Saudi Arabia aims to achieve net zero emissions of greenhouse gases, most of which are produced by burning fossil fuels, by 2060. It is also doubling the emissions reductions it plans to achieve by 2030.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said the kingdom – the world’s largest oil exporter – was tackling climate change. But he also stressed the continuing importance of hydrocarbons. He said the kingdom continues to ensure the stability of the oil market.
The statements came during the conversation within initiative Green Saudi ahead of COP26, the United Nations climate conference in Glasgow at the end of the month, which hopes to agree on deeper global emissions cuts to tackle global warming.
The United States, the world’s second largest emitter, is committed to achieving net zero. This means that it emits no more greenhouse gases than it can absorb by 2050. But China and India, the world’s largest and third largest emitters, did not stick to this timetable.
Demonization of hydrocarbons is counterproductive, said Amin Nasser, CEO of state oil giant Aramco.
He explained that Aramco aims to expand its oil and gas production capacity while achieving net zero emissions from its operations by 2050. He called for more global investment to ensure adequate supplies of crude oil.
The Kingdom may reach the goal before 2060
Prince Mohammed said in recorded statements that the Kingdom aims to reach net zero emissions by 2060 within the framework of the circular carbon economy program, while maintaining its leading role in enhancing the security and stability of global oil markets.
He added that Saudi Arabia is joining a global initiative to reduce methane emissions by 30 percent from 2020 levels by 2030.
In a telephone conversation with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz, The Secretary-General of the United Nations welcomed the Kingdom’s initiatives to reduce emissions.
The US climate envoy is scheduled to attend a broader Middle East green summit in Riyadh on Monday.
The Green Saudi Initiative aims to eliminate 278 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually by 2030, up from the previous target of 130 million tons.
The Crown Prince said that the initiative includes investments of more than 700 billion riyals (190 billion dollars) in that time period.
The kingdom’s economy remains heavily dependent on oil, although the crown prince is trying to encourage diversification.
Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said the world needs fossil fuels as well as renewable energy sources.
The United Arab Emirates, another Gulf oil producer, this month announced a plan for net zero emissions by 2050.
The kingdom’s first renewable energy plant was inaugurated in April, and the first wind farm began generating in August.