OPEC Statement to the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP13) - Bali, December 2007

Delivered by HE Abdalla Salem El-Badri, OPEC Secretary General, to the high-level segment of the 13th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change & the 3rd session of the Conference of the Parties acting as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol.

14 December 2007, Bali, Indonesia

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

Let me begin by expressing my deep appreciation to the Government and people of Indonesia for hosting this Conference on this wonderful island of Bali and for their warm hospitality.

I am delighted to be here today and participate in such an important conference, taking place in an OPEC Member Country and tackling the issue of our time “climate change”, an issue widely covered at the OPEC Summit recently held in Riyadh.

Here in Bali there has been much discussion concerning where the Kyoto Protocol is today, and what the future holds for a post-Kyoto agreement. However, in all these discussions we must move forward by learning from our past experience. The key question in this regard is a simple one: why were we able to reach an agreement for the creation of the Kyoto Protocol.

We reached agreement after years of negotiation because everyone had a stake, but perhaps more importantly, everyone perceived that their issues were recognized and taken on board.

For developing countries in general it was of fundamental importance that the principle of “common, but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities” be central to this agreement since developed countries have a historical responsibility to take the lead in combating climate change. Developed countries are largely responsible for the historical build-up of global greenhouse gas emissions and even to this day continue to emit close to half of all emissions despite representing only 20% of the planets population.

The Kyoto Protocol is not exempt of shortcomings, but overall it is a good compromise. It envisaged flexibility mechanisms to facilitate the meeting of emission reduction quota commitments by developed country Parties, while promoting cleaner development in countries that do not have specific emission reduction quotas.

Over the years we have witnessed how many voluntary initiatives from the developing world have been launched with climate change in mind. Most recently a number of OPEC Member Countries namely Saudi Arabia with $300 million and Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates each with $150 million have created a fund aimed at investing in technological solutions to protect the environment.

For developed countries, however, many are still far from meeting their commitments to reduce their overall emissions levels. Other obligations remain unrealised too.

We need to build upon the existing Convention and its Protocol. This is paramount, if we are to build trust and move forward in a constructive way.

We take note that the latest IPCC report points to the need for political responses that match the climate change science. Yet we need to balance this out and emphasise that these political responses must also encompass the other two pillars of sustainable development — social progress and economic advancement, or stated in another way, the right to develop and hence to make greater use of energy.

For the 2.4 billion people that have no means of acquiring modern fuels for cooking and heating, emissions reductions are not on the agenda. Their daily struggles are focused on combating the worst pollutant of all: poverty.

For these people, our goals must be to make sure they have access to modern energy services that are reliable, affordable, economically viable, socially acceptable and environmentally sound. This will not only enhance their living standards, but also help them adapt better to the inevitable consequences of climate change.

We do not believe that any new deal will succeed if it simply seeks to put additional economic burdens on developing countries. Even though climate change is clearly a challenge for the international community at large, there must be no losers, and it is unfair and unrealistic to ask for more stringent commitments for developing countries over and above those already embraced by them in the Kyoto Protocol.

OPEC believes that technology can play a significant role in helping us find solutions, but this technology must be shared on a level playing field just like we “share” the negative effects of climate change. If we truly regard this as a global threat, we cannot treat climate change as simply another business opportunity; hence, technology transfer must be viewed in a more inclusive manner.

With fossil fuels expected to continue in the foreseeable future to play a dominant role in the energy mix, it is important to promote the development and dissemination of cleaner fossil fuel technologies, in particular for oil and gas. One such technology is carbon capture and storage, a mature technology and perhaps the single best means to reduce CO2 emissions.

However, technology solutions will be varied and no one solution will apply to all countries, nor will technology alone solve this problem. We must not loose sight of this. Cooperation, unity and dialogue also have a very important role to play.

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

OPEC remains committed to its longstanding policy of promoting market stability and providing a reliable and regular supply of a very valuable resource to the world. It also appreciates the positive role that oil has played in the past and will play in the future to raise the living standards of people all over the world.

We acknowledge the interrelationships between energy production and consumption, environmental protection and preservation and economic growth and social development. And we will continue to work with international community towards all global efforts aimed at bridging the development gap and making energy accessible to the world’s poor, while protecting the environment through the avoidance of the unwanted side effects of the wasteful use of these energy resources.

What we need in place is a fair agreement that addresses the issues and challenges in a comprehensive, balanced and effective manner. One that takes into account the past, present and future; one where current commitments are fulfilled; one in which we can all see the benefits to be gained from our own efforts; and, one based on principles of solidarity with those least able to help themselves.

To these ends, we have witnessed some very interesting initiatives from various quarters. It has given me a positive feeling and I hope that we can continue to engage and work together in meeting the climate change challenge in a manner that will provide benefits for us all.

Thank you.