OSLO/LONDON (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia is a special case in need of climate aid if the world shifts to clean energy, the world’s top oil exporter told the United Nations ahead of a Monday deadline for proposals about slowing global warming.
Almost 200 nations agreed in Mexico in December to a package of measures including a new fund to help poor nations, due to be worth $100 billion annually from 2020, find ways to adapt to climate change and protect tropical forests.
That deal set a February 21 deadline for detailed comments.
Saudi Arabia said that it would need help to develop solar power and financial aid to diversify, as it was “among the most vulnerable economies,” dependent on oil exports whose use may be curbed under a climate deal.
“Impacts are expected to be massive and deep,” it said of countries dependent on fossil fuels, noting that oil makes up half Saudi Arabia’s gross domestic product and 90 percent of its export earnings.
Many other developing countries — including the poorest in Africa and Pacific island states at risk of rising sea levels — have expressed irritation that OPEC nations harp on about their vulnerability.
Saudi Arabia’s gross national income per capita was about $25,000 in 2008, similar to that of New Zealand, according to the U.N. Development Program.
Countries have squabbled for many years on sharing the cost of carbon emissions cuts and the benefit of funds, making a comprehensive deal increasingly unlikely from 2013 after the present round of the Kyoto Protocol expires.
They are meant to agree this year fine print including how to share funds meant for countries which are vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change, and to raise money, for example from carbon markets.
But the submissions also showed a rift between rich and poor about the makeup of a new panel meant to help poorer countries adapt to climate change, by methods such as developing flood defenses or new drought-resistant crops.
Ghana said that the board of the Adaptation Committee should comprise 32 members with a majority from developing nations, or two-thirds, according to Saudi Arabia. The European Union said that it should have 12-18 members, equally split between rich and poor.
The climate funds will likely in large part be levied from carbon markets, where developing countries sell carbon offsets to rich countries struggling to meet their emissions caps in a trade worth 2.2 billion euros ($2.98 billion) last year.
The European Union urged developing nations to accept emissions targets under expanded trading schemes.
It recommended that developing countries should only earn tradable carbon offsets if emissions fell below a certain target, and may even have to pay if they exceeded that limit.
Until now under Kyoto’s clean development mechanism project developers in China, India and Brazil, for example, have only had to demonstrate a business case to qualify for the offsets, which they earn per tonne of cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.
“New market-based mechanisms are needed in order to stimulate the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions across broad segments of the economy,” the EU said in its submission, posted on the website of the U.N. Climate Change Secretariat, referring to power generation, iron and steel or cement sectors.
Participation would be voluntary, it added.
Editing by Andrew Roche