Saudi Arabia participates in Rome conference on energy and climate change

May 25, 2009

Saudi Arabia participated in the conference of the energy ministers from the Group of Eight (G-8), which concluded today. 

Speaking at a multilateral energy conference in Rome yesterday, Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Ali Al-Naimi reiterated Saudi Arabia’s determination to work towards a future of clean, abundant energy supplies.  Energy ministers from the Group of Eight (G-8) states, plus Saudi Arabia, China, India, Brazil, Egypt and South Africa, participated in the two-day conference.

During the first session, Minister Al-Naimi told the delegates, “Saudi Arabia shares the global concern regarding potential climate change and will do its part in mitigating and adapting to it.” He noted that the Kingdom is a party to both the Climate Change Convention and its Kyoto Protocol.

Minister Al-Naimi insisted that a comprehensive, global solution to climate change must include four key pillars: a fair distribution of the emissions-reduction burden, taking into account the special needs of developing countries; full recognition of the fact that fossil fuels will continue to dominate the energy mix for decades to come; research and development that gives equal attention to all safe energy sources, including oil and gas technologies; and the use of carbon capture and storage technologies on a global scale.

During the conference’s second session, entitled “Energy Investments for Security and Sustainable Development,” Minister Al-Naimi stressed that the Kingdom’s energy investment policies are characterized by far-sightedness and are not affected by temporary market turbulence. However, he warned that long-term market volatility can undermine global energy security. In order to combat this uncertainty, he said, “Consuming and producing countries need to intensify the efforts to better understand the workings of oil markets and to improve their transparency.”

Speaking today at the conference’s third session, “A Program of Action to Address Energy Poverty: Focus on Africa,” Minister Al-Naimi declared, “Saudi Arabia recognizes assisting the energy poor as an objective firmly in the interests of the international community.” He noted that over the past thirty-six years, Saudi foreign aid “has averaged to about 2 percent of our Gross Domestic Product, exceeding the U.N. target of 0.7 percent.”

Regarding energy assistance, Minister Al-Naimi pointed to the “Energy for the Poor Initiative” announced by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz at the Jeddah Energy Summit in June 2008. “This two-part initiative addressing the energy component of the food, fuel and finance crisis consists of rapid financial assistance to help deal with price volatility, and financed energy projects supported by co-financiers and parallel investment,” he explained.