More and more we are getting an insight into the politics of climate change.
In particular, how nations such as oil-rich Saudi Arabia influence the debate.
Cable 10RIYADH178 notes the Saudi’s concerns over global agreements, and how they could compromise their “strategic interests”:
(C) CLIMATE CHANGE: Your visit offers an important opportunity to head off a serious clash over climate change. Saudi officials are very concerned that a climate change treaty would significantly reduce their income just as they face significant costs to diversify their economy. We want to get beyond the obstructionism that Saudi negotiators have often shown during the negotiations and persuade senior leaders to work with us in a partnership to meet their strategic concerns, including by cooperating on developing solar and biomass energy. The King is particularly sensitive to avoid Saudi Arabia being singled out as the bad actor, particularly on environmental issues. Your conveying the importance the President places on working as partners with Saudi Arabia on the Copenhagen process will be very important in making this dialogue more constructive. Secretary Chu intends to explore specific areas of collaboration during his February 21-23 visit.
The Saudi’s played a key role in drafting the toothless “Accord”, however did not want to be publically associated with it (see 10RIYADH118) :
8.(SBU) A/S Feltman noted the importance that the President places on Climate Change, and the Copenhagen Accord. Given that Minister of Petroleum Al-Naimi was involved in crafting the final agreement, A/S Feltman noted the United States is counting on Saudi Arabia to associate itself with the accord by January 31. Prince Torki said that Saudi Arabia was very pleased the United States was more actively engaged in this issue, and said that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs supports trying to address this issue. He noted that the MFA will have to consult with other involved ministries, such as the Ministry of Petroleum, and promised to respond before January
Further commentary from Grist:
“…It’s not clear if the following is an actual secret or an open secret, but here goes: A cable dated Jan. 26, 2010, records Assistant Secretary of State Jeffrey D. Feltman, of the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, saying that Saudi Arabia’s minister of petroleum, Ali bin Ibrahim Al-Naimi, “was involved in crafting the final agreement” of the Copenhagen Accord.
The cable goes on to note that because Al-Naimi participated in the drafting process, Feltman and the U.S. were “counting on Saudi Arabia to associate itself with the accord by January 31.” That didn’t happen, even though Saudi Arabia’s lead negotiator later declared himself “satisfied” with the Copenhagen accord.”
“…The Saudis believe greenhouse-gas regulation is one of the greatest threats to their economic future, right up there with a nuclear Iran and internal political instability.”
Stuff “Climategate” and all the faux-scandals the denial machine generates.
This is the real debate.
Climate sceptics are fighting a phantom war, mistaking the sound-and-fury the right-wing think tanks generate for what is important.
To an extent the sceptics are correct – it is about power.
But it is how nations are using their power in a world becoming increasingly stressed by climate change. It’s about how the worlds economic, energy and military powers are jockeying for position.
These powers accept the science.
They know climate change is real.
But they can’t put aside self interest and the habits of real politic.
Who will pay for this arrogance and delay?
The poor. You and me. Our children.
Again, I ask Wikileaks release any cables related to climate politics.
note: Wonk Room has more here.