Saudi Arabia, one of the world’s top oil producers, declared on Saturday that it plans to achieve “net zero” greenhouse gas emissions by 2060
Saudi Arabia has committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions inside its boundaries by 2060. It is a watershed moment for the world’s largest oil exporter, though authorities cautioned that Saudi Arabia and others will need to continue pumping crude for decades. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the de facto ruler, made the declaration at the beginning of a climate conference in Riyadh on Saturday. His government has constantly pushed against lowering fossil-fuel investments, blaming climate campaigners for this year’s energy price increase.
While Saudi Arabia’s new objective aligns it with China and Russia, the timescale falls behind other major countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom, and the European Union, all of which seek to reach net zero by 2050. Saudi Arabia has been pressured by the United States and European nations to speed up efforts to reduce emissions and invest more in renewable energy. The crown prince’s decision gives them a boost ahead of the key COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, which begins this month. On Twitter, Alok Sharma, the United Kingdom’s president for the negotiations, stated, “I hope this significant announcement will galvanise ambition from others ahead of COP26.” “I’m looking forward to the specifics.”
Prince Mohammed emphasised the difficulty of reducing emissions in a desert country that is so reliant on oil and utilises massive amounts of fossil fuels for air cooling and seawater desalination. In a recorded speech at the Saudi Green Initiative forum, he said that Saudi Arabia will meet the target in a way that “protects the kingdom’s leading role in strengthening the security and stability of global energy markets, in light of the maturity and availability of the necessary technologies to manage and reduce emissions.” According to Energy Minister Abdulaziz bin Salman, the government would rely largely on carbon capture.