Speech by Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Ali I. Al-Naimi at UN Climate Summit 2014
UN Climate Summit 2014 Speech by His Excellency the Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Ali I. Al-Naimi, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia UN Headquarters, New York 23 September 2014
Mr. President, Excellencies, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.
It is my great honor to be here at this historic moment, on behalf of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, at the UN Climate Summit 2014. Today marks the 84th Anniversary of Saudi Arabia’s National Day. We are all proud of the comprehensive development renaissance, and political, security and economic stability that the Kingdom has realized in the era of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud.
Saudi Arabia shares the international community’s attention on climate change, which is a priority for the world today and for our people in the future, and we are also working on addressing and managing greenhouse gas emissions. Saudi Arabia believes that the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions must be achieved without undermining the economic growth, or negatively affecting the social development, or destabilizing the global energy market. We are well aware of the mutual relationship between the effects of climate change and importance of sustainable development.
Saudi Arabia stresses that the international response to climate change must fully respect the principles and provisions of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, particularly the principle of common but differentiated responsibility (CBDR).
From this standpoint, energy has a critical role in the process of sustainable development, as access to modern energy services sustainably contribute to the eradication of poverty. It also saves lives, improves health and helps to meet basic human needs. In this context, the proposed mechanisms to reduce emissions through the imposition of taxes or "carbon pricing" will undermine the principle of justice and equity. It also transfers the cost of efforts to combat climate change to developing countries which are in need of sustainable growth in the next phase.
Furthermore, Saudi Arabia stresses the importance of developing the adaptation efforts under the framework of the Convention, according to the Doha Decisions related to GCC economic diversification, taking into account the importance of mitigation efforts as a co-benefit.
The Kingdom is striving to achieve sustainable economic development, to create jobs, and to diversify its economy and industry. It aspires to establish a knowledge-based economy, like other industrialized nations. But, this historic transformation will require energy, just as it did for all other developed countries. The challenge for Saudi Arabia is to achieve this goal efficiently and effectively, and in an environmentally-friendly manner.
Saudi Arabia has taken several practical steps towards economic adaptation and economic diversification, consistent with sustainable development requirements, with the aim of achieving the objectives of the Convention beyond 2020. These efforts will bear positive results with regard to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, led by energy efficiency, the use of solar and wind energy, a carbon capture and storage program, gasification processes, as well as clean energy R&D.
Saudi Arabia is investing in carbon capture and storage technologies, one of the low-carbon technology options that leads to a significant reductions in CO2 emissions in the area of fossil fuels and other industrial processes. We must encourage this as an effective tool to minimize climate change. Already there are 12 projects around the globe which have successfully reduced 25 million tons of CO2 emission.
Currently, Saudi Arabia is implementing a pilot project to reduce carbon emissions in conjunction with “CO2-Enhanced Oil Recovery” project. In 2015, this project will reduce CO2 emissions by 800,000 tons per year. In addition, one of our private companies is currently engaged in a project to capture and use carbon dioxide in the production of other materials of economic value. The project will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 500,000 tons per year.
In line with the Kyoto Protocol, Saudi Arabia has established the National Committee for Clean Development Mechanism to manage and implement CDM projects.
In the area of clean and renewable energy future, King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (K.A.CARE) was established with the aim of building a sustainable future for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia by introducing renewable energy sources to the local energy landscape. Saudi Arabia has paid great attention to educating its younger generations about solar energy. We know that the development of these energy sources will serve the Kingdom’s basic and long-term economic interest.
The National Program for the Management and Rationalization of Energy Consumption, inaugurated in 2008, has been transformed to a permanent national center to rationalize energy around Kingdom to improve efficient energy production and consumption. It also aims to unify efforts among different entities in the Kingdom to efficiently reserve and utilize energy, while contributing to the environment preservation efforts.
The Kingdom has allocated substantial funding to research and development in clean energy. It has created the "King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research" which aims to become a global center for all types of energy research and related policies and economics, technology, and environmental technologies. The Kingdom has also built the "King Abdullah University of Science and Technology" for advanced scientific research in the field of energy and the environment. Other universities in the Kingdom are contributing to this effort.
Saudi Arabia believes that setting rigorous though ill-considered goals will not achieve the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions unless the national circumstances and capacities of each country is taken into account, and they are in line with the different stages of economic development. Saudi Arabia, therefore, is aware of the importance of partnership and collaboration between the public and private sector in climate activities and international initiatives that help states and private sectors to achieve the objectives in a comprehensive and balanced manner. In this regard, The Kingdom has made progress to join international initiatives to support its national efforts.
First: Saudi Arabia joined the Global Methane Initiative (GMI). Second: Saudi Arabia is a member of The Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum (CSLF) since 2005 and is effectively engaged in all the forum activities. Third: We are also actively involved in the Initiative on Building Efficiency and Reduction of Associated CO2 Emissions under the umbrella of the Major Economies Forum. Fourth: The Kingdom is a member of the Four Kingdoms, alongside the UK, Norway, the Netherlands and Saudi Arabia. The four countries have programs and effectively cooperate to develop CO2 capture and storage technologies or utilize it in industrial and commercial uses, including enhanced oil field production.
Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen,
In conclusion, Saudi Arabia believes that the environmentally-friendly economic and social development around the globe is the key, and the cutting-edge technology will provide a lot of solutions to environmental challenges, as it has done for humanity throughout history. But this requires more innovation, cooperation and investments. Undoubtedly, we, countries and individuals, are responsible for addressing the environmental challenges. But we must bear in mind that developed countries need to take the lead in this area based on their potential and historic responsibility.
Ultimately, global problems require joint efforts to be solved.
Thank you, Mr. President.