Saudi Arabia targets net zero emissions by 2060

World’s top crude oil exporter, Saudi Arabia aims to reach zero-net emissions by 2060 and more than double its annual target to reduce carbon emissions. Saudi’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and his energy minister said OPEC member Saudi Arabia would tackle climate change while ensuring oil market stability, stressing the continued importance of hydrocarbons.

They were speaking at the Saudi Green Initiative (SGI), which comes ahead of COP26, the UN climate change conference in Glasgow at the end of the month, which hopes to agree deeper emissions cuts to tackle global warming.

China and India, the top emitters of greenhouse gases after the United States, have also resisted committing to a 2050 timeline to achieve net zero, a target that U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration has adopted.

“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia aims to reach zero-net emissions by 2060 under its circular carbon economy programme … while maintaining the kingdom’s leading role in strengthening security and stability of global oil markets,” Prince Mohammed said in recorded remarks.

He said the kingdom would join a global initiative on slashing emissions of methane by 30% from 2020 levels by 2030, which both the United States and the EU have been pressing.

Energy minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said Riyadh, a signatory to the Paris climate pact, had submitted its nationally determined contributions (NDCs) – goals for individual states under efforts to prevent average global temperatures from rising beyond 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

The SGI, which the crown prince said would see investments of over 700 billion riyals ($186.6 billion), aims to eliminate 278 million tonnes of carbon emissions per year, up from a previous target of 130 million tonnes.

Saudi Arabia’s economy remains heavily reliant on oil income.  Fellow Gulf OPEC producer the United Arab Emirates also announced a plan for net zero emissions by 2050. The chief executive of UAE oil firm ADNOC stressed the importance of investment in hydrocarbons, saying the world had “sleepwalked” into a supply crunch and that climate action should not be an economic burden on developing nations.

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