La crisis climática se está acelerando a una velocidad que ni siquiera los científicos más pesimistas preveían, mientras Gobiernos y empresas arrastran los pies para reducir las emisiones de carbono; la tensión en Oriente Próximo está disparada y en cualquier momento una chispa puede prender un conflicto entre Arabia Saudí e Irán; Estados Unidos tiene un presidente que se comporta a veces como un niño mimado, otras como un agente de Moscú; los móviles se han convertido en armas de espionaje masivo; las especies desaparecen a mansalva…
Things take longer to happen than you think they will, but then they happen much faster than you thought they could.
The destructive impacts of the climate crisis are now following the trajectory of that economics maxim as horrors long predicted by scientists are becoming realities.
More destructive Category 5 hurricanes are developing, monster fires ignite and burn on every continent but Antarctica, ice is melting in large amounts there and in Greenland, and accelerating sea-level rise now threatens low-lying cities and island nations.
Tropical diseases are spreading to higher latitudes. Cities face drinking-water shortages. The ocean is becoming warmer and more acidic, destroying coral reefs and endangering fish populations that provide vital protein consumed by about a billion people.
Worsening droughts and biblical deluges are reducing food production and displacing millions of people. Record-high temperatures threaten to render areas of the Middle East and the Persian Gulf, North Africa and South Asia uninhabitable. Growing migrations of climate refugees are destabilizing nations. A sixth great extinction could extinguish half the species on earth.
Finally people are recognizing that the climate is changing, and the consequences are worsening much faster than most thought was possible. A record 72 percent of Americans polled say that the weather is growing more extreme. And yet every day we still emit more than 140 million tons of global warming pollution worldwide into the atmosphere, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. I often echo the point made by the climate scientist James Hansen: The accumulation of carbon dioxide, methane and other greenhouse gases — some of which will envelop the planet for hundreds and possibly thousands of years — is now trapping as much extra energy daily as 500,000 Hiroshima-class atomic bombs would release every 24 hours.
This is the crisis we face.
Now we need to ask ourselves: Are we really helpless and unwilling to respond to the gravest threat faced by civilization? Is it time, as some have begun to counsel, to despair, surrender and focus on “adapting” to the progressive loss of the conditions that have supported the flourishing of humanity? Are we really moral cowards, easily manipulated into lethargic complacency by the huge continuing effort to deceive us into ignoring what we see with our own eyes?
More damage and losses are inevitable, no matter what we do, because carbon dioxide remains for so long in the atmosphere. So we will have to do our best to adapt to unwelcome changes. But we still retain the ability to avoid truly catastrophic, civilization-ending consequences if we act quickly.
This is our generation’s life-or-death challenge. It is Thermopylae, Agincourt, Trafalgar, Lexington and Concord, Dunkirk, Pearl Harbor, the Battle of the Bulge, Midway and Sept. 11. At moments of such crisis, the United States and the world have to be mobilized, and before we can be mobilized, we have to be inspired to believe the battle can be won. Is it really too much to ask now that politicians summon the courage to do what most all of them already know is necessary?
We have the technology we need. That economic maxim about slow-fast phenomena, first articulated by the M.I.T. economist Rudiger Dornbusch and known as Dornbusch’s Law, also explains the tsunami of technological and economic change that has given us tools to sharply reduce global warming pollution much faster than we thought was possible only a short time ago. For example, according to the research group Bloomberg New Energy Finance, as recently as 2014 — a year before the Paris climate agreement was reached — electricity from solar and wind was cheaper than new coal and gas plants in probably 1 percent of the world. Today, only five years later, solar and wind provide the cheapest sources of new electricity in two-thirds of the world. Within five more years, these sources are expected to provide the cheapest new electricity in the entire world. And in 10 years, solar and wind electricity will be cheaper nearly everywhere than the electricity that existing fossil fuel plants will be able to provide.
… The people, in their true function as the sovereign power, are quickly understanding the truth of this crisis, and they are the ones who must act, especially because the president is not on speaking terms with the truth and seems well beyond the reach of reason.
This will require a ferocious attack on the complacency, complicity, duplicity and mendacity of those in Congress who have paid for their careers by surrendering their votes and judgment to powerful special interests that are sacrificing the planet for their greed. To address the climate crisis, we must address the democracy crisis so that the people themselves can reclaim control of their destiny.
As has often been the case in successful political revolutions, young people have taken up the gauntlet with inspiring passion. Greta Thunberg has stirred millions as the school strike movement she began in Sweden spreads to many countries. The Sunrise Movement, the Extinction Rebellion, Zero Hour and other youth-led movements are gathering momentum daily. On Friday, hundreds of thousands of people around the world were marching and gathering to call for action on climate change. Employees of many corporations are aggressively demanding that their employers take action to help save the climate balance.
The “blue wave” that gave Democrats control of the House in last year’s midterm elections was fueled in part by concern about climate. The Green New Deal, introduced by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Senator Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts, ties solutions to the climate crisis to environmental justice and a “just transition” that will create millions of well-paying jobs. This effort has won support from many Americans, just as the nuclear freeze movement of the early 1980s attracted wide approval and helped pave the way for an arms control agreement between President Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, the leader of the Soviet Union.
Los paraísos fiscales son una realidad más cercana de lo que nos pueda parecer. Lejos del tópico que los describe como microestados en vías de desarrollo, muchos Estados europeos cumplen los requisitos para ser considerados paraísos fiscales: impuestos muy bajos y legislaciones laxas, que son aprovechados por grandes empresas y particulares con alto poder adquisitivo para evitar pagar impuestos que les corresponden.
… Suiza, un país europeo, se encuentra en el centro de esta red de corrupción mundial, en la que también participa Luxemburgo, Estado miembro de la Unión Europea.
Pero los grandes protagonistas de la evasión fiscal son las empresas multinacionales. Las estimaciones de Zucman apuntan a que el 40% de los beneficios de las grandes empresas son trasladados a paraísos fiscales cada año. Aprovechando vacíos legales y una legislación no adaptada al nuevo modelo económico y financiero, trasladan contablemente beneficios a jurisdicciones donde tributen menos, evitando así pagar lo que les correspondería.
… Los países receptores de fondos, como Suiza, Holanda, Luxemburgo, Malta, Irlanda y Bélgica consiguen recaudar impuestos que les corresponderían a otros países como Francia, Alemania, Italia, España, Suecia, el Reino Unido y Polonia. A la vez que esto se permite, en la Unión Europea se discute sobre límites de déficit y equilibrio presupuestario, lo que obliga a los países perdedores a compensar su falta de recaudación subiendo otros impuestos como el del trabajo.
… La Unión Europea tiene la responsabilidad de ser el único organismo con capacidad para empezar a regular en materia de evasión fiscal. Tras las elecciones de mayo, arranca un nuevo curso en las instituciones comunitarias. Por ahora, el comité de Asuntos Económicos y monetarios del Parlamento Europeo ha aprobado la creación de un subcomité especializado en impuestos y delitos financieros. Esperemos que este avance sea el primero de muchos.