VIENNA (Reuters) – Strict measures across the world to act against climate change could seriously affect the economies of Saudi Arabia and other Gulf nations, a Saudi official said on Thursday.
“Countries talking about reducing dependence on oil could impact our economy,” Mohammad al-Sabban of the Saudi ministry of petroleum told an OPEC energy conference.
OPEC has committed to reducing harmful emissions and Saudi Arabia has invested in carbon capture and storage technology which is designed to do so.
But the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries stresses that others should also take their share in managing the use of fossil fuels.
“We are ready to bear our fair share of cost of addressing climate change but no more,” said Sabban, head of the Saudi Delegation to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and also a senior economic adviser at the Saudi oil ministry.
He cited an independent study by consultants Charles Rivers, which stated that policies to mitigate climate change could remove 5-20 percent of Saudi and other Gulf countries’ GDP.
He also referred to International Energy Agency Executive Director Nobuo Tanaka who spoke at the same conference.
“If you take the IEA scenario presented by Tanaka yesterday that is a stringent policy scenario that will definitely head us toward 20 percent of economic welfare loss and this is very serious for oil producing countries and in particular Gulf producing countries,” he said.
“Efforts to cut CO2 and at the same time reduce energy dependency on imported oil “is a very serious behavior that could impact our economy,” he said.
“We stand to lose out to such policies that are biased against oil producers.”
Sabban reiterated comments made by Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi in Geneva on Monday that the kingdom was also investing in solar power and aimed to become a leading supplier in addition to its role as the world’s biggest oil exporter.