Tag: saudi arabia

Saudi Arabia Take First Place, Qatar Earns Second

Saudi Arabia Take First Place, Qatar Earns Second
Bonn, Germany – It was a neighborly Fossil awards ceremony the second Monday of
the Bonn climate negotiations, as “next door” countries Saudi Arabia and Qatar swept
the nominations. Saudi Arabia took first for trying to delay discussions on addressing
losses and damages from climate change impacts in developing countries. Close
behind them in the voting, Qatar earned second place for trying to direct oil taxes
away from low-carbon transport development and toward their own coffers.


The Fossils as presented read:


The Second place Fossil goes to Qatar for suggesting that they should be
compensated for the tax that developed countries add onto Qatari oil.
At the Joint SBSTA/SBI Meeting on impact of the implementation of response
measure, Qatar presented a graph and emphasised that taxes in developed countries
add more to the selling price of oil than their wholesale price. For example, in the UK
oil's initial price is $200 and the tax is $850; that sums to $1,050. Then Qatar had the
gall to suggest that if developed countries were to give the tax amount to Qatar, then
Qatar is happy to provide the oil for free. This tax money should clearly be spent on
developing green alternatives to carbon based transport and to deal with the problems
that carbon based transport creates – health, environmental, etc. – not to compensate
oil producing countries. Any potential future COP host would know that (hint hint).”

The First place Fossil is awarded to Saudi Arabia. In discussions on the loss and
damage work programme, Saudi Arabia argued that the Parties did not need to agree
on activities until COP18 – 18 months from now! The Cancun Agreements
established a work programme to enable Parties to take a decision on loss and damage
itself – not the work programme. Debating the activities of a work programme for 18
months is akin to debating an agenda for 18 months…and we’ve seen enough debates
on agendas.”
_____________________________________________________________________
About CAN: The Climate Action Network is a worldwide network of roughly 500
Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) working to promote government and
individual action to limit human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable
levels. www.climatenetwork.org


About the fossils: The Fossil of the Day awards were first presented at the climate
talks in 1999  in Bonn, initiated by the German NGO Forum. During United Nations
climate change negotiations (www.unfccc.int), members of the Climate Action
Network (CAN), vote for countries judged to have done their 'best' to block progress
in the negotiations in the last days of talks.

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Region: 

Saudi Arabia Take First Place, Qatar Earns Second

       
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                  13 June 2011
Contact:
Kyle Gracey
kylegracey@gmail.com
+1 814 659 2405


Saudi Arabia Take First Place, Qatar Earns Second
Bonn, Germany – It was a neighborly Fossil awards ceremony the second Monday of
the Bonn climate negotiations, as “next door” countries Saudi Arabia and Qatar swept
the nominations. Saudi Arabia took first for trying to delay discussions on addressing
losses and damages from climate change impacts in developing countries. Close
behind them in the voting, Qatar earned second place for trying to direct oil taxes
away from low-carbon transport development and toward their own coffers.


The Fossils as presented read:


The Second place Fossil goes to Qatar for suggesting that they should be
compensated for the tax that developed countries add onto Qatari oil.
At the Joint SBSTA/SBI Meeting on impact of the implementation of response
measure, Qatar presented a graph and emphasised that taxes in developed countries
add more to the selling price of oil than their wholesale price. For example, in the UK
oil's initial price is $200 and the tax is $850; that sums to $1,050. Then Qatar had the
gall to suggest that if developed countries were to give the tax amount to Qatar, then
Qatar is happy to provide the oil for free. This tax money should clearly be spent on
developing green alternatives to carbon based transport and to deal with the problems
that carbon based transport creates – health, environmental, etc. – not to compensate
oil producing countries. Any potential future COP host would know that (hint hint).”

“The First place Fossil is awarded to Saudi Arabia. In discussions on the loss and
damage work programme, Saudi Arabia argued that the Parties did not need to agree
on activities until COP18 – 18 months from now! The Cancun Agreements
established a work programme to enable Parties to take a decision on loss and damage
itself – not the work programme. Debating the activities of a work programme for 18
months is akin to debating an agenda for 18 months…and we’ve seen enough debates
on agendas.”
_____________________________________________________________________
About CAN: The Climate Action Network is a worldwide network of roughly 500
Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) working to promote government and
individual action to limit human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable
levels. www.climatenetwork.org
About the fossils: The Fossil of the Day awards were first presented at the climate
talks in 1999  in Bonn, initiated by the German NGO Forum. During United Nations
climate change negotiations (www.unfccc.int), members of the Climate Action
Network (CAN), vote for countries judged to have done their 'best' to block progress
in the negotiations in the last days of talks.
###

Region: 

Saudi Arabia, Wikileaks and Climate Diplomacy

For those with time to look beyond the boundaries of the Moon Palace and Cancun Messe, you may have come across a story about Wikileaks giving greater transparency to some internal US cables. Among those relating to climate was the observation by the US ambassador to Saudi Arabia.
‘Saudi officials are very concerned that a climate change treaty would significantly reduce their income just as they face significant costs to diversify their economy,’ he wrote. ‘The King is particularly sensitive to avoid Saudi Arabia being singled out as the bad actor, particularly on environmental issues.
Saudi Arabia faces real challenge in diversifying its economy away from pumping black liquids from under its sands.  It’s easier to graduate to new products similar to those already in production than to make leaps into completely new lines of business. Furthermore, oil is a particularly difficult sector to diversify from. And the nation has a young population, which creates job creation challenges that addiction to oil export doesn’t address.
In the face of these difficulties, Saudi Arabia is making real efforts to diversify its economy. Even those most devoted to oil can see how the rest of the world is moving towards a low carbon future, although not at all as quickly as ECO, or any climate scientist, knows they should.
The Kingdom is making some exciting moves, such as founding King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, which will build the ranks of scientists and engineers.  This also is leading to a stronger RD&D base, including climate modeling and “the stresses arising [on Red Sea coral reef systems] from natural as well as anthropogenic factors including . . ..global climate change.” (Clearly the university gets it, even if the negotiators here don’t). And importantly, the country is also investing heavily in solar research.
So if the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is trying to develop a low-carbon and economically-diverse future, why is it working just as hard to hold the world back from making progress on climate change?
The Wikileaks cables also record the the view of the US ambassador that ‘Saudi officials have suggested that they need to find a way to climb down gracefully from the country’s tough negotiating position. More sustained engagement in co-ordination with other governments, particularly if pitched as an effort to develop partnership, may help them do so.
If Saudi Arabia is so concerned about criticism yet keen to develop in new ways, ECO respectfully offers a few ideas for changing their stance in the negotiations here and now and leave its negative reputation on climate issues in the past. To this end, the Kingdom could:

  • See the global transition to a global low carbon future as an opportunity.  By investing its existing fossil wealth wisely, the Kingdom has much to offer,
  • Develop a long-term vision of its post-oil future as a low-carbon economy, drawing on its incredible solar resource.  And it should work in partnership with other countries to realize that vision.
  • Stop linking response measures/spillover effects to adaptation.  Such distasteful negotiating tactics do not make friends and can endanger lives.
  • Support bringing pledges from the Copenhagen Accord into the UNFCCC as the basis for further discussion through 2011.
  • Stop blocking the 1.5o C review proposed by AOSIS as well as other initiatives to increase mitigation ambition. 

That way, among other important things, Saudi Arabia’s stunning coral reefs and highly productive (and carbon sequestering) mangrove forests and seagrasses can survive the oil age.

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Saudi Arabia Earns 1st Place Fossil of the Day for Trying to Silence Civil Society

Fossil of the Day - Day 5 - Cancun, Mexico COP16 (Dec 3rd)

Cancun, Mexico – Saudi Arabia earned the 1st place Fossil of the Day for trying to limit civil society’s participation and voice in the negotiations. This is Saudi Arabia’s second Fossil at the Cancun negotiations. On Wednesday, it shared a 1st place Fossil with Norway, Kuwait, Algeria, UAE, Egypt, Iraq, Qatar, & Jordan for proposing Carbon Capture and Storage in the Clean Development Mechanism of the Kyoto Protocol. No other countries received a Fossil today.

The text of the award reads:
“The first place Fossil is awarded to Saudi Arabia.  We assume that Saudi Arabia was included in the consensus that led to last year’s statement by the SBI recognizing the ‘fundamental value’ of effective public participation.  We also understand that Saudi Arabia is still a party to the Convention, which also recognizes the role of observers.  
So today we applaud Saudi Arabia’s audacity in suggesting, in today’s informal on enhancing the engagement of observers, that observers are actually over-represented in the UNFCCC process. Relying on registration statistics from COP15 in Copenhagen, the delegate suggested that the large number of NGO observers there, and of side events in Cancun, is somehow relevant to the effectiveness of our participation.  Stating that the delegates had other ‘important things’ to spend their time on, Saudi Arabia ‘wonder[ed] if there is really a pressing need at this time to dedicate time and resources to further enhance [public] engagement.’
For its audacious attempt to limit participation, we award Saudi Arabia the first place Fossil.  (Following the spirit of Saudi Arabia’s intervention, we have not invited them to actually receive this award.)”

About CAN: The Climate Action Network is a worldwide network of roughly 500 Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) working to promote government and individual action to limit human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels. www.climatenetwork.org
About the fossils: The Fossil of the Day awards were first presented at the climate talks in 1999  in Bonn, initiated by the German NGO Forum. During United Nations climate change negotiations (www.unfccc.int), members of the Climate Action Network (CAN), vote for countries judged to have done their 'best' to block progress in the negotiations in the last days of talks.

 

Cut the Nonsense

With an issue as serious as the survival of entire nations, you would think all governments would be able to negotiate the matter seriously and in good faith. However, as last night’s teeth-rattling exercise in negotiations dentistry showed, even agreeing a technical report about potential 1.5° C scenarios is not immune.

During the SBSTA evening session, Saudi Arabia managed to plow through every possible diversion, suggesting for instance that vulnerable countries just use Google if they want more knowledge about the scientific findings relating to their survival, or that it is beyond the capacity of the Secretariat to produce a summary of 
recent scientific studies. Finally they hit on procedural issues as a last 
resort. Keep in mind that early in the week Saudi Arabia agreed to having the report, as long as references to spillover effects were included (as is now in the proposed scope). Instead of the random chaos of Copenhagen, things are reverting back to previous form, and this makes a nonsense of important matters.

Deep feeling was expressed about 
potential impacts on developing countries that export rice, cocoa, tomatoes, coal, oil, manufactured goods, etc. Instead, many of those countries wish there was room for serious concern about the climate impacts to which they are most vulnerable and the increasing speed at which they are experiencing them. Recent science has sounded the alarm: the 2° path might not be enough to guarantee the survival of small island states and dynamic coastlines.

Google is all well and good, but every policy maker ought to know that ‘search’ is one thing and 
‘assessment’ quite another.

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In Search of An Honest Response

As usual, ECO has a lot of questions about what Saudi Arabia is really after.  Just yesterday, they gave a free lesson to the chair of the LCA. She is not supposed to prepare new text, so it was said, but only facilitate discussions, since this is a Party-driven process and only Parties can work out texts. Well, ECO would like to offer a friendly amendment. Preparing a new text based on Party submissions is still a Party-driven process, and the reorganization of the text is in the mode of facilitation. So, let the chair do her job. Then there is a puzzle. What is it about Saudi Arabia and the Copenhagen Accord?  They helped draft it, they supported it in one session in Copenhagen but retracted their support in another. Later they did not associate with it, and finally now they say it is not important. The Accord falls well short of the mark, we agree, but why did they approve it in the first place and then retract their support? After all, they got response measures linked to adaptation in the Accord text, reversing the agreement to separate them in the Bali Action Plan.  One theory is that ‘no deal’ is better than a ‘bad deal’ (even though a ‘bad deal’ is a good deal for the Saudis).  Although they always have suggested that ‘response measures in adaptation’ is a placeholder, they have never indicated what they want in order to drop this issue. Naturally, the question arises whether the position on response measures is just a tactic to stall negotiations, more than achieving an agreed outcome.  And all this seems to confirm that Saudi Arabia remains in the obstructionist camp. If Saudi Arabia is eager to prove other-wise , perhaps they should approach other Parties and indicate what they want in place of the response measures/adaptation ‘place- holder’. Maybe, for example, something under the technology track to help diversify the economy, such as renewable energy industrial development – that might get ‘response measures’ out of their system. But it doesn’t seem likely, since they also success-fully blocked the bunkers discussion (as we said at the time, ‘never underestimate the Saudis’). For the adaptation discussion to move forward, Saudi Arabia must drop their ‘response measures’ argument. It is not morally right to receive compensation if oil demand goes down, for two main reasons. First, they have already benefited by trillions from selling oil, which has significantly contributed to the climate change problem. Second, they provided no compensation to the affected poor when the demand on oil went up and so did price.  Why then should Saudi Arabia be compensated when the demand goes down?

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