Saudi Arabia commits to ‘net-zero’ emissions by 2060 ahead of the COP26 summit

Saudi Arabia’s commitment will only be limited to the national borders of the kingdom and will not be implemented on its investment in oil extraction and export to Asia and other regions. 

Saudi Arabia, one of the leading producers of oil around the globe, announced on Saturday, October 23 that it is aiming to reach “net-zero” greenhouse gas emissions by 2060 to contribute its fair share in the global action against climate change. 

The announcement was made by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the beginning of the kingdom’s first Saudi Green Initiative Forum, just a few days ahead of the global COP26 climate conference which is slated to be held in Glasgow starting October 31. 

Despite the kingdom’s commitment to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions, it has no plans to reduce the usage or extraction of fossil fuels. Instead, Prince Mohammed stated that Saudi Arabia will reduce emissions through the “Carbon Circular Economy” approach which focuses on carbon capture and storage technologies whose validity is still in question. 

Moreover, Saudi Arabia’s commitment will only be limited to the national borders of the kingdom and will not be implemented on its investment in oil extraction and export to Asia and other regions. 

“The transition to net-zero carbon emissions will be delivered in a manner that preserves the kingdom’s leading role in enhancing the security and stability of global energy markets, particularly considering the maturity and availability of technologies necessary to manage and reduce emissions,” a statement later by the Saudi Green Initiative Forum said.

The oil and gas export business of Saudi Arabia still constitutes the backbone of the kingdom’s economy despite repeated attempts to reduce reliance on the sector. The kingdom, on multiple occasions, has resisted the recommendations to promptly reduce the utilisation of fossil fuels in the energy sector. 

Instead, the kingdom is endorsing the use of unreliable carbon capture technologies so that countries continue to import and burn fossil fuels for industrial and economic development. 

Saudi Arabia is one of the few regions of the middle east to pledge a reduction in carbon emissions in light of the growing danger that climate change poses. Earlier this month, the United Arab Emirates, which is another major oil producer, declares that it would also join the “net-zero” initiative taken by over 100 countries globally to reduce its emissions to net-zero by 2050.

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