Discover通勤學英語 15Mins Today每日英語跟讀 Ep.K230: 誰創造了再生能源奇蹟?
每日英語跟讀 Ep.K230: 誰創造了再生能源奇蹟?

每日英語跟讀 Ep.K230: 誰創造了再生能源奇蹟?

Update: 2021-10-21
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每日英語跟讀 Ep.K230: Who Created the Renewable-Energy Miracle ?





 



As terrible as many things in the world are, climate is unique in posing an existential threat to civilization. And it’s horrifying that so many political figures are dead set against any serious action to address that threat.





氣候變遷跟世上許多事物一樣可怕,卻因為能威脅文明存續而更特別,令人震驚的是,有這麼多政治人物堅決反對所有因應這種威脅的認真行動。





Despite that, there’s still a chance that we’ll do enough to avoid catastrophe — not because we’ve grown wiser but because we’ve been lucky. We used to believe that achieving big reductions in greenhouse gas emissions would be difficult and expensive. Over the past dozen years or so, however, we’ve experienced a technological miracle. The costs of solar and wind power have plunged to the point that quite modest incentives could lead to a rapid reduction in use of fossil fuels.





話雖如此,我們仍有機會做得夠多而避開大災難,不是因為我們變聰明,而是因為幸運。我們一直相信,大幅削減溫室氣體排放,不但困難且所費不貲。不過,過去12年左右,我們經驗到技術奇蹟,太陽能和風力發電成本驟降,以致些許誘因就能促使人們快速削減化石燃料用量。





But was it really luck? Did this miracle — actually two miracles, since generating electricity from the sun and from the wind involve completely different technologies — just happen to arrive in our moment of need? Or was it a consequence of good policy decisions?





不過,這真的純屬幸運嗎?這個奇蹟——其實是兩個奇蹟,因為用陽光和風力發電涉及的技術完全不同——只是湊巧在我們需要時發生,還是優質政策的結果?





The answer is that there’s a pretty good case that policy — the Obama administration’s investments in green energy and European subsidies, especially for offshore wind — played a central role.





答案是,有相當充分的證據顯示,美國前總統歐巴馬政府投資綠能和歐洲補貼綠能的政策,尤其是離岸風力發電,扮演重要角色。





What’s the justification for that conclusion? Start with the fact that neither wind nor solar power was a fundamentally new technology. Windmills have been in widespread use at least since the 11th century. Photovoltaic solar power was developed in the 1950s.





怎麼說呢?風力和太陽能發電都不是全新技術,風車至少從11世紀就盛行了,光伏太陽能則在1950年代就研發出來。





What we’re looking at, instead, appears to be a situation in which growing use of renewable energy is itself driving cost reductions. Renewables appear to be subject to learning curves, in which costs fall with cumulative production.





我們看到的似乎是,再生能源用量逐步增加使成本降低。再生能源產業似乎可以用學習曲線來類比,經年累月的生產,會使成本愈來愈低。





And here’s the thing: When an industry has a steep learning curve, government support can have huge positive effects. Subsidize such an industry for a few years, and its costs will fall with experience, and eventually it will reach a tipping point where its growth becomes self-sustaining and the subsidies are no longer needed.





重點是,當一個產業經過長年累月生產就能拉低成本時,政府補貼便能產生巨大的正面效果。補貼這種產業幾年,產業成本會隨著經驗增加而降低,最終會達到臨界點,產業能靠自己的力量持續成長,不再需要補貼。





That’s arguably what has happened, or is on the verge of happening, for renewable energy.





可以說,這就是再生能源已經發生或將要發生的事。





In short, there’s a really good case to be made that government support for renewable energy created a cost miracle that might not have happened otherwise — and this cost miracle may be the key to saving us from utter climate catastrophe.





簡言之,有充分的理由說明,政府補貼再生能源締造了成本奇蹟,否則奇蹟不會發生,而這項奇蹟或許是拯救我們免於極端氣候災難的關鍵。Source article: https://udn.com/news/story/6904/5754427

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每日英語跟讀 Ep.K230: 誰創造了再生能源奇蹟?

每日英語跟讀 Ep.K230: 誰創造了再生能源奇蹟?

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