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中外对话文章:面对气候变化,什么是中国基本国情?(一)  

2009-08-07 09:07:59|  分类: 读书笔记 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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面对气候变化,什么是中国基本国情?(一)
易水
刘鉴强

2009年8月6日
刘鉴强和易水采访了中国最知名的经济学家之一——胡鞍钢。他同时也是少数要求中国承诺减少温室气体污染的呼吁者。

“可惜很多人没有认识到这是中国的核心利益,也是人类的核心利益,也就是说,我们找到了中国和人类共同的核心利益。”


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【本文由本网站和美国鲁特格斯大学的气候变化和社会政策行动合作刊发】

“中外对话”和鲁特格斯大学“气候变化和社会政策行动”于4月发表胡鞍钢《通向哥本哈根之路的全球减排路线图》,读者反响强烈。经济学家胡鞍钢是清华大学教授,国情专家,中国著名高层智囊之一。他在《全球减排路线图》中提出,中国可以通过承诺减排义务推动全球减排协议的达成,为世界做出绿色贡献。

文章发表后,同时得到激烈的批评和热情的赞扬。有位参加气候变化国际谈判的中国代表团成员从波恩谈判会场给“中外对话”发来评论,认为胡鞍钢发表的是“不 负责任的乌托邦式言论”,“缺乏对气候变化问题成因的深入认识,缺乏对相关国际政治的历史和现实的基本了解”。而另一位参加气候变化国际谈判的NGO观察员也从波恩谈判会场发来评论,认为“如果到哥本哈根的这几个月,中国依然只是不断简单、保守地重复‘公平’这个词汇,而无法拿出自己对公平和责任的具体观点和可行性建议,在这场举世瞩目的全球论战里恐怕会处于越来越不利的地位。这点上胡教授开了一个好头,抛出观点,展开讨论,宜早不宜迟。”

近期,“中外对话”编辑采访了胡鞍钢,再次探讨中国应该如何应对气候变化。

中外对话:有些评论者认为你作为国情专家,在发表有关气候变化的问题时,“不懂国情”,信马由缰。那么,你作为一个经济学家,是何时开始研究气候变化的?

胡鞍钢:其实很多人也觉得奇怪,胡鞍钢是经济学家,国情研究专家,怎么会对气候变化感兴趣?而且很快发展了一些新的独特观点?其实一个人成熟的思想不是瞬间形成的,有时需要花10年、20年甚至更长的时间思考。

20 年前,我在中国科学院和同事牛文元、王毅写了一篇国情报告《生态赤字》,副标题是《未来时期中华民族生存的最大危机》。我们认为,生态危机将演化为21世 纪人类生存与发展的中心问题,我们论述了七大生态环境问题,第一个就是全球气候变暖与海平面上升。1989年,有的学者研究计算,到2030年全球平均温 度上升1.5度到4.5度,全球海平面上升20到140厘米。我们非常关注它对中国沿海地区和农业的影响,包括淡水问题。

中外对话: 那么你们得到了什么结论?

胡鞍钢:我们的基本结论是,生态危机是人类面临的共同危机,一个国家造成的大气体污染加剧气候变化,会影响邻国,一国排放的温室气体,绝对不只停留在这个国家上空,所以人类应采取共同行动。

因此在2008年,我借奥运会的口号,就应对气候变化提出三句话:一,“同一个世界”,就是越来越小的地球;第二句话“同一个梦想”,我们需要的是绿色实践,这是我们的梦想;第三句话“同一个行动”,我们必须在哥本哈根达成共识,共同减排。

早在1989年,我们就前瞻性地讨论了全球环境危机对中国安全的严重后果。海平面上升将严重打击三大三角洲人口密集、经济密集地区。现在事实表明,这三个中 国经济最发达地带是中国遭受灾害最频繁的地区,也是直接经济损失最大的地区。我们当时已把气候变化、海平面上升视为对中国最大的危险之一了。我2008年 去河北省唐山曹妃甸调研,那里吹沙造地、围海造地有没有考虑到海平面上升问题?要是考虑了,那你的发展成本肯定就高了。我2008年2月到广东珠海调研,他们浅滩造地和基础设施建设都要考虑海平面上升,但是不是还有很多地方没考虑到呢?很有可能,因为海平面上升的幅度到底多大?这有极大的不确定性。另外最重要的是气候变化的影响,让我们“百年不遇”、“千年不遇”的灾害,现在几年或十年就一遇了。

1989 年,我们还讨论了中国环境对全球的重大影响,我那个时候已是全球主义者了。首先,中国是世界人口最多的国家,因此中国就会对全球环境问题和气候问题产生重 大影响,今天中国已经是世界排放温室气体最多的国家之一。第二,中国是世界最大的产煤国和煤炭消耗国,对全球气候变暖贡献巨大,世界各国难以容忍,必然引 起各种冲突。我们认为,上述国际背景很重要,决定了中国不得不把治理生态环境放在十分重要的战略地位上,必须加入到全人类保护环境、拯救地球的斗争中去。 这个观点到现在也不过时。这是20年前我对全球气候变化或者全球环境问题的基本看法。

1997年,我出版了《中 国自然灾害与经济发展》,这是我和中国科学院地理研究所专家们的共同研究,我在中国经济学家中是最早研究自然国情与经济发展的,因为中国的经济发展、社会 进步必须基于对中国自然国情的认识、对自然支持系统的保护和投资。通过这个研究,我发现气候引起中国自然灾害频发,中国成为受自然灾害影响最大的国家,中国是气候变化最大的受害者。我又做了一些初步的计算和研究,比如受灾和成灾面积从50年代迅速上升,粮食在50年代每年损失380万吨,2001— 2006年每年3400万吨。我们再看损失量占总产量的比重,50年代为2.1%,2001年到2006年上升为7.4%,一方面粮食单产在提高,另一方面成灾面积在扩大。我的结论就是中国是气候变暖的最大受害者,这还不包括冰川雪线上升,高原冻土融化,我们未来的水塔“三江源”受到严重威胁。

我 在《生存与发展》一书里计算过,与隋朝(公元581-618)相比,唐朝(公元618-917)自然灾害发生频率高,宋朝(960-1279)比唐朝高, 清朝(1644-1911)更高。历史数据告诉我们,1950年以来自然灾害频率加快,我推论未来还会继续加快。未来的人会采用更好的科学手段来观测,但结论会差不多。

中外对话:那么,面对气候变化,你认为中国的基本国情是什么?

胡鞍钢:第一,中国是气候变化的最大受害者,第二,应对气候变化是核心国家利益。

如果我们讨论在哥本哈根会议上怎么跟外国人讨价还价,就小家子气了,我们应从本身利益角度来看这个问题,我和同事在2003年《第二次转型:国家制度建设》 一书中,把生态安全和环境保护界定为五大国家核心利益之一。不是因为美国或西方逼着我们,我们才保护生态和环境。可惜很多人没有认识到这是中国的核心利益,也是人类的核心利益,也就是说,我们找到了中国和人类共同的核心利益。如果我们领导人都能认识到这一点,中国对减排绝对不说NO而说Yes。但是你们 也看到,我成了中国唯一公开提出减排承诺的学者,这就有点可悲了。我必须传播我的这一理念,而且不管它花多长时间,我相信最终会变成中国领导人的政治共 识,十几亿人民的社会共识。这就是我对中国生态环境与气候变化认识的一个简要回述,我对气候变化政策的思想就是这样来的。它是中国的核心国家利益,我公开地表达出来。


胡鞍钢是中国著名经济学家,任中国科学院和清华大学教授、国情研究中心主任,是一流的政策智库成员。他同时任供政府高级官员阅读的参考刊物《中国国情研究报告》主编。

下一篇: 中国气候变化政策是如何形成的?

 

 

 

“I openly call for emissions cuts” (1)
Yi Shui
Liu Jianqiang

August 06, 2009
He is one of the country’s best known economists, and a rare voice in calling on China to commit to reductions in greenhouse-gas pollution. Liu Jianqiang and Yi Shui talk to Hu Angang.

“Unfortunately, many do not realise that addressing these issues is in China’s own interests, and those of all humanity – they are the shared core interests of China and the rest of the world.”


Related articles
A new approach at Copenhagen (1)
April 06, 2009

A new approach at Copenhagen (2)
April 06, 2009

A new approach at Copenhagen (3)
April 06, 2009

[Produced in association with Rutgers Climate and Social Policy Initiative]

The publication of Hu Angang’s essay for chinadialogue, “A new approach at Copenhagen”, met with a large response. Hu is a well-known economist and professor at Tsinghua University; he is also an adviser to the Chinese government. The article, published in April, suggested that China promote a global deal on emissions reductions by drawing up its own commitments, thus making an environmental contribution to the world.

Hu’s article has received both fierce criticism and enthusiastic praise. A member of the Chinese delegation to the climate change talks in Bonn commented on chinadialogue that Hu’s standpoint “lacks intrinsic knowledge about how climate-change problems have appeared and lacks any common sense of history or knowledge of the current situation of international politics.” However, an NGO observer at the talks responded, “if China keeps repeating the hackneyed refrain of ‘equality and justice’ in the few months left before Copenhagen round of talks, rather than putting forward its own views and propositions on this issue, it will find itself stuck in an ever unfavourable position. I believe professor Hu has made a good motion by airing his viewpoint and sparking a popular discussion. The sooner we do this the better.”

Liu Jianqiang and Yi Shui, editors at chinadialogue in Beijing, interviewed Hu to ask him how China should deal with the climate-change problem.

chinadialogue: Some commentators say that although you are an expert on China, your work on climate change does not reflect that expertise. As an economist, how and when did you come to research climate change?

Hu Angang: Actually a lot of people think it’s strange: “Hu’s an economist – an expert on the nation, why is he interested in climate change? How has he come up with these new and distinctive opinions so quickly?” However, a mature point of view does not just appear; it took 10 years, 20 years or longer.

Twenty years ago I wrote a report with Niu Wenyuan and Wang Yi, two colleagues at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, called “The ecological deficit: China’s greatest future challenge”. We wrote that the ecological crisis would evolve into the central issue of human existence and development in the twenty-first century. We covered seven major ecological and environmental issues, the very first of which was global climate change and rising sea levels. In 1989, academics had calculated that by 2030 global temperatures would have risen by between 1.5 and 4.5 degrees Celsius, with sea levels of between 20 to 140 centimetres. We were very concerned about the impact of that on China’s coastal regions and agriculture, including the availability of fresh water.

cd: What were your conclusions?

HA: Our basic conclusion was that this was a crisis for humanity as a whole. One nation’s pollution impacts on its neighbours by exacerbating climate change. The greenhouse gases emitted by one country do not remain in that particular country. Humanity had to respond in concert.

Thus in 2008 I paraphrased the Olympic slogan, “one world, one dream”, adapting it to climate change. “One world” is to say that our world continues to get smaller; “one dream” refers to our need to adopt environmentally-friendly practices – that’s our dream. I would also add “one action”: we need to reach agreement at Copenhagen to reduce emissions together.

As early as 1989 we had discussed the consequences of the environmental crisis for China’s security. Rising sea levels would have a grave impact on China’s three densely populated and economically crucial river deltas [the Pearl River Delta, the Yangtze River Delta and the Yellow River Delta]. Those are China’s three most developed areas, and also the areas most frequently hit by natural disasters; thus the potential for economic losses is huge. In 2008, I visited Caofeidian, in Hebei province, a development on land that has been reclaimed from the sea. However, have they considered rising sea levels? If they were to, the costs would rocket. In February 2008 I went to Zhuhai, in Guangdong province. There, they take rising sea levels into account when reclaiming land and building infrastructure. But are there many more areas that are not taking such questions into account? It is very likely there are, and nobody knows how far sea levels will rise. The impact of climate change also means that disasters that at one time would only strike once in a century, now might hit every decade or even more frequently.

In 1989 we also discussed the major environmental impact that China had on the planet. At that point I was already pro-globalisation. First, China is the world’s most populous nation, so it has a major impact on environment and climate-change issues as a result. China is already one of the world’s largest emitters of greenhouse gases. Second, China is the world’s largest producer and consumer of coal, a huge contributor to global warming, and no other nation can ignore this. That inevitably leads to frictions. We were saying that this background was important, that it gave China no choice but to view environmental management as of great strategic import, in order to participate in humanity’s efforts to protect the environment and save the planet. That view is still valid today. It was basically my view on global climate change and the environment 20 years ago.

In 1997 I co-authored a report with experts from the Institute of Geographical Sciences at the Chinese Academy of Sciences called, “China’s natural disasters and economic development”. I was the first of China’s economists to research the country’s natural environment and economic development, because growth and social progress is founded on an understanding of the environment, on protection and investment in natural systems. Through that research, I found that the climate is often the cause of natural disasters in China, making the country the largest victim of natural disasters, and the biggest victim of climate change. I went on to do some initial calculations and research, and found that the impact of disasters has increased rapidly since the 1950s. In that decade, 3.8 million tonnes of grain were lost per year, compared to 34 million tonnes per year from 2001 to 2006. In terms of the percentage of total production, in the 1950s that was 2.1%, in 2001 to 2006 it was 7.4%. On the one hand you have increased production, but on the other you have wider areas affected by disasters. We concluded that China would be the biggest victim of global warming, even before we considered that receding glaciers, rising snowlines and melting permafrost are putting the “water tower of Asia” – the source of our rivers – in grave danger.

In my book, Survival and development, I calculated that the frequency of natural disasters increased from the Sui Dynasty (581 to 618 CE) to the Tang Dynasty (618 to 917), from the Tang to the Song (960 to 1279) and increased again in the Qing (1644 to 1911). Historical data shows that disasters have increased in frequency since the 1950s; I inferred that this will continue. In the future, more scientific predictions will be made, but the conclusion will not be much different.

cd: When it comes to climate change, what would you say China’s “national circumstances” actually are?

HA: First, China is the largest victim of climate change. Second, adapting to climate change is in China’s core interests.

It would be petty of us to discuss how best to haggle with the foreigners at Copenhagen. We should start with the question of China’s own interests. In The second transformation: construction of state systems, I wrote that ecological security and environmental protection were two of our five core national interests. And this is not because of pressure from the United States and western nations. Unfortunately, many do not realise that addressing these issues is in China’s own interests, and those of all humanity – they are the shared core interests of China and the rest of the world. If our leaders can realise this, they will agree to make emissions cuts, rather than continuing to refuse. But as you know, I am the only Chinese academic openly calling for emissions cuts, and that is just lamentable. I need to spread this idea, no matter how long it takes. I believe that ultimately it will become the consensus among both China’s leaders and its people. So, that is how I sum up my views on China’s environment and climate change: it’s in China’s core national interests, and I’m saying so publicly.

NEXT: How is Chinese climate-change policy formed?

Hu Angang is one of China’s best-known economists. He is professor at the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Tsinghua University and the director of the Centre for China Study, a leading policy think-tank. Hu has worked as the chief editor for China Studies Report, a circulated reference for senior officials.

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