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Archive for the ‘International action’ Category

World pays Ecuador not to extract oil from rainforest

Posted by Lindy on January 3, 2012

Friday 30 December 2011

Governments and film stars join alliance that raises £75m to compensate Ecuador for lost revenue from 900m barrels. Supporters of the Yasuní ‘crowdfunding’ initiative say it could change the way important places are protected.

An alliance of European local authorities, national governments, US film stars, Japanese shops, soft drink companies and Russian foundations have stepped in to prevent oil companies exploiting 900m barrels of crude oil from one of the world’s most biologically rich tracts of land. According to the UN, the “crowdfunding” initiative had last night raised $116m (£75m), enough to temporarily halt the exploitation of the 722 square miles of “core” Amazonian rainforest known as Yasuní national park in Ecuador.

The park, which is home to two tribes of uncontacted Indians, is thought to have more mammal, bird, amphibian and plant species than any other spot on earth. Development of the oilfield, which was planned to take place immediately if the money had not been raised, would have inevitably led to ecological devastation and the eventual release of over 400m tonnes of CO2.

Ecuador agreed to halt plans to mine the oilfield if it could raise 50% of the $7.6bn revenue being lost by not mining the oil. While the world’s leading conservation groups pledged nothing, regional governments in France and Belgium offered millions of dollars – with $2m alone from the Belgian region of Wallonia. A New York investment banker donated her annual salary and Bo Derek, Leonardo DiCaprio, Edward Norton and Al Gore all contributed.

The idea of asking people to pay for something not to take place was widely dismissed by national treasuries as holding the world to ransom. The German development minister, Dirk Niebel, said that the principle of paying for the oil not to be exploited “would be setting a precedent with unforeseeable referrals”. However, Germany has now contributed $48m in “technical assistance”. The former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi was widely criticised after he wrote off $51m of Ecuador’s $10bn external debt as Italy’s contribution. Other governments pledging support were Chile, Colombia, Georgia and Turkey ($100,000 each), Peru ($300,000), Australia ($500,000) and Spain ($1.4m).

Supporters of the scheme argued that it could be a model for change in the way the world pays to protect important places. The money raised is guaranteed to be used only for nature protection and renewable energy projects. Nigeria, Cameroon, Gabon and other countries with oil reserves, have investigated the possibility of setting up similar schemes as an alternative to traditional aid.

The biological richness of Yasuní has astonished scientists. One 6sq km patch of the park was found to have 47 amphibian and reptile species, 550 bird, 200 mammal and more species of bats and insects than anywhere in the western hemisphere. According to Ecuadorean scientists, it would take in the region of 400 years to record Yasuní’s 100,000 or more insect and 2,000 fish species.


Posted in Amazon, Climate change, Energy sources, Fragile environments, International action, Solution to problems, Sustainability | Leave a Comment »

How can COP17 Durban be seen as a success?

Posted by Lindy on December 21, 2011

According to Jonathan Shopley at

The full article can be found above. Here is a summary of what Jonathon believes are the main points:

All nations have agreed to a legally binding agreement by 2020 to cut 7 greenhouses gases ( including a new one NF3 – Nitrogen trifluoride –which is 17,000 x as bad as CO2) based on a agreement to finalized by 2015. This includes the USA, China and India , which was a major sticking point until now.

Also solid progress was made on the promised US$100bn/year Green Climate Fund to help with mitigation in developing countries such as Bangladesh and Tuvalu. Also some progress was made towards funding REDD+. In particular, with the move to allow private companies to fund forestry protection projects in developing countries

Some progress was made on the Clean Redevelopment Mechanism, which allow carbon capture, under strict conditions, to qualify. Other issues on CDM were put in the ‘too hard box’ and decisions were put off until COP18 in Doha.

[carbon capture are technological fixes that lock up CO2 underground in a secure way, e.g. removing CO2 from fossil fuel burning power stations in solid form].

Outstanding problems:

1. Action is being put off for 10 years when the scientists say we have not got that long.

2. These actions will miss the 20650 target of 2 deg C and are now aiming to keep temperature rises below 4 deg C for 2100.

3. Mitigation – action taken to eliminate or reduce the long-term risk – has been too high up the list, when in reality we need to be working on adaptation – adjustment to the new or changing environment. This is because by delaying the mitigating activities to 2020, they well be too late to do more than reduce the long term risks – any thought of eliminating change completely is now past.

What has happened to the Kyoto Protocol?

Due to rum for another year, and with the hope before COP17 of it being extended, this opportunity has now been lost, as USA was never in, Canada and Russia are pulling out now, with every chance that New Zealand and Russia will follow suit, leaving just 15% of global emissions covered by it – a damp squib!

Posted in Climate change, International action | Leave a Comment »

The UN REDD programme: 4 billion dollars on the table

Posted by Lindy on June 10, 2010

At the Copenhagen Summit, Africa ardently defended the idea of compensation paid to developing countries that preserve their forests. It is now done! On 27th May 2010, in Oslo, the rich countries announced they were going to have about four billion dollars to spend on their fight against deforestation by 2012, either 500 million dollars more than the amount promised in Copenhagen. The main donors are the United States (1 billion dollars), Norway (1 billion dollars), Japan (500 million dollars), the United Kingdom (480 million dollars), France (375 million dollars) and Australia (120 million dollars), joined by Germany (464 million dollars) and Denmark.

From an article on

Posted in Fragile environments, IGCSE, International action, Solution to problems, Sustainability | 1 Comment »