Eamon Ryan says Saudi Arabia should spend more on climate change than golf

Eamon Ryan Says Saudi Arabia Should Spend More On Climate Change Than Golf
Eamon Ryan said it was Ireland’s role in the world to ‘be a voice for climate justice’. Photo: PA
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By Cillian Sherlock, PA

Minister for Climate Eamon Ryan has said Saudi Arabia should be focusing on spending more money on clean energy rather than investing in golf and football teams.

The Saudi Public Investment Fund was part of a consortium which took over Newcastle United FC in 2021


A division of the sovereign wealth fund also established the controversial LIV Golf, which later merged with the PGA Tour.

Mr Ryan said it was Ireland’s role in the world to “be a voice for climate justice”.

Speaking to reporters at the Global Ireland Summit in Dublin on Tuesday, he said: “Poverty is on the rise, conflict is on the rise. Climate change is hitting hard and as a result of that we’re seeing forced migration, which is putting stresses in Europe, putting stress in the States, everywhere.

“So part of the work I’m doing is at an international level thinking about how do we address that, and in my mind it is going green.


“It’s investing in Africa for clean energy, for processing the rare earths there rather than everything done in China.

“In my mind the polluter has to pay.

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

“They spent $2 billion on golf the previous year. Again, some of that could go to help the most desperate hungry people in the world and that’s the sort of position I’d be bringing to the negotiations trying to get the fossil fuel companies to pay, to get the polluter to pay.”


Mr Ryan made the comments ahead of his participation at pre-Cop meetings in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates this weekend.

Asked if he was singling out Saudi Arabia and whether he wanted Irish officials to raise the matter in official engagements, Mr Ryan said he was not directing his remarks at any one country and that his comments were “a way of saying things that people can understand”.

“That’s profits that is coming from the use of fossil fuels, and can we not redirect some of those profits – and we could start it on a voluntary basis – in the sort of ideas we’re sharing, that those countries invest in the switch to clean energy.”

He said $1.7 trillion was invested in clean energy this year but $1 trillion was still invested in new fossil fuels.


Calling for further transition, Mr Ryan added: “My argument is rather than spending it on golf, we could spend it on people.”

The minister said that money should particularly be invested in Africa to address war, conflict, hunger and deprivation there.

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