Climate Scorecard Progress Report for Saudi Arabia

This report is in the form of memos from Climate Scorecard Country Managers to Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework to Combat Climate Change (UNFCCC). Below is a description of the progress the country has made made in mitigating greenhouse gas emissions since the Paris Agreement was signed in 2015 and the challenges they still face in order to comply with the IPCC goal of reducing emissions by 50% by 2030.

To: Patricia Espinosa
Executive Secretary

Subject:  Climate Scorecard Progress Report for Saudi Arabia

From: Abeer Abdulkareem and Amgad Ellaboudy
Climate Scorecard Saudi Arabia Country Managers

We serve as the Climate Scorecard Country Managers for Saudi Arabia and would like to offer you the following climate mitigation progress report from the perspective of our organization.

Since its initial 2015 pledge to the Paris Agreement, Saudi Arabia has made fair progress in meeting the goal of reducing emissions by 50% by 2030.

Positive Developments

On the positive side Saudi Arabia has accomplished the following:

  1. The government set a plan for reducing the country’s emissions by 130 MtCO2e per year by 2030, from a business as usual baseline. This originally and partially comes through a commitment to generate 57.8 GW of energy through renewables by that same year as part of the “Saudi 2030” plan.
  1. An ambitious renewable energy program was established to install more than 35 renewable energy parks powered by solar, wind, and concentrated solar power (CSP) across the Kingdom gradually to alleviate risks of technological obstacles with a target to reach 58.7 GW of renewable energy generation by 2030, 40 GW of that energy to come from solar energy. The plan is to complete six solar projects that will collectively generate around 2.5 GW and accelerate the awarding and implementation processes of 12 pre-developed solar projects with total energy generation capacity of 3,075 MW of solar PVT. To achieve this goal, the Kingdom has launched several rounds of building, installing and operating renewable energy projects, including the 300MW Sakaka PV IPP (Sakaka solar plant) and Dumat al-Jandal 400 MW wind farm. The Sakaka plant was completed and successfully connected to the national grid in November 2019. Additionally, the Dumat al-Jandal 400 MW wind farm is under construction. Together, they will provide clean energy for over 100,000 residential units and offset approximately 1,500 tons of carbon dioxide annually.
  1. The establishment of five specialized environmental centers in December 2020 to conserve the environment, wildlife, and biodiversity as part of 2018 Saudi National Environmental Strategy. For example, the National Center for Environmental Compliance will ensure all governmental establishments comply with the environmental standards, monitor sources of environmental pollution, authorize environmental impact studies, issue environmental licenses for all development projects and inspect installations to check their environmental impact.

Remaining Challenges

However, the following conditions remain in Saudi Arabia that threaten its ability to make further progress, and reach the important goal of reducing emissions by 50% by 2030:

  1. Saudi Arabia, along with a few other countries, continues to oppose urgent action on climate change at global climate conferences and rejects wording that accepts reports produced by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). These reports urge countries to keep global warming below 1.5 degree Celsius over pre-industrial levels. Saudi Arabia thus continues to impede urgent and effective action that would mitigate the harmful effects of climate change on a global scale.
  1. Seeing that fossil fuels are the major source of revenue for the government, Saudi Arabia refuses to move away from oil and natural gas production to reach its zero emissions goal. Instead, Saudi ARAMCO chooses to rebrand its image by claiming that it is now focusing on reducing the amount of carbon dioxide it produces through intense research into carbon-capture systems, and by investing into technology and research that would produce “ultra-clean energy” by means of its inherently emissions-dense fossil fuels.
  1. S. Saudi Aramco has deep ties and influence over US energy policy. The Saudi government continues to block meaningful action in the international arena through its control of Motiva Enterprises, which owns the largest oil refinery in North America and is a member of the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) trade group. AFPM has lobbied and successfully struck down bills that would enact a carbon tax in specific states and other bills in support of renewable energy policies.

Climate Scorecard is committed to working with other like-minded organizations

to support efforts by Saudi Arabia to make further progress in its effort to reduce emissions by 50% by 2030 and help the Paris Agreement reach its important goals.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions about this report or need further information.


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