Can oil save the rainforest?
Working with NGOs and academics, Acosta prepared two options – "Plan A", as it became known, was a revolutionary scheme to leave the oil in the ground in perpetuity in return for half of its value (around $3.6bn). Plan B was to send in a Chinese company. For the first time in history, a nation seriously considered not exploiting oil.
...in 2010 president Rafael Correa guaranteed not to extract its oil if the world gave Ecuador $3.6bn over 13 years. The UN has now set up the Yasuni fund and, led by a $50m donation from Germany, more than $300m has been offered or received from national, regional and local governments, individuals, companies and institutions in Europe, Japan and the US. This alternative "aid" money is not touched by Ecuador's government, but is administered by a trust to develop renewable energy projects and conservation.