Description of the event
In May 2022, Saudi Arabia hosted a 2-day symposium, PetroEnvironment 2022, that brought together environmental practitioners, policymakers, scientists, end-users, technicians, and engineers to discuss major current and emerging environmental opportunities for global sustainability. During the event, participants exchanged new ideas, approaches, research findings, and partnership initiatives to increase circularity and sustainability. The event also included exhibitions where companies showcased their technical expertise to provide solutions towards actions within the private and public sector and investments to address customers’ immediate technical challenges.
Analysis of the event
It is both encouraging and uplifting that Saudi Arabia appears to be taking the subject of climate change and sustainability more and more seriously. The PetroEnvironment conference included sessions on Climate Change, Biodiversity & Afforestation, Environmental Challenges in the Oil & Gas Sector, Air Emissions Management, Marine & Coastal Environments, and Waste. This shows that Saudi Arabia, and more specifically the government-controlled company Saudi Aramco, which is responsible for much of the country’s reliance on oil and therefore its main source of emissions, recognizes and wants to minimize the impact it is having on climate change and the broader environment.
It remains obvious that the country has no plans to completely abandon oil & gas despite its efforts to raise awareness and provide discussions towards solutions on the environmental impact the oil & gas industry has on the country as well as the global community. Saudi Aramco continues to tout “clean oil” and carbon capture solutions as viable ways to reduce its carbon footprint when the climate community of scientists and activists knows that the only way forward is to gradually phase out fossil fuels as sources of energy. This will continue to hinder Saudi Arabia’s ability to reduce its emissions and catch up with the sustainability/ renewable energy initiatives that most of the world has already enacted and fully embraced. The country needs to put together a serious plan to eventually eliminate its reliance on income and energy produced through Saudi Aramco and on other sources of economic and energy prosperity.
This Post was submitted by Climate Scorecard Saudi Arabia Country Managers Abeer Abdulkareem and Amgad Ellaboudy