Saturday 23 October 2021
largest oil exporter green
Saudi Arabia aims to be climate neutral by 2060
Saudi Arabia is indeed one of the brakes on global climate protection. But the Crown Prince is under pressure. Investors are threatening to walk away from the country’s most profitable oil company due to high CO2 emissions. That’s why the country now wants to turn.
Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter, has been striving for climate neutrality in nearly 40 years. Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced in a recorded speech that mathematically, his country will produce no additional greenhouse gases “by 2060”. This should be possible through a “circular economy approach to carbon”. The Crown Prince made the announcement a few days before the start of the World Climate Summit.
The 2060 target “will enable a smooth and practical transition without risking economic or social impact,” Energy Minister Prince Abdulasis bin Salman said at an environmental conference.
Saudi Arabia is one of the brakes on global climate protection. According to the United Nations, more than 130 countries have set a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050. Germany wants to remain climate neutral by 2045. However, the kingdom is under pressure in the Middle East as investors threaten to turn away from oil company Saudi Aramco, which is one of the desert kingdom’s most important sources of income due to its high climate footprint.
Crown Prince Mohammed also announced on Saturday a “new initiative in the energy sector” that should reduce CO2 emissions by 278 million tonnes annually by 2030. With this, Saudi Arabia “doubled” its contribution to climate protection, he explained. The country is one of the largest greenhouse gas emitters in the world.
160 billion euros for climate protection
In March itself, the Crown Prince presented a climate protection plan that, among other things, provides for the planting of billions of trees over the coming decades. The oil country wants to reduce its emissions by 2030 by generating half its energy from renewable sources, he said at the time.
On Saturday, the Crown Prince said the first phase would be to plant more than 450 million trees and restore eight million hectares of damaged land. Saudi Arabia also said it would designate new “protected areas”. With the move, the proportion of protected areas in the kingdom increases to more than 20 percent of its total area, bin Salman said, adding that the first phase of the climate protection initiative will cost more than 700 billion riyals (160 billion euros).
The Crown Prince also announced that his country would join an EU and US initiative to reduce methane emissions. Participating countries have pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 30 percent by 2030 compared to 2020 levels. Meanwhile, more than 30 countries have declared their support for it.
From 31 October, governments will hold talks at the World Climate Conference COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland, about how they can actually meet the goals of the Paris Agreement. It seeks to limit global warming to below two and, if possible, 1.5 degrees compared to the pre-industrial era.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres recently described the current climate situation as a “one-way street in disaster”. There should be no “failure” of the conference in Glasgow.
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