La competencia asiática sobre los recursos naturales

NUEVA DELHI – La competencia por los recursos naturales estratégicos – incluyendo el agua, los minerales y los combustibles fósiles – siempre ha jugado un papel importante en la conformación de las condiciones del orden económico y político internacional. Sin embargo, ahora que dicha competencia se ha intensificado debido a que abarca prácticamente toda Asia, lugar donde el crecimiento demográfico y el rápido desarrollo económico durante las últimas tres décadas han generado un apetito insaciable por los severamente limitados suministros de productos básicos clave.

Asia es el continente más pobre en recursos naturales del mundo, y la sobreexplotación de los recursos naturales que posee ha creado una crisis ambiental que está contribuyendo al cambio climático regional. Por ejemplo, la meseta del Tíbet, que contiene la tercera mayor reserva de hielo del mundo, se está calentando a casi el doble de la tasa promedio mundial debido a una convergencia rara de altas altitudes y bajas latitudes – con consecuencias potencialmente graves en cuanto al suministro de agua dulce en el Asia.

En otras palabras, tres crisis interconectadas – una crisis de recursos, una crisis ambiental y una crisis climática – amenazan el futuro económico, social y ecológico de Asia. El crecimiento demográfico, la urbanización y la industrialización exacerban las tensiones relacionadas con los recursos, lo que causa que algunas ciudades atraviesen por graves problemas de escasez de agua y sufran degradación de su medio ambiente (tal como puede atestiguar cualquier persona que vivió en carne propia el smog de Beijing). Los subsidios dirigidos a los combustibles fósiles y al agua han contribuido a ambos problemas.

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