There’s carbon taxes. There’s cap-and-trade. But Ecuador’s Minister of
Energy and Mines, Alberto Acosta, has an even better idea for reducing carbon
emissions: don’t even develop the oil fields in the first place! The AP’s Gonzalo
President Rafael Correa said Ecuador is seeking some $350 million annually
for 10 years to not drill for oil in Ishpingo-Tiputini-Tambococha (ITT) fields,
located in the Yasuni National Park deep in Ecuador’s northeastern jungle.
The jungle area, which holds close to 1 billion barrels of crude, is a UNESCO
Biosphere Reserve known for its rich variety of flora and fauna. Some environmentalists
say there is more plant life in the reserve – about the size of Puerto Rico
– than in the United States and Canada combined.
Turner has more details:
By leaving the crude underground and untouched, planet Earth will be spared
around 108 million tonnes per year of atmospheric carbon dioxide pollution
as well as the $4bn it would need to clean up the site once all oil were exhausted.
It would protect the Amazon basin rainforest where ITT lies, stop any localised
emissions from interfering with ecosystems and weather patterns and also go
a long way to help protect the local indigenous communities, particularly
three tribes of local peoples that have chosen not to have any contact with
the outside world if at all possible.
The developed world has one year to make this happen. $350 million per year
is really not all that much – I can think of a few hedge fund managers
who pay that in income tax. Who’s going to take the lead and pledge some cash?