Saudi Arabia, leading oil exporter, targets net zero emissions by 2060

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Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and UAE Minister of State Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber attend Saudi Green Initiative Forum to discuss efforts of the world’s largest exporter oil to fight climate change in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, 23 October 2021. Photo: REUTERS / Ahmed Yosri

Saudi The Crown Prince of Arabia said on Saturday that the world’s largest oil exporter aims to achieve net zero emissions by 2060 and more than double its annual carbon reduction target.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and his energy minister declared OPEC member Saudi Arabia would tackle climate change while ensuring the stability of the oil market, stressing the continued importance of hydrocarbons.

They were talking to the Saudi Green Initiative (SGI), which precedes COP26, the United Nations climate change conference in Glasgow at the end of the month, which hopes to agree on deeper emission cuts to tackle global warming.

China and India, the main emitters of greenhouse gases after the United States, have also refused to commit to a 2050 timetable to reach net zero, a goal that the administration of US President Joe Biden has adopted.

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October 23, 2021 11:53 AM

“The kingdom of Saudi Arabia aims to achieve net zero emissions by 2060 as part of its circular carbon economy program … while maintaining the kingdom’s leading role in strengthening the security and stability of oil markets global, ”Prince Mohammed said in recorded remarks.

He said the kingdom would join a global initiative to cut methane emissions by 30% from 2020 levels by 2030, which the US and the EU have pressed.

US climate envoy John Kerry is scheduled to attend a larger Middle East Green Summit on Monday that Riyadh is hosting.

Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said Riyadh, a signatory to the Paris Climate Pact, had submitted its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) – targets for individual states as part of efforts to prevent average global temperatures from exceeding 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

SGI, which the Crown Prince says plans investments of more than 700 billion riyals ($ 186.6 billion), aims to eliminate 278 million tonnes of carbon emissions per year, up from a previous target of 130 million tons.

Saudi Arabia pledged in March to reduce carbon emissions by more than 4% of global contributions. He said this would involve generating 50% of its energy needs from renewable energy by 2030 and planting billions of trees in the desert state.

HYDROCARBONS ALWAYS NEED

Saudi Arabia’s economy remains heavily dependent on oil revenues, with economic diversification lagging behind the ambitions set out by the Crown Prince.

Saudi officials argued that the world will continue to need Saudi raw for decades.

“The world cannot function without hydrocarbons, without fossil fuels, without renewable energies, none of these will be the savior, it must be a comprehensive solution,” said the Minister of Energy.

“We need to be inclusive and inclusiveness requires being open to accepting the efforts of others as long as they cut emissions,” he said, adding that the kingdom’s younger generation “won’t wait for that. we were changing their future “.

He said net zero could be reached before 2060, but the kingdom needed time to get things “right”.

Another Gulf OPEC producer, the United Arab Emirates, this month announced a plan for net zero emissions by 2050.

The managing director of the UAE oil company ADNOC, Sultan al-Jaber, stressed the importance of investments in hydrocarbons, saying that the world has “fallen asleep” in a supply crisis and that climate action should not. not be an economic burden for developing countries.

GREEN PUSH

Climate Action Tracker gives Saudi Arabia the lowest possible ranking of “critically insufficient”.

Experts say it is too early to assess the impact of Saudinascent solar and wind projects. Its first renewable power plant opened in April and its first wind farm started producing electricity in August.

Saudi megaprojects also incorporate green energy plans, including a $ 5 billion hydrogen plant, and state-linked entities are turning to green fundraising.

Some investors have expressed concerns about the kingdom’s carbon footprint while others say it emits the least carbon per barrel of oil.

“Obviously, the carbon footprint is an issue. However, we would like to stress that realistically the carbon is going to be slow to phase out and that the oil has been around for some time yet, ”said Tim Ash of BlueBay Asset Management.

($ 1 = 3.7507 riyals)

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