The race is on for Saudi Arabia to find new sources of income before the oil age peters out
Could acting on climate change cause some of the world’s wealthiest countries to collapse into disorder and danger?
For an article published on Wednesday, Climate Home spoke to concerned security specialists about the serious challenge this poses to countries that currently rely on the commodity to pay for everything from their armies to their food supply.
Here we profile Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest producer of crude.
The country’s US$600bn sovereign wealth fund has provided a buffer for the national budget, which has suffered deficits since the recent oil price crash that the Saudis helped precipitate in an effort to kill US production. But that fund is dwindling, with one senior government advisor warning it would run out in less than a decade at current oil prices.
Fundamental for all petrostates will be finding new ways to maintain prosperity. In Saudi Arabia’s case, that raises deep questions about who the wealth is meant for.
The younger generation “are asking for something different”, says Glada Lahn, a resource and energy research fellow at Chatham House. There is great hope vested in the reforms promised by 31-year-old deputy crown prince Mohammed bin Salman al-Saud, who has cult status among young Saudis of a certain economic class.
Meanwhile, says Lahn, Saudi citizens are aware that they are…