There was a funny quote by a Saudi prince/oil official in an article I read a few months ago, something along the lines of, “the Stone Age didn’t end because we ran out of stones.” The implication for the fossil fuel age being, of course, that instead of completely running out, we will graduate to an improved energy source. Whatever your feelings on that, it’s a good line.
But before we move along, as we do, such as the case may be, the House of Saud has a master plan to help themselves alongeven as their repositories are abandoned:
Saudi Arabia is trying to enlist other oil-producing countries to support a provocative idea: if wealthy countries reduce their oil consumption to combat global warming, they should pay compensation to oil producers.
The chief Saudi negotiator, Mohammad al-Sabban, described the position as a “make or break” provision for the Saudis, as nations stake out their stance before the global climate summit scheduled for the end of the year.
Can they take a hard line on that? Whatever your feelings, it must noted that the Saudis are working much harder to prepare for an uncertain future than we are, even taking preposterous hard lines in upcoming negotiations that will will wean us off of their product. It’s a question of need, of course, except that we need to get creative like this, as well. But instead, we largely continue to dissemble about what we will, should or might be willing to do, like it’s a waiting game and we only need to last through to the next iteration of… some variant of what we’re already doing. People aren’t even that interested in the upcoming talks in Copenhagen, talks that could create new sets of goals for emissions reductions that could have very significant effects on economies the world over, that could (but not like magic) reset the developed world on a path toward transition and incentivize the developing world to follow along. But most of the moral high ground will likely be compromised away with easier to reach, lower impact targets that everyone can agree on – more stones to decorate the third place age recital.