October 12, 2009

Saudi Arabia Demands Climate Change Bailout

If the world community actually comes to a climate change agreement that involves cutting dependence on carbon based fuels, such as oil, one country intends to demand a bailout. That country is not an impoverished, third world nation.The country demanding a bailout in the event of a climate change pact is none other than Saudi Arabia, one of the biggest oil exporters in the world. The Saudis are conducting a quiet campaign at the UN climate change talks now taking place in Bangkok to include in such an agreement a bailout for oil producing countries that would be adversely affected by a climate change agreement.

The idea of the Saudis demanding a financial bailout seems to be brazen beyond belief. Saudi Arabia sits on top of one of the largest deposits of oil in the world that is also the easiest to drill and extract. Saudi Arabia has grown immensely rich over the past few decades because of its oil reserves, the price of which has sky rocketed in recent years.The Saudis have also not been shy about using their oil and alliances with other Middle Eastern oil producers to play political hardball. In 1973-74 Saudi Arabia led an oil embargo against the West as a way to punish it for support of the State of Israel during the Yom Kipper War that had taken place in October, 1973. The oil embargo, coupled with government controls on the price of oil, led to oil shortages and lines around gas stations in the United States.Saudi Arabia has also benefited from oil price spikes in the late 1970s and as well as during the 2007-2008 timeframe.To add insult to injury, Saudi Arabia has been the source of some of the worse terrorism of the late twentieth and early twentieth centuries. Osama bin Laden, the notorious leader of Al Qaeda, is a Saudi. Most of the 9/11 hijackers were Saudis.When asked why Saudi Arabia had not used its oil wealth to diversify its economy, the head of the Saudi delegation to the Bangkok talks, Mohammad S. Al Sabban, suggested that the process was ongoing, but that it would take a great deal of time and that Saudi Arabia lacked resources.

The temptation would be to dismiss the Saudi demands as unreasonable blustering, and there would be some validity in doing that. However there is an obvious reason that the Saudis would make the demand for a climate change bailout. That is that it gives the Saudis and other oil producing countries an excuse to oppose a climate change treaty.While the very need for a climate change pact, which would wreck the economies of quite a few countries that do not produce oil, is questionable at best, it would hurt oil producing countries especially. Much of the wealth of such countries is tied up in proven reserves of oil within their sovereign territories. A climate change agreement that emphasizes the development of alternative energy sources, such as wind and solar, would decrease the value of that oil. If the source of a nation's wealth is decreased, the source of its power is correspondingly decreased, and hence its ability to shape world events is decreased.

Saudi Arabia is making the demand for an oil producer bailout not so much in expectation of getting one, though considering how some in the world community react to bullying such a thing is not totally out of the question. Saudi Arabia is making its bailout demand as a means of derailing the climate change pact, thus keeping extant the market for its oil.Saudi Arabia is playing naked, political gamesmanship, preserving the natural advantage it has against the desire of many in the world community to fight what they perceive as a climate change crisis.


  1. The UN's IPCC said that Saudi Arabia is a developing country
    and is exempt from Global Warming, CO2, regulations.

    By the UN's own rules, they should be able to get compensation.


  2. Good job Mobal,

    We need to know things like this.