Ecuador’s Yasuní-ITT Initiative: A Case Study on International Climate Change Mitigation Narratives
In 2007, Ecuador’s president Rafael Correa presented a novel climate change mitigation plan to the world: Ecuador would leave 846 million barrels of crude oil untouched beneath the Amazon if the global community reciprocated with a contribution of 3.6 billion dollars – half of the oil’s market value (McAvoy 27). The Yasuní-ITT Initiative vowed to preserve immense biodiversity, protect indigenous groups, and prevent the emission of 410 million tons of carbon dioxide (Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues). In 2013, Correa abandoned the initiative, lamenting the lack of international support, and approved oil drilling in the Yasuní (Correa, “Anuncio a la Nación” 3). This analysis utilized Correa’s speeches and government documents to identify the prevailing narratives employed in the initiative. Those narratives – common but unequal responsibility for climate change, a reconceptualization of value, and Ecuador as martyr and revolutionary – reflect a framework that simultaneously criticized and sought authority from the capitalist ideal. The failure of the Yasuní-ITT Initiative to capture the hearts and wallets of the world provides insight into the dominant global forces and perspectives on climate change mitigation policy.