Saudi Arabia commits to net zero emissions target for 2060

23 October 2021, 16:49 | Updated: 23 October 2021, 22:47

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman made the announcement at the Saudi Green Initiative Forum.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman made the announcement at the Saudi Green Initiative Forum. Picture: Getty

By Emma Soteriou

Saudi Arabia has announced plans to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2060, joining the global effort to curb man-made climate change.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman made the announcement in brief scripted remarks at the start of the kingdom's first Saudi Green Initiative Forum.

Although the kingdom will aim to reduce its emissions, Prince Mohammed said it will do so through a so-called "carbon circular economy" approach, which focuses on still unreliable carbon capture and storage technologies over efforts to reduce global reliance on fossil fuels.

A statement from the Saudi Green Initiative Forum said: "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."

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However, the announcement did not address the country's continued aggressive investment in oil and exporting its fossil fuels to Asia and other regions.

As one of the world's largest oil producers, Saudi Arabia's oil and gas exports form the backbone of its economy, despite efforts to diversify away from reliance on fossil fuels for revenue.

The United Arab Emirates - another major Gulf Arab energy producer - announced earlier this month that it would also join nations with a target to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

The UAE did not announce specifics on how it will reach this target, but said its Ministry of Climate Change and Environment will work with energy, economy, industry, infrastructure, transport, waste, agriculture and other sectors on the government's strategies and policies to achieve net zero by 2050.

It came ahead of the COP26 summit in Glasgow, which will see world leaders come together in attempt to find a solution to the climate crisis.

The event is being described as "the world's last best chance" to prevent global warming from reaching dangerous levels.