Oil Discovery in Ecuador Prompts Plan to Protect Indigenous Territories

December 7, 2011 | Barbara Fraser | Source: Indian Country

Ecuador’s Yasuní National Park is one of the richest places on earth, with a wealth of flora and fauna – some found nowhere else on the planet – in its forests, and an estimated 850 million barrels of petroleum beneath them.

It is also home to the Tagaeri and Taromenane, tribes that continued to shun contact with the outside world, even after the Waorani, to whom they are related, yielded to the advance of settlers, missionaries, loggers and oil companies some 50 years ago.

Now the Tagaeri and Taromenane are at the mercy of outsiders again. This time, though, there is the possibility of a novel solution in which the world’s wealthy countries could band together with Ecuador to protect their territory.

The proposal seems straightforward: Instead of drilling in a sensitive place, where international groups decry likely environmental and social impacts, Ecuador is offering to leave the oil in the ground – averting an estimated 400 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions – as long as the world’s wealthiest countries, which consume the most fossil fuels, compensate it for the loss of revenue.

Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa has challenged the world’s industrialized countries – the ones that produce the most greenhouse gases responsible for global warming – to pay $3.6 billion in donations by 2024. That is half the estimated value of the $7.2 billion worth of oil that could be extracted from the Ishpingo-Tambococha-Tiputini (ITT) oil field, which overlaps the Yasuní National Park and biosphere reserve and the territory inhabited by the Tagaeri and Taromenane.

Leaving the oil in the ground would be costly – Ecuador receives about half its export earnings and one third of its tax revenues from oil, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. But the plan is “new, innovative and revolutionary,” according to economist Alberto Acosta, a former government minister in Ecuador. “All the countries on the planet must assume environmental challenges,” he argues, “and the wealthiest countries, which cause the greatest environmental damage, must shoulder a greater share of that responsibility.”


edit : selvavidasinfronteras.org


~ by FSVSF Admin on 8 December, 2011.

One Response to “Oil Discovery in Ecuador Prompts Plan to Protect Indigenous Territories”

  1. im visit

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