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Global Warming Heats up (全球变暖)

(2009-10-27 08:48:25)
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分类: 学位英语课文

2009年9月版学位英语  第27单元

 

Global Warming Heats up (全球变暖)

 

No one can say exactly what it looks like when a planet takes ill, but it probably looks a lot like Earth. Never mind what you've heard about global warming as a slow-motion emergency that would take decades to play out. Suddenly and unexpectedly, the crisis is upon us.

没有人能够确切地说如果一个行星出现了问题它将会怎样,但是它看起来可能更像地球。你从不担心听说的全球变暖,认为它是一个缓慢出现的进程,需要几十年的时间才会出现。但这场危机对我们来说却有些突然而且完全出乎意料。


The image of Earth as organism--famously dubbed Gaia by environmentalist James Lovelock-- has probably been overworked, but that's not to say the planet can't behave like a living thing, and these days, it's a living thing fighting a fever. From heat waves to storms to floods to fires to massive glacial melts, the global climate seems to be crashing around us. Scientists have been calling this shot for decades. This is precisely what they have been warning would happen if we continued pumping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, trapping the heat that flows in from the sun and raising global temperatures.

地球作为有机生物体有可能已经超负荷了,但是并不是说这个星球不能有生物生存,近几天来,关于生物的争论很激烈。从热浪到暴风雨到洪水到火灾到融化的冰川,全球气候对我们来说好像要崩溃了。科学家们几十年来一直在呼吁。如果人们继续排放温室气体到大气中、吸收太阳的热量、提高全球温度,科学家们所警告的事情就一定会发生。

 

Environmentalists and lawmakers spent years shouting at one another about whether the grim forecasts were true, but in the past five years or so, the serious debate has quietly ended. Global warming, even most skeptics have concluded, is the real deal, and human activity has been causing it. If there was any consolation, it was that the glacial pace of nature would give us decades or even centuries to sort out the problem.

环境专家和法律工作者花费了几年的时间一直在呼吁,无论这无情的预言是否正确,在过去的五年中是这样,这个严肃的辩论悄悄的结束了。甚至怀疑者得出结论:全球变暖是人类行为造成的一笔真正的交易。如果能有解决办法的话,那就是自然的缓慢速度给我们几十年甚至是几百年去解决这个问题。

 

But glaciers, it turns out, can move with surprising speed, and so can nature. Pump enough CO2 into the sky, and that last part per million of greenhouse gas behaves like the 212th degree Fahrenheit that turns a pot of hot water into a plume of billowing steam. Melt enough Greenland ice, and you reach the point at which you're not simply dripping meltwater into the sea but dumping whole glaciers. By one recent measure, several Greenland ice sheets have doubled their rate of slide, and just last week the journal Science published a study suggesting that by the end of the century, the world could be locked in to an eventual rise in sea levels of as much as 20 ft. Nature, it seems, has finally got a bellyful of us.

但是结果显示,冰川会以惊人的速度移动,大自然也是。如果排放大量的二氧化碳到空中,最后的温室气体可达到212华氏度,能使一壶热水变成一缕蒸汽。足够融化格陵兰岛的冰,从这一点来看,不仅仅是把融化的水排入海里,而且会使整个冰川变成水。根据最近的测量,格林兰岛的几个冰山以加倍的速度在下滑。仅上周期刊<<科学>> 发表了一篇文章,上面就提到到本世纪末为止,世界有可能被固定在海平面20英寸那么高。大自然可能最终会厌倦我们人类。

 

And it's not just scientists who are taking notice. Even as nature crosses its tipping points, the public seems to have reached its own. For years, popular skepticism about climatological science stood in the way of addressing the problem, but the naysayers--many of whom were on the payroll of energy companies--have become an increasingly marginalized breed.

不仅是科学家开始注意到这一问题,大自然本身也走到了边缘。人们好像也到达了自己的边缘。许多年来,大多数的关于气候学的怀疑主义者一直在以一种方式向大家宣传这个问题,而许多只支持能源公司工资总额的反对者已经日益成为脱离社会的物种。

 

A collection of new global-warming books is hitting the shelves in response to that awakening interest, followed closely by TV and theatrical documentaries.Such public stirrings are at last getting the attention of politicians and business leaders, who may not always respond to science but have a keen nose for where votes and profits lie. State and local lawmakers have started taking action to curb emissions, and major corporations are doing the same. Wal-Mart has begun installing wind turbines on its stores to generate electricity and is talking about putting solar reflectors over its parking lots. HSBC, the world's second largest bank, has pledged to neutralize its carbon output by investing in wind farms and other green projects. Even President Bush, hardly a favorite of greens, now acknowledges climate change and boasts of the steps he is taking to fight it.

关于全球变暖方面的书的收集正在触及这个暗礁,对人们的觉醒做出了反应,紧接着就是电视和文件。如此公众的推动至少得到了那些只热衷于选举和利润的政治家和商业头目的关注。国家和当地的立法部门已经开始采取措施来控制排放物,一些大的公司也正在这样做。美国奥尔玛超市已经开始在店里安装了风力发电机来发电,而且正在讨论在停车场上方安装太阳光反射器。HSBC,世界第二大银行,已经正式宣布要在风场或其他的绿色项目上投资,以中和排放的碳。甚至,不喜欢绿色的布什总统现在也开始承认气候的改变,并且自夸的说要采取措施来对抗它。

 

That goal should be attainable. Curbing global warming may be an order of magnitude harder than, say, eradicating smallpox or putting a man on the moon. But is it moral not to try? We did not so much march toward the environmental precipice as drunkenly reel there, snapping at the scientific scolds who told us we had a problem.

这个目标会实现的。控制全球变暖是一件大事,要比控制天花或是人类登月更难。但是如果不去努力尝试就是有道德吗?我们过去没有到达环境最危险的境地,没有在此失去平衡,也没有对那些说我们有问题的人的(自以为是)科学的斥责死死咬住不放。

 

 

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