经济学人官方译文 | 亚马孙雨林的未来:巴西有能力拯救地球上最大的雨林——或者摧毁它

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The future of the Amazon
亚马孙雨林的未来
Deathwatch
临终看护
Brazil has the power to save Earth’s greatest rainforest—or destroy it
巴西有能力拯救地球上最大的雨林——或者摧毁它

ALTHOUGH ITS cradle is the sparsely wooded savannah, humankind has long looked to forests for food, fuel, timber and sublime inspiration. Still a livelihood for 1.5bn people, forests maintain local and regional ecosystems and, for the other 6.2bn, provide a—fragile and creaking—buffer against climate change. Now droughts, wildfires and other human-induced changes are compounding the damage from chainsaws. In the tropics, which contain half of the world’s forest biomass, tree-cover loss has accelerated by two-thirds since 2015; if it were a country, the shrinkage would make the tropical rainforest the world’s third-biggest carbon-dioxide emitter, after China and America.
尽管人类源起稀树草原,但长期以来一直依仗森林获得食物、燃料、木材和崇高的灵感。现在仍有15亿人靠森林为生,是森林维持着地方和地区的生态系统。对其余的62亿人来说,森林为气候变化提供了缓冲——虽然很脆弱而且正在失灵。现在,干旱、山火和其他人为的变化正在加重砍伐林木所造成的损害。在有着全球一半森林生物量的热带地区,自2015年以来林木覆盖面积减少的速度加快了三分之二。如果把热带雨林看作一个国家,这种面积收缩令它成为仅次于中国和美国的世界第三大二氧化碳排放国。

Nowhere are the stakes higher than in the Amazon basin—and not just because it contains 40% of Earth’s rainforests and harbours 10-15% of the world’s terrestrial species. South America’s natural wonder may be perilously close to the tipping-point beyond which its gradual transformation into something closer to steppe cannot be stopped or reversed, even if people lay down their axes. Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, is hastening the process—in the name, he claims, of development. The ecological collapse his policies may precipitate would be felt most acutely within his country’s borders, which encircle 80% of the basin—but would go far beyond them, too. It must be averted.
亚马孙流域的热带雨林面临的风险最高——不仅是因为它占到地球雨林面积的40%,而且是世界上10%至15%的陆地物种的家园。亚马孙雨林可能已濒临临界点,一旦过界,即使人们放下斧头,也无法停止或逆转南美洲这一自然奇观逐渐转变成像干草原那样的地方。巴西总统博索纳罗正在加速这一进程——他声称这是为了发展。他的政策可能引发的生态崩溃将在他自己国家的境内造成最严重的影响,因为亚马孙流域有80%都在巴西境内。但受影响的地区将远不止巴西。这一进程必须被遏止。

Humans have been chipping away at the Amazon rainforest since they settled there well over ten millennia ago. Since the 1970s they have done so on an industrial scale. In the past 50 years Brazil has relinquished 17% of the forest’s original extent, more than the area of France, to road- and dam-building, logging, mining, soyabean farming and cattle ranching. After a seven-year government effort to slow the destruction, it picked up in 2013 because of weakened enforcement and an amnesty for past deforestation. Recession and political crisis further pared back the government’s ability to enforce the rules. Now Mr Bolsonaro has gleefully taken a buzz saw to them. Although congress and the courts have blocked some of his efforts to strip parts of the Amazon of their protected status, he has made it clear that rule-breakers have nothing to fear, despite the fact that he was elected to restore law and order. Because 70-80% of logging in the Amazon is illegal, the destruction has soared to record levels. Since he took office in January, trees have been disappearing at a rate of over two Manhattans a week.
早在一万多年前人类在亚马孙定居以来,就一直在蚕食着当地的雨林。上世纪70年代以来,人们开始大规模采伐。过去50年里,巴西已将雨林原始面积的17%(超过法国国土面积)用于修道路和水坝、伐木、采矿、种大豆和畜牧。政府曾花费七年时间来减缓这种破坏,但因执法力度减弱和对过去毁林行为的赦免,到2013年破坏又重新加速。经济衰退和政治危机进一步削弱了政府的执法能力。现在博索纳罗兴高采烈地向雨林举起了圆锯。虽然国会和法院已经阻止了他取消亚马孙流域部分保护区的一些尝试,但他已经明确表示违规者不必担心,尽管选民选他是为了恢复法律和秩序。由于亚马孙流域七八成的砍伐都是非法的,造成的破坏已飙升至创纪录水平。自博索纳罗1月上任以来,每周消失的森林面积超过两个曼哈顿。

The Amazon is unusual in that it recycles much of its own water. As the forest shrivels, less recycling takes place. At a certain threshold, that causes more of the forest to wither so that, over a matter of decades, the process feeds on itself. Climate change is bringing the threshold closer every year as the forest heats up. Mr Bolsonaro is pushing it towards the edge. Pessimists fear that the cycle of runaway degradation may kick in when another 3-8% of the forest vanishes—which, under Mr Bolsonaro, could happen soon. There are hints the pessimists may be correct. In the past 15 years the Amazon has suffered three severe droughts. Fires are on the rise.
亚马孙的不寻常之处在于它大部分的水资源可以自循环。随着雨林不断萎缩,自循环的规模也变小了,到了某个阈值会导致更多森林枯萎,所以几十年后萎缩的过程就不再需要外力推动了。气候变化导致雨林温度不断上升,使阈值每年都在降低。博索纳罗正在把雨林推向这一绝境。悲观主义者担心,如果雨林再消失3%至8%,失控退化的循环可能就会启动——而在博索纳罗当权之下这可能很快就会发生。有迹象表明悲观主义者可能没错。过去15年中,亚马孙遭受了三次严重的干旱。雨林火灾次数正在上升。

Brazil’s president dismisses such findings, as he does science more broadly. He accuses outsiders of hypocrisy—did rich countries not fell their own forests?—and, sometimes, of using environmental dogma as a pretext to keep Brazil poor. “The Amazon is ours,” the president thundered recently. What happens in the Brazilian Amazon, he thinks, is Brazil’s business.
巴西总统对这些发现不予理会,就像他对待其他科学研究一样。他指斥外人虚伪——富国就不砍伐森林了吗?有时他也指责他们用环境教条作借口让巴西陷于穷困。“亚马孙是我们的。”这位总统近期大吼道。他认为如何处置巴西境内的亚马孙雨林是巴西自己的事。

Except it isn’t. A “dieback” would directly hurt the seven other countries with which Brazil shares the river basin. It would reduce the moisture channelled along the Andes as far south as Buenos Aires. If Brazil were damming a real river, not choking off an aerial one, downstream nations could consider it an act of war. As the vast Amazonian store of carbon burned and rotted, the world could heat up by as much as 0.1°C by 2100—not a lot, you may think, but the preferred target of the Paris climate agreement allows further warming of only 0.5°C or so.
但事实并非如此。在巴西之外,“森林死亡”还将直接伤害亚马孙流域的其他七个国家。它将减少沿安第斯山脉向南移动的空气中的水分,最远可影响到布宜诺斯艾利斯。如果巴西是在建坝拦堵一条真正的河流,而不是堵塞一条空中河道,下游国家可能视之为宣战。随着大量储存着碳的亚马孙雨林被焚烧和腐烂,到2100年全球可能会升温0.1°C。你可能会觉得这并不是很多,但《巴黎协定》的首选目标只允许进一步升温0.5°C左右。

Mr Bolsonaro’s other arguments are also flawed. Yes, the rich world has razed its forests. Brazil should not copy its mistakes, but learn from them instead as, say, France has, by reforesting while it still can. Paranoia about Western scheming is just that. The knowledge economy values the genetic information sequestered in the forest more highly than land or dead trees. Even if it did not, deforestation is not a necessary price of development. Brazil’s output of soyabeans and beef rose between 2004 and 2012, when forest-clearing slowed by 80%. In fact, aside from the Amazon itself, Brazilian agriculture may be deforestation’s biggest victim. The drought of 2015 caused maize farmers in the central Brazilian state of Mato Grosso to lose a third of their harvest.
博索纳罗的其他论点也经不起推敲。是的,富国已经将森林夷为平地。但巴西不应重蹈覆辙,而应该吸取它们的经验教训,比如说法国就已经在亡羊补牢,重新造林。猜疑西方腹黑仅仅是妄想症而已。知识经济中,隔离在森林里的遗传信息的价值远高于土地或枯木。即使不是如此,砍伐森林也不是发展的必然代价。2004年至2012年,巴西的森林砍伐放缓了80%,而其大豆和牛肉产量却有所增加。事实上,除了亚马孙雨林自身,巴西的农业可能是森林砍伐的最大受害者。2015年的干旱导致巴西中部马托格罗索州(Mato Grosso)种植玉米的农户损失了三分之一的收成。

For all these reasons, the world ought to make clear to Mr Bolsonaro that it will not tolerate his vandalism. Food companies, pressed by consumers, should spurn soyabeans and beef produced on illegally logged Amazonian land, as they did in the mid-2000s. Brazil’s trading partners should make deals contingent on its good behaviour. The agreement reached in June by the EU and Mercosur, a South American trading bloc of which Brazil is the biggest member, already includes provisions to protect the rainforest. It is overwhelmingly in the parties’ interest to enforce them. So too for China, which is anxious about global warming and needs Brazilian agriculture to feed its livestock. Rich signatories of the Paris agreement, who pledged to pay developing ones to plant carbon-consuming trees, ought to do so. Deforestation accounts for 8% of global greenhouse-gas emissions but attracts only 3% of the aid earmarked for combating climate change.
鉴于所有这些原因,世界应该让博索纳罗明白他破坏公共资源的行为不会被容忍。在消费者施压之下,食品公司应该像在2005年前后那样,弃用在非法采伐的亚马孙土地上生产的大豆和牛肉。巴西的贸易伙伴应以其良好行为为条件与其开展交易。欧盟和以巴西为最大成员国的南方共同市场(Mercosur)6月达成的协议已经包含了保护热带雨林的条款。执行这些条款绝对符合各方利益。对全球变暖感到焦虑并需要巴西农业来喂养其牲畜的中国也该如此。《巴黎协定》的富裕签约国承诺向发展中国家付费来种植树木吸碳,它们也应履行承诺。森林砍伐占全球温室气体排放的8%,但对此的援助仅占全球气候变化援助的3%。

The wood and the trees
杀鸡取卵

If there is a green shoot in Mr Bolsonaro’s scorched-earth tactics towards the rainforest, it is that they have made the Amazon’s plight harder to ignore—and not just for outsiders. Brazil’s agriculture minister urged Mr Bolsonaro to stay in the Paris agreement. Unchecked deforestation could end up hurting Brazilian farmers if it leads to foreign boycotts of Brazilian farm goods. Ordinary Brazilians should press their president to reverse course. They have been blessed with a unique planetary patrimony, whose value is intrinsic and life-sustaining as much as it is commercial. Letting it perish would be a needless catastrophe.
如果说博索纳罗对热带雨林的焦土战术中还有一丝希望的话,那就是它让亚马孙的困境更难被忽视——而且不仅仅是对外人。巴西农业部长敦促博索纳罗继续履行《巴黎协定》。如果导致其他国家因巴西不加控制地砍伐森林而抵制其农产品,最终可能会伤害巴西农民。巴西民众应该敦促他们的总统改变方向。他们有幸拥有地球上这独一无二的遗产,它不仅有商业上的价值,也有其本身内在的价值以及维系生命的价值。任其衰朽将带来一场不必要的灾难。

 

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