The people of Ecuador are rising up to refound their country as a pluri-national homeland for all. This inspiring movement, with Ecuador's indigenous peoples at its heart, is part of the revolution spreading across the Americas, laying the groundwork for a new, fairer, world. Ecuador Rising aims to bring news and analysis of events unfolding in Ecuador to english speakers.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Ecuador Takes Leadership Role on Climate Change

NEW YORK, Sept. 24 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --

Ecuador's President Rafael Correa today presented the Yasuni-ITT Initiative at a United Nations meeting of world leader's on global climate change. This pioneering initiative is an unprecedented proposal by an oil exporting country to leave its largest oil reserve unexploited to contribute to the reduction of global greenhouse gases and to initiate Ecuador's transition toward the world's first truly sustainable economy.

A key part of this initiative is to avoid oil extraction activities in
Yasuni National Park, home to at least two indigenous tribes that live in voluntary isolation and one of the most biodiverse places on earth. Ecuador proposes to leave the nearly one billion barrel ITT oilfield unexploited in order to preserve Yasuni's astounding biodiversity, ecosystem services, and the cultural integrity of its indigenous inhabitants.

Ecuador is proposing to forgo the revenue from oil production because it believes the value of avoiding climate change and deforestation is of greater value to Ecuador and the planet as a whole.

Speaking about the proposal, President Correa stated, "For the first time in history, an oil producing country -- dependent on oil exports for one third of its budget -- proposes to forgo this income for the well-being of humanity ... [Ecuador] invites the world to join our effort – through fair compensation -- in order to lay the foundations for a more humane and fair civilization."

Nevertheless, it should be recognized that highly industrialized countries have contributed over half of the atmospheric carbon dioxide emissions to date, and should therefore assume stronger targets for greenhouse gas reductions and greater commitments of support to initiatives that combat additional increases in atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations.

Ecuador, whose historic carbon dioxide emissions amount to less than 0.5% of the existing rise from pre-industrial levels, offers a novel model of avoided emissions that would keep nearly 436 million tons of carbon dioxide permanently sequestered in the ground, thus voluntarily contributing to global climate change mitigation.

It is also the first time in history that a country dependent on oil exports for one third of its income has proposed forgoing oil extraction to support global sustainability objectives, and invites the world to help
Ecuador achieve its goal of transitioning toward a new green economy. This initiative highlights Ecuador's commitment to transform its economy and pursue energy independence by supporting alternative energy use and increasing opportunities for job creation.

Ecuador's vision is that the Yasuni-ITT Initiative will eventually underwrite the implementation of the National Development Plan. This Plan prioritizes the use of renewable energy, efficient transportation systems, poverty eradication and equitable access to quality healthcare and education. The Plan also includes promotion of ecotourism and sustainable development for Ecuador's Amazonian region.

SOURCE Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Ecuador

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