One of the world’s largest oil producers, Saudi Arabia, announced Saturday it aims to reach “net zero” greenhouse gas emissions by 2060, joining more than 100 countries in a global effort to try and curb man-made climate change.
Although the kingdom will aim to reduce emissions within its own borders, there is no indication Saudi Arabia will slow down investments in oil and gas or relinquish sway over energy markets by moving away from the production of fossil fuels.
Energy exports are the backbone of Saudi Arabia’s economy, despite efforts to diversify revenue as the world increasingly looks to transition away from reliance on fossil fuels. The country is forecast to make $150 billion in revenue this year from oil alone
The announcement, made by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in scripted remarks at the start of the kingdom’s first-ever Saudi Green Initiative Forum, was timed to make a splash before the start of the global COP26 climate conference being held in Glasgow, Scotland.
MBS vowed Saudi Arabia will plant 450 million trees and rehabilitate huge swaths of land by 2030, reducing more than 270 million tons of carbon emissions a year and attempting to turn the landlocked city of Riyadh into a more sustainable capital.
The kingdom joins the ranks of Russia and China on their stated net-zero target date of 2060. The United States and the European Union have aimed for 2050. Earlier this month, the United Arab Emirate announced it too would join the “net zero” club of nations by 2050.
Fossil fuels, such as crude oil, natural gas and coal, currently make the bulk of global energy consumption. Just 10% of electricity is generated by solar power and wind.