Saudi Arabia is one of the largest oil-producing countries in the world. Despite the fact that oil has been Saudi Arabia’s cash crop for decades, the country recently admitted that it does not represent the energy source of the future. EcoWatch reports that during last week’s Global Economic Symposium in Rio de Janeiro, Prince Turki Al Faisal Al Saud of Saudi Arabia said, “I would like to see Saudi Arabia using 100 percent renewable energy within my lifetime.” ¯ (He’s 67, by the way, so we’re talking about years, not decades).
Wow. When the country from which America imports a huge amount of oil announces that it wants an economy based on renewable energy, it should be a wake up call. Too bad the oil and coal industries have paid to stuff our ears full of cotton and handed out pro-fossil fuel propaganda like sleeping pills. We can’t hear the alarm bells that have jarred Saudi Arabia into action.
In fact, Saudi Arabia and other oil producing countries in the Middle East are banking on the fact that Americans will maintain their oil addiction up until the very last possible second. “I see renewable energy sources helping to prolong our continued export of crude oil,”¯ Saudi Arabia’s oil minister, Ali al-Naimi, told The Wall Street Journal. This means that while his own country begins the shift to renewable energy for its own power needs, it will continue exporting to America and other oil-dependent countries, charging top dollar for ever barrel.
While our politicians scoff at the idea that we should abandon oil, gas and coal for clean energy alternatives, countries in the Middle East are proving that it’s possible — and doesn’t need to happen as gradually as we think. Earlier this year, Saudi Arabia announced that it would invest $109 billion to exploit its abundant solar resources. Mecca, which hosts millions of pilgrims a year visiting Islam’s most holy shrine, hopes to become the first city in Saudi Arabia to operate an entire power plant from renewable energy sources. In fact, Middle Eastern potential for solar energy production is so promising, American companies are investing in it…something they’re reluctant to do here at home.
The lesson here is plain: America is lying to itself. Oil isn’t safer or cheaper. It won’t last forever. Instead of burning through every last bit, oil-rich countries are making the move to renewable energy now. They’re saving those last, excruciatingly expensive barrels for the last chump standing, which is likely to be the U.S. We’re being outpaced by China, Spain, Germany, Norway, and now apparently Saudi Arabia in every aspect of the clean energy game.
As stated in Renewable Energy World, America’s energy “policy hiatus, coming ironically at a time when fully competitive renewable power is starting to be a realistic possibility in a few years’ time, is posing a threat to continued growth in investment in the sector in 2012 and beyond.”
If what our leaders (and Presidential candidates) really want is an energy-independent America, why do they insist we remain tethered to fossil fuel’s sinking ship? Wake up America. And think before you vote
Image via Thinkstock
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