Michael Bastasch on December 10, 2018
- Saudi Arabia’s former lead climate negotiator said the Paris Agreement is “dead.”
- Mohammed Salim Al Sabban called the UN climate talks a “big conspiracy the world created.”
- Al Sabban also served as an adviser to the Saudi energy and mining ministry.
Saudi Arabia’s former lead delegate to United Nations climate talks said the Paris agreement to fight global warming is “dead,” ending what he called a “big conspiracy the world created.”
Mohammed Salim Al Sabban, also a former adviser to Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, celebrated what he called the unofficial “death” of the Paris accord.
“Are you still following the dead Paris Agreement?” Al Sabban tweeted in response to former New York Times write Andrew Revkin.
“They will go from one meeting to another forever till it’s officially announced its death. Don’t be selective when you attack the Saudi UNFCCC position. It is unfair,” Al Sabban wrote.
Revkin was commenting on news that the U.S., Saudi Arabia, Russia and Kuwait refused to “welcome” the findings of a U.N. climate report released in October. The report said carbon dioxide emissions would need to decline 45 percent by 2030 to avoid warming greater than 1.5 degrees Celsius.
The UN report said “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society” were needed to keep warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius. The report was agreed to in 2015 as part of the Paris Agreement.
President Donald Trump plans to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate accord in 2020. Bureaucratic chaos ensued when the U.S. only agreed to “note” the October climate report, joining Saudi Arabia, Russia and Kuwait.
However, like pretty much every U.N. climate summit, divisions seem to be deepening over the particulars of meeting the goals of the Paris accord to limit warming.
“Believe me. You wasting [your] time and money going to these meetings. I am in Saudi Arabia relaxed and whenever I follow the deadlock the negotiations are facing in Poland, I start laughing,” Al Sabban tweeted in response to another reporter.
“It proves my opinion about this big conspiracy the world created and now it’s been killed,” Al Sabban said. Sabban later tweeted that “conspiracy” he referred to was “the current persisting deadlock in the process.”
While it’s unclear if the Paris accord, which was agreed to by nearly 200 countries, is effectually dead, there are some signs the agreement is beginning to fray at the edges.
For example, Brazil declined to host next year’s U.N. climate talks at the behest of President-elect Jair Bolsonaro, who’s been called the “Trump of the Tropics.” Environmentalists are worried Bolsonaro could join Trump in withdrawing from the Paris accord.
Riots erupted across France over a planned increase in fuel taxes as part of French President Emmanuel Macron’s global warming crusade. Macron, initially resistant to compromise, backed down Wednesday and canceled the tax increases set for January.
Saudi Arabia, who Al Sabban formerly represented, effectively asked the U.N. to push back any debate on furthering commitments aimed at fighting global warming. Saudi Arabia, the U.S. and Russia are the world’s top three producers of oil and natural gas.