Climate Antagonists to Low-Carbon Protagonists? The Changing Role of the Gulf
OPEC States in the UNFCCC
By Axel Michaelowa and Mari
FNI Climate Policy Perspectives 6
Surging domestic energy
consumption in the Gulf region is increasingly threatening oil and gas export
revenues. The United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Saudi Arabia are initiating
multiple experiments to improve energy efficiency and introduce renewable
energy, prompting the emergence of new domestic actors. Still, the legacy of
rentierism hinders many of these efforts.
The former antagonistic stance
of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states in the international climate
regime is being replaced by cautious signals of a more constructive engagement,
such as in the willingness of Qatar to host COP 18.
opportunities for constructive and innovative dialogues should not be wasted,
and premature statements from Northern governments predicting a failure for COP
18 might be counterproductive. Climate diplomacy should instead try to
strengthen the position of those groups in favour of new domestic energy
Technical support for Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action
(NAMA) pilot projects in the GCC by the EU and other progressive countries in
the climate regime could serve as a catalyst for creating sustained synergies
between new energy and climate policies in the region.