Morning mist floats above the Tiputini River in Yasuní National Park, Ecuador. Photograph by Tim Laman, National Geographic  with thanks

Morning mist floats above the Tiputini River in Yasuní National Park, Ecuador.
Photo from Tim Laman, National Geographic +with thanks+

In 2010 Ecuador made the world an offer it couldn’t — or at least, shouldn’t have been able to — refuse. For the measly price of $3.6bn, it promised not to exploit the Ishpingo-Tiputini-Tambococha oil block in the Yasuni national park, a 675 square mile patch of pristine Amazon rainforest that is home to barely contacted indigenous tribes, thousands of species of trees and nearly 1bn barrels of crude oil.

English: An Amazon Climbing Salamander (Bolito...

English: An Amazon Climbing Salamander (Bolitoglossa altamazonica) in Yasuni National Park, Ecuador. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After just three years, the plan was put on ice indefintely after it emerged that only 13.3 million dollars had been raised. That works out at roughly ten thousand dollars a day and a pitiful fraction (around 0.3 percent) of the 3.6 billion dollars requested by Correa.

White-banded Swallows perching of a tree stump...

White-banded Swallows perching of a tree stump on the bank of Rio Tiputini, Yasuni National Park, Ecuador. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Compared, say, to the trillions of dollars, euros, pounds, yuan and yen thrown at the international banking sector in recent years, 3.6 billion dollars is chump change. So, if money wasn’t the issue – as it clearly wasn’t – then what was?

Perhaps the failure of the Yusani project had something to do with who was asking for the money. On taking office, in 2007, one of the first things his government did was to write off a large part of Ecuador’s sovereign debt – debt it correctly renounced as “odious”. As a result Ecuador was penalised by US controlled international finance. Another reason is there was no corrupt ‘slush money’ in the Ecuador deal. In the same years $144 billion were invested in the European Carbon Trading market, (with companies boasting their green credentials) which finally had to be shut down amid a chorus of claims of fraud, universal public robbery and zero efficacy.

The Yasuni debacle is a missed opportunity to begin to escape the logic of self destructive predator capitalism, which has already devastated much of the Ecuadorian Amazon under Texaco/Chevron.

2/3 of all known fossil fuel  deposits must stay in the ground anyway to prevent runaway climate catastrophe, Yet the extractive corporations continue ever faster like there’s no tomorrow, and European states would not even pay 0,3% of a unique opportuniuty to save a veritable Garden of Eden with more biodiversity than all Nth America.

But this is not the end of the story, in Ecuador 90% support saving Yasuni  and are calling for a binding referendum, Also legally the govt should consult the locals, some of whom are peoples in voluntary isolation whose culture and health could be destroyed by contacting them to ask their opinion. Several cultures and languages were already wiped out completely when Texaco/Chevron exploited the adjacent area.    (partly from Don Quijones, with thanks.)yasuni spill

We reprint below a translation of comment from the Spanish social ecology movement., Ecologistas en Acción

To leave oil in the ground is necessary to change the energy model

Following the announcement of further drilling for oil in Yasuni National Park in Ecuador: The Ecuadorian authorities should hold a referendum and European countries must assume their ecological debt

The decision of the president of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, to allow more drilling for oil in Yasuni National Park will have serious impacts for indigenous peoples, climate and biodiversity. Therefore, Ecologists in Action and the Debt Observatory on Globalization (ODG) in solidarity with the demands of the social movements of Ecuador and the world who defend the Yasuní-ITT and propose alternatives to extractive industry are convening in Ecuador a binding referendum to decide on this issue of great significance.

English: Amazon forest dragon (Enyalioides lat...

English: Amazon forest dragon (Enyalioides laticeps) in Yasuní National Park, Ecuador. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Yasuni-ITT (acronym for oil fields Ishpingo Tambococha Tiputini) commitment to leave the oil in the soil and conserve one of the most biologically diverse national parks in the Ecuadorian Amazon. The deal demanded compensation for ecological damage by the most polluting countries amounting to 2,700 million euros to avoid the emission of 410 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere.

The Spanish Government and the European Union have not decisively backed Yasuní-ITT initiative, which could have led to progress toward repairing ecological debt. Industrialized societies are indebted to countries such as Ecuador, in the historic mining and petroleum product consumption and the emissions of greenhouse gases that are causing climate change. The energy model in countries like Spain are a systematic violation of human rights of local populations and the destruction of places of high ecological value in many countries. What happens in the rainforest of Yasuni not only affects a country or a region, but the entire planet, so decisions must be made globally.

English: Tschudi's False Coral Snake (Oxyrhopu...

English: Tschudi’s False Coral Snake (Oxyrhopus melanogenys), juvenile. In Yasuní National Park, Ecuador. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The case puts up for discussion Yasuní’s many problems associated with fossil fuel extraction. For example, within the area indigenous peoples still remain determined to maintain their isolation. According to the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in the United Nations Convention and 169 International Labour Organization (ILO), any government and business is required to consult local people before they authorize any extractive megaproject in their territory. Ecuador’s government also is called to meet these international laws.

Rafael Correa should take this opportunity to show that there are other ways of doing politics, placing Ecuador among the countries of the world who choose not to exploit its oil reserves in order to transition to other economic models.

Ecuador’s National Assembly, pursuant to Article 407 of the Constitution and considering that has ruled twice against the exploitation of the ITT oil should also respond right to the protection of nature and peoples in voluntary isolation. Should promote a referendum, because 92.7% of the population supported the initiative to keep the oil in the ground, according to a survey in June 2013.

In Ecuador there is a long history of very serious damage caused by various companies in the oil sector. In the case of the Yasuní Park, Repsol operates in Block 16, in the middle of a Biosphere Reserve, causing destruction and pollution. Ecologists in Action and the Debt Observatory in Globalization take the opportunity to reiterate the international demand for the company Repsol, which is guilty of multiple human rights violations and environmental destruction in the Yasuní Park, to abandon mining activity in the area and throughout the Amazon.

Ecologists in Action and the Debt Observatory on Globalization will continue to demand socio-ecological transformation just claiming that two thirds of world reserves of fossil fuels in the ground and let the ocean to prevent catastrophic levels of climate change.

It also should ban new oil exploration and development, oil sands, unconventional gas, coal, uranium and natural gas, which would involve fracking ban in Spain. Instead  they should invest in a model change and renewable energy sources such those defended by the Platform for a New Energy Model concerning major energy struggles in the Spanish State.

Tiputini river

Tiputini river

Ecologists in Action, social environmentalism.      about Us

Ecologists in Action is a federation of over 300 environmental groups distributed by towns and cities in Spain. It is part of the so called social ecology movement, which understands that environmental problems are rooted in an increasingly globalized model of production and consumption , which causes other social problems, and must be transformed if we want to try and stop the ecological crisis………….

Ecologistas en Acción, ecologismo social.         Sobre nosotro         Dónde estamos

Ecologistas en Acción es una confederación de más de 300 grupos ecologistas distribuidos por pueblos y ciudades. Forma parte del llamado ecologismo social, que entiende que los problemas medioambientales tienen su origen en un modelo de producción y consumo cada vez más globalizado, del que derivan también otros problemas sociales, y que hay que transformar si se quiere evitar la crisis ecológica.

Para ello realiza campañas de sensibilización, denuncias públicas o legales contra aquellas actuaciones que dañan el medio ambiente, a la vez que elabora alternativas concretas y viables en cada uno de los ámbitos en los que desarrolla su actividad.

La organización se estructura territorialmente mediante Federaciones y grupos………………etc

Para dejar el petróleo en la tierra es necesario cambiar de modelo energético

Tras el anuncio de una mayor explotación petrolífera en el Parque Nacional Yasuní, en Ecuador: Las autoridades ecuatorianas deben convocar una consulta popular y los países europeos asumir su deuda ecológica

La decisión del presidente de Ecuador, Rafael Correa, de permitir una mayor explotación petrolífera en el Parque Nacional Yasuní tendrá graves impactos para las poblaciones indígenas, el clima y sobre la biodiversidad. Por ello, Ecologistas en Acción y el Observatorio de la Deuda en la Globalización (ODG) se solidarizan con las demandas de los movimientos sociales de Ecuador y del mundo que defienden la Iniciativa Yasuní-ITT y plantean alternativas al extractivismo así como la convocatoria de una consulta popular vinculante en Ecuador para decidir sobre este tema de enorme transcendencia.

La Iniciativa Yasuní-ITT (siglas que corresponden a los campos petroleros de Ishpingo Tiputini Tambococha) apuesta por dejar el petróleo en el subsuelo y conservar uno de los parques nacionales con mayor diversidad biológica ubicado en la Amazonía ecuatoriana. Exigía además una reparación por daños ecológicos a los países más contaminantes por valor de 2.700 millones de euros para evitar así la emisión de 410 millones de toneladas de dióxido de carbono (CO2) a la atmósfera.

El Gobierno español y a la Unión Europea no han respaldado de manera decidida la iniciativa Yasuní-ITT, que podría haber permitido avanzar hacia la reparación de la deuda ecológica. Las sociedades industrializadas siguen en deuda con sociedades como la ecuatoriana, por la extracción y el consumo histórico de productos petrolíferos y las emisiones de gases de efecto invernadero que han provocado el cambio climático. El modelo energético de países como España causa sistemáticamente la violación de derechos humanos de poblaciones locales y la destrucción de infinitos lugares con alto valor ecológico en muchos países. Lo que ocurra en la selva del Yasuní no solo afecta a un país o una región, sino al conjunto del planeta, por lo que es necesario tomar decisiones a nivel global.

El caso Yasuní permite el debate sobre muchos problemas vinculados a la extracción de combustibles fósiles. Por ejemplo, dentro del área hay todavía pueblos indígenas que siguen decididos a mantener su aislamiento. Según los Derechos de los Pueblos Indígenas de Naciones Unidas y el Convenio 169 de la Organización Internacional del Trabajo (OIT), cualquier gobierno y empresa están obligados a consultar a las poblaciones locales si autorizan cualquier megaproyecto extractivo en su territorio. También el Gobierno ecuatoriano está llamado a cumplir estas leyes internacionales.

Rafael Correa debe aprovechar esta oportunidad para demostrar que hay otras formas de hacer política, situando a Ecuador entre los países del mundo que deciden no explotar sus reservas petrolíferas con el fin de transitar hacia otros modelos económicos.

La Asamblea Nacional de Ecuador, en aplicación al Art. 407 de su Constitución y considerando que se ha pronunciado en dos ocasiones en contra de la explotación del crudo del ITT, también debería responder en derecho con la protección de la naturaleza y de los pueblos en aislamiento voluntario. Debería impulsar una consulta popular, porque un 92,7% de la población apoyaba la iniciativa de mantener el petróleo bajo tierra, según una encuesta realizada en junio del 2013.

A False Coral at Yasuni National Park, Ecuador.

A False Coral at Yasuni National Park, Ecuador. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

En Ecuador existe una larga historia de daños gravísimos causados por diversas empresas del sector petrolero. En el caso del Parque Yasuní, Repsol opera en el Bloque 16, en medio de una Reserva de la Biosfera, provocando destrucción y contaminación. Ecologistas en Acción y el Observatorio de la Deuda en la Globalización aprovechan la ocasión para reiterar la demanda internacional que la empresa Repsol sea juzgada por múltiples violaciones a los derechos humanos y destrucción ambiental en el Parque Yasuní y que abandone la actividad extractiva en la zona y en toda la Amazonía.

Ecologistas en Acción y el Observatorio de la Deuda en la Globalización seguirán reclamando una transformación socio-ecológica justa demandando que dos tercios de las reservas mundiales de combustibles fósiles se dejen bajo la tierra y el fondo del océano para prevenir niveles catastróficos de cambio climático.

Asimismo se debe prohibir las nuevas exploraciones y explotaciones de petróleo, arenas bituminosas, gas no convencional, carbón, uranio y gas natural, lo que implicaría la prohibición del fracking en España. En su lugar se debería invertir en el cambio del modelo y en fuentes renovables de energía como defiende la Plataforma por un Nuevo Modelo Energético, referente importante de las luchas energéticas en el Estado español.