Saudi Arabia has launched a Middle East Green Initiative aimed at reducing carbon emissions across the region and investing billions of pounds to protect the environment.
The summit, held in the Saudi capital Riyadh, and attended by regional and international leaders including US climate envoy John Kerry, also pledged the largest global reforestation project in the world.
Saudi Arabia‘s crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, who announced on Saturday that the kingdom would reach “net zero” emissions by 2060, said there would be a regional roadmap to reduce carbon emissions by more than 10% of global contribution.
It comes as Saudi Arabia’s energy minister, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, told Sky News that the country’s move away from oil would not affect its global standing.
He said: “We are not moving away from that as opposed to diversifying. We will be transforming ourselves into an ‘energy country’. Why? Because we have reasons to believe we are there, we are the holder of the cheapest solar kWh, the cheapest when it comes to wind and we believe we will continue to be competitive.
“We believe we will continue to produce hydrogen, and again, we will be the cheapest producer of hydrogen.”
Despite the announcements made in recent days, Prince Abdulaziz said he doesn’t believe we are seeing the end of the oil era just yet.
“I doubt it very much. In fact we are working on technologies to ensure we extend the duration of use of hydro carbons albeit in a way that would let it be mitigated and therefore not contribute to any additional emissions.”
Climate experts have long accused Saudi Arabia of not doing enough to cut back on its emissions.
The kingdom, which has gained global power and influence as a result of its oil wealth, is also one of the world’s worst polluters.
But Prince Abdulaziz says they are making progress and are committed to being a greener nation.
“I think we’ve just created the right platform to showcase what we have been doing for the last 10 years and our ambitions for the future…I think it’s also important that this activity will continue with us.
“One of the things that distinguishes us with our aims for 2060 is we are not doing it like others, tying it up with demands, grants or loans. Our main pillar is international collaboration on developing and mobilising technology.”
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