An example of an exemplary community in Saudi Arabia that has shown a commitment to climate mitigation is the city of Neom. Planned as a part of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, Neom is a high-profile development project that aims to be a model of sustainability and advanced technology. While it’s still under development, its envisioned characteristics align well with the criteria of effective climate mitigation practices. Some examples below:
- Energy Sector Initiatives: Neom is designed to be powered entirely by renewable energy, primarily solar and wind power. This significantly shifts from traditional energy sources and aligns with global efforts to reduce carbon emissions. Neom’s main planned residential area, the Line, will host the world’s largest green hydrogen plant, saving more than 3 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually once it comes online in 2025.
- Sustainable Transportation: The city’s transportation infrastructure will be entirely emission-free, focusing on electric vehicles and a public transport system that minimises environmental impact.
- Innovative Waste Management: Neom aims to implement cutting-edge waste management strategies that reduce landfill waste and recycle most waste products.
- Land Conservation and Environmental Protection: Neom’s development plan includes significant efforts to conserve the natural environment, maintain biodiversity, and utilise sustainable practices in urban development, promising to protect 95% of the surrounding natural landscape.
- Data-Driven Environmental Monitoring: Neom’s smart city infrastructure is expected to include comprehensive environmental parameters and greenhouse gas emissions monitoring, enabling real-time adjustments and policy decisions.
The project is currently run by the Saudi government, spearheaded by its Crown Prince and de facto ruler, Muhammad Bin Salman and funded by the Public Investment Fund of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with additional investment by local and international parties. Once completed, the NEOM project will have an independent administration led by its shareholders.
Neom represents a bold step towards a sustainable future, showcasing how new cities can be built from the ground up with climate mitigation at their core. It’s a significant undertaking in a country traditionally reliant on oil, indicating a shift towards diversifying and embracing renewable energy sources. Data and information about the megacity multibillion-dollar project mainly come from Neom’s website.
Replicating Neom’s model in other communities depends on various factors, including economic resources, technological advancement, and political will. Neom serves as a testbed for innovative technologies and strategies in sustainability, which, if successful, could be adapted and implemented in other cities, both within and outside Saudi Arabia. However, the high-tech and capital-intensive nature of many of Neom’s initiatives might pose challenges for replication in less affluent communities.
Neom is a visionary project in Saudi Arabia’s commitment to sustainability and climate change mitigation. Its focus on renewable energy, sustainable urban planning, and advanced technology makes it a potentially influential model for future urban developments, seeking to balance growth with environmental stewardship.
This Post was submitted by Climate Scorecard Saudi Arabia Managers Abeer Abdulkareem and Amgad Ellaboudy.