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数百年前,当企业家初次遇到严重环境问题的时,他们只需简单的转移业务。例如,把钢铁厂从利物浦搬到匹兹堡,然后再移迁到中国。而现在没有新的厂址可供迁移了。当企业家无处可隐藏而不得不面临环境问题的时候,他们最初的反应是勉强的接受这恼人的额外成本。并迅速指出没有遵循这一规则的竞争对手。一旦当期受惠于某些地方或国家的税收政策,他们便不需要遵循因为这一规则而投入环境保护的成本。企业应对环境问题的第二波浪潮是在核心工艺流程不变的情况下促进产品和流程“绿化”,然而当所有阶段的排放都被确认的时候,这种“绿化”是站不住脚的。第三阶段,尚处于萌芽期,在全球环境内对需求以及如何满足这一需求进行全盘考虑。若不这么做就会落入赫尔曼·戴利提出的‘‘向下竞争’’——最肮脏且最便宜的产品能够取得一时的胜利。

作为颂扬企业家精神的第一人,亚当·斯密在1776年曾用屠夫和面包师的例子来说明利己主义能造福社会。积极的市场力量在此被描述为一个古老的苏格兰市场以低成本进行商品供应的良性竞争,事实上,情形并非总是如此。两个世纪以来,一个屠夫在广西南宁长期为一家五星级酒店供应新鲜猪肉,酒店的厨师和顾客都很高兴,因为产品很好,新鲜并且送货及时。但是屠夫是在一条离酒店20分钟路程中心城市“护城河”旁一个贫民窟中临时搭建的台子上屠宰猪,护城河水被屠宰后流出的血水染红,周围邻居们对此心生反感。但若屠夫因此而把屠宰场所移到城外,又将导致他失去生意。

当前,许多企业面临着赚钱的同时不得不破坏环境的两难境地。公共管理者和企业家有必要达成一致,商业计划中不能将环境破坏是为不幸的副作用。中国人民大学环境学院院长马中教授极力提倡新的“绿色项目”:上世纪有过长足发展但目前却是二手老旧的设备等,可通过投资最新的节能、废物最小化技术,使其有更好的机会实现可持续性以及长期的利润回报。中国可进行提前规划,在政策上鼓励和支持这一新概念,甚至禁止一些新区域当前摇摇欲坠的发展模式。

科学界让商业和公共管理逐渐觉悟,热力学定律是产品生产不可违抗的结果。热力学第一定律指出,任何形式的物质和能量是守恒的,除了在核发生器中的原子反应,进入生产流程的每一个原子都会有输出。马中教授师从于物质平衡理论的先驱—艾伦·尼斯,他使我们意识到固体煤中12千克的碳原子和氧结合燃烧,会生成44千克无形气体二氧化碳。目前,温室气体排放议题正置于社会和政治的双重压力下,减少温室气体排放的方式要么是通过封存,要么是提高能效。现在这个简单的科学真理对于经过数世纪只强调货物的产出而无需对该过程中不可避免的废物产出负任何责任的企业家来说,简直是一个痛苦的冲击。

热力学第二定律是一个令企业家更加不快的事实:在物理过程中,一个“孤立系统”的熵必然增加。“孤立”意味着与外界没有任何能量和物质交换,“封闭”意味着物质不能进入或者流出。在经济活动中,真正的“孤立”系统几乎不存在,但如果分析者把一家企业视为一个封闭的系统来进行分析,会发现这个企业对社会产生负效益,除非它使用免费的阳光,风力及水能资源。农业对社会来说是净效益为正,因为其利用了免费的阳光和雨水。数世纪以来,工业产房和生产车间的运营都未计算其中的高熵输出

远在一千多年前,人类就已经把铁矿石冶炼成工具和武器,这是人类文明的一个重要特征。富含铁元素的锭或模型具有高强度和高硬度的晶体结构压的铁元素的晶体结构,而其来源赤铁矿就是极其普通的一种石头。在Jones & Atkins’ Chemistry的熵清单上显示铁和赤铁矿的熵分别为27.28 Joules/oK/mol和87.40 Joules/oK/mol。这是由常识观察得出的科学依据,说明低熵值材料比高熵值材料具有更高价值(分子结构更有序)。企业利用高熵值原材料生产铁和玻璃之类的低熵值产品,以造福于社会并从中获利。可是现在,工业区越来越拥挤,如果我们把这些所有过程纳入系统边界,并将二氧化碳的熵值213.74 Joules/oK/mol计算进去,炼铁行业就是一个熵增过程。在全球范围内,地球是一个封闭系统,没有低熵值材料的进口和高熵值污染的出口。

需要用一种全新的眼光和世界观来看待经济活动。例如进食会使熵增加,但显然我们并不能停止这一行为,而是通过设计良好的排污系统来控制废物。这意味着在运作良好的城市中,用户要为此付费。当前不仅是拥挤工业园区中的企业,甚至偏远地区的发电厂和炼油厂都需要把热力学第一定律和第二定律与他们的商业规划结合起来。尤其要对温室气体进行核算,并通过封存、回收或掩盖等补偿行为进行处理。好的企业通过实施商品和服务的可持续生产,妥善管理其不可避免的“公害”,这将是对我们未来健康的保证。

When entrepreneurs first encountered serious environmental problems a few hundred years ago, they simply moved operations. Steel mills moved from Liverpool to Pittsburg, and then to China. Now there is nowhere new left to go. When entrepreneurs with no where to hide face environmental issues, their initial response is to begrudgingly accept it as a nuisance extra cost. They will be quick to point out any competitors who do not comply. Or do not have to comply because of laxer regulations across some provincial or national border.

A second wave of responses is to promote “greening” of their products and operations but still with the same core processes that are proven but essentially untenable when all emissions are acknowledged. The third phase, now incipient, is to take a holistic view of demand and how it will be met, within the finite closed global environment. To do otherwise, is what Herman Daly has called “the race to the bottom” – who is dirtiest is cheapest and can win for a while.

The first person to extol entrepreneurship, Adam Smith, 1776, used butchers and bakers to exemplify self-interest as benefiting society. The positive market forces described as flowing from healthy competitive supply of good services at low cost in a quaint rustic Scottish market did not always work out that way. Two centuries on, a butcher in Guangxi, Nanning was delivering very fresh pork to a 5 star hotel. The chefs and clientele were very happy. Great product, fresh and on time. But he was slaughtering pigs on a makeshift platform in a shanty slum along the central city’s “stream” 20 minutes from the hotel. His neighbors did not like the rivers of blood in the city’s stream. Moving operations out of town would send him out of business.

Many enterprises now face the dilemma of making lots of money and damaging the environment. It is now necessary for public administrators and business people to agree on business plans that do not treat damaging the environment as an unfortunate side issue. Professor Ma Zhong, Dean of Environment, RenminUniversity, strongly advocates for new greenfield projects, that second hand, old generation equipment not be used, as was the case in much development of last century. By investing in the latest energy-efficient, waste-minimization technologies, there will be better chance of sustainability and long-term profit. China can plan ahead, with public administration encouraging and supporting this notion, and even prohibiting ramshackle development in new zones.

The scientific world has been slow to make the point to commercial businesses and the public administration that the Laws of Thermodynamics have an inviolable result on production. The First Law of Thermodynamics sets out that energy and matter is conserved in any transformation. And except for atomic reactions occurring in nuclear generators, every atom that goes into production process is accountable in the output. Professor Ma Zhong studied under Allen Kneese, the pioneer in Material Balance, which, for example, reminds us that 12 kilograms of carbon atoms in solid coal combust, combining with oxygen, to form 44 kilograms of invisible gaseous carbon dioxide.

There is now social and administrative pressure to manage the gas emissions issues, either by sequestration or improving efficiencies and thus reducing gasses emitted. But there are also incentives to pretend to be doing more than what happens in real science. The simple scientific truth is a painful shock to entrepreneurs after centuries of emphasizing production of “goods” without responsibility for the “bads” inevitably produced.

The Second Law of Thermodynamics is an even more unpalatable fact for entrepreneurs: In physics, in an “isolated system” entropy inevitable increases. “Isolated” means neither energy not matter can enter or leave, “closed” means matter cannot enter or leave. In economic activities, the system is almost never really “isolated”, but if an analyst conducted accounting on the enterprise as a “closed” system, that enterprise would be found to be negative net benefit to society, unless it used free sunlight, or forces from wind or water. Agriculture can be net positive because of free sunshine and rain. For centuries factories and industrial mills operated by virtue that much of their high entropy output was not counted.

For over a thousand years the refining of iron ore into iron implements and weapons has been an important feature of civilizations. An ingot or molded shape of the element iron has a hard and strong crystalline structure of value and the hematite it comes from is a fairly common rock. The entropy listings in Jones & Atkins’ Chemistry show iron 27.28Joules/oK/mol and hematite as 87.40 Joules/oK/mol. This is scientific evidence of the common sense observation that low entropy has more value (more ordered in molecular structure) than high entropy material. Enterprises producing low entropy goods like iron and glass from higher entropy raw materials are benefiting society and making a profit. Yet now that industrial zones are getting crowded, if we draw a system boundary around the process, and add the carbon dioxide listed as 213.74 Joules/oK/mol, the iron making industry increases entropy. Globally, the Earth is a closed system with no imports of low entropy materials or exports high entropy waste.

This requires a new totally new look at economic activity – a new World View. Of course eating also increases entropy, and the response has been, in crowded conditions, not to stop eating, but to use well designed sewerage systems to manage the waste. In a well-functioning city users pay for the system. Now enterprises in crowded industrial zones, and even power plants and refineries in remote areas need to incorporate in the design of their business plan the responsible addressing of the First and Second Laws of Thermodynamics. Specifically gas emissions need to be accounted for and sequestered, recycled, or covered by compensatory activities. This is not bad news and should not be hidden or shelved as an embarrassment. Good corporations implementing sustainable production of goods and services, and properly managing their inevitable “bads” are where our healthy future will be.

: http://www.coulterexergy.com/archives/991

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