Since the death of King Abdullah last week, Saudi Arabia has recommitted to a policy of low oil prices that could slow down the transition to clean energy sources, the Washington Post reports.
After years of positioning the kingdom as a climate skeptic and working to undermine global negotiations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, “Saudi officials hit upon a more effective way to knock the clean-energy movement off its tracks: cheap gas,” the Post writes.
“Whether intentionally or not, the continued slump in prices could hurt sales of low-emission vehicles in Western countries and cool enthusiasm for renewable energy in the developing world—objectives that Saudi officials have long pursued through other means.”
While Saudi Arabia is also boosting its investment in solar and wind, “analysts say the kingdom’s efforts to engineer a shake-up of global energy markets appears driven by fears about long-term threats to Saudi preeminence as an oil superpower,” Warrick writes. The immediate goal is to cut off fossil fuel production from non-OPEC competitors. “But more ominous in the long term, experts say, is the threat of a global shift to renewable energy sources as countries seek to combat climate change.”