Tuesday, November 27, 2007

OPEC putting up $750M for cleantech fund

Members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, or OPEC, have pledged a total of $750 million to a new fund that will support research in clean technologies, including carbon capture and storage.

"We are part of this world and the consequences of environmental and climatic changes affect our nations and peoples," said Prince Saud al-Faisal, the foreign minister of Saudi Arabia, at a news conference in Riyadh.

He said Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest oil exporter, would put up $300 million "to fund a program of scientific research relating to energy, environment and climate change."

Kuwait, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates each pledged $150 million to the fund.

"We look forward to seeing producing and consuming countries alike contribute to the program, since it is in the common interest to deal with this issue in the optimal manner," said Prince Saud.

In a statement following its third summit, OPEC said it would, "Stress the importance of cleaner and more efficient petroleum technologies for the protection of the local, regional and global environment, and the importance of expediting the development of technologies that address climate change, such as carbon capture and storage."

Carbon capture technology involves trapping carbon dioxide and storing it underground. The technology is still in the development stage, with the U.K. just announcing a project to look into a commercial scale system (see UK launches carbon capture and storage project).

OPEC will not be turning its back on oil. Prince Saud said "the emissions that cause pollution must be addressed so that we control this energy source which will remain important for a long time."

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