Ecuador offers to keep oil in the ground for compensation

Ecuador offered to play “Let’s Make a Deal” this week, suggesting that it could afford to keep a pristine area from oil drilling if developed nations and green groups ponied up some cold, hard cash. “We are willing to do this sacrifice, but not for free,” said President Rafael Correa, who suggested that $350 million annually for 10 years would suffice. “This is an insignificant figure compared to what is spent on the Iraq war,” Correa added. Zing! The $350 million figure is about half what the country expects could be profited from developing Ishpingo-Tambococha-Tiputini, Ecuador’s biggest oilfield. The ITT is partially within the 2.5-million-acre Yasuni National Park, an area home to indigenous people and so biodiverse that — fun fact! — there are nearly as many species of trees in 2.5 acres as in the entire U.S. and Canada combined. But developing the ITT could feed approximately 12 days of global oil consumption. So it’s a tough call.