Top oil exporter Saudi Arabia targets zero carbon emissions by 2060

Author: AFP/ Web Desk

Top crude exporter Saudi Arabia will aim to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2060, its de facto ruler said on Saturday, days before the COP26 global climate summit.

The kingdom, one of the world’s biggest polluters, said it would also join a global effort to cut methane emissions by 30 percent by 2030. The UN says more than 130 countries have set or are considering a target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero by 2050, an objective it says is “imperative” to safeguard a livable climate. “I announce today Saudi Arabia’s target to reach net zero emissions by 2060,” Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told the “Saudi Green Initiative” forum.

“I am pleased to launch initiatives in the energy sector that will reduce carbon emissions by 278 million tonnes annually by 2030, thus voluntarily more than doubling the target announced,” said Prince Mohammed. “We also announce the kingdom’s accession to the Global Methane Pledge.” A statement said Saudi Arabia would “contribute to cutting global methane emissions by 30 percent by 2030, as part of its commitment to deliver a cleaner, greener future”.

The 2060 target would “enable us to have a smooth and viable transition, without risking economic or social impacts”, Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said. COP26 President Alok Sharma welcomed the announcement. “I hope this landmark announcement will galvanize ambition from others ahead of #COP26,” Sharma tweeted, adding he was looking forward to seeing more details on the Saudi plan.

Saudi Arabia is estimated to emit about 600 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year — more than France and slightly less than Germany. The year 2050 has become a focus for carbon neutrality, defined as achieving a balance between emitting carbon and absorbing carbon from the atmosphere.

As COP26 approaches, a string of countries have pledged to aim for net-zero emissions by 2050, and global airlines and banks are also targeting the mid-century goal. UN chief Antonio Guterres said Friday the current climate situation was “a one-way ticket for disaster”, stressing the need to “avoid a failure” at COP26 in Glasgow. Held between October 31 and November 12, the gathering is seen as a crucial step in setting worldwide emission targets to slow global warming.

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