How to Save the Amazon: Pay South Americans not to Burn it

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Ben Cohen
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Ecuador has come up with a new scheme on how to stop the destruction of the Amazon, and it's very easy to understand: We pay them not to deforest it:

The Yasuni-ITT Initiative aims to keep the region's remaining oil reserves
untapped and underground, in return for financial compensation from the
international community and carbon offsets from the carbon markets.

The
crux of the scheme is simple: to keep the oil beneath the Yasuni
National Park where it is, in perpetuity. Covering nearly 2.5 million acres
of primary tropical rainforest, Yasuni is the ancestral territory of
the Waorani people and two other tribes, the Tagaeri and the
Taromenane. It was named a Unesco biosphere reserve in 1989, and
scientists regard it one of the most biodiverse places on earth.

It
is also the home of Ecuador's largest oil reserve. But by not
extracting the estimated 846 million barrels of oil in the reserve,
Ecuador will keep an estimated 410 million metric tons of carbon
dioxide from entering the atmosphere, making a big contribution to the
fight against global warming.