The kingdom, whose economy heavily relies on its oil income, said the using new technology was the best solution to achieve economic development without harming the climate.

The Saudi oil minister, Ali al-Nuaimi, said: "We are concerned that some environment-related decisions, which some countries are trying to impose, could reduce global consumption of oil.

"This could hamper our economic development programmes because of our heavy reliance on oil exports," al-Nuaimi told an international conference on the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), in Riyadh.

"We are trying to (convince) the world to adopt positive environment decisions that safeguard the environment and contribute to global economic development."

Introduced more than eight years ago, the CDM is a part of the Kyoto Protocol that is directed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions of mainly carbon-based activities by establishing environment-friendly projects using advanced technology.

Energy consumption

Oil producers fear that their exports could be adversely affected if industrialised countries reach the emissions targets outlined in the Kyoto Protocol in six years.

The Saudi government is a signatory to Kyoto, which intends to reduce global warming by up to 0.28C by 2050.

Conference chairman Muhammad al-Sabban, an adviser to the Saudi oil minister, said the kingdom was keen to ensure that "oil does not become a victim of selective policies being adopted by certain countries," a reference to industrialised nations.

Al-Sabban said the methods used by the international community to "reduce energy consumption" would not provide a cleaner environment.

"The solution is through developing the technological alternatives... We believe that CDM provides the required balance between energy, development and environment," al-Sabban said.