Saudi Arabia Is a Large, Mostly Desert Research Paper

Pages: 4 (1103 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 4  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: History - Israel

Saudi Arabia is a large, mostly desert country in the Middle East, occupying much of the Arabian Peninsula. Saudi Arabia is a middle income country if measured by per capita GDP, which is 55th in the world, just behind the Czech Republic. However, wealth distribution is a significant issue in Saudi Arabia, as most of the country's wealth derives from its oil reserves, and these are controlled by a small number of ruling elites. The country suffers from a high unemployment rate, especially among its youth (Morgan, 2011).

Geographically, Saudi Arabia is a vast country that is almost entirely desert, with very high temperatures most of the year, negligible surface water and vegetation (CIA World Factbook, 2011). The country relies on underground water sources, and these are being depleted, which is a major environmental concern and has prompted reliance on desalination plants (Ibid).

IPCC Climate Change Scenario

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Many aspects of climate change will not have an impact on Saudi Arabia. The country is already devoid of vegetation, so growing conditions will not be affected, nor will water supplies, which are underground. While temperatures are predicted to rise 5-6 degrees in most of the country in the IPCC scenario, Saudis are already reliant on air conditioning and nighttime activity as a result of their harsh climate. These factors will not change with higher temperatures, although there will be more heat-related deaths, especially in the summer. There is some risk to Jeddah, the second-largest city and the country's major port, stemming from rising sea levels but most Saudis live in elevated areas. There may also be increased intensity of winter thunderstorms in Jeddah and autumn storms in the Asir region, which experiences Indian Ocean monsoons and is perhaps the only real fertile area of the country.

Climate Change Policy

TOPIC: Research Paper on Saudi Arabia Is a Large, Mostly Desert Assignment

Saudi Arabia is a signatory to the Kyoto Protocol. The nation is wary, however, of certain aspects of climate change that would reduce oil consumption. OPEC nations are "opposed to emissions reductions targets imposed by industrialized nations that threaten global oil demand growth" (Daya, 2011). This indicates that while Saudi Arabia is in principle concerned about climate change, there are significant differences of opinion within the country's political leadership about the issue. The concerns are mainly economic in nature -- the country may face higher costs as a result of climate change but it needs oil money to pay those costs.

There should be some flexibility in Saudi Arabia's position on the matter. There are several considerations at work. The first is that while the country needs to earn revenue from oil, Saudi Arabia also needs to diversify its economy. Despite having the world's largest proven oil reserves, Saudi Arabia will eventually run out of oil, and must be able to survive in a post-oil world. With reserves expected to last over 100 years, however, the current leadership is not oriented to looking towards the future to the same degree that some of its neighbours are.

Saudi Arabia's unemployment problem is also a double-edged sword. Diversifying away from oil dependence economically would create jobs for the nation's youth, something that will benefit the country significantly. However, dealing with unemployment in the short run means leveraging the country's oil wealth to build other industries. It also would require implementing a greater degree of wealth distribution,… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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