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84050开元官网_环保节水 一厢情愿的政策难奏效 Why wishful thinking doesn’t work

本文摘要:Three years ago, the University of Vermont in Burlington began to experiment with a few nudges towards a healthy, sustainable lifestyle. First, in 2012, campus outlets and the company operating the vending machines were required to make su


Three years ago, the University of Vermont in Burlington began to experiment with a few nudges towards a healthy, sustainable lifestyle. First, in 2012, campus outlets and the company operating the vending machines were required to make sure that at least 30 per cent of the drinks on offer were wholesome stuff such as vegetable juice, low-fat milk and water. A few months later, selling bottled water on campus was banned outright. The aim, pushed hard by student campaigners, was to encourage students to fill reusable bottles with tap water instead.三年前,坐落于伯灵顿的佛蒙特大学(University of Vermont)开始尝试一些前进身体健康、可持续生活方式的“轻推”(nudge)措施。首先,在2012年,校园商店和经营自动售货机的公司被拒绝保证它们获取的饮料中有最少30%是身体健康饮品,比如蔬菜汁、低脂牛奶和水。几个月后,校园里完全停售瓶装水。这一行径的目标是希望学生用自来水倒入可重复使用的饮水瓶、以替换瓶装水,学生倡导者也希望推展这一目标的构建。

So, how did the Vermont experiment go? A study by Elizabeth Berman and Rachel Johnson (of the University’s own Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences) was recently published in the American Journal of Public Health. The researchers found that “per capita shipments of bottles, calories, sugars and added sugars increased significantly when bottled water was removed...As bottled water sales dropped to zero, sales of sugar-free beverages and sugar-sweetened beverages increased.”那么,佛蒙特大学这一尝试的结果如何?该校营养与食品科学部的伊丽莎白伯曼(Elizabeth Berman)和蕾切尔约翰逊(Rachel Johnson)最近在《美国公共身体健康杂志》(American Journal of Public Health)上公开发表了一项研究。两位研究者找到,“瓶装水没了以后,瓶子、热量、糖和加到糖的人均消耗量都明显减少了……随着瓶装水销量降到零,无糖饮料与含糖饮料的销量都减少了。

”In other words, the policy backfired with both barrels. Students didn’t switch to tap water, they switched to the likes of Coke and Diet Coke instead. All this would be just an amusing curiosity — one more example of student campaigners who are all heart and no brains — if it weren’t for the fact that more mature policy makers often commit similar blunders on much broader canvases. We would do well to learn some lessons from the University of Vermont’s experience.换句话说,该政策在两个目标上都适得其反。学生们未改喝饮用自来水,而是改喝可口可乐、健怡饼干之类的饮料。如果不是更加多成熟期的政策制定者在更加辽阔的领域常常罪某种程度错误的话,这一切只不过是有意思的奇闻异事,沦为学生倡导者一腔热血但是不动脑子的又一个相比较。

我们最差从佛蒙特大学的例子中吸取一些教训。The first lesson is that when it comes to saving the planet, people focus on what they can see. Type “environmental impact of concrete” into a search engine and you are likely to see a page filled with scholarly analysis pointing out that the impact is very large indeed, because cement production releases vast volumes of carbon dioxide. Type “environmental impact of bottled water” instead and your search results will be packed with campaigning groups seeking to persuade you to change your ways.第一个教训是,当谈及解救地球时,人们专心于自己能看见的事。

在搜索引擎中键入“水泥对环境的影响”,你可能会看见整个搜寻结果页面上全都是各种认为水泥对环境的影响显然相当大(因为水泥的生产过程释放出来大量二氧化碳)的学术分析。再行键入“瓶装水对环境的影响”,搜寻结果认同全都是各种活动团体企图劝说你转变生活方式。This is understandable: I can’t do much about concrete but I can stop drinking bottled water. But being a logical target for campaigners is not the same as being a logical target for policy action.这是可以解读的:我对水泥生产无能为力,但我可以暂停喝瓶装水。


但作为活动人士的目标合乎逻辑,不相等它作为政策行动的目标也合乎逻辑。The second lesson is that we often struggle to deal with multiple goals. The University of Vermont wanted to reduce the flow of plastic water bottles to landfill but also wanted to encourage students to be healthy. There’s a clear conflict between these goals. Water is as healthy a drink as you can find, yet that was exactly what the University of Vermont was banning from vending machines. Wishful thinking provides a resolution — if everyone just drank tap water then there would be no problem. But wishful thinking is not an excuse for setting no priorities.第二个教训是,我们往往很难同时应付多个目标。


但一厢情愿的思维方式并非退出原作优先顺序的借口。We see this sharply in the debate over nuclear power. We want to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that result from burning fossil fuels. We also want to avoid radioactive waste and the risk of radiation leaks. In response to a genuine policy dilemma, politicians have tended to plump for wishful thinking every time, typically involving wind turbines.在关于核能的辩论中,我们更加确切地看见了某种程度一幕。我们想要增加自燃化石燃料带给的温室气体废气。

我们也想要防止放射性废料以及电磁辐射外泄的风险。在对此这一确实的政策两难时,政客们每次都偏向于自由选择一厢情愿的思维方式,一般来说都牵涉到风力涡轮机。The third lesson is that the much-vaunted notion of “nudging” doesn’t always help navigate a complicated policy maze. Nudging means using default options, information design and similar techniques to achieve policy goals. It can be very successful. But careless nudges are no more welcome in public policy than at a domino-toppling event. If you pick a questionable target (bottled water) and fudge a key policy dilemma (the environment vs health) then nudging isn’t going to solve your problems.第三个教训是,倍受讥讽的“轻推”概念并不总能协助我们走进政策迷宫。


So what can be done? One approach is to try to reach policy goals with the help of market signals. The classic example of this is a carbon tax, levied on fossil fuels to reflect their carbon-dioxide emissions. The advantage of this approach is that it encourages everybody at any stage of production or consumption to take actions that reduce emissions, because those actions will save them money. A truck manufacturer might develop a cleaner engine, a logistics company might find a more efficient delivery algorithm, and the final consumer might decide to consume a little less.那么,我们能做到什么呢?一种方法是,设法在市场信号的协助下达成协议政策目标。这方面的经典例子是碳税——以化石燃料为对象、按照其二氧化碳排放量征税。这种方法的优点在于,它希望正处于生产或消费任何阶段的每个人都采取行动增加碳排放,因为这样做到可以省钱。

卡车制造商也许不会研发出更洗手的发动机,物流公司可能会寻找更加高效的投递算法,而终端消费者可能会要求较少消费一些。The idea of using the price system to solve environmental problems is widely accepted by economists but, alas, it finds itself stranded in the policy doldrums. Ponder this: the Pope recently argued that climate change was a grave problem but he opposed market-based responses. Meanwhile the US Republican party likes market-based responses but isn’t so convinced about climate change.利用价格体系解决问题环境问题的理念获得经济学家们的普遍尊重,但惜的是,这一理念自身受困在了政策内耗之中。

思维一下:教皇最近称之为,气候变化是一个相当严重问题,但他赞成基于市场的应付措施。与此同时,美国共和党讨厌基于市场的措施,但并不怎么坚信气候变化现实不存在。One other advantage of using environmental taxes is that people can decide on their own priorities. A lot of what we do has consequences for the planet — including breathing — and so part of the problem we face is deciding what is worth doing anyway.使用环境税的另一个益处是,人们可以要求自己的优先顺序。我们的很多活动(还包括排便)都对地球产生影响,因此,我们面对的部分问题在于要求什么事有一点去做到。

Perhaps it is time for a confession. I am writing this column on the hottest July day recorded in British history. At my left hand is a glass of chilled sparkling water, and next to the glass is a plastic bottle to top it up. If there had been a tax on that bottle, it is a tax I would willingly have paid.也许我该坦白一下了。我正在英国历史上有记录以来7月最寒冷的一天写出这篇专栏,我左手边是一杯冰镇苏打水,玻璃杯旁边是一个塑料瓶,用来把杯中的苏打水汽油。如果这个瓶子必须交税的话,这税我不愿递。