学习啦【英语优美段落】 编辑:韦彦 发布时间:2016-08-31




  Can societies be rich and green?

  [A]“If our economies are to flourish,if global poverty is to be eliminated and if the well-being of the world’s people enhanced—not just in this generation but in succeeding generations—we must make sure we take care of the natural environment and resources on which our economic activity depends.”That statement comes not,as you might imagine,from a stereotypical tree-hugging,save-the-world greenie(环保主义者),but from Gordon Brown,a politician with a reputation for rigour,thoroughness and above all,caution.

  [B]A surprising thing for the man who runs one of the world’s most powerful economies to say?Perhaps;though in the run-up to the five-year review of the Millennium(千年的)Goals,he is far from alone.The roots of his speech,given in March at the roundtable meeting of environment and energy ministers from the G20 group of nations,stretch back to 1972,and the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm.

  [C]“The protection and improvement of the human environment is a major issue which affects the well-being of peoples and economic development throughout the world,”read the final declaration from this gathering,the first of a sequence which would lead to the Rio de Janeiro Earth Summit in 1992 and the World Development Summit in Johannesburg three years ago.

  [D]Hunt through the reports prepared by UN agencies and development groups—many for conferences such as this year’s Millennium Goals review—and you will find that the linkage between environmental protection and economic progress is a common thread.

  [E]Managing ecosystems sustainably is more profitable than exploiting them,according to the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment.But finding hard evidence to support the thesis is not so easy.Thoughts turn first to some sort of global statistic,some indicator which would rate the wealth of nations in both economic and environmental terms and show a relationship between the two.

  [F]If such an indicator exists,it is well hidden.And on reflection,this is not surprising;the single word“environment”has so many dimensions,and there are so many other factors affecting wealth—such as the oil deposits—that teasing out a simple economy-environment relationship would be almost impossible.

  [G]The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment,a vast four-year global study which reported its initial conclusions earlier this year,found reasons to believe that managing ecosystems sustainably—working with nature rather than against it—might be less profitable in the short term,but certainly brings long-term rewards.

  [H]And the World Resources Institute(WRI)in its World Resources 2005 report,issued at the end of August,produced several such examples from Africa and Asia;it also demonstrated that environmental degradation affects the poor more than the rich,as poorer people derive a much higher proportion of their income directly from the natural resources around them.

  [I]But there are also many examples of growing wealth by trashing the environment,in rich and poor parts of the world alike,whether through unregulated mineral extraction,drastic water use for agriculture,slash-and-burn farming,or fossil-fuel-guzzling(大量消耗)transport.Of course,such growth may not persist in the long term—which is what Mr.Brown and the Stockholm declaration were both attempting to point out.Perhaps the best example of boom growth and bust decline is the Grand Banks fishery.For almost five centuries a very large supply of cod(鳕鱼)provided abundant raw material for an industry which at its peak employed about 40,000 people,sustaining entire communities in Newfoundland.Then,abruptly,the cod population collapsed.There were no longer enough fish in the sea for the stock to maintain itself,let alone an industry.More than a decade later,there was no sign of the ecosystem re-building itself.It had,apparently,been fished out of existence;and the once mighty Newfoundland fleet now gropes about frantically for crab on the sea floor.

  [J]There is a view that modern humans are inevitably sowing the seed of a global Grand Banks-style disaster.The idea is that we are taking more out of what you might call the planet’s environmental bank balance than it can sustain;we are living beyond our ecological means.One recent study attempted to calculate the extent of this“ecological overshoot of the human economy”,and found that we are using 1.2 Earth’s-worth of environmental goods and services—the implication being that at some point the debt will be called in,and all those services—the things which the planet does for us for free—will grind to a halt.

  [K]Whether this is right,and if so where and when the ecological axe will fall,is hard to determine with any precision—which is why governments and financial institutions are only beginning to bring such risks into their economic calculations.It is also the reason why development agencies are not united in their view of environmental issues;while some,like the WRI,maintain that environmental progress needs to go hand-in-hand with economic development,others argue that the priority is to build a thriving economy,and then use the wealth created to tackle environmental degradation.

  [L]This view assumes that rich societies will invest in environmental care.But is this right?Do things get better or worse as we get richer? Here the Stockholm declaration is ambiguous.“In the developing countries,”it says,“most of the environmental problems are caused by under-development.”So it is saying that economic development should make for a cleaner world?Not necessarily;“In the industralised countries,environmental problems are generally related to industrialisation and technological development,”it continues.In other words,poor and rich both over-exploit the natural world,but for different reasons.It’s simply not true that economic growth will surely make our world cleaner.

  [M]Clearly,richer societies are able to provide environmental improvements which lie well beyond the reach of poorer communities.Citizens of wealthy nations demand national parks,clean rivers,clean air and poison-free food.They also,however,use far more natural resources-fuel,water(all those baths and golf courses)and building materials.

  [N]A case can be made that rich nations export environmental problems,the most graphic example being climate change.As a country’s wealth grows,so do its greenhouse gas emissions.The figures available will not be completely accurate.Measuring emissions is not a precise science, particularly when it comes to issues surrounding land use;not all nations have re-leased up-to-date data,and in any case,emissions from some sectors such as aviation are not included in national statistics.But the data is exact enough for a clear trend to be easily discernible.As countries become richer,they produce more greenhouse gases;and the impact of those gases will fall primarily in poor parts of the world.

  [O]Wealth is not,of course,the only factor involved.The average Norwegian is better off than the average US citizen,but contributes about half as much to climate change.But could Norway keep its standard of living and yet cut its emissions to Moroccan or even Ethiopian levels?That question,repeated across a dozen environmental issues and across our diverse planet,is what will ultimately determine whether the human race is living beyond its ecological means as it pursues economic revival.

  36.Examples show that both rich and poor countries exploited the environment for economic progress.

  37.Environmental protection and improvement benefit people all over the world.

  38.It is not necessarily true that economic growth will make our world cleaner.

  39.The common theme of the UN reports is the relation between environmental protection and economic growth.

  40.Development agencies disagree regarding how to tackle environment issues while ensuring economic progress.

  41.It is difficult to find solid evidence to prove environmental friendliness generates more profits than exploiting the natural environment.

  42.Sustainable management of ecosystems will prove rewarding in the long run.

  43.A politician noted for being cautious asserts that sustainable human development depends on the natural environment.

  44.Poor countries will have to bear the cost for rich nations’ economic development.

  45.One recent study warns us of the danger of the exhaustion of natural resources on Earth.


  Reform and Medical Costs

  [A]American are deeply concerned about the relentless rise in health care costs and health insurance premiums. They need to know if reform will help solve the problem. The answer is that no once has an easy fix rising medical costs. The fundamental fix—reshaping how care is delivered and how doctors are paid in a wasteful, abnormal system—is likely to be a achieved only through trial and incremental(渐进的)gains.

  [B]The good news is that a bill just approved by the House and a bill approved by the Senate Finance Committee would implement or test many reforms that should help slow the rise in medical costs over the long term. As report in The New England Journal of Medicine concluded. "Pretty much every proposed innovation found in the health policy Iiterature these days is contained in these measures."

  [C]Medical spending, which typically rises faster than wages and the overall economy, is propelled by two things: the high prices charged for medical services in this country and the volume of unnecessary care delivered by doctors and hospitals, which often perform a lot more tests and treatments than patient really needs.

  [D]Here are some of the important proposals in the House and Senate bills to try to address those problem, and why it is hard to know how well they will work.

  [E]Both bills would reduce the rate of growth in annual Medicare payments to hospital, nursing homes and other providers by amounts comparable to the productivity savings routinely made in other industries with the help of new technologies and new ways to organize work. This proposal could save Medicare more than $100 billion over the next decade. If private plans demanded similar productivity savings from providers, and refused to let providers shift additional costs to them, the savings could be much larger. Critics say Congress will give in to lobbyists and let inefficient provider off the hook(放过). That is far less likely to happen if Congress also adopts strong "pay-go" rules requiring that any increase in payments to providers be offset by new taxes or budge cuts.

  [F]The Senate Finance bill would impose an excise tax(消费税)on health insurance plans that cost more than $8,000 for an individual or $21,000 for a family. It would most likely cause Insures to redesign plans to fall beneath the threshould. Enrollees would have to pay more money for many services out of their own pockets, and that would encourage them to think twice about whether an expensive or redundant test was worth it. Economists project that most employers would shift money from expensive health benefits into wages, The House bill has no similar tax. The final legislation should.

  [G]Any doctor who has wrestled with multiple forms from different insurers, or patients who have tried to understand their own parade of statements, know that simplification ought to save money. When the health insurance industry was still cooperating in reform efforts, its trade group offered to provide standardized forms for automated processing. It estimated that step would save hundreds of billions of dollars over the next decade. The bills would lock that pledge into law.

  [H]The stimulus package provided money to convert the inefficient, paper-driven medical system to electronic records that can be easily viewed and transmitted .This requires open investments to help doctors convert. In time it should help restrain costs by eliminating redundant test, preventing drug inter actions, and helping doctors find the best treatments.

  [I]Virtually all experts agree that the fee-for-service system—doctors are rewarded for that the cost of care is so high. Most agree that the solution is to push doctors to accept fixed payments to care for a particular illness or for a patient's needs over a year. No one knows how to make that happen quickly. The bills in both houses would start pilot projects within Medicare. They include such measures as accountable care organizations to take charge of a patient's needs with an eye on both cost and quality, and chronic disease management to make sure the seriously ill, who are responsible for the bulk of all health care costs, are treated properly. For the most part, these experiments rely on incentive payments to get doctors to try them.

  [J]Testing innovations do no good unless the good experiments are identified and expanded and the bad ones arc dropped. The Senate bill would create an independent commission to monitor the pilot programs and recommend changes in Medicare's payment policies to urge providers to adopt reforms that work. The changes would have to be approved or rejected as a whole by Congress, making it hard for narrow-interest lobbies to bend lawmakers to their will.

  [K]The bills in both chambers would create health insurance exchanges on which small businesses and individuals could choose from an array of private plans and possibly a public option. All the plans would have to provide standard benefit packages that would be easy to compare. To get access to millions of new customers, insures would have a strong incentive to sell on the exchange. And the head-to-head competition might give them a strong incentive to lower their prices, perhaps by accepting slimmer profit margins or demanding better deals from providers.

  [L]The final legislation might throw a public plan into the competition, but thanks to the fierce opposition of the insurance industry and Republican critics, it might not save much money. The one in the House bill would have to negotiate rates with providers, rather than using Medicare rates, as many reformers wanted.

  [M]The president's stimulus package is pumping money into research to compare how well various treatments work. Is surgery, radiation or careful monitoring best for prostate(前列腺)cancer? Is the latest and most expensive cholesterol-lowering drug any better than its common competitors? The pending bills would spend additional money to accelerate this effort.

  [N]Critics have charged that this sensible idea would lead to rationing of care. (That would be true only if you believe that patients should have an unrestrained right to treatments proven to be inferior.) As a result, the bills do not requires, as they should, that the results of these studies be used to set payment rates in Medicare.

  [O]Congress needs to find the courage to allow Medicare to pay preferentially for treatments proven to be superior. Sometimes the best treatment might be the most expensive. But overall, we suspect that spending would come down through elimination of a lot of unnecessary or even dangerous tests and treatments.

  [P]The House bill would authorize the secretary of health and human services to negotiate drug prices in Medicare and Medicaid. Some authoritative analysts doubt that the secretary would get better deals than private insurers already get. We believe negotiation could work. It does in other countries.

  [Q] Missing from these bills is any serious attempt to rein in malpractice costs. Malpractice awards do drive up insurance premiums for doctors in high-risk specialties, and there is some evidence doctors engage in "defensive medicine" by performing tests and treatments primarily to prove they are not negligent should they get sued.

  36.With a tax imposed on expensive health insurance plans, most employers will likely transfer money from health expenses into wages.

  37.Changes in policy would be approved or rejected as a whole so that lobbyists would find it hard to influence lawmakers.'

  38.It is not easy to curb the rising medical costs in America.

  49.Standardization of forms for automatic processing will save a lot of medical

  40.Republicans and insurance industry are strongly opposed to the creation of a public insurance plan.

  41.Conversion of paper to electronic medical records will help eliminate redundant tests and prevent drug interactions.

  42.The high cost of medical services and unnecessary tests and treatments have driven up medical expenses.

  43.One main factor that has driven up medical expenses is that doctors are compensated for the amount of care rather than its effect.

  44.Contrary to analysts' doubts, the author believes drug prices may be lowered through negotiation.

  45.Fair competition might create a strong incentive for insurers to charge less.


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