Saudi Arabia has such concern and respect for the United States and the perceptiveness of its citizenry that they feel compelled to ply us with instruction and advice. The very same nation that through its loquacious Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi regaled us back in December that it was Saudi Arabia's "Noble Cause" to see to it that the price of oil be clawed back to at least $75 a barrel as soon as possible (please see "OPEC's Noble Cause" 12.17.08). You see, anything less will discourage investment in new production according to our friend in Riyadh, not to speak of curtailing the purchase of yachts, palatial residencies and Ferraris, and billions upon billions to Wahhabi schools, madrassasas, mosques, social centers and charitable organizations throughout the world, teaching civility and good citizenship.
All this came about almost concurrently this week as our new president's Secretary of Energy Steven Chu postulated that a "revolution" in science and technology would be required if the world is to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels and curb the emissions of carbon dioxide and other heat gases linked to global warming (NYTimes 2.12.2009). He thereby set forth a key goal of the new administration, this, while our friends in Saudi Arabia were instructing us otherwise.
At an oil industry conference in Houston earlier this week Mr. Ali al-Naimi, whose full title is Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources for Saudi Arabia, ran roughshod over our concerns about global warming and energy independence, with feigned lack of self interest, cautioning us, according to his clearly self serving tenets, that we were veering toward a "nightmare scenario" if we sought to speed up development of alternative fuels. Thank you so much, Oil Minister al-Naimi.
This wisdom coming from the world's largest oil exporter: "...we must be mindful that efforts to rapidly promote alternatives could have a chilling effect on investment in the oil sector." And then of course a litany of projects that have been or may be canceled. Fasten your seat belts, it will be a reprise that will be heard over and over again from the OPEC and the oil patch boys in the days, months, years to come.
The true "nightmare scenario" would be if we let Saudi Arabia and the oil industry flacks sway us one iota from the course our new president has set, to turn us away from fossil fuels for once and forever!
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