I recall having developed some thoughts about buying fossil fuel not yet mined and let it stay in the ground.
Now it turns out that exactly this kind of thing has already been proposed in 2007, and is making some progress.
As this article by John Vidal at the Guardian explains, Ecuador has offered to the world to refrain from exploring 846 million barrels of oil sitting right under the Yasuní Park rain forest area, if it gets paid 3.6 billion dollars as compensation. Thanks to this tweet by Jeremy Leggett for the link.
That is exactly what I had in mind, with one small difference.
In the Ecuador case, it is not exactly clear what people or governments paying that compensation get in return, and how the promise that the oil won’t be mined will be enforced.
In contrast, my idea was to transfer the property on the oil not yet mined to whoever pays for the oil and place the resource under the authority of an international organization like the Green Climate Fund. That way, Germany (which has offered $50 million over three years already) would get a stake on the property in return. Under the real scheme, Germany gets nothing, which won’t help coming up with large sums for funding such a deal.
It is certainly very good news that people start thinking about placing some resource off limits. And some deal like this one will be necessary.
But if at least two thirds of the fossil fuel resources need to stay in the ground, this kind of scheme without compensation won’t possible work at the scale needed.
Anyway, this is an interesting start for this kind of idea.