Carbon Positive, Wednesday, 21 April 2010
Ecuador is taking its innovative forest carbon financing initiative to the Cannes Film Festival in May in the hope of showcasing the project to prospective investors.
The Yasuni-ITT Initiative aims to create ‘carbon bonds’ to preserve a tract of in the Ecuadorian Amazon rainforest that also holds a lucrative oil resource ripe for exploitation. The carbon bonds would be issued over a government guarantee that oil won’t be extracted from the Yasuni National Park and the forest, its biodiversity and way of life of untouched indigenous groups preserved.
If bond sales can raise enough to replace at least half of the $7 billion that stands to be foregone in oil licence royalties, then the government will not allow drilling to go ahead. Success would also deliver 407 million tonnes of emissions reduction savings, primarily from the avoided extraction and burning of 846 million barrels of oil under the reserve.
Earlier this month, Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa approved the terms of an international trust fund that would be set up to issue the carbon bonds, Interpress reports. Meanwhile, environment groups and government officials are investigating reports that oil interests are defying a ban on activities in the southern “untouchable zone” of the Yasuni National Park. Acción Ecológica, a local environmental group, told Interpress that construction of an oil pipeline into the park from existing oilfields outside the park had begun.
Ecuador says the EU, Germany and Spain have already indicated support of the Yasuni preservation fund with some funding commitments so far made. To raise further investment, Ecuadorian government is backing a promotional event at Cannes to raise the profile of the initiative among the Western world’s rich and famous. Already, Leonardo di Caprio, Prince Charles, Mikhail Gorbachev, Daniela Mitterrand, Desmund Tutu are already said to be supporters.
The artistic and speaking event at Cannes, May 12-23, will involve those involved in the movies Crude and Avatar and is being organised by the Nature Rights group and volunteers. Further sponsorship and collaboration for the event is sought.
Coordinator Yasuni-ITT European Civil Society and Market Technical Advisor, Ministry of Patrimony, Ecuador