Saudi Arabia announced that efforts to reduce planet-warming gases will boost the Middle East’s economies and a fund was established to support carbon capture technology.
“Climate change is an economic opportunity for individuals and the private sector,” Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said in Riyadh on Monday at a forum attended by several heads of state. Reducing emissions will “create jobs and strengthen innovation in the region.”
According to Prince Mohammed, the kingdom will create a fund for carbon sequestration. It also backs a plan that feeds hundreds of millions by providing clean cooking fuels. These two projects will be costing 39 billion riyals (or $10.4 billion), and Saudi Arabia will provide 15%.
Regional centers will be opened by the government for storm warning, sustainable fishing, and cloud seeding.
The prince of Saudi Arabia pledged Saturday that it would eliminate greenhouse gas emissions from its territory by 2060. It marked a seismic shift for the world’s biggest oil exporter, though officials included plenty of caveats and emphasized that Saudi Arabia and others would need to pump crude for decades to come.
In fulfilling that promise, the kingdom plans to build facilities that can capture and store carbon emissions. The technology can be used for producing blue hydrogen. This fuel is made from natural gas, and it’s vital to the green-energy transformation.
The net-zero goal “is a major step forward,” U.S. President Joe Biden’s climate envoy, John Kerry, said earlier on Monday. “It’s critical to have one of the world’s largest producers of fossil fuels step up at a moment when all countries, no matter their circumstances, need to come together.”
Others at Riyadh stressed that governments must accelerate their efforts to stop climate change.
“Just in the last two years we have seen fires in Siberia, in California, in the Mediterranean—unprecedented,” Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan said. “I hope that collectively we take this challenge much more seriously than we have done.”
He said that Pakistan will stop all coal projects. The country wants to use renewable energy for 60 percent of its energy mix in 2030.