energy demand for cooling in the coming years.

另一项研究显示,自1960年以来,家用空调的引入已将热天过早死亡的案例减少了75%。因此戴维斯博士和比罗尔博士认为,解决办法不是说服各国不再使用空调,而是让空调更节能。这可能会将未来几年的新增制冷能源需求量减少一半。

Many air-conditioners on sale in India today use twice as much electricity to provide the same amount of cooling as more efficient units, Dr. Davis said.

戴维斯博士称,如今印度市面上的许多空调提供相同制冷效果所需的电量比高效空调多出两倍。

On the other end of the spectrum, air-conditioners sold in Japan and the European Union tend to be 25 percent more efficient than units sold in the United States and China.

而在做得较好的地方,比如日本和欧盟,市面上的空调效率往往比美国和中国市面上的空调高出25%。

Governments should set efficiency standards for air-conditioners and provide incentives for manufacturers and consumers, Dr. Birol said. Some countries are already passing energy efficiency standards. And as part of an agreement known as the Kigali amendment to the Montreal Protocol, other countries are working to phase out refrigerants used in air-conditioning units that are also potent greenhouse gases.

比罗尔博士表示,政府应该制定空调的能效标准,为制造商和消费者设定激励措施。有些国家已经通过了能效标准。作为《蒙特利尔议定书》(Montreal Protocol)基加利修正案的一部分,其他国家正在逐步淘汰在空调机组中使用制冷剂。制冷剂也是一种强效温室气体。

Dr. Davis said electricity prices must also play a role in developing countries. “It is hard to make more progress on any of those fronts without more rational pricing for electricity,” he said. Accounting for emissions in the cost of electricity and removing subsidies would encourage more efficient air-conditioning and more sustainable buildings, he said.

戴维斯博士表示,电力价格也应该在发展中国家发挥作用。“如果没有更合理的电价,就很难在这些领域取得更大进展,”他说。他表示,让人们通过支付电费的方式为排放负责,再加上取消补贴,将会鼓励人们使用更高效的空调,修建更有利于可持续发展的建筑。

The report also envisions a role for renewable energies — especially solar power, which to some degree aligns the peak of its energy generation, in the middle of the day, with the peak demand for cooling.

该报告还展望了可再生能源在未来的角色,尤其是太阳能。从某种程度上讲,在正午时分制冷需求最旺盛的时刻,太阳能的发电量也是最高的。

No matter what, air-conditioning will be a major issue in the fight against climate change, Dr. Birol said.

比罗尔博士表示,不管怎样,空调将是对抗气候变化的一个主要问题。

“When I look at the next few years to come, air-conditioners are only second to the entire industrial sector,” he said. “Twenty-one percent of the total world electricity growth is coming from the need to meet the growth of air-conditioner electricity demand.”

“展望未来几年,我发现,空调是仅次于整个工业领域的第二大因素,”他说,“全球电力增长的21%是用来满足空调用电需求的增长。”

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