Page 25 - Respond 2016 Magazine
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                                                                                                 Photo: © Francisco Anzola

           I describe other amazing developments like this, in 2014 and 2015,   195 governments took part. That is every independent nation on
           in my book The Winning of The Carbon War, just published.  the planet, as listed by some agencies.

           The opportunity is for Saudi Arabia, with its fuel resource (sun) and   These governments elected to set aside all the other many areas
           its capital from oil revenues, to become a major player in the new   where they are in dispute to face down a shared global threat,
           global solar industry: a hub in what is likely to become the biggest   finally, and with seriousness of intent. It was a display of global co-
           industry in the world, a few decades from now.       operation without precedent in history.

           Stakes, scale, scope                                 The scope of the treaty involves a total system change to the
           Let me turn to the imperative. There are actually two of them.  lifeblood of the global economy: decarbonisation of energy.

           The first is domestic consumption of oil for electric power   Governments wrote into their treaty the common understanding
           generation. Few Saudi business people will need reminding of this   that they probably need to accomplish this incredible about-turn
           problem, and the government is certainly well aware of it.  within the lifetimes of most schoolchildren and indeed college
                                                                students alive today.
           Too much oil is being subtracted from export potential by being
           burned for power. Solar, as senior government officials have   It must seem unbelievable, for people who haven’t been following
           themselves said, can do that job better, conserving future national   the long-running climate negotiations. But it is true. And the Saudi
           income.                                              government had the courage and wisdom to adopt this agreement
                                                                along with the rest of the world.
           The second imperative is that the world community has just
           embarked on an orderly retreat from many uses of oil in the   Oil will not be departing the scene any time soon, or even within
           remaining decades of this century.                   decades of now.

           In December, I witnessed what I consider to be a unique   Even then, large amounts of oil will be needed for petrochemicals.
           milestone in human history at the Paris Climate Summit. A   But many oil uses will go, in the face of the global dynamics I
           treaty was adopted there, the Paris Agreement, that holds huge   describe above.
           transformative power.
                                                                By then, the Kingdom needs to be the lead player not just in oil, but
           There are three reasons for thinking this: stakes, scale, and scope.  in solar and related industries.

           There has clearly never been a gathering of world leaders to discuss   Jeremy Leggett is an energy investor, entrepreneur and climate analyst.
           stakes of the kind under discussion in Paris: a threat to global food   Follow him on twitter @JeremyLeggett
           and water supply, according to most participants, one that hangs
           over every nation on the planet.                     This article first appeared in Arabic in Saudi Arabia’s nation financial
                                                                daily Al_Eqtissadaih, the day after the Saudi government announced a
           Never in human history has there been a summit to negotiate a   plan to set up a two trillion dollar investment fund for the post-oil era.
           treaty on such a scale: one that all nations have obligations under.

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