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低碳时代:行动创造未来

中阿对照版 2010年第2期 张睿、邓丹枫 2016-07-05

“走路还是开车?”“爬楼梯还是坐电梯?”“用纸巾还是用手帕?”……这些选择题开始成为越来越多中国人认真考虑的问题。不久前一项1.5 万都市白领参与的网络低碳调查显示,73 % 的人有双面使用纸张的习惯,83 % 的人自备购物袋,83% 的人愿意参加环保活动。少用一个塑料袋,可以减排二氧化碳0.1 克;调低电脑屏幕亮度,每天减排65 克;夏季空调调高1℃,每天减排175 克……这些“低碳”加减法,正在通过电视、报纸、灯箱广告等各种渠道走进中国百姓的生活。

低碳,中国在行动

时尚小伙儿伟杰是上海一家外企的白领。虽然每天出入高级写字楼,但西装革履的伟杰,却总是脚蹬一双旱冰鞋,用最环保最低碳的方式去上班。当同事因为堵车迟到而烦恼,时间尽在掌控的伟杰得意地说:“‘乘坐’轮滑来上班吧,不仅可以省下交通开销,还减少了碳的排放量,可谓一举两得!”像伟杰这样的时尚青年在中国毕竟是少数,但以各种不同方式加入“低碳一族”的人却是越来越多。许多白领在办公室都习惯用双面复印资料;如果暂时不用电脑,他们会自觉启用“ 睡眠”模式降低能耗;一些育儿网站上,出现了许多交换“二手”婴儿服和玩具的时尚妈妈;在饭馆里,随身携带筷子,拒绝使用一次性餐具的客人已是屡见不鲜……

越来越多的中国人开始对一次性消费说“不”。人们开始对旧物改造产生了兴趣,并把它变成一项时尚创意活动。在空酒瓶上缠丝带做成花瓶;把枯树枝涂上白漆,装饰成别致的灯饰;把旧衣物拼缝在一起,用作马桶上的垫圈……人们巧构思,勤动手,还通过网络和社区活动交流旧物改造的经验,分享变废为宝的乐趣。

对于伟杰父母那一代经历过困难时期的人来说,节俭早已成为一种普遍的美德。家住西安的王奶奶今年六十多岁,她用淘过米的水浇花,用洗过衣服的水拖地,拖完地还留着冲厕所。家里十几年前就有了洗衣机,但王奶奶坚持小件衣物自己手洗,因为这样“节水又省电”。曾经有些年轻人认为老一辈这样的做法已经过时,但随着低碳的观念日渐深入人心,人们意识到,这才是真正的时尚。

无论是追求时尚生活的年轻一代,还是保持勤俭美德的老一辈,越来越多的中国人已积极行动起来,加入到低碳环保的行列。正如联合国环境规划署执行主任阿西姆·施泰纳所说,在二氧化碳减排过程中, “普通民众拥有改变未来的力量”。低碳是一种低成本、低代价的生活方式,减轻了人们的生活压力,也减轻了地球的压力。当人类实践着绿色生活的时候,地球也正在微笑。

要低碳,更要好生活

早上八点,赵先生开车接上同住在北京回龙观小区的两位同事,一路向单位驶去。在赵先生看来,拼车不仅节油环保,还能增进同事间的感情。赵先生的拼车生活开始于2008 年。为了降低尾气污染,缓解交通拥堵,北京颁布了“限行令”,车辆按尾号每周停驶一天。最初,一些私家车主对此并不理解。但他们渐渐发觉,湛蓝透亮的天空越来越多:2009 年北京空气质量二级和好于二级的天数达到了285 天。同时,不断发展的公共交通更加方便市民出行。在杭州、西安等经济发展较快的城市,政府也开始倡导市民每周少开一天车,并由此扩展到发放环保袋、推行垃圾分类回收等诸多方面。“发达国家上百年工业化过程中分阶段出现的环境问题,在我国改革开放30 余年的快速发展中集中出现。”在中国环境保护部部长周生贤看来,如果沿袭一些发达国家走过的“先污染后治理”的老路,将让脆弱的地球难以支撑。追求经济发展与走低碳环保之路并不冲突,两者深度融合正是中国当前大力倡导的低碳经济。

事实上,中国早已行动起来。从2006 年底首次发布《气候变化国家评估报告》,到2009 年哥本哈根大会上,中国承诺截至2020 年,单位国内生产总值二氧化碳排放将比2005 年下降40%-45%,并把这一指标纳入强制性的国民经济发展纲要中。中国政府积极调整能源结构,发展循环经济和环保产业,推动低碳经济的发展。低碳理念已融入经济建设的方方面面,中国正开始驶入通向低碳社会的快车道。

不仅在城市,低碳观念也开始走进农村家庭。沼气技术、有机肥料、农业节水灌溉等绿色科技已经在发展较快的中东部个别地方崭露头角,并成为未来发展的趋势。今年春节回东北老家过年,赵先生送给父母的礼物是一台太阳能热水器。以前农村冬天用热水,得用大锅烧水、柴草进屋、烟熏火燎,很不方便。现在只要太阳露个脸,家里就有了热水。这些绿色科技让农民的日子越过越好,同时还节能环保,在农村受到了普遍欢迎。可见,讲求低碳并不意味着降低生活的质量,而是要让生活更美好。

低碳是一种生活方式,更是一种观念和态度。人们从过度开发能源到不断提高利用效率以节约能源,同时与大自然和谐共处,彰显了社会文明的进程。越来越多的企业、民众和民间团体已积极行动起来。在中国,许多城市家庭都有过参加植树活动的经历。仅2009 年,全国参加义务植树人数就达5.9 亿人次,植树24.8 亿株。中国绿化基金会、联合国环境规划署共同发起的“百万森林项目”,已经持续了多年,人们在西部干旱地区认捐树木,用自己的行动改善气候。绿色为人们带来一份清凉,更为中国带来生机与活力。

低碳中国的美好蓝图

在刚刚开幕的上海世博会上,低碳主题成为一大亮点,吸引了世界的关注。低碳概念在世博园随处可见:世博会主题馆外立面建有5000 平方米的世界最大生态绿墙;屋面太阳能板面积3 万多平方米,年发电量可达280 万度,每年能减少二氧化碳排放量约2800 吨;世博会投入超过1000 辆新能源汽车,园区内公共交通实现“零排放”……上海世博会,无疑引领着城市的未来发展方向,它让我们预先看到一个清洁、节能、环保的家园。

这是世界的梦想,更是中国的梦想。今年的两会上,“低碳”成了代表们口中的热词,全国政协“一号提案”就围绕低碳经济展开。低碳产业受到前所未有的关注。国务院总理温家宝明确指出,中国将大力开发低碳技术,推广高效节能技术,积极发展新能源和可再生能源,加快国土绿化进程,努力建设以低碳排放为特征的产业体系和消费模式,积极参与应对气候变化国际合作,推动全球应对气候变化取得新进展。

这是中国对世界的宣言,它描绘出中国经济发展的美好蓝图。转变中国经济发展方式、促进经济结构调整正逐渐成为全社会的共识,低碳经济将成为中国经济发展的新引擎。中国,正与世界一道,携手迈向低碳时代,用爱与责任为子孙后代留下更为丰富的资源。

LOW CARBON ERA:ACTION CREATES THE FUTURE

Chinese-English No.3 2010 Zhang Rui and Deng Danfeng2016-07-05

“Walk or drive?” “Climb the stairs or to take the elevator?” “Use paper napkins or a handkerchief?” These are choices that are seriously considered by an increasing number of Chinese people. A recent low carbon Web survey conducted among 15,000 city-dwelling white-collar workers shows that 73% of the people have the habit of using both sides of their napkins, 83% of them use their own shopping bags, and 83% are willing to participate in environ­mental-protection activities.

Using one less plastic bag means 0.1 gram less carbon dioxide emitted; reducing the brightness of a computer monitor screen can result in 65 grams less emission every day; setting an air-conditioner’s temperature 1℃ higher during the summer can re­duce daily emission by 175 grams. These “low car­bon” calculations are entering the lives of ordinary Chinese through various channels including televi­sion, newspapers, and advertising.

LOW CARBON – CHINA IN ACTION

Wei Jie, a stylish young man, is a white-collar worker of a foreign company in Shanghai. The suit-wearing Wei Jie goes in and out of premium office build­ings on a daily basis, and yet he always goes to work on a pair of roller skates – the most environment-friendly and low-carbon mode of transportation. Wei Jie has total control of his time. When col­leagues unhappily come in late because of traffic jams, he tells them: “Rollerskate to work. This way you can not only save the transportation costs but also reduce carbon emission. It’s like getting two ice creams for the price of one!”

In China, stylish young people like Wei Jie are not many, but there is an increasing number who join the “low-carbon group” in various ways. Many white-collar workers have the habit of us­ing both sides of photo-copy paper; many have their computer in “sleep” mode when they are not using it in order to reduce energy consumption; some child-rearing websites have lots of stylish mums who are there to trade “second-hand” baby clothes and toys; in restaurants, cus­tomers who bring their own chopsticks, refusing to use disposable utensils, are no longer a rarity.

More and more Chinese are saying “No” to one-time consumption and are becoming interested in modifying used items, making it a stylish and creative activity. Making a vase by wrapping silk ribbons around an empty wine bot­tle; painting a dead tree branch white and then decorating it into a chic lamp; sewing used clothes together to make a toilet seat pad … There is no limit to creativity in this area. Nor is all this confined to action, for people share the joy of turning waste into treasures by exchanging experiences in modifying used items through the Internet and community events.

To the generation of Wei Jie’s parents, one that has been through hard times, thriftiness has long become a common virtue. Granny Wang , who lives in Xi’an, is over sixty. She waters her f low­ers with the water used to rinse her rice, mops the floor using water that has washed her clothes, and then flushes the toilet with the wa­ter that was used for mopping the floor. Although she has had a washing machine for more than ten years, Granny Wang insists on hand-washing small pieces because it “saves both water and electricity”. Some young people used to consider such behavior of the older generation old-fashioned; however, as low-carbon ideas gain popularity, people are beginning to realize that the ultimate stylishness lies in just such thriftiness.

Be they of the fashion-conscious younger generation or of the ever thrifty older generation, more and more Chinese people are now in earnest action, joining the trend toward low-carbon living and environmental-protection. In the words of Achim Steiner, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Pro­gram, reducing car­bon dioxide emission is a process where “the public have the power to change the future”. Low carbon is a low-cost, lost-price way of life. It eases the burden on people as well as on the Earth itself. As mankind practices a green way of life, the Earth “smiles”.

LOW CARBON, BUT BETTER LIVING

At eight o’clock in the morning, Mr. Zhao picks up two colleagues who live in the Huilongguan apartment complex and drives them to work. To Mr. Zhao, carpooling not only saves fuel and protects the environment but also helps build camaraderie among colleagues. His carpooling started in 2008, the year when Beijing’s city government, in an effort to reduce air pollution and ease traffic congestion, issued a “driving restriction decree” which thenceforward forbid vehicles from the road for one particular day of the week according to the last digits of their license plate numbers. Although some car owners didn’t understand this at first, they gradually noticed that clear skies appeared more and more frequently: In 2009, the number of days when Beijing’s air quality was rated Second Grade or better reached 285. Meanwhile, the ever-developing public transportation has made it more convenient to travel. In cities like Hangzhou and Xi’an, where the economy develops at a relatively faster pace, governments also encourage citizens to refrain from driving one day per week and go as far as distributing eco-friendly bags and promoting waste classification and recycling.

“Environmental problems that emerged in stages during a few hundred years of industrialization in developed countries have appeared in concentration in our country during the 30 years of rapid development since the reform and opening to the world.” In the view of Zhou Shengxian, China’s Minister of Environmental Protection, the fragile

Earth would hardly be able to sustain a China that follows the suit of some developed countries by “polluting the environment and then treating it”. There is no conflict between the pursuit of economic development and the cause of low carbon and environmental protection. Indeed, the kind of low-carbon economy now vigorously advocated by the Chinese government involves thorough integration of just these two elements.

In fact, China’s action started early. The end of 2006 saw the publication of China's National Assessment Report on Climate Change. On the 2009 Copenhagen climate change conference, China promised to reduce carbon dioxide emission per GDP unit by 40-50% of the 2005 level by the year 2020, a target that has been incorporated into the Program of National Economic Development, which is a binding document. The Chinese government has worked actively to adjust the energy structure, develop renewable economy and environmental protection industries, and push the growth of low-carbon economy. Low-carbon concepts have been incorporated into every aspect of the country’s economic construction. China is now rapidly progressing toward being a low-carbon society.

Low-carbon concepts are going beyond cities into rural households. Green technologies involving the likes of marsh gas utilization, organic fertilization and water-saving irrigation show promise in a central and eastern parts of the country and have become the wave of the future. When Mr. Zhao visited his hometown in the Northeast for this year’s Spring Festival, the present that he gave his parents was a solar panel water heater. In the past, heating water used to be a very troublesome chore: a large cauldron was used, firewood and kindling were brought into the house, and smoke and fires had to be endured. Now there is hot water as long as the sun shines. Because such green technologies have improved farmers’ lives while saving energy and protecting the environment, they enjoy universal popularity in rural areas. It is obvious, then, that the pursuit of low carbon is about making life better rather than compromising its quality.

Low carbon is not just a way of life; it is also an outlook and an attitude. The progress of human civilization is enhanced when people change from excessively exploiting energy sources to improving efficiency in order to conserve those resources and living in harmony with nature. More and more businesses, individuals, and nongovernmental groups are taking initiatives. In China, many urban families have participated in tree-planting activities. In 2009 alone, voluntary tree-planting participation reached 590 million person-times, resulting in the planting of 2.48 billion. As part of the “Million Forests Project”, launched many years ago by the China Green Foundation and the United Nations Environment Program, people have adopted and donated trees in arid western regions in an effort to improve the climate through their own action. Green has brought us refreshment; it has brought a better life and greater vitality to China.

A BEAUTIFUL BLUEPRINT FOR A LOW-CARBON CHINA

As one of the major highlights of the World Expo that has recently opened in Shanghai, the low-carbon theme has drawn attention from all over the world. Low-carbon concepts find their expressions everywhere within the Expo Park: The Expo’s Theme Pavilion Building has in one of its outside walls a 5,000-square-meter Eco Green Wall, the world’s largest; there are more than 30 thousand square meters of solar panels on the outside surfaces of the buildings in the Park, capable of generating 2.8 million kilowatt-hours of electricity a year, which translates into a 2,800-ton reduction of carbon dioxide emission. More than 1,000 alternative-energy vehicles are in use, realizing “zero emission” from public transportation within the Park. There is no doubt that the Shanghai Expo is leading the world’s cities into the future, for it allows us to see in advance a home that is clean, energy-saving, and environment-friendly.

This is the world’s dream and China’s dream even more. During this year’s National People’s Congress and Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, “low carbon” became hot words among the delegates. Discussions of “Proposition No. 1” of the People’s Political Consultative Conference revolved around low-carbon economy. Low-carbon industries have received unprecedented attention. State Council Premier Wen Jiabao has stated that China will vigorously develop and promote low-carbon and energy-efficient technologies, actively develop alternative and renewable sources of energy, speed the process of making China greener, work hard to build a industrial system and a mode of consumption with low carbon emission as a characteristic, actively participate in international collaboration aimed at coping with climate changes, and push for better management of global climate changes.

This is China’s proclamation to the world. It creates a beautiful blueprint for China’s economic development. As a national consensus has now been built around the need to transform the mode of China’s economic development and adjust its economic structure, low-carbon economy will become the new engine of China’s economic development. China is walking hand-in-hand with the rest of the world into an era of low carbon with love and responsibility so as to leave richer resources to our descendants.

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