A recent episode of NPR’s Planet Money discussed Ecuador’s proposed solution to a national dilemma: the fact that a massive oil discovery and a national park happen to be in the same place. Ecuador’s proposal is to forswear drilling – but only if other countries donate half the value of the oil in aid (about $3.6 billion). For the show, Planet Money journalist David Kestenbaum interviewed RFF University Fellow and Duke University professor Billy Pizer, formerly Deputy Assistant Secretary for Environment and Energy at the Treasury Department. Here’s how NPR summarized his comments:
“The joke we always used to always talk about was, you know, ‘Give me the money or I’ll shoot the trees,’ . . . Pizer says he’d love to keep the park safe. But he says the proposal worried him as a potential precedent that would encourage other countries to threaten to destroy their own forests unless the world pays up.
The show is worth a listen. But, inevitably, material gets left on the cutting room floor. Here are more of Pizer’s views on the Ecuadorian proposal.