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Natural Gas Becomes the Climate Battleground 煤電式微 天然氣成氣候議題新戰場

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讀紐時學英文
2019/07/12 第270期 訂閱/退訂看歷史報份
 
 

紐時周報精選 Natural Gas Becomes the Climate Battleground 煤電式微 天然氣成氣候議題新戰場
How Subway Delays and the Homeless Crisis Are Intertwined 紐約地鐵誤點和街友有關 官員:與這城市更大問題相關

紐時周報精選
 

Natural Gas Becomes the Climate Battleground 煤電式微 天然氣成氣候議題新戰場
文/Brad Plumer
譯/莊蕙嘉

煤電式微 天然氣成氣候議題新戰場

America’s coal-burning power plants are shutting down at a rapid pace, forcing electric utilities to face the next big climate question: Embrace natural gas, or shift aggressively to renewable energy?

美國的燃煤發電廠正快速關閉,迫使電力公司面對下一個氣候大哉問:擁抱天然氣,或積極轉向再生能源?

Some large utilities, including Xcel Energy in the Upper Midwest, are now planning to sharply cut their coal and gas use in favor of clean and abundant wind and solar power, which have steadily fallen in cost. But in the Southeast and other regions, natural gas continues to dominate, because of its reliability and low prices driven by the fracking boom. Nationwide, energy companies plan to add at least 150 new gas plants and thousands of miles of pipelines in the years ahead.

一些大型公用事業公司,包括中西部北部地帶的卓越能源公司在內,正計畫大砍煤和天然氣的使用量,改用成本不斷下降,潔淨且豐富的風力與太陽能。但在東南部和其他地區,卻仍然是天然氣掛帥,因為裂解技術興起,造就它的可靠及低價。在美國全境,能源公司計畫在未來幾年至少增加150座新天然氣電廠以及數千英里的輸氣管。

A rush to build gas-fired plants, even though they emit only half as much carbon pollution as coal, has the potential to lock in decades of new fossil-fuel use right as scientists say emissions need to fall drastically by midcentury to avert the worst impacts of global warming.

雖然燃氣的碳汙染只有燃煤之半,爭建燃氣電廠熱潮湧現,卻可能就此鎖定未來數十年使用新化石燃料的態勢,而此際科學家正呼籲世人在本世紀中之前大幅降低碳排放,以避免全球暖化的最嚴重影響。

“Gas infrastructure that’s built today is going to be with us for 30 years,” said Daniel Cohan, an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at Rice University.

“But if you look at scenarios that take climate change seriously, that say we need to get to net zero emissions by 2050,” he said, “that’s not going to be compatible with gas plants that don’t capture their carbon.”

「今日建造的天然氣基礎設施將與我們為伴30年。」萊斯大學木土及環境工程副教授丹尼爾.柯恩說。他說:「檢視正視氣候變遷問題而推演出的未來可能景況,會知道我們需要在2050年之前達到淨零排放,這個目標與我們使用無法捕集碳的天然氣電廠,是彼此扞格的。」

In some states, policymakers are now pushing to leave gas behind to meet ambitious climate goals. Last month, New York lawmakers passed a sweeping energy bill that calls for the state to switch to entirely carbon-free electricity sources by 2040, following states like California and New Mexico that have passed similar laws.

在一些州,政策制定者正加快捨棄天然氣的腳步,以達到遠大的氣候目標。紐約州議會上個月通過重大能源法案,要求州政府在2040年之前完全改用碳零排放的電力能源,跟隨已通過類似法律的加州及新墨西哥州。

Since 2005, most power companies have lowered their carbon dioxide emissions significantly, in large part by shifting from coal to gas. Coal plants have become uncompetitive with other kinds of energy generation in much of the country, despite the Trump administration’s efforts to save them by rolling back federal pollution regulations.

自2005年以來,多數電力公司已顯著降低二氧化碳排放,頗大部分是靠從燃煤改為燃氣。儘管川普政府放寬聯邦汙染管制法規欲以拯救燃煤電廠,在國內很多地方,燃煤電廠已無力與其他發電方式競爭。

But in a recent analysis, David Pomerantz, the executive director of the Energy and Policy Institute, a pro-renewables group, looked at the long-term plans of the 22 biggest investor-owned utilities. Some in the Midwest are planning to speed up the rate at which they cut emissions between now and 2030.

大衛.波莫藍茲是支持再生能源的組織「能源和政策研究所」的執行長,他最近做了一項分析,檢視22家最大民營電力公司之長期計畫。中西部有些公司計畫從現在到2030年加速削減排碳。

But other large utilities, like Duke Energy and American Electric Power, expect to reduce their carbon emissions at a slower pace over the next decade than they had over the previous decade.

但是另有些大公司,如杜克能源公司和美國電力公司,卻預期未來10年減排的速度會比過去10年慢。

“I really think gas is at the crux of it,” Pomerantz said. “You’ve got some utilities looking at gas and saying, ‘No thanks, we think there’s a cleaner and cheaper path.’ But then you’ve got others going all-in on gas.”

「我真的認為天然氣是關鍵所在。」波莫藍茲說。「你已見到一些電力公司看著天然氣說『不了,謝謝,我們認為還有更潔淨也更便宜的方法。』但是緊接著你又看到另一些公司全面採用天然氣。」

 

How Subway Delays and the Homeless Crisis Are Intertwined 紐約地鐵誤點和街友有關 官員:與這城市更大問題相關
文/Winnie Hu
譯/李京倫

紐約地鐵誤點和街友有關

After years of decline, New York’s subway is showing signs of improvement, with the percentage of trains running on time creeping upward.

紐約地鐵在連續退步多年後,出現品質改善的跡象,列車準點率逐步提升。

But at least one area is getting worse: disruptions involving homeless people.

不過,至少有一個方面變得更糟:與街友相關的列車運行中斷。

Trains were delayed 659 times last year by homeless people walking on tracks, blocking train doors and engaging in other unruly behavior — a 54% increase from the 428 such delays in 2014, according to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which runs the subway.

經營紐約地鐵的大都會運輸署資料顯示,去年因為街友走在地鐵軌道上、阻擋車門關閉等違規行為,導致列車誤點659次,與2014年為同類原因誤點的次數428次相比,增加54%。

And the disruptions have continued to escalate this year, with 313 train delays in the first three months.

而列車運行中斷的次數,今年繼續增加,一到三月列車共延誤313次。

“It’s a real challenge, and a growing challenge, and that’s consistent with the broader challenge in the city,” said Andy Byford, the official who oversees the subway. “We’re just not equipped to deal with this on our own.”

監管紐約地鐵的官員白福德說:「這是真正的挑戰,愈來愈難應付,而且與紐約這城市更大的問題有關。單憑我們自己不足以解決這個問題。」

Though the subway has long been a refuge for those with nowhere to go, transit officials and riders said they were seeing more homeless people on the subway as the city struggled to address an intractable homeless crisis.

雖然紐約地鐵一直是無家可歸者棲身之處,不過,在紐約竭力處理棘手的街友問題之際,運輸官員和乘客都說,他們發現地鐵裡的街友更多了。

New York has opened 23 new homeless shelters since 2017 and has 20 more in development. It has poured more than $80 million since 2014 into new centers, outreach programs and specialized services specifically aimed at homeless people on the street, including the creation of a database that helps outreach workers identify and track individuals by name.

2017年起,紐約新設23間街友收容所,另外還有20間正在興建。2014年起,紐約斥資8000多萬美元新設街友中心、推行外展服務和特別針對街友的專業服務,包括建立資料庫,以幫助外展服務人員用姓名辨認並追蹤個別街友。

It has also taken more punitive steps. Police officers have handed out a flurry of civil summonses to try to clamp down on disruptive behavior on the subway. Currently, 1,600 to 1,800 summonses per week are issued for prohibited transit conduct — including jumping turnstiles, stretching out in subways cars and on platforms, smoking and drinking alcohol — which is about 16% more than in 2016, according to police officials.

紐約還採取更多懲罰措施。員警一下子發送多張民事傳票,企圖遏制街友擾亂地鐵秩序的行為。目前,法院每周為街友在地鐵裡的違禁行為發出1600到1800張傳票,包括跳過旋轉閘門、躺在車廂或月台上、吸菸和飲酒。警方資料顯示,這類行為發生的次數比2016年增加了約16%。

But it has not been enough. Earlier this year, Mayor Bill de Blasio vowed to crack down on homeless people camped out in the subways. About 58,000 people live in city shelters and an additional 3,800 are on the streets and in the subway.

但這些懲罰措施還不夠。今年稍早,紐約市長白思豪宣告要打擊街友在地鐵裡打地鋪的行為。紐約收容所裡的街友約有5萬8000人,另外還有3800人露宿街頭或以地鐵為家。

Now, city and transit officials are ratcheting up their efforts with a new program aimed at persuading homeless people to leave the subway by offering to waive a civil summons if they agree to go with outreach workers who can offer a variety of services, such as a bed in a shelter or medical treatment.

現在市府和運輸官員都加緊努力推動新計畫,目標是說服街友離開地鐵,方法是當局主動提出願意撤銷民事傳票,條件是街友要同意跟著外展服務人員走。這些服務人員能提供多種服務,如收容所裡的床位或醫療照護。

Summonses carry a fine varying from $25 to $100, including $100 for fare evasion, $75 for moving between subway cars and $50 for obstructing seats.

傳票附帶罰款,從25美元到100美元不等,包括逃票要罰100美元,在車廂之間任意走動罰75美元,占用座位罰50美元。

 

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