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Centroamérica y el alto impacto del cambio climático

Según el Panel Intergubernamental sobre Cambio Climático (IPCC), las emisiones de gases de efecto invernadero (GEI) generados por el hombre aumentaron un 70% en el período comprendido entre 1970 y el 2004. Este aumento está provocando un cambio generalizado en el clima a nivel mundial, y en la región centroamericana esto se traduce en sequías en los años en que se da el fenómeno del niño, e inundaciones en los años en que hay fenómenos de la niña.

Esta serie de cambios en el clima aumentan la vulnerabilidad socioeconómica e inciden en la evolución de la economía centroamericana debido a que los factores dependientes del clima son decisivos para muchas actividades productivas. Esto se puede demostrar con datos de la Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (Cepal), según los cuales un incremento del 5% de la intensidad en los eventos extremos provocados por el cambio climático, como sequías, inundaciones, tormentas y huracanes, podrían llegar a representar un 7.64% del PIB de la región para finales del siglo XXI de manera acumulada, en un escenario en el que se utiliza una tasa de descuento del 0.5% (que es una medida que se aplicapara determinar el valor actual de un monto futuro). Cabe mencionar que aunque los países más afectados serán Belice y Honduras (en ellos recaerían costos del 24% y 21% del PIB respectivamente), las consecuencias económicas en Costa Rica, Guatemala, Panamá, Nicaragua y El Salvador también serán considerables, por lo que la región verá mermadas sus posibilidades de crecimiento económico y desarrollo en el largo plazo (ver tabla 1).

Se estima que para el año 2100, los impactos del cambio climático en Centroamérica sobre el sector agrícola, los recursos hídricos, biodiversidad e intensidad de huracanes, tormentas e inundaciones, podrán llegar a tener un costo acumulado equivalente al 54% del PIB de 2008. Cabe resaltar que las estimaciones indican que los costos tenderán a acelerase después del año 2050, en que la acumulación de las emisiones generará mayores aumentos de temperatura (ver tabla 2) ampliando las zonas secas, reduciendo los bosques nubosos, y afectando la vida marina.

Lo anterior permite entender porque el Germanwatch asegura que cinco de los siete países centroamericanos (Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala y Belice), se encuentran dentro de los 25 primeros lugares en el índice de riesgo climático.

A pesar de los impactos económicos significativos, la región aporta apenas el 0.5% de las emisiones de GEI globales (World Resources Institute, 2011), por lo que si bien es cierto es importante que se dediquen esfuerzos a la reducción de los GEI, resulta fundamental que los países centroamericanos se enfoquen en trazar estrategias de adaptación efectivas que mitiguen los impactos del cambio climático.

En este sentido los países deberán reorientar la política fiscal de manera que el cambio climático se convierta en una prioridad nacional y regional. Para esto se deberá trabajar, por el lado del gasto público, en incrementar la infraestructura verde y conservación de ecosistemas estratégicos, promover la adaptación y mitigación ante los desastres naturales, así como promover el fortalecimiento institucional y la capacidad del sector público. Por el lado de los ingresos, se deberá penalizar las acciones que tengan altas emisiones de GEI, que incidan en la reducción de las áreas con ecosistemas estratégicos para la provisión de agua, biodiversidad, y como sumideros de carbono. Todo esto en un marco de transparencia y rendición de cuentas frente a la ciudadanía.

Tabla 1: Centroamérica: Estimado inicial del costo acumulado ante un aumento de 5% en la intensidad de las tormentas y los huracanes a 2100

(En porcentaje del PIB de 2008 a valor presente neto)

Tabla 1

Tabla 1

* La tasa de descuento es una medida que se aplica para determinar el valor actual de un monto futuro
Fuente: Icefi con base  en Cepal (2011). La economía del cambio climático en Centroamérica.

Tabla 2: Centroamérica: Estimado inicial del costo acumulado del Impacto del cambio climático en cuatro ámbitos a 2100
(En porcentaje del PIB de 2008 a valor presente neto)

Tabla 2

Tabla 2

 * La tasa de descuento es una medida que se aplica para determinar el valor actual de un monto futuro
Fuente: Icefi con base en Cepal (2011). La economía del cambio climático en Centroamérica.

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