ECONOMÍA

Los subsidios a la energía, ¿Solución o Problema?

Fuente: McKinsey

6.5% del PBI mundial: ese es el cálculo del costo de los subsidios a la energía según el FMI en el 2015. La cifra excede los gastos de salud en todo el mundo, estimados por la OMS en 6% del PBI mundial. Estos subsidios corresponden a una de las externalidades negativas más grandes jamás estimadas y tienen efectos adversos sobre la eficiencia económica, el crecimiento y la desigualdad (FMI, 2015).

¿Qué son los subsidios a la energía?

Son la diferencia entre lo que los consumidores pagan por la energía y sus “costos reales”, más el valor agregado o la tasa de impuesto a las ventas del país (FMI, 2015). Estos “costos verdaderos” del consumo de energía incluyen sus costos de suministro y el daño que el consumo de energía infringe en las personas y el medio ambiente.

Los subsidios energéticos son grandes y generalizados: Las economías emergentes de Asia representan aproximadamente la mitad del total de subsidios a la energía, mientras que las economías avanzadas representan alrededor de una cuarta parte.

Subvenciones de energía por país, 2016 (millones de USD)

Fuente: International Energy Agency

Durante décadas, los gobiernos han subsidiado los precios de los combustibles básicos con la intención de mantener bajo el costo de vida u ofrecer un ejemplo visible de los beneficios de la riqueza del carbón. (The Economist, 2015).

Los efectos de los subsidios

Muchos gobiernos son reacios a permitir que el aumento de precios del petróleo se traslade directamente a los consumidores. Pero a menos que los compradores hagan frente a mayores precios, no tendrán incentivos para economizar en combustible o cambiarse a producción menos intensiva en energía.

Los subsidios distorsionan la evolución de la economía, haciendo que las industrias intensivas en energía sean artificialmente atractivas. (Banco Mundial, 2008). Además, conforme el mundo se moviliza para combatir el cambio climático, estos subsidios contribuyen al problema.

Mix de energía primaria en las economías de APEC

Fuente: International Energy Agency

Las alternativas: Obtener los precios correctos de la energía

Obtener los precios de la energía correctamente puede ayudar a los gobiernos nacionales a lograr sus objetivos no solo para el medio ambiente sino también para un crecimiento inclusivo y unas finanzas públicas sanas. El principal reto es enfrentar  la oposición pública o política, sobre todo debido a su posible impacto en los ingresos y el acceso a la energía.

De acuerdo con la International Energy Agency (2017), se han desarrollado un conjunto de principios que reflejan experiencias exitosas de reformas de energía:

  • Reflejar el costo económico total de la energía.
  • Promover el uso de fuentes de energía renovable, ya que en algunos países estas resultan menos costosas que las fuentes tradicionales.
  • Implementar las reformas en pasos y evitar un gran aumento súbito en los precios.
  • Administrar los efectos: las autoridades deben implementar medidas de apoyo especialmente para aquellos que son más vulnerables a los aumentos de precios.
  • Consultar y comunicarse en todas las etapas: es esencial la comprensión pública sobre la necesidad de reformas de subsidios.

Referencias:

Comisión Sobre El Crecimiento y Desarrollo – Banco Mundial (2008). Informe sobre el crecimiento: estrategias para el crecimiento sostenido y el desarrollo incluyente.

International Energy Agency (2017). Tracking fossil fuel subsidies in APEC economies.

International Energy Agency (2017). Energy Subsidies. Recuperado de:

https://www.iea.org/statistics/resources/energysubsidies/

FMI (2015). Act Local, Solve Global: The $5.3 Trillion Energy Subsidy Problem. Recuperado de: https://blogs.imf.org/2015/05/18/act-local-solve-global-the-5-3-trillion-energy-subsidy-problem/

The Economist. (2015). The global addiction to energy subsidies. Recuperado de: https://www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2015/07/economist-explains-19

Piero Córdova
Economista de la Universidad ESAN. Trabaja en Consultoría para la Industria Financiera en EY y sueña con cambiar el mundo un corazón a la vez.
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