Miner Daniel Mihailescu | Getty Images

Más allá de la métrica del carbono

BERLÍN – En los últimos diez años, la expresión “cambio climático” se ha vuelto casi un sinónimo de “emisiones de carbono”. La reducción de gases de efecto invernadero en la atmósfera, medida en toneladas de “equivalentes de carbono” (CO2e), se convirtió en el objetivo más importante en la búsqueda de salvar al planeta. Pero una visión tan simplista como esa no puede resolver las crisis ecológicas sumamente complejas e interconectadas a las que nos enfrentamos.

El énfasis exclusivo de la política ambiental internacional en las “mediciones de carbono” es muestra de una obsesión más general con la medición y la contabilidad. El mundo funciona sobre la base de abstracciones (calorías, kilómetros, kilogramos y ahora toneladas de CO2e) que parecen objetivas y confiables, sobre todo cuando están rodeadas de un lenguaje “experto” (a menudo económico). Eso nos lleva a pasar por alto los efectos de la historia de cada abstracción, y la dinámica del poder y la política, que la modifican todo el tiempo.

Un ejemplo clave de una abstracción global poderosa y hasta cierto punto ilusoria es el producto interno bruto (PIB), que se adoptó como medida principal de desarrollo y desempeño económico de los países después de la Segunda Guerra Mundial. Entonces, las grandes potencias estaban creando instituciones financieras internacionales que debían dar cuenta de las diferencias de poderío económico relativo. Pero hoy, el PIB se convirtió en fuente de frustración generalizada, ya que no refleja las realidades de la vida de la gente. Igual que las luces altas de un auto, las abstracciones pueden iluminar mucho, pero también pueden volver invisible lo que no cae bajo su haz.

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