Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers Hail Innovative Plan to Save Rainforest, Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

09.11.2009
An innovative proposal by the Ecuadorian government to protect an untouched, oil rich region of Amazon rainforest is a precedent-setting and potentially economically viable approach, says a team of environmental researchers from the University of Maryland, the World Resources Institute and Save America's Forests.

The Ecuadorian proposal, known as the Yasuní-ITT Initiative, would protect a large area of pristine Amazon rainforest, by leaving untouched nearly one billion barrels of oil that lies beneath the Yasuní National Park in Ecuador.

Under the initiative, the government would sell certificates linked to the value of the unreleased carbon to provide alternative revenue to that which would come from exploiting the oil reserves.

"This is a really novel approach that could fund a lot of rainforest protection," said Clinton Jenkins, a research scientist in the University of Maryland's department of biology. "It's also an innovative way of dealing with greenhouse gas emissions."

"There has been a lot of talk about engineering ways to reduce or offset greenhouse gas emissions by removing carbon from air and burying, or sequestering, it in the ground. This approach sequesters carbon by preventing oil from ever getting out of the ground," said Jenkins.

Writing about the Yasuní-ITT Initiative in a new article in the scientific journal Biotropica, Jenkins, Matt Finer of Save America's Forests and Remi Moncel with the Climate and Energy Program of the World Resources Institute, say that a number of climate researchers, including NASA scientist James Hansen, have suggested that forgoing extraction of oil and gas reserves in remote or sensitive places could be an important piece to a larger global strategy designed to limit carbon emissions and that this Initiative "is the first real offer to do just that."

"Oil and gas concessions now cover vast swaths of the mega-diverse western Amazon," said Finer, lead author of Biotropica review article. "Ecuador´s revolutionary initiative is the first major government-led effort to buck this disturbing trend."

According to estimates of Ecuadorian officials cited in the article, preventing exploitation of the ITT oil fields, will keep 410 million metric tons of CO2 out of the atmosphere.

The authors note that use of a conservation strategy like that proposed by Ecuador would be particularly beneficial in areas that also offer great ecological value. The Yasuní National Park has such multiple benefits, they say, because it is one of the most biodiverse parts of the Amazon and within the territory of some of the world's last un-contacted indigenous peoples, the Tagaeri and Taromenane.

"Yasuní is an exceptional place in the world, biologically incredible, home to un-contacted peoples, and yet - perhaps tragically - full of oil," said Jenkins. "Society faces a test of what we value more, drilling for more oil, or preserving a cherished national park and the people who call it home."

Skeptics and Advocates

The Ecuadorian proposal has been lauded widely for its three-pronged effort to protect biodiversity, respect indigenous peoples' territory, and combat climate change. However, Jenkins, Finer and Moncel note that the Yasuní-ITT Initiative also has ardent skeptics.

For example, how to pay for the effort is in question. Ecuador, a country highly dependent on oil export revenues, seeks $350 million for each of the next 10 years in alternative revenue. Ecuador's intent is to sell certificates linked to the value of the unreleased carbon. This raises a number of technical questions, however, such as the possibility that the initiative would not result in a net global CO2 reduction if the certificates were traded in carbon markets.

"The best way to minimize the risk associated with the carbon bonds is to encourage supporters to make direct donations," said Remi Moncel of the World Resources Institute. "While less problematic from the point of view of environmental integrity, it is harder to raise money that way."

Germany appears to be a leading supporter of the Yasuní-ITT Initiative. Recent news reports indicate the German government may donate $50 to $70 million annually to the initiative if other countries also agree to provide support for the initiative.

Additional questions tackled in the study include why a national park is on the chopping block in the first place and what mechanisms are needed to prevent future Ecuadorian administrations from drilling the oil fields.

The authors conclude that the Yasuní-ITT Initiative, with its focus on generating alternative revenue, is a potentially precedent-setting advance in avoiding damaging oil and gas development in sensitive areas and an innovative way to address climate change.

"The climate conference of Copenhagen is only weeks away. What Ecuador has proposed is a good example of how each country can come up with home-grown, nationally relevant ideas to promote sustainable development," said Moncel.

Authors Finer and Jenkins recently published a companion study entitled, "Ecuador's Yasuní Biosphere Reserve: a brief modern history and conservation challenges." It is a concise history of the Yasuní region designed to help people better understand this complicated part of the world.

That article appeared in Environmental Research Letters http://www.iop.org/EJ/abstract/1748-9326/4/3/034005

For more information on the ITT proposal, also see http://www.saveamericasforests.org/Yasuni/ITT-Links.htm

Lee Tune | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.umd.edu

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Successful calculation of human and natural influence on cloud formation
04.11.2016 | Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main

nachricht Invasive Insects Cost the World Billions Per Year
04.10.2016 | University of Adelaide

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

NTU scientists build new ultrasound device using 3-D printing technology

07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

The balancing act: An enzyme that links endocytosis to membrane recycling

07.12.2016 | Life Sciences

How to turn white fat brown

07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>