Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
  Energy News  

Subscribe free to our newsletters via your

Analysis: Climate change on OPEC agenda

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only
by Ben Lando
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (UPI) Nov 19, 2007
Geopolitics and petropolitics charged the OPEC summit while the cartel defended itself against charges it was to blame for high oil prices and Saudi Arabia promoted itself.

The threat of climate change made a rare appearance at the OPEC summit with the Saudi king announcing three-quarters of a billion dollars in research. The funding was announced over the weekend, but no money has been appropriated and no details have been released. But it's a promise that could stave off a potential catastrophe.

"This is a global issue," said Abdullah Salem Al-Badri, secretary-general of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, at the group's third-ever summit. "We are living in the same planet, you know, producers and consumers."

Badri sat down with United Press International on the sidelines of a three-day symposium hosted by OPEC, prior to the summit of OPEC heads of state. There, oil ministers, industry players and experts discussed major issues the cartel and the global oil sector face.

Saudi Arabia, as host, set much of the agenda. It organized rare press trips to its oil sector facilities, ensured there was food, coffee and the occasional swag for journalists, and had dozens of young Saudis available to assist with anything, including bettering the image of the kingdom.

OPEC is accused of being behind the $90-plus per barrel oil prices, of not producing enough oil and not investing enough in expanding its production capacity. Demand spiked over the past seven years, pushed by the largest consumer, the United States, as well as growing countries such as China and India.

But OPEC, which meets about 40 percent of the world's demand, says supply is correct. It blames traders and speculators driven by real or perceived fears of geopolitical strife, and a bottleneck keeping oil and products from getting to consumers quickly. While high oil prices increase producers' income, too high a price leads to a decrease in consumption and a higher incentive to look for alternative fuels and energy.

And then there's the declining value of the dollar, which is the main currency used in oil transactions.

"They get our oil and give us a worthless piece of paper," Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told reporters after the summit.

During a closed meeting of oil, finance and foreign ministers Friday, the Iranian delegation issued a proposal to move away from the dollar.

The debate was heated, according to journalists working in a media center at the symposium's hotel, with Iran, Venezuela and others being outweighed by the Saudis, who feared the dollar would be further hurt. About 30 minutes of the session aired live on a TV that during the week broadcast the official symposium events. OPEC officials called it an accident.

The mention of the dollar was not included in the OPEC summit's final declaration.

Ahmadinejad and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez were constantly hounded by reporters, both willing to talk. Chavez himself was given the platform at the summit's opening ceremony Saturday night, where as the host of the previous such event in 2000 he gave the opening address and handed over the chair's seat to Abdullah.

Chavez called for OPEC to stand united against aggressors, do more to help the poor and developing nations and become more political.

He rallied against President Reagan's attempts to quash OPEC, said the Iraq war was about oil and warned against a U.S. attack over Iran's nuclear program.

"If the United States is crazy enough to invade Iran, oil prices will shoot up not to $100 but $200 per barrel," Chavez said.

Abdullah, whose country is a strategic U.S. ally, said oil shouldn't be used as a weapon.

Following Chavez, he announced he'd dedicate $300 million to a new climate change, environment and energy fund for scientific research. During the closing ceremony Sunday, he said Qatar, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates promised $150 million apiece.

From its years as a critic of climate change, OPEC has turned to the new mantra that oil is too vital for the world economy to replace and so an investment in emissions-reducing technology is the way to go.

"We need the technology," said Badri. "We need to invest money to enhance the technology. At the same time we are starting to do our part as far as trying to reduce the emissions."

"We are producers, and if there is any pollution it is from our operations. That's really a very low percentage of the emissions and we are trying to reduce or eliminate that," he said. "But the big emission isn't in the supplier nations. It is in the cement factories, in the electricity, in transportation, it is there. That's why we say if there is any accumulation we are not contributing to it."

According to data from the Energy Information Administration, the U.S. Energy Department's data arm, the largest consumers of energy, not producers, are the largest emitters.

The United States, for example, is the largest consumer in the world -- nearly twice each day what No. 1 producer Saudi Arabia pumps.

Saudi Arabia emitted 412.35 million metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2006; the United States -- the world's largest emitter -- 5.96 billion metric tons of CO2 from the consumption of petroleum, natural gas, coal and the flaring of natural gas.


Email This Article
Comment On This Article

Related Links
Powering The World in the 21st Century at

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Climate change driving 'fourth tech revolution': British PM
London (AFP) Nov 19, 2007
Climate change is driving the need for a "fourth technological revolution" to cut pollution and save the planet, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said Monday.

  • Climate change driving 'fourth tech revolution': British PM
  • Analysis: Study lauds China renewables
  • Baker Institute Finds Increased Domestic Production Won't Make US Self-Sufficient In Natural Gas
  • Analysis: Climate change on OPEC agenda

  • Iran must do more to clear nuclear suspicions: Russia
  • Venezuela Set To Launch Peaceful Nuclear Program
  • Uranium sows discord between Niger and France
  • Indo-US nuclear pact not out of woods: analysts

  • A Breathable Earth
  • Researchers Find Origin Of Breathable Atmosphere Half A Billion Years Ago
  • Study Reveals Lakes A Major Source Of Prehistoric Methane
  • Giant Atmospheric Waves Over Iowa

  • Follow the money trail in illegal logging crimes: Indonesian activists
  • Vanishing forests a counterpoint to Indonesia's climate crusade
  • Greenpeace urges Indonesia to stop burning forest
  • Finnish paper mill to open in Uruguay despite Argentina's protests

  • Greenpeace slams 'unsustainable' new tuna quota
  • FAO report urges paying poor farmers to be green
  • 3 million Italians sign anti-GM petition
  • Researchers say desalinated water harms crops: report

  • Schwarzenegger showcases 'green' cars at Los Angeles show
  • Go With The Flow
  • Ford eyes launching hybrid vehicles in China
  • AAMCO Unveils Eco-Green Initiative To Promote Cleaner Running Cars And Centers

  • Time Magazine Recognizes The X-48B
  • Virgin to offer carbon offsets alongside drinks and perfume
  • NASA sorry over air safety uproar
  • Airbus superjumbo makes first commercial flight

  • Nuclear Power In Space - Part 2
  • Nuclear Power In Space
  • Outside View: Nuclear future in space
  • Could NASA Get To Pluto Faster? Space Expert Says Yes - By Thinking Nuclear

  • The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2007 - SpaceDaily.AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement