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August 19 2013

Ecuador asked the world to pay it not to drill for oil. The world said no.

The tiny nation of Ecuador is sitting on a lucrative oil reserve — some 846 million barrels of heavy crude. But that oil also happens to be right under a large, biodiverse rain forest. There’d be some obvious environmental problems with digging it up.

And so, in 2007, Ecuador President Rafael Correa came up with a innovative proposal. He’d ask wealthy countries and donors to pay Ecuador $3.6 billion to leave that oil untouched.

It’d be an elegant way to help tackle climate change, he explained.

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