Un cálculo escalofriante del calentamiento del planeta

El gobierno británico ha publicado recientemente el estudio más completo hasta la fecha de los costos y los riesgos económicos del calentamiento del planeta y de las medidas que podrían reducir las emisiones de gases que provocan el efecto de invernadero, con la esperanza de prevenir algunas de sus consecuencias más terribles. El informe, dirigido por Sir Nicholas Stern de la London School of Economics, que me sucedió como economista jefe del Banco Mundial, explica con claridad que ya no se trata de si podemos permitirnos el lujo de hacer algo contra el calentamiento del planeta, sino de si podemos permitirnos el de no hacer nada.

El informe propone un programa cuyo costo sería equivalente a tan sólo el uno por ciento del consumo anual, pero evitaría al mundo unos costos de riesgo cinco veces mayores. Los costos del calentamiento del planeta en él expuestos son mayores que en estudios anteriores, porque se tiene en cuenta las pruebas en aumento de que el proceso de calentamiento del planeta es sumamente complejo y no lineal, con la no desdeñable posibilidad de que avance mucho más rápidamente y su amplitud sea mucho mayor de lo que se había pensado antes.

De hecho, puede que ese estudio subestime, en realidad, en gran medida los costos: por ejemplo, el cambio climático puede propiciar una variabilidad mayor del tiempo atmosférico, una posible desaparición o un importante cambio de dirección de la corriente del Golfo –particularmente preocupante para Europa– y un aumento de las enfermedades.

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