全球视野 | 实现碳中和,向气候慈善机构捐款或者购买碳补偿,哪个更好?

 
 
 
 

 

 

向气候慈善机构捐款可能比购买碳补偿更好

Donating to Climate Charities Might Be Better Than Buying Carbon Offsets

 

作者:

ALASTAIR BLAND

来源:

《时代/TIME》杂志

 

 
 
 

文章《Donating to Climate Charities Might Be Better Than Buying Carbon Offsets/向气候慈善机构捐款可能比购买碳补偿更好》发布在《时代/time》杂志的TIME.COM网站上。这篇文章是TIME.COM和CO2.COM关于气候危机关键话题系列的一部分。CO2.COM是TIME.COM的一个部门,旨在帮助企业减少对地球的影响。文章认为向气候慈善机构捐款可能是比购买碳补偿更好的行动。作者指出碳补偿交易的缺陷在于它缺少额外性、永久性,容易泄漏,而且缺少严格的会计、监督和报告,同时几乎不可能证明碳补偿交易所带来的额外的气候效益。因此越过中介机构,直接向气候事业捐赠或许是更好的选择。

 
 

 

 

Another summer of extreme drought, destructive wildfires, and record-torching heat waves has beset the Northern Hemisphere, reminding the climate-conscious of the dangers of the world’s deep dependence on fossil fuels. While most national governments have vowed to reduce emissions of greenhouse gasses, their promises hardly guarantee us a cool future. 

 

又一个有着极端干旱毁灭性野火创纪录热浪的夏天困扰着北半球。这提醒着有气候意识的人,世界对化石燃料的深度依赖带来了危险。虽然大多数国家的政府已经发誓要减少温室气体的排放,但他们的承诺很难保证我们有一个凉爽的未来。 

 

Already, experts fear we’re on track to miss the 2015 Paris Agreement target of keeping warming below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, and preferably no higher than 1.5 degrees. Scientists warn that warming the planet to these levels and beyond will have devastating consequences for life on Earth. 

 

专家们已经担心我们将无法实现2015年《巴黎协定》的目标,即把升温幅度控制在比工业化前的水平高2摄氏度以下,最好不超过1.5摄氏度。科学家们警告说,如果地球变暖达到这水平甚至更高,将会对地球上的生命产生毁灭性的后果。 

 

The lack of government-level ambition to reduce emissions makes it more important than ever that businesses do their part to help mitigate the climate emergency. The most direct way to achieve this is simple: immediately reduce one’s own emissions with things like improved energy efficiency in buildings, rooftop solar panels, and replacing conventional vehicle fleets with electric ones. 

 

政府层面缺乏减排的雄心壮志,这使得企业比以往任何时候都更需要尽自己的力量帮助缓解气候紧急情况。实现这一目标的最直接方法很简单:立即减少自己的排放,如提高建筑物的能源效率,屋顶太阳能电池板,以及用电动车队取代传统车队。 

 

Businesses may also help calm the climate crisis by lending financial support to climate-friendly programs that protect land, develop clean energy, or explore technology for removing carbon from the air. This type of climate change action can be grouped into two categories: buying carbon offsets and making climate contributions. They are essentially the same thing: putting money toward the goal of slowing global warming. But it’s how these actions are respectively framed and flaunted that creates important differences. 

 

企业还可能通过气候友好型项目提供资金支持来帮助缓解气候危机,这些项目保护土地、开发清洁能源,或者是探索从空气中消除碳的技术。这种类型的气候变化行动可以分为两类:购买碳补偿提供气候捐款。它们本质上是同一件事:为减缓全球变暖的目标投入资金。但是,这些行动是如何被分别框定和展现的,这造成了重要的差异。 

 

Climate contributions are simply a philanthropic gesture, often in the form of a financial donation to a nongovernmental organization that works on environmental issues. Carbon offsets are more complicated, and a bit controversial. 

 

气候捐赠只是一种慈善姿态,形式通常是向致力于环境问题的非政府组织提供资金捐赠。碳补偿则更为复杂,而且有点争议性。 

 

Offsets are typically purchased via a broker, like the Switzerland-based Gold Standard or United States-based CoolEffect. These services sell carbon credits offered by NGOs and governments that, using offset proceeds, plant mangroves, distribute clean-burning stoves, preserve grasslands, and install digesters to capture cooking gas from manure among other types of projects. 

 

碳补偿通常是通过经纪人购买的,比如总部设在瑞士的Gold Standard或是总部设在美国的CoolEffect。这些服务商出售由非政府组织和政府提供的碳信用额度,而这些非政府组织和政府则利用碳补偿的收益来种植红树林、分发清洁燃烧炉、保护草原,以及安装沼气池以收集粪便中的烹饪气体等其他类型项目。 

 

When a person or business buys carbon offsets, they ostensibly cancel out some degree of their emissions without necessarily changing parts of their lifestyle or business practices. That’s the rub for many climate activists who feel the very concept of carbon offsetting promises an impossibly happy ending—that the wealthy corporations of the world can continue with business as usual, guilt-free, if they simply pay a fee. 

 

当一个人或企业购买碳补偿时,他们表面上抵消了自己一定程度的排放,而不一定需要改变他们的部分生活方式或商业惯例。对许多气候活动人士来说,这是一个棘手的问题。他们认为碳补偿的概念本身就承诺了一个不可能的幸福结局:只要支付一定的费用,世界上那些富有的公司,就可以没有罪恶感地继续照常营业

 

在烟囱和废气前面的绿色栅栏与树木倒影。(Andrey Rudakov—Bloomberg)

 

好得难以置信?

 

Too Good to be True?

 

First employed at substantial scales in the 1990s, global carbon offset trading has grown rapidly in recent years and today, between voluntary programs for individuals and companies and compliance-based ones for polluting industries, constitutes a multibillion-dollar economy. Carbon offsets help businesses—including many airlines—improve their own climate credentials while kicking money toward climate-friendly projects. 

 

全球碳补偿交易在20世纪90年代首次大规模应用,并在近年来迅速增长。如今,从针对个人和公司的自愿项目到针对污染行业的合规项目,碳补偿交易已经构成了一个数十亿美元的经济体。包括许多航空公司在内,碳补偿帮助企业们提高自身的气候资质,同时将资金投向气候友好型项目。 

 

Part of what makes carbon offsets so appealing is how easy it is to get engaged. It is often little more than an accounting exercise for the buyer, who clicks the mouse or taps the phone screen—sometimes when purchasing flight tickets—for a dose of instant climate karma. 

 

碳补偿之所以如此吸引人,部分原因是它很容易参与。对购买者来说,这往往只是一种会计工作,人们点击鼠标或点击手机屏幕,比如有时是在购买机票时,以获得即时的气候回报。 

 

If it seems too good to be true that’s because it usually is, says University of California, Berkeley, researcher Barbara Haya, the director of the Berkeley Carbon Trading Project. Haya has studied carbon trading for two decades and says most carbon offsets fail to deliver the climate benefits they claim to. One of the most problematic aspects of carbon offsets is something that climate economists call additionality—that is, whether or not the climate benefits created by an offset purchase would have occurred otherwise. 

 

加州大学伯克利分校研究员、伯克利碳交易项目主任芭芭拉·哈亚说,如果它看起来好得不像真的,那是因为它通常就不是真的。哈亚研究碳交易已有20年之久,并表示大多数碳补偿未能提供他们声称的气候效益。碳补偿最成问题的方面之一是气候经济学家称之为额外性的东西:也就是说,无论通过购买补偿产生的气候效益是否会在其他情况下发生。 

 

For instance, if a company hopes to offset its emissions by shelling out some cash for an ongoing forest replanting project or a geologic carbon storage system (by which carbon is captured, then pressurized into liquid form and injected into the earth) already past the ribbon-cutting stage, try again. The project is underway, and while helping its managers carry it out might be a gallant effort, it probably isn’t going to mean additional trees planted or additional carbon sequestered and buried. 

 

例如,如果一家公司希望通过为正在进行的森林补种项目或地质碳储存系统(通过该系统捕获碳,然后加压成液体并注入地球)支付一些现金来抵消其排放,那么再试一次。该项目正在进行中,尽管帮助管理人员执行该项目可能是一项英勇的努力,但这可能并不意味着会种植更多额外的树木或封存和掩埋更多额外的碳。 

 

Similarly, buying offsets to help protect a forest in no danger of being logged does not provide additionality. The Nature Conservancy has infamously become embroiled in a controversy over this very issue. After years of partnering with landowners to sell carbon credits to large corporations, an investigation by Bloomberg revealed that the purported carbon offsets were largely bogus, as in not additional. (The Nature Conservancy said its projects “adhere to peer-reviewed methodologies developed by independent registries and that each project is validated by third-party auditors,” Bloomberg wrote of the organization’s response to its investigation.) 

 

同样地,购买补偿以帮助保护没有被砍伐危险的森林并不提供额外性大自然保护协会在这个问题上卷入了一场臭名昭著的争论彭博社(Bloomberg)的一项调查显示,多年来,在与土地所有者合作向大公司出售碳信用额度后,所谓的碳补偿在很大程度上是虚假的是没有额外性的。(彭博社在谈到该组织对调查的回应时写道,大自然保护协会表示其项目“遵循由独立注册机构制定的同行审查方法,每个项目都经过第三方审计师的验证”。) 

 

By contrast, if a company’s donation will protect more land, install more carbon capture systems, or plant extra trees, then additionality has been achieved. In other words, these are legitimate offsets. Sort of, anyway. James Bushnell, an environmental economist from the University of California, Davis, who has studied offset markets and has advised the California Air Resources Board on the design of its carbon policies, says tree planting and other sorts of revegetation work—and land use offsets, in general—are weak offset tools since trees grow slowly, and it will take decades to achieve the promised offset. Trees also die, which raises the issue of permanence in carbon storage: A mature forest area, slated for destruction and then preserved thanks to cash flow from offset sales, can go up in flames in a wildfire overnight. 

 

相比之下,如果一个公司的捐赠将会保护更多的土地安装更多的碳捕获系统,或种植更多的树木,那么额外性就已经实现了。换句话说,这些是正当的抵消。无论如何,这至少是有那么点意思了。詹姆斯·布什内尔是加州大学戴维斯分校的环境经济学家,他曾研究过补偿市场,并为加州空气资源委员会的碳政策设计提供建议。他表示,植树和其他类型的植被重建工作,以及总体的土地使用补偿,都是薄弱的补偿工具。因为树木生长缓慢,需要数十年才能实现承诺的补偿。树木也会死亡,这就引出了碳储存的持久性问题。一个成熟的林区,原本是要被破坏的,后来由于补偿销售的现金流而被保留下来,也可能会在一夜之间被一场野火烧毁。 

 

Researchers studying California’s forest carbon offset program recently published findings showing just how serious this problem can be. In a paper published Aug. 5 in Frontiers in Forests and Global Change, a team of scientists reported that wildfires have already destroyed 95% of the forest carbon buffer pool meant to protect carbon offsets against wildfire losses through the 21st century. The authors warned that California’s carbon credit program—based on forest protection across much of North America—is failing to provide permanent offsets. 

 

研究加州森林碳补偿计划的研究人员最近发表的研究结果显示了,这个问题可能会有多严重。在8月5日发表于《森林与全球变化前沿》上的一篇论文中,一个科学家小组报告说,野火已经摧毁了95%的森林碳缓冲池,这些缓冲池旨在保护碳补偿在21世纪的野火损失。作者警告说,加州的碳信用项目基于北美大部分地区的森林保护,未能提供永久性的补偿。 

 

Leakage is another issue that can undermine the efficacy of offset programs. It happens when emissions ostensibly prevented by a carbon offset sale are merely displaced, occurring at a later time in another place. Trees saved by an offset program might just be cut somewhere else; and a proposed coal plant blocked with the help of offset cash might just get built in another country. Without scrupulous accounting, oversight, and reporting—and generally knowing how one action in the entire global climate economy influences another—it is very difficult to keep offset leakage under control. 

 

泄漏是另一个可能削弱补偿项目有效性的问题。当碳补偿交易表面上阻止的排放,只是被替换到了以后时间的另一个地方时,就会发生这种情况。被补偿项目拯救的树木可能只是在其他地方被砍伐;在补偿现金的帮助下被阻止的燃煤电厂,可能只是在其他国家被建造。如果没有严格的会计、监督和报告,并普遍了解整个全球气候经济中的一项行动如何影响另一项行动,就很难控制住补偿的泄漏。 

 

In fact, proving beyond a doubt that a carbon offset sale creates additional climate benefits is nearly impossible. “You’re paying someone not to do something they say they were about to do, but how do you know if they were really going to do it?” Bushnell says. He likens the vetting and verifying of carbon offsets to a comparison of parallel universes, one in which someone buys carbon credits, and one in which they don’t. 

 

事实上,要毫无疑问地证明碳补偿销售能带来额外的气候效益几乎是不可能的。布什内尔说:“你付钱让别人不去做他们说要做的事情,但你怎么知道他们是否真的会去做呢?”他把碳补偿的审查和核实比作平行世界的比较。在一个平行宇宙中,有人购买碳信用,而在另一个世界中,人们不购买碳信用。

 

直接为项目做出贡献

 

Contributing Directly to a Program

 

Even when everything checks out, and the offset is additional, permanent, and leak-free, offsets, critics say, have a fundamental flaw. Since the buyer is typically purchasing offsets in order to keep polluting, the scheme neutralizes one’s greenhouse gas footprint at a time when climate policy experts and leaders have called for aggressive emissions reductions and even carbon sequestration to reach not just net-zero emissions but net-negative—removing more emissions from the atmosphere than are being released into it. At the Environmental Defense Fund, Lisbon-based Pedro Barata, the organization’s senior climate director, says the world’s economies are at a point where they must move from merely reducing emissions to reversing them. 

 

批评人士说,即使一切都经过了检验,而且补偿是额外的、永久的、无泄漏的,但补偿也有一个根本性的缺陷。由于买方通常是为了继续污染而购买补偿,在气候政策专家和领导人呼吁积极减排甚至碳封存以达到不仅是净零排放,而且是净负排放(从大气中去除比释放到大气中的更多的排放)的时候,该方案中和了个人的温室气体足迹。环境保护基金会驻里斯本的高级气候主管佩德罗·巴拉塔说,世界经济正处在一个必须从仅仅是减少排放转向扭转排放的阶段。 

 

Offsets, Barata says, can play a role in this shift—but only as a complement to actual reduction measures, not a substitute for them. Barata says companies serious about reducing their climate change impacts should first estimate their own greenhouse gas emissions using an online calculator, then reduce them wherever financially feasible. Only once a company has stopped emitting wherever possible, he says, should they buy offsets to cover actions too expensive or otherwise infeasible to implement. 

 

巴拉塔认为,补偿可以在这种转变中发挥作用,但只能作为实际减排措施的补充而不是替代。巴拉塔说,认真考虑减少气候变化影响的公司应该首先使用在线计算器估计他们自己的温室气体排放量,然后在经济上可行的情况下减少排放量。他说,只有当一家公司尽可能停止排放时,他们才应该购买补偿,以弥补成本过高或无法实施的行动。 

 

“A company cannot claim that they’re making steps toward carbon neutrality when all they do is buy offsets, because that is basically displacing the problem,” he says. 

 

巴拉塔说:“一家公司不能声称他们正在朝着碳中和的方向迈进,而他们所做的只是购买补偿。因为这基本上只是在替换问题。” 

 

But Barata says his organization does not endorse contributions over offsets, and here’s why: Taking the carbon offset approach to supporting climate programs does give the buyer a built-in target for canceling out potentially a very large volume of carbon. With climate contributions, he says, “there’s no anchor in my emissions responsibilities.” This might result in less money donated, he says. 

 

但巴拉塔说,他的组织并不认同捐赠高于补偿,原因是:采取碳补偿的方法来支持气候项目确实给了买家一个内在的目标,来抵消潜在的、非常大量的碳。他说,有了气候捐款,“我的排放责任就没有了锚点”,这可能会导致捐赠资金的减少。 

 

Haya sees it differently. She encourages people and businesses to avoid the temptation of buying offsets and instead make cash contributions directly to a climate-positive cause, like Union of Concerned Scientists, Unite to Light, or Tree People. This gets the money past the middlemen of the carbon offset business—such as firms that investigate and vet carbon offset programs—and more directly to the program one hopes to support. The climate benefits of offset programs, she says, are often difficult to quantify and wildly exaggerated. Buying offsets may even be counterproductive, weakening one’s interest in directly reducing their emissions. 

 

芭芭拉·哈亚对此有不同的看法。她鼓励人们和企业避开购买补偿的诱惑,而是直接向气候积极的事业捐款,比如忧思科学家联盟/Union of Concerned Scientists、Unite to Light或是Tree People。这使资金越过了碳补偿业务的中间人(比如调查和审核碳补偿项目的公司),而更直接地用于人们希望支持的项目。哈亚说,补偿项目的气候效益往往难以量化,而且被疯狂夸大。购买补偿甚至可能产生反作用,削弱了人们对直接减少排放的兴趣。 

 

“Offsets don’t really offset our emissions and I worry that they undermine action by offering a cheap way to pay a fee and meet an emissions target on paper,” she says. “We need to shift to a contributions approach.” 

 

哈亚说:“碳补偿并不能真正抵消我们的排放,我担心它们会破坏行动,因为它们提供了一种廉价的方式来支付费用并在纸上实现排放目标。我们需要转变到捐赠的方法上来。”

 

关键句翻译

 

国务院新闻办公室于7日发布了《携手构建网络空间命运共同体》白皮书。那么网络空间命运共同体的英文怎么说?

 

a Community with a Shared Future in Cyberspace

cyberspace n. 网络空间

翻译、撰稿:丁适于(杭州市基金会发展促进会)

 

 

 

 

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