Saudi Government Approves Kyoto Climate Protocol
RIYADH Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest oil exporter, gave its approval on Monday to the Kyoto protocol which aims to stem global warming, the official Saudi Press Agency said.
It said the decision was taken by ministers at a weekly cabinet meeting and a royal decree is being prepared to formally endorse the step.
As a developing country, Saudi Arabia would not be subject to emissions cuts under Kyoto, a requirement only binding 30 industrialised nations. Some 135 nations have formally given their support to the pact.
Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi, speaking in Argentina on Thursday, said his country hoped to sign the protocol but expects to lose billions of dollars in oil sales as developed nations implement the pact.
"By the year 2010, Saudi Arabia will lose at least $19 billion a year as a result of the policies the industrialised nations will adopt to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions," Naimi told a U.N. climate change conference.
The oil giant, which sits on the world's biggest reserves of crude, expects to lose even more money after 2012 when the Kyoto protocol's requirements are seen getting stiffer, he said.
Along with the United States, Saudi Arabia has been accused by environmentalists of resisting global climate change efforts.
The OPEC leader is accused of blocking talks to create a new fund to help poor nations adapt to global warming by demanding compensation for oil export losses.
Saudi Arabia has called for research to improve technology to recover greenhouse gases at the point of production of fossil fuels, easing the impact of environmental measures on oil exporters.