OPEC Statement to the 9th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change - Milan, December 2003

Statement by Dr Alvaro Silva-Calderón, OPEC Secretary General

High-level Segment, 1–12 December 2003, Milan, Italy

Ladies and gentlemen,

Certain realities face us in the early 21st century. World energy demand will continue to rise for decades to come, especially in the developing world. Access to advanced forms of energy services is seen as an essential element in sustainable development. And consumers need their energy to be as clean and as safe as possible, with minimal adverse impacts on the environment.

The international climate change negotiations have lasted more than a decade and have resulted in heightened global awareness of environmental issues.

But there is also a sense of unfinished business, highlighted by the failure of the Kyoto Protocol to be ratified after six years. Even if it is eventually ratified, many practical aspects still need to be sorted out before it can become truly effective. Costs are likely to be higher than expected.

The uncertainty is making it difficult for decision-makers in the energy industry to formulate policy and devise effective investment portfolios.

We are concerned about the fact that the principal influences in the process itself and in the main decisions that have been reached come from the developed world.

We are unhappy about calls for new commitments to be made by developing countries, which would affect the ability of many sovereign states to achieve sustained economic growth, develop their social infrastructures and eradicate poverty. We insist once again that oil-producing developing countries do not end-up as net losers from the climate change negotiations. We are still not satisfied that our legitimate concerns about the adverse impact of response measures on our hydrocarbon-dependent economies have been properly addressed, in spite of the provisions made for this in both the Framework Convention and the Kyoto Protocol.

Proven reserves of oil and gas are sufficient to meet rising world demand for decades to come, while advances in technology help them meet the toughest environment regulations and make a substantial contribution towards sustainable development.

OPEC remains committed to its longstanding policy of promoting market stability in the interests of rich and poor nations alike, with secure supply, reasonable prices and fair returns for investors. To be effective in this, however, requires steady, predictable demand, built upon a clear, definitive vision of the evolution of the global environment in the years to come.

Thank you.