The Saudis, those nice folks who were charging us $147 a barrel just over a year ago, now say they'll need economic aid if the world keeps cutting back on oil consumption.
The United Nations is currently holding climate talks in Bangkok, where Saudi Arabia, suddenly spooked at the idea the world might need less of their No. 1 export, is privately demanding that oil-producing nations get special financial assistance if a new climate pact calls for big cuts in the use of fossil fuels.
That campaign comes despite an International Energy Agency report released this week showing that OPEC revenues would still increase $23 trillion between 2008 and 2030 — a fourfold increase compared to the period from 1985 to 2007 — if countries agree to significantly slash emissions and thereby cut their use of oil. That is the limit most countries agree is needed to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.
The head of the Saudi delegation Mohammad S. Al Sabban dismissed the IEA figures as “biased” and said OPEC's own calculations showed that Saudi Arabia would lose $19 billion a year starting in 2012 under a new climate pact. The region would lose much more, he said.
“We are among the economically vulnerable countries,” Al Sabban told The Associated Press on the sidelines of the talks ahead of negotiations in Copenhagen in December for a treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol, which expires in 2012. “This is very serious for us.”
Get more: The Associated Press