Dean Rohrer

Los extremistas climáticos

COPENHAGUE – Muchas veces se dice que el tiempo extremo es una de las principales razones para tomar medidas firmes respecto del calentamiento global. Hoy en día, ningún huracán ni ola de calor pasa sin que un político o activista lo presente como evidencia de la necesidad de un acuerdo sobre el clima global, como el que se acaba de posponer hasta fines de la década en Durban, Sudáfrica.

Estas afirmaciones merecen un escrutinio minucioso. En 2007, el Panel Intergubernamental sobre Cambio Climático de las Naciones Unidas (IPCC por su sigla en inglés) dio a conocer un informe sobre los extremos climáticos que recibió considerable atención por parte de los medios. Pero, dos años más tarde, se descubrió que algunas de las afirmaciones fundamentales del informe del IPCC -por ejemplo, que el calentamiento global causaría que los inmensos glaciares del Himalaya desaparecieran para 2035, o reduciría a la mitad los rendimientos de los cultivos africanos para 2020- se basaban en declaraciones hechas en llamamientos de organizaciones ambientalistas, y estaban respaldadas por escasa evidencia, o directamente ninguna.

A pesar de este error, el IPCC desde hace mucho tiempo es una fuente bastante confiable de estimaciones sensatas y responsables en un debate por lo demás histriónico. Desafortunadamente, las estimaciones sensatas no son primicia. Por ejemplo, de acuerdo con el IPCC, los niveles del mar aumentarán un volumen relativamente manejable de 18-59 centímetros (7-23 pulgadas) para fines del siglo, mientras que los medios y los activistas suelen decir que deberíamos estar preparados para que el incremento de los niveles del mar se mida en metros.

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