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January 07
2013年1月7日

公共資源 全民珍惜

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許多網站轉述過一篇文章,講一個德國老太太,目睹內地企業主管考察德國時,就餐後留下滿桌菜餚而去,責問他們為何如此浪費,並打電話召來社會保障機構工作人員。後者了解事情始末後,開出罰單,並勸告說:「需要吃多少,就點叫多少。錢雖然是你的,資源卻是全社會的,不能夠、也沒有理由浪費。」

無獨有偶,早前有些日本公民不辭辛苦,到中國去參與整治沙漠,也是考慮到,地球的環境資源不只屬於中國,也屬於日本,更屬於整個世界。

自從2011年3月日本福島核事故發生後,我先後撰文談論能源、尤其是核能源的發展和安全問題,並多次提到節省能源的重要性。能源,就像地球的環境一樣,是全人類共用的資源。在全球能源匱乏的情況下,為了持續發展,任何人都沒有理由浪費它。然而,各種浪費資源的例子卻俯拾皆是。

就拿香港公共場所的冷氣來說,至少可以上調攝氏五度。許多辦公大樓裡,到了夜晚,即使無人工作,依然燈火通明,商業霓虹燈等光污染,不僅消耗能源,對生態也會產生不良影響。台港兩地,只要用心,大可輕易節省10%的電力。

在消耗能源的同時,人類在惜源、節能方面的作為卻大為遜色。以中國大陸為例,2011年的汽車擁有量已達到二億多輛,遠遠超過2020年達到一億輛的預計;原油消費量也已達到4.5億噸,提前十年打破2020年的消耗量紅線。如不控制使用量,對未來的世界會帶來巨大壓力。

另據美國能源政策科學家羅文斯(Amory Lovins)所稱,只要減少美國住家、辦公室、工廠與汽車等方面浪費的能源,提高能源效率,到2050年,美國的經濟可以增長到目前的2.6倍,而且完全不須使用石油、煤、核,天然氣的使用量也可減少三分之一。

其實,節省能源可以從身邊小事做起,如離開辦公室或教室隨手關上電腦、電燈、冷氣及其他電器;除非二十四小時都須待命者,睡覺前關閉手機。如無必要,多走樓梯,少乘電梯;多走路,少搭車。只要大家都能慢慢養成這樣的好習慣,再從能源延伸到生活其他方面,長久以往,一定能改變世界。

在很多方面,香港是一個繁華而又了不起的地方。所以許多人認為,香港是國際化一流的地方。可是在能源環保方面,如以上所舉的一些例子,我們實在達不上國際標準。有些香港的大學年輕人,無病無痛,即使六、七分鐘的行程,也要大學提供交通工具,令人汗顏,就是另一個例子。

天育物有時,地生財有限。我們在享用有限的資源時,應從小事做起,惜源節能,愛護萬物。

如果一味固執地的總認為自己是最對的,那也就停滯不前了。一個完全自由放縱的社會,也就失去環保的自由了。

 

Everyone has a role in conserving public resources

There circulates on the web an article about an old German lady, who, upon seeing a delegation of Chinese business executives leaving a restaurant with a table full of unfinished food, upbraided them for being wasteful and called in staff members from the local social welfare office. When the latter found out what it was all about, they issued a fine to the delegation with this advice, "Order what you can eat. You may have the money to pay for the food, but you have no reason or the right to waste public resources."

It so happened that not too long ago, some Japanese arrived in China to volunteer in desert-control projects on the similar ground that the environmental resources do not belong to China alone, but also belong to Japan and to the world as a whole.

After the Fukushima nuclear accident in March 2011, I wrote a series of articles about energy, especially the development of nuclear energy and the accompanying safety issues. On many occasions I mentioned the importance of energy conservation. Energy, like all other things of the environment of the earth, is one of the public resources shared by the whole human race. For the sake of sustainable development, nobody has the right to be wasteful in a world of depleting energy resources. Unfortunately, instances of energy wastage can be found everywhere.

Take the air-conditioning in public places in Hong Kong for example, which can easily be turned up by five degrees celsius. Many office buildings are left brightly lit after office hours, even when no one is doing any work inside. In addition to being a waste of energy, the light pollution of commercial neon lights is harmful to the ecology. As long as we make an effort, we can easily reduce power consumption in Taiwan and Hong Kong by 10%.

At the time when we are using up the world's energy, our effort in cherishing and conserving energy resources has by contrast been disappointing. In mainland China, for example, the number of vehicles has already reached 200 million, far surpassing the estimated number of 100 million vehicles for 2020. It is now using 450 million tons of crude oil per year, crossing the red line of oil consumption 10 years in advance of what is estimated for 2020. Failure to control China's oil consumption will bring great pressure on the whole world in the future.

Amory Lovins, a scientist of American energy policy, states that the U.S. economy could grow to 2.6 times its present size, get completely off oil, coal and nuclear energy and use one-third less natural gas by 2050, if it could reduce waste of energy at homes, in offices, factories and vehicles and improve energy efficiency.

As a matter of fact, everyone can start conserving energy in their daily life, by, for example, turning off computers, lights, air-conditioners and other electrical appliances upon leaving the room. Except for those who have to be on duty around the clock, people can turn off their mobile phones before going to bed. Climb a few flights of stairs instead of taking the elevator; walk instead of driving or taking public transportation. Once the good habit is formed, it can then be extended to other aspects of our life, which will make a world of difference in due course.

Hong Kong is a prosperous and outstanding city in many respects, widely regarded as a first-rate international city. In the area of energy conservation and environmental protection, however, the examples given above show that it has yet to reach international standard. Some university students, healthy and able in every way, would rather depend on transportation for a walk of less than ten minutes. It is embarrassing when you think of it.

It takes time for nature to provide us with our limited resources. We must learn to treasure them and make the best use of them. Let's start with little things to save energy and protect all things on earth.

If one holds stubbornly onto one's opinions and regards them as the unalterable truth, our society will come to a standstill. A totally unrestrained society will only deprive us of the freedom to protect our environment.

January 7, 2013

 

 

 

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