One of the world’s biggest polluters, the state has said it will also join a global effort to cut methane emissions by 30% by 2030.
The United Nations says more than 130 countries have set or are planning to cut greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050, a goal they consider “essential” to preserve a habitable climate.
“Today I am announcing Saudi Arabia’s goal of achieving net zero emissions by 2060 through its circular carbon economy approach,” Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said in a recorded statement at the Saudi Green Initiative Forum.
“I am delighted to launch initiatives in the energy sector that will reduce carbon emissions by 278 million tonnes per year by 2030, doubling the voluntarily announced target,” said Prince Mohammed.
“We are also announcing the state’s membership in the Global Methane Pledge.”
Saudi Arabia will help reduce global methane emissions by 30% by 2030 “as part of its commitment to deliver a cleaner and greener future”, a statement said.
Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said at the conference, the 2060 target “will allow us to have a smooth and sustainable transition without risking economic or social impacts.”
The announcements come a day after UN chief Antonio Guterres stressed the need to “avoid failure” at the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, with the current climate situation “a one-way ticket to disaster”. .
The rally, held in the Scottish city from October 31 to November 12, is seen as an important step in setting global emissions targets to slow global warming.
In March, Saudi Arabia unveiled a comprehensive campaign to tackle climate change and reduce carbon emissions, including plans to plant billions of trees over the next decades.
OPEC’s backbone goal is to reduce emissions by producing half its energy from renewable sources by 2030, Prince Mohammed said at the time.
The crown prince announced on Saturday that the first phase would involve planting more than 450 million trees and rehabilitating eight million hectares of degraded land.
Saudi Arabia has also said it will designate new “protected areas”.
The move “brings the state’s total protected areas to more than 20% of its total area,” said Prince Mohammed, adding that the first round of the green initiative has cost more than 700 billion riyals (186.6 billion riyals).
Saudi Arabia currently uses both oil and natural gas to meet its rapidly growing energy demand and to desalinate its waters, which consume huge amounts of oil every day.
The initiative comes as energy giant Saudi Aramco, the kingdom’s cash cow, faces scrutiny from investors over its issues.
In January, Bloomberg News reported that the company had excluded emissions from many of its refineries and petrochemical plants in its general carbon disclosure to investors.
He added that if such features are included, the company’s self-reported carbon footprint could nearly double, its annual count equivalent to 55 million tons of carbon dioxide, roughly equivalent to Portugal’s emissions.
© 2021 AFP
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