Ecuador’s President threatens to allow Yasuni rainforest to be destroyed by oil companies

Darren Hill mail at
Thu Jan 21 18:16:41 GMT 2010

I saw an Ecuadorian activist describe the deal, which the president is 
now moving away from, as something special and ground breaking.  Funds 
to protect the forest were to be provided outside of a carbon market 
mechanism avoiding potential problems tied to using such systems.

The rainforest in Yasuni National Park and the neighboring 
Ispingo-Tambococha-Tibutini-Territory (ITT) along the upper Amazon river 
is still largely intact. It is home to the indigenous Huaorani people 
and several communities who live in voluntary isolation. Scientists have 
described Yasuni as the region with the highest biodiversity per hectare 
worldwide. 664 different species of trees alone have been found on a 
single hectar.

The rainforest is also of immense importance for the water cycle and the 
climate. Each hectare of rainforest stores around 200 tonnes of carbon. 
If the heavy oil was exploited and burned, a further 410 million tonnes 
of carbon would be emitted and would accelerate global warming.

All those reasons support leaving the rainforest intact and the oil 
under the ground. This is why the government offered two years ago to 
leave 850 million barrels of oil untouched, provided they could get 

At the international level, Ecuador’s initiative has found support. In 
June 2008, the German Parliament called on the Government to support the 
project. The government carried out a feasibility study in 2008/0. Apart 
from Germany, Spain, Belgium, France and Sweden are reported to have 
offered substantial payments and 15 other countries have declared an 
interest. For several months,the Ecuadorean government has been in 
negotiations with the UN Development Fund for a UN fund which was to be 
signed at the end of January.

Now, however, initiative is in serious danger. On 9th January, Ecuador’s 
President Rafael Correa announced in his weekly radio address that oil 
exploitation would start despite all. He is dissatisfied that the fund 
is not be personally managed by him and that he is to have no control 
over how to spend the money. The most important supporter of the 
inititiative in the government and the negotiating team resigned on 11th 
and 12th January as a result of this announcement, including Foreign 
Minister Falconi. Global greed for the black gold and for quick profits 
could now win against reason. The nature paradise, the people living in 
it and the global climate are under threat.

The international initiative ‘Amazonia por la Vida’ 
<> and prominent individuals in 
Ecuador call on people to write to Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa. 
Please take part in our email action and demand that the precious 
rainforest must remain unharmed and that the oil stay under the ground.

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