Saudi Oil Minister Warns Against Hasty Transition to Renewable Energy
According to Saudi Arabia’s Oil Minister Ali Naimi, renewable energy sources are not fully equipped to meet the world’s energy demands and that governments should avoid making huge investments in developing clean energy systems.
At a conference in Houston, Mr. Naimi argued that recent injection of billions of dollars by governments to develop renewable energy systems could lead to the collapse of the oil industry. He said that such steps would drive away investors which would hurt the oil producing nations as demand and prices of oil products has been falling sharply. His remarks were clearly aimed at the Obama administration which is reversing President Bush’s policies by openly encouraging massive investments in the renewable energy sector.
United States has been a ‘close friend’ and seeing President Obama acting on his promise of energy independence seemed to have alarmed the Saudis. Bills approving of oil exploration along the US coasts, massive subsidies for renewable energy projects and Obama administration’s intent to reduce carbon emissions means a medium to long-term decline in oil imports and which have left the Saudis (and OPEC) concerned.
Addressing concerns about the rapid growth in renewable energy investment around the world, the minister said:
“We must be mindful that efforts to rapidly promote alternatives could have a ‘chilling effect’ on investment in the oil sector. A nightmare scenario would be created if alternative energy supplies fail to meet overly optimistic expectations, while traditional energy suppliers scale back investment.”
In a sense, he is right in defending his country’s interests but the conditions that prevail in today’s world are not in favor of the oil sector. According to the International Energy Agency oil supply would peak in 2020, governments around the world are planning to invest billions to build low carbon economies and energy security & energy independence find greater consideration in national policies of governments that ever before.
The time is right to invest in renewable energy systems. The world is facing a plethora of complex problems like climate change and economic recessions, the solution to these problems find common ground in building low carbon green economies which create jobs by promoting energy independence.
The world leaders must see the opportunity and necessity to act to reduce carbon emissions. Transition from imported fossil fuels to jobs creating renewable energy projects could lead the world to the path of economic resurgence and meeting emission reduction goals under the new climate treaty.
Image: jenlund70 (Creative Commons).