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美联储前女主席撰文:美国需要最雄心勃勃的气候计划

美国气候政策的目标应该比《巴黎协定》更加严格。

中国河北省张家口市一家工厂的烟囱。图片来源:Xuanyu Han/Getty Images

在2015年的巴黎气候大会上,美国政府承诺到2025年前,其温室气体排放量要在2005年的基础上下降26%至28%。虽然特朗普政府一直放话说要退出《巴黎协定》,但现阶段该协定仍是美国政府制订一切气候计划的标准。

不过这也仅仅是个开始而已。研究表明,就算各国都达到了他们在巴黎峰会上的承诺,要达到本世纪内将平均气温增幅控制在2摄氏度以内的目标,各国非得进一步削减碳排放才行。因此,美国气候政策的目标应该比《巴黎协定》更加严格才是。

我们认为,要想达到这个目标,美国前国务卿詹姆斯·贝克与乔治·舒尔茨联合提出的方案或许是最具有政治可行性的。他们的方案是对所有碳排放逐渐加征费用,这笔钱最终会被返还给全体美国人民。这样的话,一个四口之家,每年大约会分到2000美元的“碳红利”。

根据他们的方案,每吨碳的“排放费”是40美元。贝克和舒尔茨的“碳红利”计划,或许也是当今各主要碳排放国提出的最雄心勃勃的收费计划了。

美国气候领导委员会近期发布了一篇题为《超越巴黎协定》的报告,这篇报告量化了可以合理预期的减排目标。该报告的序言由美国前国务卿乔治·舒尔茨、前财政部长劳伦斯·萨默斯、前环保署署长克里斯汀·托德·惠特曼、前沃尔玛董事长罗布·沃顿以及我们两人共同撰写。

根据气候领导委员会的分析,如果奥巴马时代的所有气候法规都保持不变,到2025年,美国的温室气体排放量将减少大约18%。相比之下,如果“贝克-舒尔茨计划”得以实施,那么到2025年,美国将实现大约32%的减排,从而大大超过美国在巴黎峰会上的承诺。

非盈利组织“未来资源”(Resources for the Future)根据“贝克-舒尔茨计划”,基于2021年至2035年间征税碳排放税的假设,对该计划进行了数学建模,并按并按3%到6%的年通胀率水平进行调整后。该模型发现,按照该计划,到2035年,美国与能源相关的二氧化碳排放量将比2005年下降41%到47%,从而大大提高了美国的环保水平。

很显然,贝尔和舒尔茨的“碳红利”计划是一项极为野心勃勃的气候解决方案。它在政治上也是最可行的,因为它解决了所有主要利益相关方的合理关切,并使各方都能实现重要胜利。

这个方案的基本理念已经获得了许多行业的重量级企业领袖的支持,包括埃克森美孚、壳牌、AECOM、安联、AT&T、Exelon、First Solar、通用汽车、强生、大都会人寿、宝洁、百事可乐、桑坦德、施耐德电气和联合利华等等。这些公司也都是美国气候领导委员会的创始成员。

“贝克-舒尔茨计划”也得到了环保组织和各个政治派别的意见领袖的支持。这还是美国历史上,各方面首次广泛地联合起来,支持一个具体的全国性的气候解决方案,而且支持它的人还越来越多。

该计划之所以具有广泛吸引力,是因为它基于各方的妥协,特别是通过缴纳高额且不断上涨的费用来让政府减缓监管压力,因而这种提议同时打动了环保人士、企业和保守派。更重要的是,它将所有“碳红利”直接惠及全体美国人民。这样一来,普通美国人既帮助解决了气候变化挑战,也享受了经济上的利益。

而各方之所以能达成这样的妥协,也因为该方案的核心目的仍然是环保,从而使得该方案的其他部分具有了政治可行性。正因为它在减排上是有效的,所以足以取代其他更具侵略性的减排方案。这一点对企业来说是很有吸引力的。在所有经济学家看来,基于市场的碳排放税也是最具成本效益的解决方案。

了确保达到预期减排目标,“贝克-舒尔茨计划”可能还需要一种环境保障机制。根据该机制,如果关键的减排标准没有达到,企业需上缴的碳排放费将增长得更快。同时,为了保护美国企业的国际竞争力,它还应该包含一个边境地区的碳排放调整机制。

这项计划受到的欢迎也进一步提高了它的可行性。根据Hill+Knowlton公司进行的一项全国调查显示,美国民众支持与反对该计划的比例达到了2:1,该计划在共和党中也有23%的支持率。在“千禧一代”(他们马上将成为美国最大的选民群体),支持与反对的比例更是超过了4:1。

这些都表明,“贝克-舒尔茨计划”已渐渐成为一项美国社会的共识,反映了美国的政界还是理智的。它还表明,美国要想超过在巴黎峰会上的承诺,保持在气候议题上的全球领袖地位,是有一条现实的路可以走的。(财富中文网)

本文作者珍妮特·耶伦曾任美联储主席;泰德·哈希蒂现为美国气候领导委员会主席兼CEO。

译者:朴成奎

At the 2015 Paris Climate Conference, the United States committed to reduce its net greenhouse gas emissions by 26% to 28% below 2005 levels by 2025. Even though the Trump administration has announced its intention to withdraw from the Paris agreement, it remains the benchmark by which any U.S. climate plan is judged.

But it is only a starting point. Even if all nations meet their Paris commitments, the best studies indicate that far greater emissions reductions will be necessary for the world to maintain global temperatures below the agreed-upon 2 degrees Celsius threshold. The goal of U.S. climate policy should therefore be to exceed Paris.

We believe the most politically viable way to accomplish this is a plan co-authored by former Republican Secretaries of State James Baker and George Shultz. The Baker-Shultz plan is based on a gradually rising fee applied to all carbon emissions, with all the revenue rebated directly to the American people. A family of four would receive approximately $2,000 per year in “carbon dividends.”

The Baker-Shultz Carbon Dividends plan—starting with a carbon fee of $40 per ton—would be the most ambitious carbon price enacted by any major emitter nation.

A report entitled Exceeding Paris, released recently by the Climate Leadership Council, quantifies the emissions reductions that could reasonably be expected. Its foreword is co-authored by former Secretary of State George Shultz, former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers, former EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman, and former Walmart Chairman Rob Walton, as well as the two of us.

All Obama-era climate regulations, had they remained in place, would have achieved approximately 18% in greenhouse gas reductions by 2025, according to the council’s analysis. In comparison, the Baker-Shultz plan would achieve an approximately 32% reduction by 2025, thereby exceeding our Paris commitment by a wide margin.

As also discussed in our report, the nonprofit research organization Resources for the Future modeled the Baker-Shultz plan through 2035 based on a carbon tax starting in 2021 and a range of inflation-adjusted annual escalation rates from 3% to 6%. It found that U.S. energy-related CO2 emissions would decline to a level of 41% to 47% below 2005 levels by 2035, also raising the environmental bar substantially.

It’s clear that the Baker-Shultz Carbon Dividends Plan is the most environmentally ambitious climate solution. It’s also the most politically viable because it addresses the legitimate concerns of all key stakeholders in the climate debate and enables each to realize an important victory.

A broad coalition of business sector leaders supports the general outlines of the plan. Among them: BP, ExxonMobil, Shell, and Total, as well as AECOM, Allianz, AT&T, Exelon, First Solar, General Motors, Johnson & Johnson, Metlife, Procter & Gamble, PepsiCo, Santander, Schneider Electric, and Unilever. Each is a founding member of the Climate Leadership Council.

The Baker-Shultz framework also enjoys support from environmental organizations and opinion leaders from across the political spectrum. This is the broadest coalition in U.S. history to come together in support of a concrete federal climate solution, and it continues to grow.

The plan’s broad appeal is based on a series of grand bargains, including trading a robust and rising carbon price for regulatory relief, thereby appealing to environmentalists, businesses, and conservatives at the same time. Just as important, it appeals to the American people by rebating all of the revenue raised directly to them in an equal per capita amount. This would allow the majority of American families to economically benefit from helping solve climate change.

At the heart of this grand bargain is the environmental ambition of the Baker-Shultz plan, which unlocks the political viability of its other components. Its effectiveness in reducing emissions justifies the phase-out of other carbon regulations that are far more intrusive. This provides a major draw for businesses. The plan’s reliance on a market-based carbon tax also makes it—in the view of economists of all stripes—the most cost-effective solution.

To ensure that intended emissions reductions are met, the Baker-Shultz plan may include an environmental assurance mechanism under which the carbon fee would increase faster if key emissions reductions benchmarks are not met. And to protect the international competitiveness of American firms, it includes a border carbon adjustment.

The plan’s popularity enhances its viability. A national poll by Hill+Knowlton, released in full today, finds that the American public supports the Baker-Shultz plan by a 2-1 margin, and by a 23-point margin among Republicans. Among millennials—soon to be the largest voting cohort—support exceeds 4-1.

All of this suggests that the Baker-Shultz plan is emerging as a consensus national climate solution, reflecting the sensible center of American politics. It also demonstrates that there is a realistic path for the United States to exceed its Paris climate commitment and restore its position as a global climate leader.

Janet L. Yellen is the former Chair of the Federal Reserve. Ted Halstead is Chairman & CEO of the Climate Leadership Council.

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