Saudi Arabia Plans Emission Cuts...That Don't Reduce Fossil-Fuel Use


Bentley Continental GT races a train across Saudi Arabia

Bentley Continental GT races a train across Saudi Arabia

Enlarge Photo

Saudi Arabia may be one of the most oil-rich nations on the planet, but even this Middle Eastern country is planning to cut its carbon emissions.

That's because as other countries work to reduce oil consumption, the Saudi government is worried about what effect efforts to combat climate change will have on its national economy.

The country's emissions-reduction plans were revealed in a proposal submitted for the United Nations climate-change talks scheduled to take place in Paris last month.

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Saudi Arabia was the last of the G20 nations to submit one of these proposals, which detail how all UN member nations plan to reduce carbon emissions in the near future.

The Saudi government says it wants to "actively contribute" to the Paris talks, but also minimize "potential negative side effects" for its economy, reports the Financial Times (subscription required).

It hopes to grow domestic industries in such a way as to offset the expected loss in oil-export revenues caused by lower global oil consumption.

Bentley Continental GT races a train across Saudi Arabia

Bentley Continental GT races a train across Saudi Arabia

Enlarge Photo

Some of the roughly 160 countries that have submitted emissions-reduction proposals have said they cannot implement their plans without help from wealthier nations.

Saudi Arabia says its plan is not contingent on outside financial aid although the country does want more "technology co-operation and transfer" involving other nations.

ALSO SEE: Cross-Border Carbon: Mexico Sets Limit On Climate-Change Emissions

Demands for financial and technical assistance from heavily-industrialized nations could be a sticking point in the negotiations for a global climate-change agreement, some analysts believe.

The Saudi government is also courting international investors in an attempt to diversify domestic industry.

The Range Rover Sport takes on Saudi Arabia's Empty Quarter

The Range Rover Sport takes on Saudi Arabia's Empty Quarter

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Both still rely on cheap oil and gas as a selling point for developments in other areas.

The Saudi proposal outlines two scenarios for future economic development based around continued domestic oil and gas production.

MORE: First China, Now India, Commit To Reducing Carbon Emission Rates

In one scenario, revenue from oil and gas would be channeled into "value-added" industries, like financial services, medical services, education, and tourism--as well as renewable energy.

The other scenario involves "accelerated domestic industrialization," which would rely on domestic oil and gas production as the foundation for a broader array of industries, including cement and metal production, and mining.

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