El cambio climático del rey carbón

WASHINGTON, DC – El carbón está resultando un importante tema de conversación en las negociaciones de las Naciones Unidas sobre el cambio climático que se celebran actualmente en Varsovia... y con razón. De hecho, se trata de un debate necesario para el mundo.

Según las conclusiones más recientes del Grupo Intergubernamental sobre el Cambio Climático (IPCC), estamos agotando rápidamente nuestro “presupuesto” de carbono, la cantidad de éste que podemos permitirnos el lujo de emitir sin por ello dejar de tener la posibilidad de limitar el calentamiento planetario a dos grados centígrados. Según el IPCC, para mantener el aumento de la temperatura planetaria respecto de los niveles preindustriales por debajo de ese umbral, punto de inflexión reconocido allende el cual es probable que el cambio climático resulte descontrolado, es necesario que el mundo emita sólo 1.000 gigatoneladas de carbono (GTC). En 2011 se emitió ya más de la mitad de esa cantidad. Si no cambiamos nuestra conducta, caracterizada por una gran utilización del carbono, el resto del presupuesto se agotará en unos tres decenios.

En cuanto a emisiones tolerables de CO2, el carbón es lo que descabala el presupuesto. Precisamente esta semana, un grupo de 27 destacados científicos, representantes de todos los continentes importantes, publicaron una declaración conjunta según la cual la combustión de todas las reservas conocidas de combustibles fósiles produciría unas 3.800 gigatoneladas de CO2, es decir, 1.053 GTC, más de la mitad de las cuales correspondería tan sólo al carbón. Dicho sencillamente, si el mundo quema sus reservas conocidas de carbón mediante las tecnologías actuales, es probable que aumente la temperatura planetaria muy por encima de los dos grados centígrados.

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