- A More Ambitious Commitment to Net Zero Emissions by 2050, and a 50% Emissions Reduction by 2030
- Increased Use of Carbon Capture to Enable Carbon That Is Captured to Balance Carbon That is Produced
- Increased use of renewable Energy so That It Constitutes 50% of Saudi Arabia’s Electricity Mix by 2030
- Significant Investments in Tourism and Financial Services to Diversify the Economy Away from the Oil Sector
Saudi Arabia has recently announced that it plans to reach net zero emissions by 2060, 10 years later than the stated goal of the Paris Climate Agreement, the year that some of the world’s top emitters have committed to, including the US and the UK. A shift in policy that indicated a more ambitious commitment to net zero emissions by 2050 would greatly help Saudi Arabia’s chances of cutting emissions by 50% by the year 2030, which some of the world’s top emitters have also already committed to. A more ambitious commitment would push the Saudi government to come up with more solid and creative solutions to reducing its carbon footprint. Carbon emissions produced and carbon sequestered would be the two variables that the Saudi government has to keep track of to track its progress to net zero emissions.
With its announcement, Saudi Arabia has not laid out a clear plan on how it plans to get to zero emissions by the year 2060, but has mentioned that it plans to invest in carbon capture technologies to reach its goal of net zero emissions, and that it plans to produce oil and gas for decades to come. Therefore, it is clear that carbon capture technologies would have to significantly advance in the next few years, and Saudi Arabia would have to be one of the very early investors in order for it to have any kind of significant impact by the year 2030. An indicator of the success the adoption of carbon capture technologies has had on Saudi Arabia would be a significant increase in carbon captured through carbon capture systems throughout the years, with an end goal of eventually the carbon produced being totally balanced by the carbon captured in the country.
A scale-up of its plans to increase renewable energy to 50% of the electricity mix by 2030, up from less than 1% currently would be a third variable that the Saudi government needs to focus on to accelerate its progress to net zero emissions. Therefore, it is clear that renewable energy resources and projects must significantly scale up to reach that ambitious goal of producing enough clean energy to power major cities and towns and reduce, or avoid or remove approximately 278 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually by 2030, more than twice its previous NDC target. A fourth strategy would be significant investments in tourism and financial services to diversify the economy away from the oil sector. As part of Saudi Vision 2030, Saudi Tourism Fund was launched in June 2020 and has since deployed 2 billion riyals ($533 million) as investment in tourism projects worth a total of around 6 billion riyals with the remaining 4 billion riyals to come from the private sector.
Saudi Travel and Tourism Association
P.O. Box 75796
Riyadh,11588 Saudi Arabia
Saudi Society for Environment Sciences (SENS)
This Post was submitted by Climate Scorecard Saudi Arabia Country Managers Abeer Abdulkareeem and Amgad Ellaboudy
Photo credit: Saudi Tourism Authority