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Saudi sees deadlock in climate talks

(AFP)
Filed on January 24, 2010

RIYADH - Saudi Arabia does not expect any global climate change pact soon because current proposals lack fair burden-sharing and would hit oil exporters unfairly, the country’s top climate negotiator said on Sunday.


“There was no real agreement in Copenhagen and I don’t foresee any agreement in the near term,” Mohammed al-Sabban told AFP, referring to December’s summit in the Danish capital.

“No one has submitted a burden-sharing agreement” that treats various parties equitably, he said.

“We are facing the same deadlock as the Doha round of the WTO,” the World Trade Organisation, he said of long-stuck global trade agreement negotiations.

Sabban said Saudi Arabia, cast by environmentalists together with China as a spoiler of the Copenhagen climate treaty talks, would have been hit hard by the proposed agreements on limiting greenhouse gas emissions.

He said the proposed rules and targets were “very selective,” unfairly singling out oil while favouring coal, nuclear and other energy sources which also contribute to global warming.

Sabban also said he did not expect the differences in talks could be bridged by the next summit which is planned for Mexico in December 2010.

Oil exports are by far the largest source of government income in Saudi Arabia, after Russia the world’s largest oil exporter.

“If any energy product should be hit hard, it should be coal,” he said, adding that some major developed economies heavily subsidize coal.





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