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Last Friday an advisory panel to the European Environment Agency issued an extraordinary scientific opinion: The European Union should suspend its goal of having 10 percent of transportation fuel made from biofuel by 2020.

The European Union&39;s biofuel targets were increased and extended from 5.75 percent by 2010 to 10 percent by 2020 just last year. Still, Europe&39;s well-meaning rush to biofuels, the scientists concluded, had produced a slew of harmful ripple effects - from deforestation in Southeast Asia to higher prices for grains.

In a recommendation released last weekend, the 20-member panel, made up of some of Europe&39;s most distinguished climate scientists, called the 10 percent target "overambitious" and an "experiment" whose "unintended effects are difficult to predict and difficult to control."

"The idea was that we felt we needed to slow down, to analyze the issue carefully and then come back at the problem," Laszlo Somlyody, the panel&39;s chairman and a professor at the Budapest University of Technology and Economics, said in a telephone interview.

He said that part of the problem was that when it set the targets, the European Union was trying desperately to solve the problem of rising transportation emissions "in isolation," without adequately studying the effects of other sectors like land use and food supply.

"The starting point was correct: I&39;m happy that the European Union took the lead in cutting greenhouse gasses and we need to control traffic emissions," Somlyody said. "But the basic problem is it thought of transport alone, without considering all these other effects. And we don&39;t understand those very well yet." The panel&39;s advice is not binding and it is not clear whether the European Commission will follow the recommendation.

It has become increasingly clear that the global pursuit of biofuels - encouraged by a rash of targets and subsides in both Europe and the United States - has not produced the desired effect.

Investigations have shown, for example, rain forests and peat swamp are being cleared to make way for biofuel plantations, a process that produces more emissions than the biofuels can save. Equally concerning, land needed to produce food forpeople to eat is planted with more profitable biofuel crops, and water is diverted from the drinking supply.

In Europe and the United States, food prices for items like pizza and bread have increased significantly as grain stores shrink and wheat prices rise.

The price of wheat and rice are double those of a year ago, and corn is a third higher, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization said this week.

"Food price inflation hits the poor hardest, as the share of food in their total expenditures is much higher than that of wealthier populations," said Henri Josserand of the Food and Agriculture Organization

For example, the European Environment Agency advisory panel suggests that the best use of plant biomass is not for transport fuel but to heat homes and generate electricity.

To be useful for vehicles, plant matter must be distilled to a fuel and often transported long distances. To heat a home, it can often be used raw or with minimal processing, and moved just a short distance away.

  • 近年来频发的自然灾害让全球深受其害。炎热的酷暑、狂暴的飓风、刺骨的严寒以及滔天的洪水近乎成了“常客”,风调雨顺已被视为“奢侈品”。




  • 改革开放30多年来,西藏通过深化改革和扩大开放积极推动全区商业、对外贸易和旅游产业加快发展,不仅增强了与内地的交流,同时也加强了与世界的联系和合作。

    1993年,西藏与全国一道开始建立“框架一致、体制衔接”的社会主义市场经济体制,深化物资、粮食、日用消费品等 领域价格流通改革并全面进入市场。目前,西藏已经深深融入全国统一的市场体系,来自全国和世界各地的商品源源不断地进入西藏,丰富着城乡市场和百姓生活。 西藏的名、优、特产品及民族手工业产品,大量进入全国市场。

    西藏与世界的经济联系日益密切。2012年,全区进出口总额为 34.24亿美元,是1953年0.04亿美元的850多倍,年均增长12.1%。截至2012年底,西藏实际利用外资4.7亿美元。西藏立足区位优势, 加强与印度、尼泊尔等周边国家的友好合作,实施面向南亚的陆路贸易大通道建设,大力发展边境贸易。

  • Early Maori adapted the tropically based east Polynesian culture in line with the challenges associated with a larger and more diverse environment, eventually developing their own distinctive culture.

    The British and Irish immigrants brought aspects of their own culture to New Zealand and also influenced Maori culture. More recently American, Australian, Asian and other European cultures have exerted influence on New Zealand.

    New Zealand music has been influenced by blues, jazz, country, rock and roll and hip hop, with many of these genres given a unique New Zealand interpretation. Maori developed traditional chants and songs from their ancient South-East Asian origins, and after centuries of isolation created a unique "monotonous" and "doleful" sound.

    The number of New Zealand films significantly increased during the 1970s. In 1978 the New Zealand Film Commission started assisting local film-makers and many films attained a world audience, some receiving international acknowledgement.

    New Zealand television primarily broadcasts American and British programming, along with a large number of Australian and local shows. The country&39;s diverse scenery and compact size, plus government incentives, have encouraged some producers to film big budget movies in New Zealand.

    The Ministry for Culture and Heritage is government’s leading adviser on cultural matters. The Ministry funds, monitors and supports a range of cultural agencies and delivers a range of high-quality cultural products and services.

    The Ministry provides advice to government on where to focus its interventions in the cultural sector. It seeks to ensure that funding is invested as effectively and efficiently as possible, and that government priorities are met.

    The Ministry has a strong track record of delivering high-quality publications, managing significant heritage and commemorations, and acting as guardian of New Zealand’s culture. The Ministry’s work prioritizes cultural outcomes and also supports educational, economic and social outcomes, linking with the work of a range of other government agencies.

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