考研英语复习重点资料:《经济学人》阅读及译文(31) 课程英语


  Moment of truth

  No sooner did James McCarthy’s name turn up in an Associated Press story on the outlook for global warming than he started getting outraged e-mails from colleagues. All that McCarthy, a Harvard oceanographer who studies how climate change affects marine life, told the AP last week was that "the worst stuff is not going to happen … not that I think the projections aren’t that accurate, but because we can’t be that stupid." The overwhelming response, he said, was, What do you mean, we can’t be that stupid? Just look around!
  On that very question could hinge the fate of much of life on Earth. Last week was bracketed by two events that could make 2007 a turning point in the effort to control global warming. On Monday, by a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court ruled that the federal government had the power under the Clean Air Act to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from vehicles. This victory for environmentalists was quickly snatched away by President Bush, who announced the next day that his administration had no intention of doing anything of the sort. But the ruling set an important precedent for treating carbon dioxide as a threat to human welfare, and opens the way to regulating it by tightening fuel-economy standards. On Friday, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, marshaling the research of nearly 1,000 scientists from 74 countries, issued a long-awaited report on climate-change"impacts, adaptation and vulnerability".The study found that global warming was already affecting the Earth’s ecosystems; it predicted that continued climate change, in combination with other environmental stressors such as population increases and greater urbanization, would lead to more-severe and widespread drought, greater coastal and riverine flooding, and"increased risk of extinction"for 20 to 30 percent of plant and animal species. Depending on how much temperature rises, food production in the temperate regions (including parts of the United States and Canada) could actually increase, but would probably decline in much of the tropics.
  Yet at least since last year’s congressional elections it’s been clear that 2007 would be a critical year for what former vice president Al Gore has called the"planetary emergency". A half-dozen bills to control greenhouse gases have already been introduced or are being prepared for introduction to the Senate, according to the National Environmental Trust. Some version of the"cap and trade"market-based system that has already shown its value in reducing acid-rain pollution is virtually certain to pass this Congress."The key question now",says NET president Phil Clapp,"is, will President Bush sign a meaningful bill? But I don’t think there’s any question that if this Congress doesn’t produce one, the next one will and the next president will sign it. We’re in the endgame now, after 10 years on this issue."



  James McCarthy的名字和他的一篇关于全球变暖的文章在美联社的新闻报道一出现,他就开始收到来自同行们的侮辱性的邮件。McCarthy是一名哈佛大学的海洋学研究学者,主要研究气候的变化对海洋生物的影响,上周,他在美联网表示说:并不是预测不精确,而是情况不会那么糟。因为我们不会那么愚蠢的。他说,铺天盖地的质问都是关于你是什么意思?我们不可能那么愚蠢吧!你看看周围是什么样子啊。
  对这个问题的回答将关系到地球上大多数生物的命运。上周,两个事件的发生,使得2007 成为人类对于全球变暖的控制作出努力的转折点。在星期一,以5比4的投票最高法院裁决联邦政府有权通过净化空气法案来控制车辆的二氧化碳排放。环境保护主义者们的这一胜利迅速被布什总统抹杀。布什在第二天的讲话中表示,他的政府对此项规定毫无兴趣。但是这项裁决第一次明确的把二氧化碳作为对人类的幸福的威胁,并且为通过严格节能的标准来控制二氧化碳的排放开辟了道路。星期五,气候变化跨政府小组汇集了来自74个国家的约1000名科学家的调查研究,发表了一篇等待已久的关于气候变化的影响、适应性与弱点的报告。研究表明,全球变暖已经影响到了地球的生态系统;并且预测,持续的气候变化加之污染和都市化的加剧带给环境的压力,将会导致更加严重的,更加广范围的干旱,和更多的沿海和沿江城市被水淹没;百分之二十到三十的植物和动物面临更加严重的灭绝的危险。根据温度的上升值,在温度适合的地区粮食的产量可能会有所增加,但是,在绝大多数热带地区产量会下降。
  至少从去年开始,国会的选举就已经明确2007将会是对于前副总统戈尔所呼吁的地球危机的至关重要的一年。全国环保信托组织表示有六个关于控制温室效应的法案已经或者正准备向参议院提出。一些已经在降低酸雨的污染方面表现的卓有成效的以市场为基础的排放权交易系统是一定可以通过这次的国会审议的。NET 主席Phil Clapp说:现在关键是,布什总统是否同意这个意义深远的法案。但是,若这一届的国会不通过,下一届的国会,下一届的总统肯定会签署的。关于这个议题,我们已经努力了十年了,现在已经进入最后阶段了。