As delegates discuss various ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Copenhagen, Ecuador has a simple message: keep untapped oil in the ground. Ivonne Yanez is an environmental activist from Ecuador, one of the larger oil producing countries in Latin America. Ecuador is believed to be sitting on an oil reserve of hundreds of millions of barrels. But the oil is located in the Yasuni National Park, one of the most biodiverse places on the planet. Ecuador has launched a unique campaign to have the international community compensate the country in exchange for keeping the oil in the ground.
aim of the proposal is to provide a creative solution for the threat
posed by the extraction of crude oil in the
Ishpingo-Tiputini-Tambococha (ITT) oil fields, which are located in
the highly vulnerable area of Yasuní National Park. The
proposal would contribute to preserving biodiversity, reducing
carbon dioxide emissions, and respecting the rights of indigenous
peoples and their way of life.
Rafael Correa has stated that the country’s first option is to
maintain the crude oil in the subsoil. The national and
international communities would be called on to help the Ecuadorian
government implement this costly decision for the country. The
government hopes to recover 50% of the revenues it would obtain by
extracting the oil.
The procedure involves
the issuing of government bonds for the crude oil that will remain
“in situ”, with the double commitment of never extracting this
oil and of protecting Yasuní National Park.
It is important to keep
in mind that if Ecuador succeeds in receiving the hoped for amount –
estimated at 350 million dollars annually – it would only be for a
period of ten years beginning after the sixth year, since production
and thus potential revenues would progressively decline at the end
of that period.
A more promising
alternative would be a strategy to provide the government with the
50% of resources in such a way as to provide a consistent income for
an indefinite period of time. This resources would be channelled
towards activities that help to free the country from its dependency
on exports and imports and to consolidate food sovereignty.
Download the concept document on the proposal 481.62 Kb
Download an Oilwatch publication on the proposal to Keep Oil Underground 7.56 Mb
The proposal is framed
within the national and international contexts based on the
- halt climate change
- stop destruction of biodiversity
- protect the huaorani people
- economic transformation of the country
Options for the ITT Block
Energy Minister Alberto
Acosta has referred on numerous occasions to a civil society
proposal not to extract crude oil in Yasuní National Park. On
30 March 2007 President Correa analyzed the alternatives for
developing what has been referred to up until now as the ITT
Article 32 of the Hydrocarbons Law establishes that the exploitation of deposits of heavy crude oil of less than 15 degrees API gravity will be subject to “integral economic planning directed by the Ministry of the sector.”
Article 91 of the current Ecuadorian constitution recognizes the Principle of Precaution and states that “preventive measures will be taken in the event of doubts over the impact or negative environmental consequences of any action or omission, even if there is no scientific evidence of damage. Without prejudice to the rights of those directly affected, any individual or legal entity, or group of people, can undertake the actions foreseen in the law for the protection of the environment.”
transcendental decision that will define Ecuador's future
Download the powerpoint presentation 3.50 Mb
Watch the presentation video
oil Project Ishpingo-Tambococha-Tiputini (ITT) is located the Amazon
Rainforest, in block 43, crossed by the rivers Napo, Tiputini and
Yasuní, on the eastern border with Peru. This block contains
one of the most abundant heavy oil reserves in the country, yet it is
also part of the Yasuní National Park, considered one of the
most important biodiversity reserves on the planet which also
includes the Intangible Zone, home of the voluntarily isolated and
not contacted indigenous peoples, the Tagaeri and the Taromenane.
Watch the video presentation by Dr. Carlos C Larrea of the Universidad Andina Simón Bolivár about the economic model of the proposal.