Ecuador Says Show Me the Money, Or the Rainforest Gets It

Maquipucuna Ecuador Waterfall Green Living Project Photo

Image via: Green Living Project

And not just amy amount of money will do, Ecuador has determined that it will cost $360 million USD a year to protect their rainforest, which just happens to sit on 900 million barrels of oil. Fortunately, Ecuador had a global audience this week in which to float their proposal, just in case anyone is listening, reports Reuters.Ecuador floated this proposal back a few years ago, and while groups have worked on a plan, nothing official exists and no one yet has ponied up any money. The amount in question, located in the Yasani National Reserve, equals about 1/5 of the country's available oil. Currently Ecuador produces 450,000 barrels of oil a day and has plans to increase production in the future. Ecuador's Foreign Minister Fander Falconi said, "climate change has a very clear origin...high energy use by rich countries." Essentially, the time has come to pay the tab and someone needs to pony up the money to protect the rainforests in exchange.

Aside from getting money for not drilling, Ecuador hopes to also profit on the carbon offsets they generate by keeping this rainforest preserve intact. Some estimate that when such a market is in place, the offsets could earn this South American country anywhere between $5-6 billion (or more) by preventing the release of up to 410 million tons of carbon. Stalling drilling would also protect two indigenous tribes that live in isolation in the area.

Both rich and poor nations worry about exchanging cash for conservation. Rich nations want guarantees that the money will be used appropriately, while poor nations want to ensure they don't lose their sovereignty in exchange for their resources. This week several major global events are putting climate in the spotlight: The Clinton Global Initiative; the G20 in Pittsburgh and the UN Summit on Climate Change. To read more on these, check out the links below. :Reuters
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