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Saturday 2 December 2023 Dublin: 2°C
Alamy Stock Photo Green Party Leader Eamon Ryan

'The polluter must pay': Ryan hits out at oil giant Saudi Arabia spending millions on football

The Minister will attend meetings in Abu Dhabi this weekend ahead of COP28 in Dubai in December.

MINISTER FOR THE Environment Eamon Ryan has hit out at Saudi Arabia’s recent spending, arguing that the crude oil producer should pay for the damage it is doing to the climate.

Minister Ryan will attend meetings in Abu Dhabi this weekend ahead of the 28th Conference of the Parties (COP) in Dubai in December.

He said he is trying to look at climate on an international level. “In my mind, it’s going green … In my mind, the polluter has to pay.

“So if Saudi Arabia can afford €875 million spent on soccer players these last three months, they can afford to contribute towards the climate crisis we have.

“That is not a small amount of money.”

He added that the middle eastern state spent €2 billion on golf last year. “Some of that could go to help the most desperate, hungry people in the world.”

Saudi Arabia is the world’s largest producer and exporter of oil, and has one quarter of the world’s known oil reserves.

Speaking at the Global Ireland Summit, Minister Ryan said that the government must “pick up the pieces” after the failure of the United Nations Transitional Committee to make a decision on key aspects of how the Loss and Damage fund should assist developing countries with the adverse effects of climate change.

“It’s going to be really difficult. It’s not looking good,” he said.

“Not since 2005 have we seen the levels of poverty in the world.

“Poverty is on the rise. Conflict is on the rise. Climate change is hitting hard.”

Minister Ryan believes fossil fuel companies and polluters should pay for the damage they are causing through investing in non-renewables. While he conceded that other countries, such as the United Kingdom, spend millions on sports stars, he argued that this money is not coming directly from fossil fuel profits – like it is in Saudi Arabia.

“It’s a way of saying things that people can understand,” he said.

The Global Ireland Summit is an annual gathering of leaders from across the public service, business, state agencies, and the community and civil society sectors.

Over four days they attend events with and by Ireland’s international diplomatic network.

Minister Ryan was speaking at the summit ahead of his keynote address at the panel on climate and energy.

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