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英国驻华使馆气候变化参赞康大卫

 
 
 

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如果气温增加4度……  

2009-11-16 17:03:30|  分类: 默认分类 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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本周早些时候,我在英国驻华大使馆会见了建立很久了的中国“绿家园志愿者”组织(http://www.chinagev.org , http://www.greensos.cn  或 http://www.nujiang.ngo.cn )。看着“绿家园志愿者”过去十多年中所拍摄的众多照片,我被两件事情震动了。第一,是被气候变化致使中国产生的物理变化的范围和深度所震动,尤其是在长江和黄河的源头及周围地区;第二,是被全球变暖已经影响着中国众多农村地区而震动,在这方面的一些案例中,随着地下水水位下降,主要河流干道干涸或是不再能赖以生存,人们不得不重新选择居住地。

地貌和居住地区发生的改变,并不是仅仅由全球变暖而导致的。在中国一些地区,气候上的影响加重了早已由人类发展所引起的环境压力。气候变化是一个有威胁性的“推手”,它有令众多现有问题(如过度抽取河水用于灌溉)更加恶化的潜能。

气候变化的这些及其他方面将构成中英瑞士三国最近联合启动的气候适应计划项目(http://www.dfid.gov.uk/Media-Room/News-Stories/2009/Adapting-to-climate-change-in-China/ )的部分重点。建立在中英两国在此方面共同合作8年多的基础上,该项目将研究开发出一种更适合中国的气候模型(尤其是针对那些极端恶劣天气和夏季热带风暴的情况)
,并对气候的影响以及如何适应它有更好的理解。它将有效地示范在气候变化这个领域上,国与国之间如何进行合作。我会在未来的博客中再详细介绍。

但是目前,我们不能忽视全球变暖的影响,尽管它的影响很可能超过我们做出的所有努力。现在,地球平均温度比工业革命之前的平均温度上升了0.8度。科学告诉我们,如果我们继续以现在的速度排放温室气体,地球平均温度很可能比工业革命之前上升4摄氏度。如果我们现在经历的升温就已经能够融化古老的冰川、使河流干涸、挑战农村地区的存在方式,那么可以肯定,生活在温度升高4摄氏度的世界中将是毫无乐趣可言的。

事实上,本周由英国气象局哈德利中心的科学家们发表的研究成果,就一览了这样的世界可能产生的恐惧。研究对温度平均升高4摄氏度将会给全球所有地区所造成影响进行了评估。在如此的世界中,我们可以预见严重的干旱、极强的热浪、农作物歉收、强大的飓风将会经常发生。点击这个链接可以看到对中国的影响的预测效果:http://www.actoncopenhagen.decc.gov.uk/en/ambition/evidence/4-degrees-map/

面对着这张图,可选择的途径就是在哥本哈根会议上达成公平有效的国际协议以减少全球排放,而这看起来是目前最好的选择。

 

Earlier this week I met a Chinese organisation called Green Earth Volunteers (http://www.chinagev.org, http://www.greensos.cn or http://www.nujiang.ngo.cn), a long established environmental group.  Hearing what it had to say - and looking at the many photographs its member have taken over the past decade or more – I was struck by two things. First, by the range and depth of some of the physical changes now under way in China as a result of climate change, particularly in and around the sources of the great Yangtze and Yellow rivers; and second, by how global warming is already affecting many rural Chinese communities, in some cases to the extent that people are having to relocate as significant river systems dry up or become less reliable and as groundwater levels fall.

Changes of this sort to landscapes and communities are not in every case caused solely by global warming. In some parts of China climate impacts are amplifying environmental stresses already introduced by human development: climate change is a “threat multiplier”. It has the potential to make many existing problems (for example, the over extraction of river water for irrigation) worse than they might otherwise be.

These and other aspects of climate change will form part of the focus of a recently launched programme of joint China/UK/Swiss research called Adapting to Climate Change in China (http://www.dfid.gov.uk/Media-Room/News-Stories/2009/Adapting-to-climate-change-in-China/ ). Building on some eight years of co-operation between the UK and China in this area, the programme will develop better climate models for China (particularly in relation to issues like extreme weather events, and the Asian typhoon system) and a better understanding of climate impacts and how to adapt to them. It is a fine example of how countries can collaborate in the field of climate change and I shall return to it in future blogs.

For now though we shouldn’t forget that on present emissions trends, the impacts of global warming are likely to outstrip even our best efforts to adapt. The average global temperature has so far risen by around 0.8 degrees celsius above its level in pre-industrial times. Science tells us it is likely to rise to around 4 degrees above pre-industrial temperatures if we continue to emit greenhouse gases at our present rate. If the warming we are experiencing today has the power to melt ancient glaciers, dry out river systems and challenge the very existence of rural communities then it is safe to assume that life in a “4 degrees” world would be no fun at all.

Indeed a powerful glimpse of the likely horrors of such a world is provided by a study released this week by scientists from the UK’s Met Office Hadley Centre. The study has produced a map showing how an average 4 degrees rise in global temperature would affect different parts of the world. In such a world, we could expect severe droughts, crop failures and powerful cyclones to become the norm (check out the predicted effects on China by downloading the map http://www.actoncopenhagen.decc.gov.uk/en/ambition/evidence/4-degrees-map/).

Against this picture, the alternative path - achieving a fair and effective international deal in Copenhagen to reduce global emissions –  looks by far the better option.

 

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