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Ecuador: Yasuni and the New Economics of Climate Change

Source:  Copyright 2010, CNN
Date:  August 23, 2010
Byline:  Joseph Henry Vogel
Original URL: Status ONLINE

Yasuní is both a place and a metaphor.

The place is a UNESCO Biopshere Reserve in the Ecuadorian Amazon where two indigenous communities, the Tagaeri and the Taromenane, live in voluntary isolation. Below the biosphere lie the oil fields Isphingo, Tambococha and Tiputini, abbreviated to ITT.

Yasuní the metaphor is the initiative for paying to keep that oil underground and leave the biological and cultural diversity undisturbed.

Upon learning of just these bare-bone facts, I realized that I have been thinking about the economics of the Yasuní-ITT Initiative for most of my professional career, long before I knew where Yasuní is and what it would mean for humanity.

In March 2009 I signed a contract with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) to work out the economics of the Initiative.

Three questions loomed large in the global context of climate change. Why should the international community pay anyone for ...

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