Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil producer, plans on going net-zero carbon emissions by 2060.
Earlier in March, Saudi Arabia announced The Saudi Green Initiative. They pledged to reduce their global carbon emission contribution by more than 4 percent. The Saudi’s also stated that they will generate 50% of their energy from renewables by 2030 while planting billions of trees.
While these steps are admirable, the Saudis have yet to provide the world with a net-zero goal, which is why critics feel their “green” announcements are too little too late.
Other oil-producing nations have committed to doing more. In fact, the United Arab Emirates announced its plan to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 – joining the rest of the world in the fight against climate change.
Many believe that the Saudis have been less open and slower to move forward with their plans due to their economy’s dependence on oil. That being said, they haven’t exactly done nothing.
Saudi Arabia opened their first renewable energy plant in April and its first wind farm in August. They have plans to develop a $5 billion hydrogen plant and incorporate green energy into their infrastructure. The Saudi’s are even focused on building a futuristic city called NEOM. The city plans to use smart city technologies for sustainable living.
Saudi officials have said that the world will need access to their oil supply for decades – even with green fuels being developed. As such, they feel they are moving as they should.
COP26 begins in Glasgow, Scotland this weekend. The United States and the EU have their eyes on Saudi Arabia. Both have been trying to get the Saudis to join a global initiative to cut emissions by 30% by 2030. These goals are one of the main reasons behind the booming carbon credit industry – as more and more companies look for ways to offset their current emission levels.
As the world takes steps to stop temperatures from rising above 1.5 degrees Celsius (per the Paris Agreement), major polluters, like Saudi Arabia, have a significant role to play.