It was recently confirmed that Ecuador’s Yasuni National Park, one of the most biologically diverse areas in the world, is home to large deposits of heavy crude oil, potentially totaling roughly 846 million barrels. If developed, the oil could provide an economic windfall for the small South American country; at the same time, the ecological loss and disruption of indigenous communities would likely be devastating if this development were allowed to occur.
In response to this dilemma, Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa recently proposed an alternative development strategy designed to simultaneously assist in climate change mitigation efforts and contribute to Ecuador’s economic development goals: Ecuador will refrain from extracting the oil if the international community can contribute half of the money that Ecuador could have generated through oil production to a fund set aside for the country; Ecuador would be expected to contribute the remaining half. Interest from the fund would be re-invested for national policies that encourage sustainable development.
Environmental and Economic benefits of the plan would include:
- An innovative option for combating Global Warming – avoided fossil fuel production
- Protecting biodiversity and indigenous cultures
- Development of a new sustainable development model that includes social development, nature conservation and implementing renewable energy sources
- Conservation and preventing deforestation
- Increasing national energy efficiency and savings
For the official English and Spanish versions of the proposal, click here