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Environment Protection in US
美國的環保問題

While the G8 summit was underway, and once the news of Wednesday's London bombings became known, the American president George Bush was widely quoted on the subject of international terrorism. He spoke of his resolve to bring the perpetrators to justice, and to "spread an ideology of hope and compassion that will overwhelm" what he called "their ideology of hate". 

新2代理网站But as the G8 meeting drew to a close, the US President had rather less to say about the Plan of Action, announced by the world leaders, to tackle what they deemed the "serious and long-term challenge" of climate change.

新2代理网站Stephen Evans, who's on a driving tour of the western United States, says many Americans remain unconvinced that this is an issue they need to take seriously:

新2代理网站I've just driven down from Salt Lake City, through the desert of Utah and Nevada. It is a magnificent sublime wilderness where horizons are wide when they're not broken by the craggy splendour of an ancient volcanic landscape.  As the sun sinks here, the rocks glow red and it's hard to imagine a threat to the environment where space seems limitless. 

新2代理网站And yet, many of these escarpments hide sites where humans dispose of all sorts of waste. Just beyond the beauty is a land being violated. This is where America throws its trash over the back wall.

I've just been to Yucca Mountain in Nevada where tunnels are being dug deep inside to bury spent nuclear fuel -- engineers told me for ten thousand years.  Around here there are dumps for every toxic waste. Dumps that feature on maps but not in the public consciousness. The city of Salt Lake has a big rubbish dump in Skull Valley.

But none of this is evident. Where people on other continents feel the pressure of the crowd, Americans still breathe in what seems deceptively like limitless, virgin territory.

It's also a country, a continent, of extreme climates. This land freezes in winter and is scorching now -- even with snow on the peaks around -- and that too affects the American perception of climate change.

新2代理网站In Europe, insurance premiums rise as homes get built on flood plains in a search for every inch of exploitable space. In America, there is not this connection between wallets and weather. Extremes of climate seem natural.

新2代理网站Only on the crowded coasts is the environment an issue. California and New York have tough regulations. In between, they often can't see what the fuss is about. It's a big country they feel. The taxi-driver in Texas who told me that global warming was hokum is not a lone voice, some of the big oil companies that lobby Mr. Bush are also loathe to concede a link between their product and climate change.

新2代理网站Even where there is concern, it can seem unfocussed. I went to a shop in Santa Fe in New Mexico -- a trendy shop for concerned people, where there was a lot of hessian, and earthenware products and posters with slogans about the earth.

They also sold wooden pens there -- ballpoint pens in casing wood rather than plastic. I asked the woman behind the counter why on earth they sold wooden pens. She replied as though I was a bit stupid -- that wood was more natural -- "natural", as though that somehow meant it was kinder on the world's resources.

新2代理网站And at some of the fancier supermarkets now in trendy areas, the checkout person asks what kind of bag you want: "Paper or plastic?" I usually ask which one is better for the environment, to which the reply is invariably: "I don't know". 

The environment sometimes seems like the fashionable issue of the moment, the right badge to wear, the current political designer label.

Things are changing though. Some Christians argue that gas-guzzling cars are a waste of the bountiful creation of their and the President's god.

新2代理网站Neo-conservatives are worried that importing oil means relying on hostile regimes, which, moreover, might funnel some of the dollars to anti-American causes -- what the neo-cons call a "terrorism tax on the American people".

The former head of the CIA, James Woolsey, for example, drives a Honda Prius, powered partly by a battery rather than the notorious internal combustion engine which burns gasoline and emits the smoke that many scientists believe causes global warming.

Mr. Woolsey, no tree-hugging liberal he, drives this cleaner car for what he calls "national security reasons".

And further from the chattering elites in Washington, concern about the environment usually translates as concern about the price of fuel. The last time I was in the Six Pack Diner in Detroit, the car-workers guzzling their cholesterol were not opining about the melting polar ice-caps. 

They are worried, though, that their employers -- Ford and General Motors -- have failed to catch a new appetite for cars that consume less.  More clean Japanese cars means fewer jobs in Detroit.

新2代理网站So there is pressure on Mr. Bush over the environment but not as a grand cause. It's a concern rather about importing an expensive fuel from hostile places. And Mr Bush may respond with tax incentives for cleaner technology that the US market seems increasingly to want.

Not so spectacular of course as grand declarations of global good intent, but maybe effective nonetheless.


參考譯文:

當八國峰會期間倫敦大爆炸的消息傳出來以后,很多人都在討論美國總統布什關于國際恐怖主義的態度問題。布什談到了如何將恐怖分子繩之以法,他要在廣大人民中“形成一種壓倒性的希望和激情”,也就是他所談到的“仇恨意識”。

新2代理网站但是隨著八國首腦會議的臨近,各國首腦們紛紛表示,美國總統布什很少談論到行動計劃,來解決其他各國都很重視的氣候變暖問題。

斯蒂芬·埃文斯目前正開著汽車在美國西部旅行。他說,大部分的美國人并不認為氣候變暖是一個值得他們重視的問題。

我剛剛開車從鹽湖城穿過尤他沙漠來到了內華達。那是一幅廣闊的野外的景象,那里有寬闊的地平線。還有一派火山一樣的崎嶇的壯觀的景象,這并沒有影響到地平線的壯觀。當太陽在這里落山的時候,巖石發出火紅的光芒。很難想象出,這樣的景象會給某些地區的環境造成威脅。

然而,很多這樣的懸崖峭壁實際上是人類傾倒各種各樣的垃圾的地方。在這樣一派美麗景色的背后,是人類對環境的破壞。這里就是美國傾倒垃圾的地方。

新2代理网站我剛剛去過內華達的絲蘭山。在那里,人們正在挖掘一個巨大的地洞來掩埋核廢料。工程師告訴我,將要埋藏10000年。這附近還有很多傾倒各種有毒物質的垃圾堆。這些垃圾堆大到可以在地圖上顯現出來,但是人們卻沒有意識到問題的嚴重性。鹽湖城在司庫爾河谷地區就有一個巨大的垃圾堆。

但是這些現象對于美國人來說還不夠重視。當其他大洲的國家正在感受著人口稠密給他們帶來的不便時,美國還在這片廣闊的處女地上自由地呼吸。

這是一個有著極端的氣候的國家和大洲。冬天土地都凍結了,而夏天卻出奇的炎熱——同時山頂附近卻有積雪——這一切都無不影響著美國人對于氣候變暖的看法。

在歐洲,如果你在大的平原上面建造房屋,以期開闊更多的空間的話,那你要上繳更多的稅款。但是在美國,氣候變暖和金錢還沒有聯系起來。極端的氣候對于美國人來說是很正常的。

新2代理网站只有在那些擁擠的沿海城市里,氣候變化才是一個問題。加利福尼亞和紐約都有嚴格的規定。但是在其他地方,人們根本不知道為什么要談論什么氣候變暖。美國是一個地域廣闊的國家。德克薩斯州的一個出租車司機對我說,氣候變化這類話都是廢話。而這位司機的觀點是具有代表性的,代表了很多人的心聲。有些游說總統的大石油公司也討厭將他們的產品與氣候變化扯上關系。

新2代理网站即使在有些地方,人們表現出對氣候變化的顧慮,那么這樣的顧慮也不很嚴重。我來到新墨西哥州的圣達菲的一個專門為擔心氣候變暖的人們開設的商店里。那里有一些粗麻布,還有一些陶器和海報,上面印有關于保護地球的標語。

在那里,店主售賣木制筆——就是外面是木制包裝的圓珠筆。我問了售貨員為什么要賣木制的筆。她的回答讓我感覺自己好像有點傻——“這樣更自然嘛!”似乎某種程度上這意味著對大自然會更有好處一樣。

在有些時尚地區的超市里面,買完東西結帳時,售貨員會問,您要塑料袋還是紙袋。通常我會問他們,哪種袋子更環保一些?而我得到的回答總是:“不知道。”

新2代理网站環境有時好像是一個時尚的話題,是我們要戴的正確的徽章,是當前政客們的標簽而已。

新2代理网站情況已經發生了很大的變化。有些基督教徒認為那些耗油量極大的汽車是對上帝的慷慨仁慈的一種浪費。

新2代理网站有些新保守主義者擔心,進口石油就意味著依靠了那些敵對國家。同時,進口石油也使很多美元流失到了美國的敵對國。新保守主義者把這種情況叫做“恐怖主義者從美國人民身上征收的稅款” 。

例如,中央情報局的前局長詹姆士·烏爾什就開著一輛本田普銳斯。這部車的驅動力是電池,而不是臭名昭著的內燃機——燒汽油排廢氣,科學家們認為會造成氣候變暖的內燃機。

烏爾什先生不是一個自由主義者。他開著這部更加環保的車,目的是為了維護他所謂的“國家安全”。

新2代理网站從美國的一些評論員的評論當中,我們不難發現,目前人們的擔心已經從環保轉向了油價問題。上次我去底特律的時候,正在緊張生產汽車的工人們并沒有意識到全球變暖導致的冰川融化問題。

但是他們擔心的是他們的雇主——福特和通用汽車公司——還沒有意識到人們已經開始越來越喜歡耗油量低的汽車了。

于是布什總統就有了壓力,他必須重視環保這個并不算大事業的事業。這是一個事關從敵對國家進口石油的大問題。而布什總統則要對傳統汽車征稅,以此來推進美國市場需求量越來越大的環保科技。

環境保護當然不是一個很偉大的事業,但是的確是一個很有效的事業。