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Gas shortages bite as China moves away from coal

来源:FT中文网    2017-12-04 16:57

        Gas-supply shortages are hitting north and central China as Beijing tries to accelerate a shift away from coal rather than miss environmental targets this year.        天然气供应短缺正在影响中国北部和中部地区——中国政府正试图加速从煤炭转向其他能源,力求实现今年的环保目标。
        The situation has left some residents — mainly poor, urban migrants — without heat as temperatures drop below zero.        这使得一些居民(主要是城市里的贫困外来人口)在降至零度以下的气温中无法取暖。
        China’s emissions have fallen in recent years as a slowdown in economic growth hit heavily polluting industries in the north of the country. But an uptick in economic growth rates this year has caused emissions to rebound, forcing the government to double down on measures designed to control pollution from coal use.         近年来中国的排放量有所下降,原因是经济增长放缓冲击了中国北方的重污染工业。但今年经济增长率的提高导致排放量出现反弹,迫使政府加大力度推行旨在控制用煤污染的举措。
        The cutback in coal has created strong demand for liquefied natural gas and pushed LNG prices up by more than 40 per cent as of late November compared with the year before.        削减用煤催生了对液化天然气(LNG)的强劲需求,导致今年11月底液化天然气价格比去年同期上涨逾40%。
        Coupled with a cold spell over the past week, the shift away from coal has triggered shortages in natural gas supply in Hebei, the industrial province that rings Beijing, and as far south as Zhejiang Province, a centre for light industry in the Yangtze River Delta.         从煤炭转向其他能源的举措,再加上过去一周的寒冷天气,导致从环京工业省份河北到南方轻工业中心浙江等多地出现天然气供应短缺。
        “It’s definitely tight right now,” said Zhou Xizhou, managing director for Asia gas and power at IHS Markit.         IHS Markit亚洲天然气和电力主管周希舟说:“现在确实很紧张。”
        The state planning agency, the National Development and Reform Commission, has warned local gas companies to “standardise price behaviour”, according to state media.         据中国官方媒体报道,国家发展和改革委员会警告地方天然气公司“规范价格行为”。
        Mr Zhou said the government had dealt with the “low hanging fruit” of managing large pollution sources such as power plants, but was having a more difficult time addressing diffuse coal use by smaller businesses and residential neighbourhoods. “This winter will be interesting for how severe the impact [of the coal control measures] will be. It will set the course for how they deal with it in the future.”        周希舟表示,政府已经解决了“好摘的果子”,即控制像发电厂这样的大污染源,但在处理小企业和居民的零散煤炭使用方面,政府面临更大困难。“今年冬天值得关注,因为可以看出(控制用煤措施的)冲击有多严重。今年将确定未来应对此问题的路线。”
        A plan to address choking and politically unpopular air pollution in northern China involves moving heavy industry away from wealthy and populous cities into the poorer hinterland.        解决中国北方令人窒息、在政治上不得人心的空气污染的计划之一,是将重工业从经济发达和人口密集的城市转移至经济欠发达的内陆地区。
        Other measures involve switching small businesses off coal-fired boilers and on to the power grid, and converting residential neighbourhoods to gas heat.         其他举措包括中小企业锅炉“煤改电”,住宅供暖“煤改气”。
        Beijing has banned the burning of low-quality coal briquettes for residential heating, even as it tears down migrant neighbourhoods in a campaign designed to cap the city’s population.        北京已经禁止居民烧低品质煤块取暖,同时还为限制北京人口而拆除外来人口聚居区。
        Heating and other residential uses account for about half of the coal used in Beijing and surrounding regions in the winter, when air pollution normally spikes.        取暖和其他居家用途约占北京及周边地区冬季煤炭使用量的一半。冬季往往空气污染最为严重。
        Villages in the mountains outside Beijing have been supplied with cleaner-burning coal briquettes but in sprawling urban neighbourhoods, many residents have had to switch to electric space heaters. Some poorer migrants crammed into slums in the outskirts of the city are living with no heat at all.        在北京城外的山村,人们获得了更清洁的无烟煤供应,但在广大城市地区,许多居民不得不改用电暖器。挤住在城郊棚户区的贫穷外来人口甚至在根本无法取暖的条件下生活。
        “It’s cold! BRRR!” a migrant cleaning woman surnamed Chen texted from an unheated farmhouse near the Beijing airport, as night-time temperatures plunged well below zero last week. Her landlord began forbidding coal stove-heaters early this year, in line with the new regulations.         在北京机场附近一处没有供暖的农舍,一位从事清洁工作的陈姓女外来务工人员发短信说:“真冷!呵!”上周这里的夜间温度降至零下好几度。为了遵守新规,她的房东今年早些时候开始禁止住户使用煤炉来取暖。
        Expectations of rising Chinese gas demand are driving greenfield natural gas projects in Siberia and boosting hopes of LNG sales from the US, although prices of gas in east Asia are still too low to make US LNG cost-competitive. China currently imports about half the gas it uses, either through pipes from central Asia or in the form of LNG.         中国对天然气的需求将会上升的预期,正在提振西伯利亚的待开发天然气项目,并且提高了美国出售液化天然气的希望——尽管东亚天然气的低价依然使美国的液化天然气难以具备价格竞争力。目前中国使用的天然气中约有一半是进口的,或是通过中亚输气管道输送,或是以液化天然气形式进口进来。
        But in the short term, the shortages derive from Beijing’s ambitious attempt to redesign the energy-use patterns of much of the northern half of the country.         但从短期来看,天然气的短缺源于北京方面雄心勃勃的尝试——改变中国北方大部分地区的能源使用格局。
        This year is not the first time that Beijing’s targets for improving environmental quality have bumped up against unexpectedly strong growth. In 2010, homes and hospitals in Quanjiao County, a car parts manufacturing hub along the Yangtze River, were plunged into darkness after a panicky local government shut down county-wide electricity supply rather than miss targets for improving energy efficiency.         今年并不是中国政府改善环境质量的目标第一次与意外强劲的经济增长发生碰撞。2010年,在长江边的汽车部件制造中心安徽省滁州市全椒县,为了完成节能减排目标,焦虑的当地政府在全县拉闸断电,居民住宅和医院都陷入黑暗之中。
        Follow Lucy Hornby on Twitter: @HornbyLucy        译者/徐行

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