Salvar un árbol… ¿o quemarlo?

PRAGA – A todos nos enseñan que hay que reciclar papel para salvar árboles. En nuestras casillas de e-mail, recibimos infinidad de veces esta advertencia: “Piense en el medio ambiente antes de imprimir este mensaje”. De hecho, el movimiento ecologista nació con un llamado a la preservación de los bosques.

Pero ahora, en nombre de salvar al planeta del cambio climático, los ambientalistas han lanzado una campaña global para la reducción del uso de combustibles fósiles, que supone la tala y quema a gran escala de bosques y matorrales. No pasaría de ser una simple ironía, si no fuera por los costos fenomenales que este plan traería aparejados, entre ellos una probable destrucción de biodiversidad, un aumento del uso de agua y una reducción de la producción global de alimentos. Y encima, podría implicar un aumento de las emisiones globales de CO2.

La mayoría de la gente, cuando piensa en fuentes renovables de energía, imagina paneles solares y turbinas eólicas. Sin embargo, el uso de energía solar y eólica en todo el mundo constituye solamente una pequeña parte del total de las fuentes renovables: en 2010, supuso menos del 7% del total. La energía hidráulica es una fuente mucho mayor, aporta el 17% del total. Pero la más importante, y con diferencia, es la biomasa, el combustible más antiguo de la humanidad, que en la actualidad comprende el 76% de las fuentes renovables de energía y el 10% de la energía total. Cerca de un 60% de la biomasa se compone de leña, ramitas y estiércol, elementos usados por casi tres mil millones de personas que no tienen acceso a combustibles modernos. El resultado: niveles terribles de contaminación del aire y millones de muertes.

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