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中美气候变化协定的国际国内影响

威廉姆斯安索利斯 美国布鲁金斯学会执行主任  2015年01月13日

【摘要】 中美达成的气候变化共同声明具有国际国内两方面的意义。在外交场合,两国都在关注一年之后的联合国全球气候变化巴黎峰会。随着两国在巴黎峰会一年前公开发表共同声明,两国将在谈判中共同采取负责任的态度和立场。在国内,这也有利于两国的国内政治减压。在美国,美国总统正面临着同共和党控制的参议院之间的争斗。在中国,许多公司和地方政府仍然认为快速发展经济赶超西方国家是更重要的,他们更倾向于晚些治理环境。


当今国际关系中两国达成令全世界惊讶的协定是一件很罕见的事情,这在经济谈判中更是如此,因为各大公司、劳动者以及环保组织等机构都密切关注着政府的行动,使得政府谈判的过程中总是面对着来自各方的巨大压力。

这就是为何美国和中国此次达成的气候变化协定显得如此令人鼓舞。世界上两个最大的二氧化碳排放过一同承诺将大幅减少排放——大幅提前于月底将在利马举行的联合国气候变化谈判,预期届时他们可能会面临很大的压力。联合国气候变化谈判预料将在一年后于巴黎结束。中美两国所做的承诺在力度上也超出预期。尽管两国已经开始着实减排,但是此次宣布的时机和减排强度超过了许多外交官、商界和环保组织的预想。

中美两国国内领导人已经开始采取了一些措施。

在美国,奥巴马总统已经在这一领域采取了非常激进的措施,将其视为他执政中的重要目标。他在金融危机之后已经支出或减税超过900亿美元,旨在提升优乐娱乐注册效率、改进清洁优乐娱乐注册技术。尽管他在第一任期没有能够通过强制性的温室气候减排立法,他已经通过环保署动用行政力量实施了更加严格地汽车节能标准,并在最近富有争议地规定了发电厂的碳排放规模。

在中国,国家主席习近平执政正逢气候变化成为一个主要的政治问题。中国许多城市的空气污染已经大幅超出了世界卫生组织的标准。公众总体上在这一问题被调动起来。尽管中国有着强大的防火墙,公众仍然通过互联网、邮件、社交媒体以及短信的方式发出了一个清晰的信号:空气污染是一个大问题。此外,中国外交官不再享受于成为世界上最大的温室气体排放国——二氧化碳排放两已经超过美国的两倍。2年之前中国宣布了所有省份的减排目标以及6大城市进行碳排放交易试点。

中美两国此次达成的协议的重大意义在于,两个国家共同使得彼此在外交场合和国内场合的减排变得政治上更加容易。在外交场合,两国都在关注一年之后的联合国全球气候变化巴黎峰会。随着这一峰会的临近,国际压力将会迫使两国宣布更加激进的减排计划。随着会议的临近,关注力也将随之上升。每个国家都担忧另一个国家可能将巴黎峰会失败的责任怪罪在另一个国家上。长期以来国际社会认为美国和中国似乎已经准备好就气候变化展开博弈,以一方的减排目标促进另一个国家的减排目标。每个国家都提出温和的减排目标,然后等待另一个国家在减排的目标上驶上快车道。随着两国在巴黎峰会一年前公开发表共同声明,两国将在谈判中共同采取负责任的态度和立场。

此外,这也有利于两国的国内政治减压。在美国,美国总统正面临着同共和党控制的参议院之间的争斗,共和党对奥巴马使用环保署作为手段限制温室气体排放感到非常不满意。该计划的反对者认为,美国的行动将使得美国同全世界竞争者的竞争中处于非常不利的境地——尤其是中国,美国仍然对中国有着巨额的贸易赤字。在中国,尽管空气污染显然是一个越来越大的关注点,许多公司和地方政府仍然认为快速发展经济赶超西方国家是更重要的,他们更倾向于晚些治理环境。正如在贸易协议中可能发生的,两国都会为国内受影响的产业谋取利益——而联合行动可以产生一个更加公平的竞技场。

仍有许多工作要做。在美国,奥巴马需要继续推动“清洁电力计划”,这将是美国减排的引擎——当然也会面对来自国会和许多州份的反对。在中国,习近平主席需要确保很有势力的国有石油企业支持这一努力,同时地方官员能够因为减少二氧化碳排放获得好处,工业排放大头会为不遵守规定付出代价。在国际上,两国还有许多其它共同问题需要解决——帮助最贫困的缺乏资源但深受气候变暖影响的国家做出相应的减排。当然,尽管面临着这些困境,此次中美达成的协议对于环境保护而言将是非常巨大的一步。


 

 

The U.S. and China's Great Leap Forward … For Climate Protection


William J. Antholis


It’s rare in international diplomacy today that dramatic agreements come entirely by surprise.  And that’s particularly the case in economic negotiations, where corporate, labor, and environmental organizations intensely monitor the actions of governments – creating a rugby scrum around the ball of the negotiation that seems to grind everything to incremental measures.

 

That’s what makes today’s ambitious announcement by the United States and China to cut greenhouse gas emissions so compelling.  The world’s two largest emitters of carbon dioxide together pledged deep reductions – well in advance of the pressure they will face in the upcoming UN Climate Change negotiations that begin in Lima later this month, and which are scheduled to conclude a year from now in Paris.  They also did so at a level deeper than many had expected.  While both countries have already begun efforts to cut emissions, the timing of the announcement and the depth of the reductions went beyond what many diplomats, businesses and environmental groups anticipated.

 

In both countries, the new pledges follow action their leaders had already taken.

 

In the United States, President Obama has made aggressive action on this front a priority throughout his presidency.  He committed over $90 billion in stimulus spending and tax cuts after the 2008 financial crisis, aimed at energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies.  While he was unable to pass mandatory greenhouse gas legislation in his first term, he has wielded executive authority by using the Environmental Protection Agency to mandate greater automobile fuel economy standards and, most recently and controversially, to regulate power plant emissions.

 

In China, President Xi Jinping rose to power when air pollution had become a major political issue.  Air pollution in dozens of Chinese cities regularly and vastly exceeds World Health Organization standards.  The public at large has mobilized on the issue.  Despite the Great Firewall of China, the public has utilized the internet, email, social media and text messaging to send a clear message: air quality matters.  Moreover, Chinese diplomats do not relish being the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitter – with nearly double the CO2 emissions of the United States.  So two years ago, China announced national abatement targets for all their provinces, and experimental cap and trade systems for six economically advanced jurisdictions.

 

What makes today’s announcement so dramatic is that, together, both countries have made it politically easier for each other to take even deeper cuts in two regards – one diplomatic and one domestic.  On the diplomatic front, both countries were looking forward one year from now to the 2015 UN’s global climate summit in Paris.  As that meeting approaches, international pressure will mount on both countries to announce steep reductions.  The closer the meeting, the greater the attention.  Each country feared that the other might put the blame for a failed Paris meeting on the other.  The U.S. and China seemed ready for a game of greenhouse gas chicken, where each driver aims at each other, intent on pursuing middle-of-the-road moderate reductions, waiting for the other to take the responsibility of switching to the fast lane of deeper cuts.  By taking their public pledge together, one year in advance of Paris, the countries have wisely taken the rancor out of the negotiations for which nation would act responsibly.

 

Moreover, this serves a domestic political purpose in each country.  In the United States, the President is gearing up for a fight with a GOP-controlled Senate over his use of the EPA to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. Opponents of his plan are certain to argue that American action would put America at a competitive disadvantage against global competitors – especially China, with which the U.S. still runs a sizeable trade deficit.  In China, although air pollution is certainly a growing concern, many companies and local officials still feel the need to aggressively grow their economy and catch up to the West, and they would prefer to clean up the environment later.  As in any trade agreement, each side has wisely provided the other with an argument against affected domestic industries – that joint action will lead to a level economic playing field.

 

Much remains to be done.  In the United States, President Obama still needs to move forward with the Clean Power Plan, which is the engine that will drive U.S. reductions – working past opposition in both the U.S. Congress and the various states.  In China, President Xi needs to make sure that powerful state-owned fossil fuel companies support this effort, and also that provincial authorities are rewarded for cutting carbon emissions, and that industrial emitters pay a price for non-compliance.  Internationally, both countries have a range of other issues to address – including working with the poorest nations which lack the resources to make similarly dramatic cuts, but who are deeply affected by a warmer, wetter world. Still, even with all those obstacles ahead, today’s agreement is the beginning of a great leap forward for climate protection.


 
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