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

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.


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.


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.

Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.