Perhaps it is a symptom of the times, but it seems like nobody tries to save their cash anymore
THE KINGDOM of Saudi Arabia has repeatedly made statements to the effect that the nation should be financially compensated if it loses oil revenues because of reduced petroleum consumption that results from climate-change programs.
Some experts believe that this is a stalling tactic by the Saudis, in an effort to confound the upcoming December climate talks in Copenhagen.
"Oil exporters have always, in my view, far overblown the near-term effects of carbon limits on demand for their products," David Victor, professor, School of International Relations and Pacific Studies at the University of California, San Diego, told The New York Times in early October.
"For the Saudis this may be a deal-breaker, but the Saudis are not essential players [in the upcoming climate summit]... One sign that a climate agreement is effective is that big hydrocarbon exporters hate it," Victor said.
Be that as it may, most entries in the media have been covering this story as if they had trouble deciding whether to file it in the business section of the newspaper or the "Weird But True" column.
Not that you can really blame them - it is a story that leads to a level of outrageousness.
The introductory paragraph from this Associated Content item certainly sets a tone:
"If the world community actually comes to a climate change agreement that involves cutting dependence on oil, one country intends to demand a bailout. That country is not an impoverished, third world nation."
Stories from Reuters and The New York Times were more sober in tone - no editorializing, plenty of quotes - and that's when a lot of this story sounds bonkers:
"We are among the most vulnerable countries, economically," Saudi negotiator Mohammad Al-Sabban told Reuters in April.
In October, he said in The New York Times, "Assisting us as oil-exporting countries in achieving economic diversification is very crucial for us."
In 2008, Saudi oil revenue increased by 37% from 2007 to $281bn, (€189bn) says Saudi Arabia-based Jadwa Investment.