Republican election victory in 2021 – GZERO Media
Saudi Arabia: “We need the black (gold) to go green!” The world’s leading oil exporter relies on the sale of crude oil for half of GDP and almost three quarters of export earnings. In other words, you will get the energy industry out of Riyadh’s cold, dead hands.
What the Saudis have proposed as a climate action plan to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2060 is to massively reduce emissions within their limits by investing in renewable energy, carbon sequestration and tree planting programs. What Riyadh has not promised is to reduce oil production. Indeed, the kingdom foresees an increase in production in the coming years.
Critics say Riad’s promises are a ploy, a sort of country-level greenwashing that ignores the global impact of the local energy industry. The Saudis’ argument is: Well, where are we going to get the money to diversify our economy if not from the one – almost the only one – that actually makes us money?
Russia: The Arctic Amazon? The Kremlin’s main geopolitical tool of influence is its control over the Russian gas pipelines that keep Europe warm. No wonder the world’s fourth largest polluter hasn’t been a cheerleader for reducing emissions in the past.
When the Arctic ice melts, it opens up lucrative shipping lanes that Moscow can control. But recently, Vladimir Putin has started to sound more urgent about global warming, calling it a “serious threat” to Russia and the world. Russia plans to achieve net zero before 2060 by boosting renewable energies, phasing out coal consumption and even (very) gradually reducing oil exports after 2030.
A big twist here is that Putin is spying on an opportunity for Russia to become its own green superpower. Its vast and largely untouched forests can absorb billions of tons of carbon every year if they don’t burn up. Critics say Putin is only hiding behind these trees to avoid further emissions.
Iraq: “We come back to the climate issue.“Iraq has suffered an unprecedented deadly heat wave this year, which scientists attribute in part to climate change. The heat wave led to power outages, which in turn contributed to mass protests against corruption and unemployment. who then took power remains divided, weak and suspicious.
Such a government is hardly in a position to promote sustainable economic diversification. Also the massive introduction of renewable energies in a country that gets 90 percent of its income from oil and is the third largest oil exporter in the world.
Climate policy needs a credible and functioning state. Some large oil-producing countries (including Venezuela) simply have more pressing needs at the moment, such as the cohesion of the country.
Guyana: “Don’t stop us from getting rich!” A few years ago, the small South American coastal country of Guyana made an amazing discovery. Oil. Huge amounts of it. Enough to transform one of the poorest nations in the western hemisphere into one of the richest in the world in just a few years.
And you want them to give that up? That’s a tough sell. But it’s not just about getting rich: Around 80 percent of Guyana’s population live below sea level, so climate change poses an enormous risk for the country.
Where else, the Guyanese leaders ask, will we get the money to mitigate this damage if not by selling oil?