El imperativo cero

OXFORD – El mundo ha alcanzado un acuerdo histórico sobre el cambio climático. El acuerdo al que se llegó en la Conferencia de Naciones Unidas sobre Cambio Climático en París compromete a los países a tomar medidas para limitar el calentamiento “muy por debajo” de 2° Celsius en relación a los niveles preindustriales y a poner en marcha “esfuerzos” para limitar el calentamiento a 1,5°C. También obliga a los países desarrollados a ofrecer 100.000 millones de dólares por año en asistencia a los países en desarrollo. Pero, desafortunadamente, las negociaciones finales dejaron de lado el único número que verdaderamente importa para el futuro de nuestro planeta: cero.

Esa es la cantidad neta de dióxido de carbono que podemos emitir si alguna vez hemos de estabilizar la temperatura del planeta en cualquier nivel. Cero, nada. El sistema atmósfera-océano de la Tierra es como una tina que se llena de CO2 y otros gases de tipo invernadero: cuanto más alto el nivel, más caliente el planeta.

El grifo de las emisiones se debe cerrar una vez que la tina alcanza un nivel asociado con un cierto nivel de calentamiento –digamos, 2°C, por encima del cual, según coinciden de forma casi unánime los científicos, los riesgos se vuelven severos, los momentos críticos se tornan posibles y la capacidad de adaptación de la civilización no está garantizada-. Si no se cierra el grifo, la tina atmosférica se seguirá llenando, calentando el planeta 3°, 4°, 5° y así sucesivamente, hasta que las emisiones finalmente se detengan –o nosotros nos extingamos-. Cuanto antes cerremos el grifo, más baja será la temperatura en la cual se estabilice el clima, menor el riesgo que enfrentemos y más bajo el costo en el que incurramos para adaptarnos a un planeta más cálido.

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