Speaking on the first day of the Saudi Green Initiative (SGI) Forum in Riyadh on 23 October, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said the Kingdom has pledged to double its efforts to lower its carbon emissions from a reduction of 130 million tonnes to 278 million by 2030.
The Crown Prince also announced an aim to meet net zero targets by 2060, as part of a series of SGI initiatives that will receive more than 700bn riyals (£135.6bn) in investment.
“The Saudi Green Initiative will provide huge investment opportunities for the private sector, quality job opportunities for the next generation of leaders in the Kingdom and enhanced international relationships that will have a positive impact on the region and the world,” said the Crown Prince.
The Kingdom will also join the Global Methane Pledge, an international climate target that requires countries to contribute to cutting global methane emissions by 30 per cent by 2030.
Representatives, business leaders and senior politicians from more than 27 countries gathered in the Saudi capital for the three-day conference.
The Crown Prince said that Saudi Arabia will also work with Middle Eastern neighbours to combat climate change through initiatives such as planting a total of 50 billion trees across the region and reducing carbon emissions from hydrocarbon production to 10 per cent of total global emissions.
“What you will be seeing today is only a prelude to the vision that will enable us to build bridges between sustainability, economic diversity, economic growth and enhancement of the wellbeing of Saudi Arabia,” the country’s minister of energy Prince Abdulaziz said at the inaugural forum.
Prince Abdulaziz also pledged a 35 per cent reduction in emissions from the country’s business as usual scenario by 2030 and announced that he will chair a newly established group called The Supreme Saudi Green Committee, which will sit at the heart of government and amplify its efforts to meet ambitious climate targets.
As part of SGI, the country’s whole-of-government climate action initiative, Saudi Arabia has pledged to reduce its CO2 emissions by 278 million tonnes each year.
This will be achieved through multiple initiatives across the country, including upgrading its desalination plants with more energy efficient equipment, harnessing solar energy and the use of clean hydrocarbon technology.
Saudi Arabia is also drastically shaking up its domestic energy mix by pledging to increase the amount of energy generated from renewable sources to 50 per cent by 2030 – in 2019, it stood at just 0.04 per cent.
The rest of the energy requirements will be met through natural gas, with oil completely eliminated from the domestic energy mix.
It believes this change alone could cut 175 million tonnes of emissions a year, or 135 per cent of its target.
Tree planting is also a key part of its emissions reduction strategy.
The country had previously pledged to plant 10 billion trees, of which 10 million have already been planted.