Nuestro futuro energético

En lo relativo a la energía, todo parecía sencillo antes de la guerra del Iraq. Los Estados Unidos derribarían a Sadam, se daría rienda suelta a las inmensas reservas de petróleo del Iraq al cabo de un corto período de reconstrucción y los precios mundiales del petróleo se reducirían por debajo de 20 dólares por barril. En cambio, los precios mundiales del petróleo se han puesto por las nubes: 35 dólares por barril. Así, pues, no es de extrañar que se esté prestando una nueva atención a los suministros energéticos. Pero el mensaje fundamental es claro: las modalidades energéticas actuales entrañan riesgo y deben cambiar.

Dos cuestiones energéticas interconectadas configurarán nuestro futuro económico y geopolítico en los próximos decenios. La primera es la de que la dependencia del petróleo del Oriente Medio resulta cada vez más peligrosa. Nadie sabe cuánto petróleo queda y cuánto costará extraerlo, pero el punto máximo de producción mundial de petróleo probablemente se alcanzará en algún momento del próximo cuarto de siglo, tal vez en los próximos años incluso. Las reservas de petróleo restantes estarán concentradas en el inestable Oriente Medio.

Entretanto, la demanda energética mundial aumentará vertiginosamente con el crecimiento de las economías de China, la India, el Brasil y otros países. Si el Oriente Medio está ya en el límite, imagínese lo que podría suceder si la competencia por el petróleo del Oriente Medio se ntensificara entre los Estados Unidos, Europa, China, la India, el Japón y otros.

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