Photo: Ecuador Nature Reserve Raises Enough Money to Stop Oil Drilling
In exchange for not mining the crude oil beneath its land, a national park in Ecuador had to raise millions of dollars by the end of the year, and they did just that.
The 722 square miles of Amazonian land known as Yasuní National Park in Ecuador has made its first deadline, collecting $100 million dollars before Deccember 30, 2011. By doing this, the plan, known as the Yasuní-ITT initiative, keeps the government from mining the estimated 900 million barrels of crude oil underneath the nature reserve.
Ecuadorean government officials agreed to halt plans to mine the ITT oil field if it could raise at least 50 percent of the revenue being lost by not mining the oil.
On August 3, 2010, Ecuador signed a historic agreement with the UN Development Group establishing the Yasuni ITT Trust Fund to keep oil reserves ITT reserve underground indefinitely, provided at least half of the lost revenue could be
In September, only about $4 million had been collected, leaving many conservationists worried that the money couldn’t be collected in time. However, after private sector donations began flooding in, the UN-backed project was able to collect what it needed to make the first payment.
By not mining the oil, the initiative is avoiding the emission of 407 million metric tons of CO² caused by the extraction of the oil and by the burning of it.
In September, scientists concluded that more mammal, bird, amphibian and plant species live in a 100 square-mile area of Yasuní than any other spot in the hemisphere.
Part of the reason the government agreed to the plan was that 78 percent of Ecuadorean citizens support the Yasuní-ITT initiative.
Over the next 12 to 13 year, the country hopes to raise about $350 million a year.