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新气候政策:追踪世界上最富有者

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为了公平地划分富有者和贫穷者之间的气候改变战,一项新的研究建议把减排的方向对准富有人群的数量,在一个国家,这些富有人群也是最大的温室气体排放者。

既然全球温室气体一半来自不到一亿的富有人群,那么当建立减少二氧化碳排放的国家目标的时候,也应该主要考虑这些富有的人群。周一作者在《美国科学院院刊》上发表上面的看法。

现在,在京都议定书下,富有的国家应该为减少促进全球变暖的气体的排放承担更大的责任,同时,发展中国家包括快速经济发展国家如中国和印度,不需要控制温室气体污染。

富有国家,特别是美国,认为这给了发展中国家一个不公平的经济优势。中国、印度和其他发展中国家认为发达国家在历史上已经产生了更多的温室气体,而发展中国家需要时间来赶上发达国家。

研究建议可以建立一个针对每个人排放二氧化碳的统一的国际最高限额。既然富有的人排放的更多,无论他们生活在富有国家或者贫穷国家,他们就更有可能达到或者超过这个限额。

例如:如果世界上的领导人在2030年同意控制碳排放到他们现在处的同样水平,那么每年每个人的排放量不会超过11吨。那也就意味着2030年在计划中8.1亿的世界人口减少一个亿的高排放源。

每个人的排放

通过计算有可能超过这个水平的所有人的排放量,世界领导人们可以对每个国家提供目标减排量。现在,每个人每年世界平均碳排放量大约是5吨,每个欧洲人产生量是10吨,而每个美国人的产生量是20吨。

国际气候演讲这个星期在意大利召开,大多数造成污染的国家都参加了会议,作者希望政策制定者们应该关注富有人群和他们的二氧化碳排放量之间的有力联系。

研究的发起者之一,普林斯顿大学环境学院的Shoibal Chakravarty说:“如果你正在根据国家人口的比例分派减少排放污染物的任务,那么通常你在做最大的损害。

富人的生活趋向于放出更多的温室气体,因为他们会更多驾驶燃油汽车,更频繁的坐飞机旅行,生活在大房子了,从而需要更多的燃料来取暖或者制冷。

Chakravarty电话采访时说:“通过聚焦每个地方的富人,无论是在富有国家或者贫穷国家,建立依据不同国家富人数量减少碳排放的目标体系将使发展中国家更容易进入任何新的气候改变框架。”

他说:“当印度、中国、巴西和其他国家度过发展阶段的时候,他们也将有越来越多的富人,而且在未来他们也将分担更过的减少碳排放的任务。”

这些义务是根据不同国家正在增长中的富有人群数量建立,每个发展中国家也将执行这些义务,并达到某个总体的碳排放水平。这个水平是公平建立的,所以在最贫穷的国家无论有多少富人生活经济发展都不会停止。

这是对富人的游艇和豪华汽车税吗?那倒不必。Chakravarty说,但是他也没有否认。“我们无论如何都不会提议这样。如果某些国家找到一种这样的方法,那是最好的。”

这个星期在意大利召开的气候演讲是十二月在哥本哈根举行的国际论坛的一个序曲,目的在于对继续延续在2010年即将到期的京都议定书达成一致。同时,美国国会也正在制定控制美国碳排放的法律。

译文:New climate strategy: track the world's wealthiest

To fairly divide the climate change fight between rich and poor, a new study suggests basing targets for emission cuts on the number of wealthy people, who are also the biggest greenhouse gas emitters, in a country.

Since about half the planet's climate-warming emissions come from less than a billion of its people, it makes sense to follow these rich folks when setting national targets to cut carbon dioxide emissions, the authors wrote on Monday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

As it stands now, under the carbon-capping Kyoto Protocol, rich countries shoulder most of the burden for cutting the emissions that spur global warming, while developing countries -- including fast-growing economies China and India -- are not required to curb greenhouse pollution.

Rich countries, notably the United States, have said this gives developing countries an unfair economic advantage; China, India and other developing countries argue that developed countries have historically spewed more climate-warming gases, and developing countries need time to catch up.

The study suggests setting a uniform international cap on how much carbon dioxide each person could emit in order to limit global emissions; since rich people emit more, they are the ones likely to reach or exceed this cap, whether they live in a rich country or a poor one.

For example, if world leaders agree to keep carbon emissions in 2030 at the same level they are now, no one person's emissions could exceed 11 tons of carbon each year. That means there would be about a billion "high emitters" in 2030 out of a projected world population of 8.1 billion.

EACH PERSON'S EMISSIONS

By counting the emissions of all the individuals likely to exceed this level, world leaders could provide target emissions cuts for each country. Currently, the world average for individual annual carbon emissions is about 5 tons; each European produces 10 tons and each American produces 20 tons.

With international climate talks set to start this week in Italy among the countries that pollute the most, the authors hope policymakers will look at the strong link between how rich people are and how much carbon dioxide they emit.

"You're distributing the task of doing something about emissions reduction based on the proportion of the population in the country that's actually doing the most damage," said Shoibal Chakravarty of the Princeton Environment Institute, one of the study's authors.

Rich people's lives tend to give off more greenhouse gases because they drive more fossil-fueled vehicles, travel frequently by air and live in big houses that take more fuel to heat and cool.

By focusing on rich people everywhere, rather than rich countries and poor ones, the system of setting carbon-cutting targets based on the number of wealthy individuals in various countries would ease developing countries into any new climate change framework, Chakravarty said by telephone.

"As countries develop -- India, China, Brazil and others -- over time, they'll have more and more of these (wealthy) individuals and they'll have a higher share of carbon reductions to do in the future," he said.

These obligations, based on the increasing number of rich people in various countries, would kick in as each developing country hit a certain overall level of carbon emissions. This level would be set fairly high, so that economic development would not be hampered in the poorest countries, no matter how many rich people live there.

Is this a limousine-and-yacht tax on the rich? Not necessarily, Chakravarty said, but he did not rule it out: "We are not by any means proposing that. If some country finds a way of doing that, it's great."

This week's climate talks in Italy are a prelude to an international forum in December in Copenhagen aimed at crafting an agreement to follow the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012. At the same time, the U.S. Congress is working on legislation to curb U.S. carbon emissions.

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