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紐時賞析/減碳大進展? 碳足跡 外包到海外

2018-10-03 09:25聯合報 紐時賞析

Trailing Carbon Footprints Across Borders

Over the past decade, both the United States and Europe have made major strides in reducing their greenhouse gas emissions at home. That trend is often held up as a sign of progress in the fight against climate change.

在過去十年中,美國和歐洲在減少各自的溫室氣體排放方面取得了重大進展。這種趨勢經常被高舉為對抗氣候變遷有成的一個標誌。

But those efforts look a lot less impressive once you take trade into account. Many wealthy countries have effectively “outsourced” a big chunk of their carbon pollution overseas, by importing more steel, cement and other goods from factories in China and other places, rather than producing it domestically.

但是,一旦把碳交易納入考量,這些努力可就大為失色了。許多富裕國家透過從中國大陸和其他地方的工廠進口更多的鋼鐵、水泥等商品,而不在國內生產,實質上將大部分碳汙染「外包」到海外。

Britain, for instance, slashed emissions within its own borders by one-third between 1990 and 2015. But it has done so as energy-intensive industries have migrated abroad. If you included all the global emissions produced in the course of making things like the imported steel used in London’s skyscrapers and cars, then Britain’s total carbon footprint has actually increased slightly over that time.

例如,英國1990年至2015年間將國內碳排放量削減了三分之一,但英國在做到這點的同時,能源密集型產業也向海外遷移。若把倫敦摩天樓和汽車所用進口鋼材等物料製造過程產生的全球所有碳排放量計入,英國那段時間總體碳足跡實際上還略有增加。

“It’s a huge problem,” said Ali Hasanbeigi, a research scientist and chief executive of Global Efficiency Intelligence, an energy and environmental consulting firm. “If a country is meeting its climate goals by outsourcing emissions elsewhere, then we’re not making as much progress as we thought.”

能源暨環境顧問公司「全球效率智識」負責人、研究科學家哈禮傑說:「這是一個巨大的問題。如果一個國家透過將碳排放外包到其他地方來達成氣候目標,我們取得的進展就沒有自以為的多。」

Hasanbeigi is an author of a new report on the global carbon trade, which estimates that 25 percent of the world’s total emissions are being outsourced in this manner. The report, written with the consulting firm KGM & Associates and ClimateWorks, calls this a “carbon loophole,” since countries rarely scrutinize the carbon footprint of the goods they import.

哈禮傑是一份全球碳交易新報告的作者之一,報告估計,世界碳排放總量的25%以這種方式外包。這份與顧問公司KGM & Associates和非政府組織「氣候工作基金會」合著的報告,把這一點稱為「碳漏洞」,因為各國很少仔細檢視進口商品的碳足跡。

That may be changing. Last fall, California’s lawmakers took an early stab at confronting the issue by setting new low-carbon standards on the steel the state buys for its infrastructure projects. But dealing with imported emissions remains a thorny problem.

這種情況可能正在改變。去年秋天,美國加州的立法當局著手及早因應這個問題,為加州基礎設施工程採購的鋼材設定新的低碳標準。但處理進口商品排放量仍然棘手。

Some environmentalists see it as the next frontier of climate policy.

一些環保人士認為,處理進口排放是氣候政策下一個有待討論的領域。

The new report, which analyzes global trade from 15,000 different sectors — from toys and office equipment to glass and aluminum — builds on previous academic research to provide one of the most detailed pictures yet of the global carbon trade.

這份新報告分析了全球貿易1萬5000個不同領域,從玩具、辦公設備、玻璃到鋁,以先前的學術研究為基礎,極其詳盡地描繪了全球碳交易。

Not surprisingly, China, which has become the world’s largest emitter of carbon dioxide, remains the world’s factory. About 13 percent of China’s emissions in 2015 came from making stuff for other countries. In India, another fast-growing emitter, the figure is 20 percent.

毫不意外,已成為全球最大二氧化碳排放國的中國大陸仍然是世界工廠。2015年大陸約13%的碳排放量來自為其他國家製造產品。在排放量同樣快速增長的印度,這個比率是20%。

The United States, for its part, remains the world’s leading importer of what the researchers call “embodied carbon.”

至於美國本身,則仍是研究人員稱為「實體碳排放」的世上最大進口國。

說文解字看新聞

本文主要談歐美國家表面上成功降低了碳排放,其實是將碳汙染「外包」到其他國家。外包(outsourcing)與境外外包(offshoring),外界經常混用,實則outsourcing是指雇主聘請外部承包商,去做原本可由內部人員完成的工作,offshoring則是將業務外包到海外,通常是已開發國家的公司外包給開發程度較低國家的公司,理由不外乎成本較低、環境法規較寬鬆(lenient)、勞動法規較不嚴格(stringent)、稅務條件較優、接近原料產地等。

實體碳排放(embodied carbon)特指「物質」的碳足跡,如建造一棟大樓、製造一輛車或一部筆記型電腦的碳足跡,而「碳足跡」一詞含意較寬泛,可以指為大樓提供電力、開車、操作筆電的碳足跡。

作者/Brad Plumer 譯/李京倫

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