Amid global debate over cutting carbon emissions, top global oil producer Saudi Arabia has announced to reach ‘net zero’ greenhouse gas emissions by 2060, joining more than 100 countries in a global effort to try and curb man-made climate change.
The announcement was made by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in brief scripted remarks at the start of the kingdom’s first-ever Saudi Green Initiative Forum, which was timed to make a splash a little more than a week before the start of the global COP26 climate conference being held in Glasgow, Scotland.
Although the kingdom will aim to reduce its emissions, Prince Mohammed said the kingdom would do so through a so-called ‘Carbon Circular Economy’ approach. That approach focuses on still unreliable carbon capture and storage technologies over efforts to actually reduce global reliance on fossil fuels.
The announcement only pertains to Saudi Arabia’s efforts within its national borders and does not impact its continued aggressive investment in oil and exporting its fossil fuels to Asia and other regions.
“The transition to net-zero carbon emissions will be delivered in a manner that preserves the kingdom’s leading role in enhancing the security and stability of global energy markets, particularly considering the maturity and availability of technologies necessary to manage and reduce emissions,” a statement by the Saudi Green Initiative forum said.
The kingdom’s oil and gas exports form the backbone of its economy, despite efforts to diversify away from reliance on fossil fuels for revenue.
Earlier this month, the United Arab Emirates – another major Gulf Arab energy producer – announced it too would join the ‘net zero’ club of nations with a target to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.