Still, Koenig said, despite the challenges the Yasuní initiative is raising an important debate.
"Even the idea of it is causing some very constructive discussions about these big questions about how to get out of the 'oil trap,'" he said. "At its root, some of what this Yasuní initiative is about is 'Who owes who?' and this idea of the North paying the South to keep oil in the ground.
"I think it's very precedent-setting, both for Ecuador and potentially for other countries," he said. "If we're serious about climate change, then we need to start keeping oil in the ground."
Martin said she believes the Yasuní initiative has taken a positive turn, as evidenced in part by A-Baki's campaign and Ecuador's new willingness to reach out to international institutions it had once shunned, like the World Bank. She also praised the funding levels, saying Ecuador's ability to raise as much as it has in the midst of a financial crisis and less than two years after the United Nations inaugurated the trust fund was impressive.
But, she cautioned, Ecuador still has a ways to go in convincing the international community that the country, known as a serial debt-defaulter with lingering human rights and environmental concerns, has turned a true corner. Ecuador, despite its interest in tapping the Green Climate Fund, was one of a handful of nations that refused to sign onto the 2009 Copenhagen Accord that created it.
Reprinted from Climatewire with permission from Environment & Energy Publishing, LLC. www.eenews.net, 202-628-6500