In a shocking revelation, a recent undercover investigation by the Centre for Climate Reporting (CCR) and Channel 4 News has uncovered a covert Saudi Arabian initiative aiming to deepen fossil fuel dependence in African and Asian countries. Spearheaded by Crown Prince and Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman, the Oil Sustainability Program (OSP) is reportedly an extensive, multi-faceted scheme designed to ensure Saudi Arabia’s oil revenues remain robust, even as wealthier nations shift towards renewable energy.
The OSP’s tactics are alarmingly comprehensive and manipulative. From deploying fleets of gas-powered vehicles for ride-hailing and bus services in Africa and Asia to collaborating with an automobile manufacturer for an affordable, oil-dependent car, Saudi Arabia is leaving no stone unturned. The plan includes promoting the use of heavy fuel oils for power under the guise of “sustainable development” and even lobbying against electric vehicle subsidies globally. Perhaps most concerning is the push for developing commercial supersonic jet travel, a move clearly aimed at increasing jet fuel consumption.
This strategy goes beyond mere economic and infrastructural manipulation. Psychological studies are being conducted to better understand and exploit consumer behavior in favor of oil-fueled vehicles. The goal is apparent: create a systemic dependency on fossil fuels in regions already severely impacted by climate change, even as the rest of the world acknowledges the urgent need to shift to renewable energy.
“The Saudi government is essentially acting like a drug dealer, attempting to get Africa addicted to its harmful product,” said Mohamed Adow, director of Power Shift Africa. The comparison to tobacco companies knowingly perpetuating addiction despite understanding the lethal consequences is stark and alarming.
The involvement of major Saudi entities, including Saudi Aramco, in OSP, signifies the depth and breadth of this project. The OSP’s leader Mohammed Al Tayyar has even traveled to countries like South Africa to pitch and garner support for this initiative.
While Saudi officials publicly align with the Paris climate agreement’s goals, this investigation reveals a duplicitous private agenda aimed at bolstering oil and gas demand. In private conversations, Saudi leaders have candidly admitted to using OSP to counteract global climate crisis mitigation efforts.
Joanna Depledge, a research fellow at the University of Cambridge, points out that Saudi Arabia’s public stance on climate issues is just another form of climate obstruction. “Their fundamental policy aim is to exploit Saudi’s oil reserves to the last drop,” she states, underscoring the gravity of the situation.
This revelation comes at a crucial time, just before the UN’s COP28 climate conference, a global summit ostensibly dedicated to addressing the climate crisis and reducing fossil fuel use. However, another recent investigation suggests that this conference, too, is heavily influenced by fossil fuel interests, casting doubt on the sincerity and effectiveness of global climate crisis initiatives.
In light of these findings, it is clear that the fight against climate change is not just against natural forces but also against deeply entrenched economic and political interests that prioritize profit over planetary health and human well-being.