Combatting Climate Change Through Conservation Easements
Minnesota Journal of Law, Science & Technology
In 2007, Rafael Correa, then-President of Ecuador, offered not to extract the oil located underneath Ecuador’s Yasuní National Park, in exchange for the international community paying Ecuador $3.6 billion, which was one-half of the estimated value of those oil fields.1 He stated that he thought his offer was an elegant way to help tackle climate change.” He was referring to the fact that destroying part of the Yasuní National Park would release 800 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere while also abolishing a valuable “carbon sink” that otherwise would have absorbed millions of tons of carbon dioxide. A carbon sink is a plot of land or body of water that absorbs more carbon that it emits. In addition, extracting the oil from underneath the Yasuní and then burning those barrels of oil would release another 410 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, according to Ecuador’s sources. Moreover, development of the Yasuní would threaten the viability of numerous plant and animal species, as Yasuní National Park is one of the most biologically diverse ecosystems on earth.
Claire Wright, Combatting Climate Change Through Conservation Easements, 23 Minn. J.L. Sci. & Tech. 175 (2022).