Law: Clean Environment and Global Warming in Saudi Arabia

I.                       Background

The impact of oil in global warming is the contribution of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. “Oil generates roughly 30 per cent more carbon dioxide for every unit of energy produced (Barry, Frankland, 2001, p. 362)”, and because of this, “the contribution of oil to global warming was, nonetheless, considerable because of the absolute quantities of oil consumed (Barry, Frankland, 2001, p. 362).” Oil consumption is an important part of the modern life, particularly in Saudi Arabia. “Any measures to reduce oil consumption were hampered by powerful opposition of certain governments and inter-governmental organizations (Barry, Frankland, 2001, p. 362).” Data from BP Statistical Review of World Energy shows that despite the knowledge of the implication of oil in global warming, the consumption still increased – for example, the 3163.5 million tonnes consumed in 1992 jumped to 3462.4 by 1999.

II.                    Saudi Arabia

The Saudi Arabia landscape is characterized by the presence of several multi-million dollars worth of infrastructure created to support the oil production capability of country. These infrastructures are costly investments made by different companies. The effort to contain the emission of CO2from oil manufacturing and processing sources has different impacts, particularly in economics. “The fourth important issue concerns taxes and duties on oil products consumed in oil-importing countries as well as environmental taxes and duties on emissions of carbon dioxide, aimed at curbing oil demand and potentially harming oil exporters’ revenues (Noreng, 2006, p. 16).”

III.                  Involvement

The government of Saudi Arabia entered into some inter-governmental agreements, like the one they signed with Japan (Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, 2007). Saudi Arabia should use the power of the law, as well as submit to the rule of international law, in order for efforts versus global warming to be successful. “Law plays an important role in environmental protection at both the international and the national levels (Chopra, Leemans, Kumar, 2005, p. 41).” But a drawback to this concept is the fact that Saudi Arabia itself shows signs of not being fully amenable to the stipulations of several international agreements and international laws on global warming. “Some OPEC countries (e.g. Saudi Arabia and Kuwait) also opposed the FCCC (Framework Convention on Climate Change) for fear of its potential impact on the price of crude oil (Alexander, Fairbridge, 1999, p. 637).”

IV.      Organizations

Different organizations and alliances take part in addressing global warming, like the Kyoto Protocol, the GWIC and the WTO. While Saudi Arabia is an active international player, it is not always in agreement with the rest of the group. “Saudi Arabia has been among the non Annex I countries that have been particularly to the Protocol (Grosse, 2005, p. 155)”, referring to the act of non compliance to the Protocol’s instituted policies. “The issue of subsidies favouring the coal, nuclear renewables sector has been raised by Saudi Arabia in the WTO’s Committee on Trade and Environment (Yamin, Depledge, 2004, p. 256),” reacting to WTO policies.

V.                 Problems and Solutions

The global warming’s worsening condition is partly the doing of the industrial cities in Saudi Arabia, from where carbon dioxide emissions from oil manufacturing and processing came from. The investment of Saudi Arabia in finding solutions for the problems posed by global warming is research and resources. Countries like Saudi Arabia allocate funds for studies. Saudi Arabia focuses its studies on oil-related aspects of global warming management. It is important for countries to sponsor studies so that they can get first hand information about global warming and its implications. “Nations should foster the continued development of these epistemic communities not only to stimulate new avenues of research, but also to help create greater opportunities for consensus building and coordinated action (Lee, 1995, p. 14).”

VI.                 Conclusion

Global warming pinned Saudi Arabia in two different situations – choosing between what to prioritize between global warming and oil production. So far, it shows that it is trying its best to attend to both issues through strategies aimed at getting the best solution and result possible.


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