Ecuador Rainforest Conservation Plan Would Leave 20% of Oil Reserves Untapped

ecuador rainforest photo

photo: lana.japan via flickr

Under a new plan being worked out by conservationists, a vast swath of the Ecuadorian Amazon, under which lies about 20% of the nations oil reserves, would be set aside so the nation could reap profits in the future carbon offset market. The Washington Post (via Yale e360) provides the details: The area in question is the Yasuni National Park, one of the most biologically rich areas on the planet and one which a whole bunch of puzzle pieces align could provide Ecuador with an estimate $4-7 billion dollars in revenue from the sale of carbon offsets to wealthy nations in need of a place to soak up their profligate pollution.

European countries could accept the Yasuni certificates as an equivalent to the carbon allowances traded on the European Energy Exchange in Leipzig, Germany. The exchange is a market for energy products such as electricity and natural gas, as well as carbon dioxide emissions rights. But such an arrangement is not allowed under the rules of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, aimed at curbing greenhouse gas emissions -- a treaty the United States rejected. Ecuadorans say they hope this type of pilot project could be embraced under climate change rules to be formulated at a meeting in Copenhagen in December, [Roque] Sevílla, [an Ecuadorian environmentalist on the committee in charge of initiative] said.

The project faces a number of obstacles, two of the most prominent being: 1) The actual legal mechanism for the trading of these offsets doesn't yet exists; and, 2) the Ecuadorian government is under pressure from oil companies to allow access to the area. Not to mention to notion that since the whole area is already a national park, doesn't that mean it should be off limits to development anyway?

More: Washington Post

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