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每日英語跟讀 Ep.K260: 能源凜冬將至 別責怪綠能 A Scary Energy Winter Is Coming. Don’t Blame the Greens.

· 每日跟讀單元 Daily English

每日英語跟讀 Ep.K260: A Scary Energy Winter Is Coming. Don’t Blame the Greens.

Every so often the tectonic geopolitical plates that hold up the world economy suddenly shift in ways that can rattle and destabilize everything on the surface. That’s happening right now in the energy sphere.

有時候,承載世界經濟的地緣政治板塊會突然移動,把地表每樣東西搖得嘎嘎作響。這種事現在就在能源領域發生。

Several forces are coming together that could make Vladimir Putin the king of Europe, enable Iran to thumb its nose at America and build an atomic bomb, and disrupt European power markets enough that the upcoming United Nations climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland, could suffer blackouts owing to too little clean energy.

有幾股勢力正在匯聚,能使俄國總統普亭成為歐洲之王,使伊朗有本錢不把美國放在眼裡,進而造出原子彈,並足以打亂歐洲能源市場,讓即將登場的英國蘇格蘭格拉斯哥聯合國氣候大會可能會因為潔淨能源太少而停電。

Yes, this is a big one.

沒錯,問題很大。

Natural gas and coal prices in Europe and Asia just hit their highest levels on record, oil prices in America hit a seven-year high and U.S. gasoline prices are up $1 a gallon from last year. If this winter is as bad as some experts predict — with some in the poor and middle classes unable to heat their homes — I fear we’ll see a populist backlash to the whole climate/green movement. You can already smell that coming in Britain.

歐亞兩洲的天然氣和煤價剛剛達到史上最高,美國原油價格創七年新高,而汽油價格每加侖比去年上漲1美元。如果今年冬天跟一些專家預測的一樣糟,一些貧窮和中產階級人家負擔不起取暖費用,我擔心會出現針對整個氣候和綠能運動的民粹反彈。在英國已經可以嗅到這個跡象。

How did we get here? In truth, it’s a good-news-bad-news story.

我們怎會走到這一步?其實,這是個好消息壞消息都有的故事。

The good news is that every major economy has signed onto reducing its carbon footprint by phasing out dirtier fuels like coal to heat homes and to power industries. The bad news is that most nations are doing it in totally uncoordinated ways, from the top down, and before the market has produced sufficient clean renewables like wind, solar and hydro.

好消息是,每個主要經濟體都已同意,透過逐步淘汰煤炭這類比較髒的燃料給家庭取暖和給產業供電,減少碳足跡。壞消息則是,多數國家這麼做的時候完全沒有互相協調,由上而下執行,而且市場還沒製造出足夠多的風力、太陽能和水力等清潔能源。

But how did the bad-news side of this story emerge so fast?

這個故事的壞消息面為何這麼快出現?

Blame COVID-19. First, the pandemic erupted and signaled to every major economy that we were headed for a deep recession. This sent prices of all kinds of commodities, including oil and gas, into downward spirals.

要怪新冠肺炎。首先,疫情爆發,對每個重要經濟體而言意味我們正走向深度衰退,使原油、天然氣等各類大宗商品價格走軟。

This, in turn, led banks to choke off investment in new natural gas capacity and crude wells after seven years of already declining investments in these hydrocarbons because of lousy returns.

這進而使銀行停止投資擴充天然氣產能和油井。銀行已減少投資這些碳氫化合物達七年,因為報酬率很差。

As Bill Gates points out in his smart book “How to Avoid a Climate Disaster,” the only way to reach our climate targets is to shift production of all the big heavy industries, like steel, cement and automobiles, as well as how we heat our homes and power our cars, to electricity generated from clean energy. Safe and affordable nuclear power has to be part of our mix because, Gates argues, “it is the only carbon-free, scalable energy source that’s available 24 hours a day.”

就像微軟創辦人蓋茲在他那本睿智的書「如何避免氣候災難」指出的,達成氣候目標的唯一方法是,改變所有重工業如鋼鐵、水泥、汽車業等的生產方式,以及我們在家取暖和為愛車提供動力的方式,轉而用潔淨能源發電。蓋茲主張必須接納安全可負擔的核能,因為「這是唯一不產生二氧化碳又能擴增的能源來源,每天24小時供應」。Source article: https://udn.com/news/story/6904/5820545

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