Saudi Arabia seeks compensation for reduced oil consumptionFriday, October 16, 2009 15:13
In a move so outlandish that one would expect to see it only in an Onion article, Saudi Arabia has demanded that if the rest of the world reduces oil consumption due to efforts to combat global warming, it and other oil producing countries should be compensated for the corresponding loss of revenue. That’s about as heinous as drug pushers telling government authorities that they should be compensated if addiction treatment programmes successfully reduce their customer numbers.
While this is the first time I’ve heard of it, it appears that this has been the position of the Saudis ever since the first global climate talks in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. This time however they’re claiming that this is a “make or break” position for them, meaning that other countries must agree to pay compensation for reduced oil consumption or they’re going to walk out of any talks. Of course, Saudi Arabia and other oil producing countries need to diversify away from an economy that’s almost a hundred percent dependent on oil sales, but it’s not clear to me at all why other countries need to pay up to help them achieve that.
The wealth that the oil producing nations have earned from their black gold is already the stuff of legend, so what have they been spending it on if not preparing for a day when oil is no longer king? Furthermore, it’s not as if the oil is an infinite resource. In fact, if anti-global warming initiatives fail to reduce oil consumption, their oil would just be depleted all that much faster. Do they expect the world to compensate them for the loss of that oil then? It’s like asking their customers to pay for the same product twice.