Pandodyssey™ Panda Blog

This is a blog devoted to Giant Panda enthusiasts, environmental wanna-bes and peace loving funimals, world-wide.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

yay environment! I think?

Ecuador's Innovative Environmental Shakedown

In a way, Ecuador's president Rafael Correa, is leading the world in "outside the box" thinking as to alternative policy proposals on oil. In essence, he's asking the international community to pay Ecuador NOT to drill for oil under a rain forest within Ecuador's borders.

Under Correa's plan, countries would pay up to $350 million a year to leave untouched the estimated 1 billion barrels of oil underneath the 2.4 million acre Yasuni National Rain Forest. $350 million comprises about half the revenue that Ecuador estimates it could make from extracting the oil.

Environmentalists are applauding - in the spirit of carbon offsetting, Correa's innovative plan seems to contain all the answers. Wealthier nations that are concerned about the environment have a way to save the rain forest, and Ecuador "exports" offsets instead of oil, while simulatanously bringing in revenue for its people. Today, 6 in 10 Ecuadorians live in poverty.

However policy analysts and others disagree that this plan could even work, and cite Correa's political woes (not his environmental concerns) as the real catalyst for his proposal. There is disagreement over the estimated worth of the oil under the forest, with detractors claiming that there is not enough there to warrant the hefty $350 million price tag. Other detractors look to Ecuador's political environment and turmoil over the past 10 years and doubt whether, even with the best of intentions, Ecuador could keep its promise to the international community over the long haul.

Is this the most innovative environmental policy proposal ever, or is it merely an attempt at shaking down wealthier countries? I honestly can't say but I think it's at least a step in the right direction. And who knows? Maybe countries like ours could afford to be shooken down if we weren't wasting money on a senseless war.

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