17 November 2021
Saudi Arabia recognizes the responsibility it bears in the fight against unsustainable climate change as a leading global oil producer. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is already engineering innovative solutions to help combat the escalating global climate crisis. In its endeavour to contribute to a sustainable future, its world leading Green Initiative will go a long way in contributing to the development of renewable resources.
With patronage at the highest level in the person of HRH Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi Green Initiative will chart a path for the Kingdom’s contribution to a sustainable planet. Since the launch of Vision 2030 in 2016, the Kingdom has taken significant steps to scale up its pro-climate action and environmental protection. The Saudi Green Initiative will propel the efforts to the next level by unifying all sustainability initiatives in the Kingdom. This will underpin reliance on clean energy and offset the impact of fossil fuels while combating climate change.
In October, the Saudi Green Initiative Forum unveiled the roadmap for delivery and shone the spotlight on the Kingdom’s “Green” efforts. Global leaders graced the event to gain a greater understanding of the innovative solutions under development to help tackle climate change.
The Saudi Green Initiative will oversee all of Saudi Arabia’s work to combat climate change, working collaboratively with government ministries, the private sector, and foreign governments to amplify various environmental efforts on climate change.
The Middle East Green Initiative (MGI) was announced alongside the Saudi Green Initiative. It complements the latter’s on an international scale and will coordinate efforts with sister countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states, other Middle Eastern countries, as well as other international governments.
The Saudi Green Initiative intends to improve the quality of life and protect the interests of future generations by increasing reliance on clean energy that will offset the impact of fossil fuels, thereby protecting the environment. In a “whole-of-government” approach, Saudi Green Initiative works with entities and organizations across the Kingdom to synergise their current actions. It also creates opportunities for new initiatives, bridges the gap between public and private sustainability efforts, by identifying opportunities for collaboration and innovation.
Saudi Arabia’s crown Prince launched a Middle East Green Initiative which he said it is aimed to secure 39 billion riyals ($10.4 billion) for an investment fund and clean energy project as part of efforts to reduce regional carbon emissions. Through the Middle East Green Initiative, Saudi Arabia will spearhead regional efforts to achieve global targets to combat climate change.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said the kingdom, would contribute 15% of the funds and would work with other states and development funds on the funding and execution of the initiatives. “As part of the kingdom’s leading role in developing energy markets, it will work to establish an investment fund for carbon circular economy solutions in the region and an initiative to offer clean energy solutions to help feed more than 750 million people worldwide,” he said.
When the region announced plans for the Middle East Green Initiative in March, the prince said it aimed to reduce carbon emissions in the region’s hydrocarbon industry by 60% and reverse desertification in one of world’s most water-stressed regions by planting billions of trees.
Saudi Arabia has said its own Saudi Green Initiative programme will involve investments of over 700 billion riyals ($190 billion) by 2030. Prince Mohammed pledged that Saudi Arabia would reach “net zero” emissions by 2060. Fellow Gulf state Bahrain has pledged the same and the United Arab Emirates has committed to doing so by 2050.
Burning fossil fuels is the biggest source emissions and achieving net zero means a country emits no more greenhouse gases than it can capture or absorb.
Saudi Arabia will help create the necessary infrastructure by establishing a regional carbon capture and storage centre, a regional early storm-warning centre, a regional cloud seeding programme, and a hub for climate change according to Prince Mohammed during the launch.
“The Saudi and Middle East Green Initiatives are only a start. The Kingdom, the region and the world needs to go much further and faster in combatting climate change. Beginning this journey to a greener future has not been easy, but we are not avoiding tough choices. We reject the false choice between preserving the economy and protecting the environment,” he emphasised.
The climate crisis is urgent and the planet is warming up at an unprecedented rate, affecting our environment and the lives of Saudis. Cutting carbon emissions is critical to slowing and reversing climate change. Through a growing portfolio of renewable energy projects, carbon capture initiatives, and a massive energy efficiency push for buildings, industry, and transport, Saudi Arabia is scaling up and uniting efforts to reduce carbon emissions under the Saudi Green Initiative mandate. And that spells a sustainable future!
By Susan Novela, The Diplomatic Informer Magazine SA