Saudi Arabia needs special treatment in the disbursement of funds from the $100 billion climate change adaptation fund, this is the proposal that the country has submitted to the United Nations. Saudi Arabia, the largest oil exporter, says that it faces economic vulnerability due to fluctuations in the global oil prices.
Decision to form an international climate change adaption fund was taken during the Copenhagen summit in December 2009 to provide financial help to developing and poor countries to set up clean energy infrastructure and aid technology transfer. United Nations had set a deadline of February 21, 2011 for providing comments and input from all parties involved. Saudi Arabia has said that it would need help develop solar power infrastructure and financial aid to diversify its energy options.
Saudi Arabia says that its economy would feel the pinch of an international climate change resolution as it would impact oil consumption around the world.
Saudi Arabia has has a long history of selfishly looking for its own gains, supporting any step which results in the world’s continued addiction for oil and has vehemently opposed almost all international efforts to curb global carbon emission output and increased use of renewable energy technologies.
During the COP10 held at Buenos Aires in 2004, Saudi Arabia had opposed the very aid package for developing countries which it wants a share of now.
In 2009, the OPEC General Secretary said that use of oil is not responsible for climate change and that it is the industrial nations which are responsible for global warming. The statement came at a time when there was buzz about developed countries like the US and Canada considering to levy carbon tax on imported carbon-intensive goods.
Recently released diplomatic cables by Wikileaks claim that the Saudi oil companies overstated their oil reserves.
The cables, released by WikiLeaks, urge Washington to take seriously a warning from a senior Saudi government oil executive that the kingdom’s crude oil reserves may have been overstated by as much as 300bn barrels – nearly 40%.
The revelation comes as the oil price has soared in recent weeks to more than $100 a barrel on global demand and tensions in the Middle East. Many analysts expect that the Saudis and their Opec cartel partners would pump more oil if rising prices threatened to choke off demand.
According to the cables, which date between 2007-09, Husseini (a geologist and former head of exploration at the Saudi oil monopoly Aramco) said Saudi Arabia might reach an output of 12m barrels a day in 10 years but before then – possibly as early as 2012 – global oil production would have hit its highest point. This crunch point is known as “peak oil”.
This proposal by the Saudi’s demanding a share of the adaptation fund has not gone well with some developing and under-developed countries. And they have legitimate reasons.
Many other developing countries — including the poorest in Africa and Pacific island states at risk of rising sea levels — have expressed irritation that OPEC nations harp on about their vulnerability.
Saudi Arabia’s gross national income per capita was about $25,000 in 2008, similar to that of New Zealand, according to the U.N. Development Program.
Comparing Saudi Arabia’s ‘economic vulnerability’ with the challenges being faced by some island nations of the Pacific or the poor nations in Asia and Africa is absolutely foolish. The European Union had even asked the advanced developing countries like India and China to contribute to the adaptation fund since they are much ahead on the economic curve than most countries in the developing world. Taking that in consideration, Saudi Arabia’s proposal seems to lack even a pinch of logic.
Image Credit: UN Climate Talks (Creative Commons)
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