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July 31, 2010

RELEASE/VICTORY: Ecuador Sets Major Rainforest and Climate Protection Precedent

By Earth's Newsdesk and the Rainforest Portal, projects of Ecological Internet

CONTACT: Dr. Glen Barry, glenbarry@ecologicalinternet.org

Amazon roads from oil exploration and production destroy rainforests

It is reported Ecuador will be compensated for leaving oil reserves in Yasuni National Park untouched. This is a major victory for Ecuador, the rainforest movement, and Ecological Internet – who was the first to campaign internationally on the issue.


Ecuador’s government announced today it has reached a deal with the United Nations Development Program under which donor countries will compensate Quito for leaving oil reserves untouched in a large primary rainforest filled national park. Yasuni National Park [search] – covering some 9,820 km2, or about the size of Massachusetts – is thought to be one of Earth’s most biodiversity rich sites and is also home to several nomadic Indian tribes. Yasuni’s preservation (total protection, not “sustainable management” or “conservation”) would spare Earth some 410 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions that contribute to global warming; while keeping biodiversity, ecosystems and cultures fully intact. The official signing is reported to be held on Tuesday.

Ecological Internet’s Earth Action Network [1] was the first to campaign internationally on threats to Yasuni from oil exploration, successfully internationalizing the issue. “This marvelous rainforest and climate victory is very gratifying and exciting,” states Dr. Glen Barry, Ecological Internet President. “Ecological Internet began to campaign in the early 2000s to protect Yasuni National Park from oil development, and continuously since. Like so many of our campaigns, it has just taken off. Our efforts were picked up by ‘The Ecologist’ Magazine, and since then a large local and global movement has been built – including the Yasuni-ITT Initiative, Scientists Concerned for Yasuni, Save America’s Forest and many other participants – who share in this victory.”

In 2007, Ecuador’s then President Rafael Correa launched the Yasuni-ITT Initiative, which sought compensation for agreeing to forgo exploiting the estimated 846 million barrels of crude in the Yasuni National Park. Negotiations had centered on the amount of compensation Ecuador would receive, with Correa insisting his nation get at least 3.5 billion dollars over ten years -- about half the value of the estimated reserves in the protected area. When international donors were slow to respond, Ecological Internet launched another campaign which successfully “nudged” donor nations to fund this Yasuni-ITT proposal[2]. As of early this year, about half had been pledged, with Germany (910 million) and Spain (241.8 million) leading the group of donors that included France, Sweden and Switzerland.

### MORE ###

Much of the remainder of the Western Amazon -- home to some of the most biodiverse and intact primary rainforest ecosystems left on Earth, which are critical for driving regional and global ecosystems and climatic patterns necessary for life – is threatened with decimation by oil rigs and pipelines. Over 180 oil and gas "blocks" – covering some 688,000 km2 (170 million acres) of Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and western Brazil (nearly the size of Texas) – are areas zoned for exploration and development. This energy production is concentrated in the Amazon's largest remaining un-fragmented primary rainforest wildernesses, containing the most species of birds, mammals, and amphibians.

“Destruction of primary rainforests for oil production and other industrial development is a global ecological emergency. Regional governments, international donors and global citizens must decide whether every last bit of the Earth's old forest wildernesses; and intact, large ecosystems which make Earth habitable, will be sacrificed to delay having to transition now to renewable energy sources. In the process, abrupt run-away climate change, mass extinction and social disintegration will be ensured. This deal, if indeed signed as reported on Tuesday, represents a major new model for achieving global ecological sustainability, which must be replicated wherever primary rainforests shroud oil reserves. Further, it sets the precedent that to truly be protected, primary rainforests must be fully preserved in an intact condition, and not ‘sustainably managed’, which is a myth,” explains Dr. Barry.

### ENDS ###

[1] Earth Action Network’s current alerts are found at http://www.ecoearth.info/shared/alerts/ and you can subscribe to new alert notifications at: http://www.ecoearth.info/shared/subscribe/ and on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/ecointernet/

[2] http://forests.org/shared/alerts/send.aspx?id=ecuador_oil_underground


DISCUSS RELEASE:
http://www.rainforestportal.org/issues/
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Comments

Congratulations, Dr. Barry!
And thank you for your passion and hard work.
I am doing what i can, too, to stir up transformation.

Sincerely,
Nigel Strafford

wonderful, wonderful. So very glad to read this. thanks to Glen, John and all who pulled this off.

JK

Wow. Marvelous

This is a much better use of resources ....saving forests, not advocating for their destruction for biomass fuel. Congratulations.

SWallace

congratulations Glen!!! this is wonderful news for Ecuador!
have you had any contact with the Pachamana Alliance: www.pachamama.org They too are inspired and committed to Ecuador ... we run symposiums to try and shift the consciousness (or lack of it) of the western mind to see what their values and life styles do to contribute to the devastation of the rainforests.
well done for your great work!
elaine, New Zealand

Good news indeed. Congratulations! Paul

Note much of the commenting upon this blog is now occurring on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/ecointernet . Join the full discussion there please. gb

How can we express our thanks to

a) the government of Ecuador

and b) the government of Germany (and other leading donors who made this possible).

We should be just as keen to throw bouquets as to throw cricticism, where it is justified.

A real wave of thanks - we are watching you, and we do want things to be done right.

Note for the more radical among us: Yes, this is accepting the existing power structures, which are themselves part of the problem but they are the structures which we have right now.

Appreciate the leadership Ecuador has shown in relation to protection of the rainforests

It's so nice to read positive environmental news for a change. I wish we could have these kinds of conversations more openly in the US.

This is great news. Hopefully other countries will follow suit. It's a shame that it takes money to make this happen, doesn't it always though. Just goes to show what hard work and an intelligent argument can accomplish.

Tim

In many ways this is a surprising and startling victory.
While lobbying has been a factor, it is also important to give recognition to the social movements of Ecuador perhaps. The president has recently branded many as terrorists and perhaps the restistance from below is a big factor. …

Also if we get stuck on carbon fetishism then we can easily let the bigger game slide. Capitalist is amongst other a bio-crisis. Is the yasuni initiative really just a ‘green capitalist’ stopgap in the bigger picture. Lets follow the money. I’ll be interested to see where the pink tide takes it, and what uses it is put. More capitalism ? 1st world development model under the veneer of 21st century (non) socialism…