Infochange India



You are here: Home Environment

Saudi Arabia is spoiler in Bangkok negotiations, says NGO

According to a Beirut-based NGO, Saudi Arabia is blocking key elements in the climate negotiations going on in Bangkok. What’s more, it’s seeking international compensation for a drop in oil exports in light of future global warming restrictions. Darryl D’Monte continues his despatches from the meet

A Beirut-based NGO slammed Saudi Arabia for blocking key elements in the climate negotiations here which safeguard the poorest and most vulnerable countries. It was using its “big political weight” as a leading oil producer, alleged Wael Hmaidan of IndyACT.

There are 22 Arab countries, but their socio-economic positions vary from rich newly-industrialised countries to least developed. “Despite the variability, the current Arab position is mainly focused on protecting the oil trade,” Hmaidan said.

Saudi Arabia leads OPEC, the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, as well as OAPEC, the Arab sub-group. Sudan heads the G77 countries, which are playing a key role in the negotiations, and, within it, Algeria heads the African group. Next year, Yemen will chair the G77.

“Most Arab countries don’t consider climate change an issue,” Hmaidan alleged. Saudi Arabia was lobbying to remove references to the poorest and most vulnerable countries in the negotiations. It was also seeking international compensation for a drop in oil exports with future global warming restrictions. This was first for funds for mitigating climate change, but now also for adapting to it.

Christop Bals from Germanwatch added: “The Saudi position allows developed countries to hide their very low pledges… It gives them the possibility to point at the blocking positions of the G77 and China.”

Germanwatch released its Climate Change Performance Index 2009, which ranks 60 countries that are responsible for more than 90% of global energy-related emissions.

Saudi Arabia ranked last and the US 58, only two notches higher. India scores a good 7th, below Sweden, Germany and France, with no country achieving the top three rankings. “Among some newly industrialised nations, Mexico, Brazil and India are among the countries with good performance (in minimising their reliance on fossil fuels). None of these, however, earned the mark ‘very good’.” India accounts for 4.5% of global carbon dioxide emissions, 6.4% of GDP, and nearly 17% of the world’s population.

Infochange News & Features, October 2009