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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Ecuador's Imperilled Paradise - One of the World's Most Important, If Least-Known Battles

 SAVE THE  YASUNI RAINFOREST - Ecuador must not drill for oil in this natural wonderland
Deep in the Ecuadorian Amazon, one of the planet's last unspoiled ecological treasures is on the verge of destruction. For decades, scientists have flocked to YasunI National Park, an unspoiled laboratory for evolution and scientific discovery. It was one of the few places in the world that did not freeze during the last ice-age, becoming a refuge for thousands of species of amphibians, birds, mammals and plants that would eventually repopulate the Amazon. YasunI remains arguably the most biodiverse spot in the world today.
A Conversation with Dr. Ivonne Baki  9/27/2011
In 2007, Ecuador's President Rafael Correa proposed protecting his country's biodiversity against huge oil revenue prospects. This was the archetypal mother of all environmental contests, and remains so. The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) signed on to President Correa's proposal, and it was again discussed at the UN's most recent 66th General Assembly. At that United Nations meeting,  US$52.9 million of both public and private sector donations were committed  to the proposal, as UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon joined President Rafael Correa in a special meeting, along with Ecuador's indigenous Huaorani tribe. Two packed rooms at the U.N., and an overflow crowd of dignitaries there to listen indicates the excitement of  the Yasuni-ITT Campaign. But will the rest of the world listen?

The stakes are high: oil revenues in Ecuador to the tune of billions of dollars, or nations coming to Ecuador's assistance to collectively help her leave that oil in the ground and thereby save some of the world's most precious wildlife?

THIS IS A KEY ISSUE THAT THE WORLD MUST ADDRESS! It could pave the way for many other similar initiatives. First some Key Facts:

- Yasuni: One of the most bio-diverse spots on Earth

- One hectare in Yasuni contains more tree species than are native to the whole of North America

- Ecuador indefinitely foregoes extraction of 846 mill. barrels of oil and more than US$ 7.2 bill. in income

- Avoidance of 407 million metric tons of CO? emissions due to non-extraction and burning of oil

- Avoidance of 800 million metric tons of CO? from avoided deforestation

- 78% of Ecuadorian citizens support the Yasuni Initiative

- The Yasuni ITT Trust Fund administered by UNDP was established in August 2010
- Agreement requires US$ 100 mill. by 30 Dec 2011
(Taken from http://mdtf.undp.org/yasuni where this is MUCH more on this issue)

Is Ecuador up to it?

"Let me put it this way: if we continue to depend on oil to such a degree, IPCC studies demonstrate that there is no future for the planet and humanity; we are reaching a tipping point of CO2 emissions, the Earth's tipping point. The balance between nature and oil extraction is simply not sustainable."

"To reach the goal of conserving Yasuní's biodiversity, to protect the non-contacted indigenous people and the indigenous communities living in the Amazon and transit towards a clean energy model, the Yasuní-ITT Initiative is the one and only path to be taken. Yasuní is the ultimate precedent towards affecting such a paradigm shift."

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