Weekly wrap: Saudi Arabia’s post-oil plan lands

This week’s top climate politics and policy stories. Sign up to have our Friday briefing sent to your inbox

Saudi Arabia is diversifying its economy away from hydrocarbons (Pic: Thamer Al-Hassan/Flickr)


Saudi Arabia’s reforming deputy crown prince was more bullish than ever as his vision for a post-oil future got cabinet approval on Monday.

“I think by 2020, if oil stops we can survive,” Mohammed bin Salman told national television as he explained plans to diversify investments.

Many commentators were less confident, warning that cuts to oil-funded state handouts jeopardised the Kingdom’s fragile social contract.

Still, it is a level of bold forward thinking Venezuelans can only dream of. The South American petrostate faces a two-day week in response to power shortages as the oil-dependent economy spirals out of control.

Carbon pricing: Saviour or sideshow?

President Francois Hollande also aspired to lead, outlining plans to introduce a carbon floor price in France. It is less clear that the rest of the EU will follow, however.

Analysts said the unilateral move risked depressing the carbon price elsewhere in the 28-state bloc, unless coupled with measures to curb excess supply of permits.

Germany is sceptical, reported news wire Montel, with a top official saying price-based reforms will not solve its lignite – brown coal – problem.

NGO Carbon Market Watch revealed the EU’s emissions trading scheme was subsidising Polish coal plants, in another dent to its credibility as a flagship climate policy.

UK envoy David King expressed doubts about the whole carbon pricing agenda, telling Climate Home it was “too sluggish a weapon” against climate change.

Quote of the week

“It is about time the oil majors get their act together” – Laurence Tubiana, ambassador for France, sets out her stall for the UN top climate job

Ratification watch

Based on national statements at last week’s New York signing ceremony, the Paris Agreement could enter into force this year.

Climate Analytics says 38 countries representing 51.67% of global emissions have ratified or promised to do so by the end of 2016, coming close to the double trigger.

India or Japan plus 16 other states of any size would seal the deal. And while the EU is widely expected to ratify as a bloc, which involves a lengthy democratic process, it is legally possible for member states to go early. Here’s the analysis.

Quick hits

UNDP: Heatwaves will hit workers’ health in warming world
Divestment: FTSE launches fossil-free index
ExxonMobil: Oil major stripped of top credit rating
US: Clinton snubs Koch endorsement over climate denial
Pictures: Greenpeace activists scale Turkish coal plant
Shipping: Remote-controlled vessels could cut emissions
India: Microgrids bring light, not industry

Read more on: Breaking News