Saudi Arabia climate plan to cut CO2 emissions to zero

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Prince Mohammed bin Salman, pictured with Prince Charles, has called for Saudi Arabia to become a world leader in renewable energy The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia aims to…

Saudi Arabia climate plan to cut CO2 emissions to zero

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Prince Mohammed bin Salman, pictured with Prince Charles, has called for Saudi Arabia to become a world leader in renewable energy

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia aims to achieve net-zero carbon emissions within three decades, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has said.

He has already invested heavily in renewable energy and pledged to end the country’s oil dependence in the next two decades.

Saudi Arabia is a major exporter of crude oil.

But according to Royal United Services Institute analyst Mohammed Jarallah, it’s hard to make a clean switch that quickly, without mass displacement of old-style oil by green fuel.

Saudi Arabia’s move comes as some critics have been critical of his governance, amid accusations of human rights abuses.

But the country has said it aims to be the cradle of clean technology and is making a significant jump from renewable energy to alternative sources of energy.

And the Crown Prince has championed the country’s progress towards its goal to become the cleanest producing country in the world.

He said that Saudi Arabia would raise its bio-fuel production from 1% to 5% of national electricity consumption.

Image copyright Reuters Image caption King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud attends a conference on climate change in March 2018

What is renewable energy?

Renewable energy sources include wind and solar power, biomass, geothermal, wind and hydroelectric power. They usually emit less CO2 per unit of energy used than fossil fuel.

This is because renewable power can be used more efficiently.

In Saudi Arabia’s case the emphasis has already shifted from fossil fuels to solar panels, which are expected to generate 50% of the country’s power by 2030.

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“The Kingdom is planning to enable its citizens to explore the possibility of using the energy sources of their choice, even for burning cooking gas and fuel oil. Saudi Arabia has already experienced the exorbitant cost of investing in cleaner and renewable forms of energy for cars and buildings, and this experience is becoming valuable for its domestic consumption,” said Borhan Wali.

In the past two years, the Saudi capital, Riyadh, has greatly accelerated its renewable power plan, adding 877 megawatts in solar power and 72MW of wind power.

Other countries like China, India and Israel also have ambitious programmes to tackle climate change and they plan to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

Saudi Arabia has no other option but to seek new sources of energy if it wants to combat climate change, said Bart Spolinski, analyst at CERES.

The kingdom is facing potentially devastating effects from the impact of climate change.

“If they continue with the roadmap it is better for them but it will also be a big challenge and I don’t think it will be easy, especially given the fact that they are oil dependent,” he said.

Image copyright EPA Image caption Skyscrapers constructed in the years before its oil boom

The Crown Prince said the Kingdom would seek to make the domestic use of renewable energy use 95% of total electricity consumption by 2050.

“The goal of creating a paradigm shift from oil to renewable energy to achieve the kingdom’s Vision 2030 targets,” it said.

The goal is also included in the country’s National Vision 2030 2030, which aims to address long-term economic sustainability.

The plans include a basic income scheme, which would give citizens cash in return for foregoing oil use.

It is not yet clear whether the core government would take the measures, or whether this would be taken by the citizens themselves.

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