Más allá de la cruzada del carbono

COPENHAGUE – En esencia, gran parte del debate sobre el cambio climático versa sobre una pregunta enojosa y que provoca divisiones: ¿cuánto habría que reducir las emisiones de carbono?

Al centrarse en un asunto tan concreto, el debate no resulta constructivo. Todo el mundo quiere evitar el calentamiento planetario y la pregunta verdadera es la siguiente: ¿cuál es la mejor forma de hacerlo? Deberíamos estar dispuestos a examinar otras formas de detener el calentamiento, como, por ejemplo, la de reducir las emisiones de carbono en el futuro y no ahora o la de centrarnos en la reducción de las emisiones de otros gases que provocan el efecto de invernadero. El calentamiento planetario creará problemas importantes, por lo que las reducciones de carbono ofrecen beneficios importantes. Sin embargo, para reducir las emisiones de carbono, tiene que haber una reducción en el uso básico de la energía que sustenta la sociedad moderna, por lo que también entrañará costos importantes.

El destacado economista del clima profesor Richard Tol, de la Universidad de Hamburgo, ha analizado los beneficios y los costos de la reducción del carbono ahora frente a su reducción en el futuro. La reducción más temprana costará 17,8 billones de dólares, mientras que una reducción posterior costará sólo dos billones de dólares. No obstante, la reducción de la concentración de CO2 –y, por tanto, de la temperatura– en 2100 será mayor a consecuencia de las reducciones futuras. La reducción de las emisiones ahora resulta mucho más cara, porque hay pocas opciones substitutivas de los combustibles fósiles y son caras. Nuestro dinero no compra, sencillamente, tanto como lo hará, cuando las fuentes verdes de energía sean más eficientes en función de los costos.

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