Paying for the rainforest

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Paying for the rainforest

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A Texaco oil pipe runs through the rainforest. Ecuador's government has stated: "if you don't want us to tap the oil, pay us."

Only 31 delegates were present at what could prove to be one of the more significant presentations of the Durban climate conference. That was the number in attendance when Ecuador convened a meeting on a project it is running to save an area of its rainforest, the Yasuní-ITT initiative. While it may seem relatively unimportant, it is in fact a trailblazing project in ecosystem preservation.

In response to the discovery of 846m barrels of oil under the Yasuní basin, one of the most ecologically diverse areas on the planet, the Ecuadorean government has challenged the world: “if you don’t want us to tap the oil, pay us,” they have said. It’s a bold idea from a small country. They’re looking for $3.6bn to compensate them over the

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