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11 Feb 2009: Saudi Minister Speaks Out
Against Rapid Shift to Renewable Energy

The Saudi Arabian Oil Minister, Ali Naimi, contends that an overemphasis on promoting renewable energy development could lead to a “nightmare scenario” in which investment falls in oil exploration while alternative energy is not ready to pick up the slack. Speaking to a group of oil executives in Houston, Naimi said that the massive and “highly efficient and economical” nature of the oil-based economy will make a rapid move to renewable energy supplies “costly and impractical." In apparent reference to the Obama administration, which is promoting a move to renewable energy, he said that forcing such a shift could have a “chilling effect on investment in the oil sector” and could lead to energy shortages if projections of renewable energy output prove too optimistic. Meanwhile, the German magazine Der Spiegel reports that despite European success in expanding energy production from renewables, the continent’s overall carbon dioxide emissions are not falling because the European Union’s emissions trading system is too lax.

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