hydroelectric dam Sia Kambou/AFP/Getty Images

A energia, a Economia e o Ambiente

LONDRES – Para garantir um futuro hipocarbónico e começar a enfrentar o desafio das alterações climáticas, é necessário que o mundo invista mais em energias renováveis. Como é que podemos atingir este objectivo? Nenhum sistema de produção de energia é perfeito, e até mesmo os projectos de energia "verde" (em razão da sua pegada geográfica) devem ser cuidadosamente gerido para atenuar a "expansão energética" e os efeitos conexos nas paisagens, rios e oceanos.

A energia hidroeléctrica proporciona um dos exemplos mais claros de como a localização das infra-estruturas de energias renováveis pode ter consequências não intencionais. A electricidade produzida em barragens é actualmente a maior fonte de energia renovável do planeta, fornecendo cerca de duas vezes mais energia do que o conjunto de todas as outras energias renováveis. Mesmo com a expansão em grande escala de projectos de energia solar e eólica, a maioria das previsões pressupõe que a concretização dos objectivos mitigação das alterações climáticas a nível mundial exigirá, pelo menos, um aumento de 50% na capacidade da energia hidroeléctrica até 2040.

No entanto, apesar da promessa da energia hidroeléctrica, é necessário ter em consideração as consequências económicas e ecológicas significativas sempre que se procede à instalação de barragens. Os obstáculos que restringem o fluxo da água são particularmente perturbadores para a pesca em águas interiores, por exemplo. Anualmente, são capturadas mais de seis milhões de toneladas de pescado em bacias hidrográficas que têm prevista a execução de projectos de energia hidroeléctrica. Sem um planeamento adequado, tais projectos poderiam colocar em risco uma fonte essencial de produção de alimentos e de rendimento para mais de 100 milhões de pessoas.

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