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展望2050:全球環境治理要從根本翻修 人類才能避禍

ENS荷蘭,阿姆斯特丹報導
全球環境治理必須馬上來一次根本上的大翻修,才能避免人類踰越地球環境系統危險的「臨界點」!32位來自世界各地的社會科學家及研究員16日在《科學》期刊中發表新論文,指出上述結論。不久之前,由全球前34大經濟體組成的經濟合作暨發展組織(OECD),才剛發表一份未來40年展望報告,同樣支持這個論點...

本論文是由「地球系統治理(Earth System Governance, ESG)」研究群的32位治理專家聯合撰寫。論文指出,人類可能正在踰越所謂的「臨界點」,意即跨越了「地球的限度」(planetary boundaries)而越來越接近崩潰點 (points of no return)。專家舉例說,天災急遽增加、食物及水資源安全出問題、生物多樣性流失及氣候變遷等,僅僅只是一部分證據而已。

專家指出,要減少全球環境災害的風險,國際政治的「憲法時刻」(constitutional moment)已經到來,其規模和重要性不亞於二次世界大戰後國際政治改革。

「每個社會都必須調整方向,避免踰越關鍵的地球系統臨界點,否則那將導致令快速且不可逆轉的變遷。不能僅僅只是『多做一些改變』而已,因為要擋下地球系統轉變的趨勢,需要更深層且更快速的社會變革。」論文主要作者、阿姆斯特丹自由大學及瑞典隆德大學法蘭克兼任教授畢爾曼(Frank Biermann)如此呼籲。

畢爾曼同時也是「地球系統治理計畫」科學指導委員會主席,他進一步表示,「不論在聯合國體下內外,全球環境治理的結構必須有所改變,並且不論公部門、私部門都要參與其中。」

2012年聯合國永續發展會議、延續1992年里約地球高峰會的Rio+20大會,預訂6月20至22日在巴西里約熱內盧里約召開。上述這份論文,是科學社群對大會的重要貢獻。

該論文名為《導航「人類世」:改善地球系統治理》(Navigating the Anthropocene: Improving Earth System Governance),研究團隊在其中寫到,「科學評估顯示,人類活動已造成多個地球次系統的變動,其變動程度已超過了50萬年來自然變動的範圍」。

各國環境首長在「聯合國環境規劃署(UN Environment Program)」2012年2月22日召開的會議上發言。(圖片來源:IISD)他們認為,應該讓G20的前20大經濟體扮演更強的角色,在聯合國新設一個「永續發展理事會」 (UN Sustainable Development Council),更完善地統整聯合國體系內的永續發展議題。他們也主張現行的聯合國環境規劃署(UNEP)應提升為聯合國正式機構,賦予更大的職權、充足無虞的經費,以促進國際環境法規與標準的制定和執行。

專家同時建議,應強化聯合國民間諮詢團體的權力,並採用更好的機制,使讓得民間社會代表之間影響和資源的差異得以平衡。

專家也建議更仰賴條件多數決(qualified majority voting)來改善決策速度。「按目前的國際協商程序,若沒有等到締約國全部達成共識,沒辦法採取任何行動。這種模式必須要改變。」論文作者之一、亞利桑那大學法學院國際關係教授阿巴特(Kenneth Abbott)如此表示。

另外,專家呼籲各國政府「在全球尺度上填平所有的法規落差,包括新興科技的使用。」阿巴特警告,「氣候變遷這類議題已獲得大量的關注,但像是奈米科技等新興技術,雖可能帶來巨大的利益,卻同時存在著永續發展的潛在風險。」

該論文主張增加對貧窮國家的財政援助,「透過全球排放交易市場或空中運輸環保稅等新工具,可提供穩固的財政資源。」

阿巴特指出,「打造更綠色的經濟,創造有效的永續發展憲法架構,會是今年夏天里約永續發展高峰會的兩大焦點。這份論文是要帶出討論該議題的急迫性,先描繪出一塊輪廓,替更有效的永續地球系統治理體系鋪路。」

不作為的後果

印讀德里近郊的空氣污染(brent granby攝)另一分報告《OECD 2050世界環境展望:不作為的後果》(OECD Environmental Outlook to 2050: The Consequences of Inaction)也支持了上述論點。這份報告提出對未來40年社會經濟趨勢的最新情境預測,並指出四個主要方面的關切:氣候變遷、生物多樣性、水資源以及環境污染對衛生的衝擊。

該報告預測,即使受到近年來的衰退影響,全球經濟仍預計將在2050年成長將近四倍。生活水準的提升將伴隨著更多對能源、食物及天然資源的需求,更多污染也將接踵而至。「如今,已有更為環保的經濟成長工具,能夠幫助各國政府們因應這些急迫的挑戰。為因應全球超過90億人口的需求,在2050年前,發展出更環保的農業、水資源利用、能源供給和製造業,至關重要。」

OECD警告,「不論在經濟層面或對於人類的影響,不作為的代價極大。」該報告提出欠缺新政策的後果如下:

  • 2050年,全球的能源需求將會增加80%,大部分來自於新興經濟體,且其中85%是基於對石化燃料的依賴。這將導致全球溫室氣體排放量增加50%並惡化空氣污染。北美的能源需求預計會增加15%, OECD歐洲會員國則增加28%、日本增加2.5%,墨西哥則增加112%。
  • 城市空氣污染預計在2050年前變成全球最主要的環境致死因子,比水污染和衛生設施缺乏還嚴重。暴露於懸浮微粒而導致呼吸機並所造成的早逝人口 會增加,可能比現在的數量多出一倍;現在這個數目是全球每年3600萬人,大部分發生於中國和印度。因為老化及都市化的人口, OECD國家可能因地面臭氧在西元2050年前 出現更多的早逝人口,僅次於印度。

  • 至於陸地範圍,全球生物多樣性估計會再流失10%,尤其在亞洲、歐洲及南部非洲大量減少。成熟林涵蓋面積預計縮減13%。目前全球河流與湖泊生態系的生物多樣性已流失1/3,預計在2050年前會流失更多。
  • 全球水資源需求將增加約55%,來自於製造業需求成長(+400%)、火力發電廠(140%)及民生需求(+130%)。這些需求彼此競爭,將使農業用水產生危機。 現今,全球人口有40%以上雖然居住在河流流域卻飽受嚴重缺水之苦,OECD報告預計,這樣的人口會增加到23億人,特別集中在北非洲、南非洲與中南美洲。
Experts: Avoid Disaster, Overhaul Global Environmental Governance
AMSTERDAM, The Netherlands, March 19, 2012 (ENS)

A fundamental overhaul of global environmental governance is needed now to avoid dangerous "tipping points" in the Earth system, 32 social scientists and researchers from around the world conclude in a new paper published Friday in the journal "Science."

These conclusions are reinforced by a new 40-year-outlook report just issued by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, OECD, whose 34 members include the world's largest economies.

Sharp increases in natural disasters, food and water security problems, biodiversity loss and climate change are just part of the evidence that humanity may be crossing planetary boundaries and approaching points of no return, called tipping points, write 32 leading governance experts from the Earth System Governance research alliance in their "Science" article.

To reduce the risk of global environmental disaster, they say a "constitutional moment" in world politics is required, comparable in scale and importance to the reform of international governance that followed World War II.

Lead author Frank Biermann, of Free University Amsterdam and Lund University, Sweden, said, "Societies must change course to steer away from critical tipping points in the Earth system that could lead to rapid and irreversible change. Incremental change is no longer sufficient to bring about societal change at the level and with the speed needed to stop Earth system transformation."

"Structural change in global governance is needed, both inside and outside the UN system and involving both public and private actors," said Biermann, who also is chair of the scientific steering committee of the Earth System Governance Project.

The paper is a key contribution of the science community to the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, Rio+20 slated from June 20-22 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. This gathering follows up on the Earth Summit in Rio in 1992.

"Science assessments indicate that human activities are moving several of Earth's sub-systems outside the range of natural variability typical for the previous 500,000 years," wrote the authors in the opening of their article, "Navigating the Anthropocene: Improving Earth System Governance."

The research group argues for the creation of a UN Sustainable Development Council to better integrate sustainable development concerns across the UN system, with a strong role for the 20 largest economies, the G20. They supports upgrading the UN Environment Programme to a full-fledged UN agency, a status that would give it greater authority, more secure funding, and facilitate the creation and enforcement of international regulations and standards.

Stronger consultative rights for representatives of civil society in global governance are needed, based on mechanisms that balance differences in influence and resources among civil society representatives, these experts recommend.

To improve the speed of decision-making in international negotiations, the authors called for stronger reliance on qualified majority voting.

"There has to be a change in international negotiating procedures from the current situation, in which no action can be taken unless consensus is reached among all participating governments," said contributing author Kenneth Abbott, a professor of international relations in Arizona State University's Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law.

The authors also called for governments "to close remaining regulatory gaps at the global level," including the treatment of emerging technologies.

"A great deal of attention has been given to issues such as climate change, yet nanotechnology and other emerging technologies, which may bring significant benefits, also carry potential risks for sustainable development," warned Abbott.

The research group also argues for increased financial support for poorer nations, writing, "More substantial financial resources could be made available through novel financial mechanisms, such as global emissions markets or air transportation levies for sustainability purposes."

"Working to make the world economy more green and to create an effective institutional framework for sustainable development will be the two main focal points at this summer's United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro, “Abbott said. " This article was written to bring urgency to those discussions and to outline specific building blocks for a more effective and sustainable Earth system governance system."

These conclusions are supported by the "OECD Environmental Outlook to 2050: The Consequences of Inaction" presents the latest projections of socio-economic trends over the next four decades, and their implications for four key areas of concern: climate change, biodiversity, water and the health impacts of environmental pollution.

Despite the recent recession, the global economy is projected to nearly quadruple to 2050. Rising living standards will be accompanied by ever growing demands for energy, food and natural resources - and more pollution.

"Greener sources of growth can help governments today as they tackle these pressing challenges. Greening agriculture, water and energy supply and manufacturing will be critical by 2050 to meet the needs of over nine billion people," said OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria.

"The costs of inaction could be colossal, both in economic and human terms," the OECD warned.

Without new policies, the OECD report warns:

  • World energy demand in 2050 will be 80 percent higher, with most of the growth to come from emerging economies and still 85 percent reliant on fossil fuel-based energy. This could lead to a 50 percent increase in greenhouse gas emissions globally and worsening air pollution. Energy demand for North America is projected to increase about +15 percent, for OECD Europe +28 percent, for Japan +2.5, and for Mexico +112 percent.
  • Urban air pollution is set to become the top environmental cause of mortality worldwide by 2050, ahead of dirty water and lack of sanitation. The number of premature deaths from exposure to particulate air pollutants leading to respiratory failure could double from current levels to 3.6 million every year globally, with most occurring in China and India. Because of their ageing and urbanized populations, OECD countries are likely to have a high rate of premature death from ground-level ozone in 2050, second only to India.
  • On land, global biodiversity is projected to decline by a further 10 percent, with significant losses in Asia, Europe and Southern Africa. Areas of mature forests are projected to shrink by 13 percent. About one-third of biodiversity in rivers and lakes worldwide has already been lost, and further losses are projected to 2050.
  • Global water demand will increase by some 55 percent, due to growing demand from manufacturing (+400 percent), thermal power plants (+140 percent) and domestic use (+130 percent). These competing demands will put water use by farmers at risk. The OECD report projects that 2.3 billion more people than today - over 40 percent of the global population - will be living in river basins under severe water stress, especially in North and South Africa, and South and Central Asia.
引用來源:ENS-NEWS