Saudi Arabia’s crown prince said on Saturday that the world’s top oil exporter aims to reach zero-net emissions by 2060 and will more than double its annual target to reduce carbon emissions.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and his energy minister said OPEC member Saudi Arabia would tackle climate change while ensuring oil market stability, stressing the continued importance of hydrocarbons. They were speaking at the Saudi Green Initiative (SGI), which comes ahead of COP26, the UN climate change conference in Glasgow at the end of the month, which hopes to agree deeper emissions cuts to tackle global warming.
“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia aims to reach zero-net emissions by 2060 under its circular carbon economy program … while maintaining the kingdom’s leading role in strengthening security and stability of global oil markets,” Prince Mohammed said in recorded remarks. He said the kingdom would join a global initiative on slashing emissions of methane by 30% from 2020 levels by 2030, which both the United States and the EU have been pressing. U.S. climate envoy John Kerry is due to attend a wider Middle East green summit Riyadh is hosting on Monday.
Saudi energy minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said Riyadh, a signatory to the Paris climate pact, had already submitted its nationally determined contributions (NDCs) – goals for individual states under global efforts to prevent average global temperatures from rising beyond 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. The SGI aims to eliminate 278 million tons of carbon emissions per year, the crown prince said, up from a previous target of 130 million tonnes. Saudi Arabia in March pledged to reduce carbon emissions by more than 4% of global contributions. It said that would involve generating 50% of its energy needs from renewables by 2030 and planting billions of trees in the desert state.