Saudi Arabia has announced a $186.6 billion investment in developing a green economy and said that it is spearheading a region-wide initiative to combat climate change and reduce carbon emissions.
In an announcement on October 23, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister and Supreme Committee for Green Saudi Arabia chairman HRH Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud said that the Kingdom will plant 450 million trees and rehabilitate 8 million hectares of degraded lands by 2030 as part of the first set of Saudi Green Initiative (SGI) strategies.
As part of the Kingdom’s first ever SGI, Prince Mohammed also unveiled a regional road map to protect the environment. He noted that Saudi Arabia has already launched initiatives in the energy sector to reduce carbon emissions by 278 million tonnes annually by 2030 – more than double the targeted emissions reduction.
This is in line with the country’s plan to reach Net Zero carbon impact by 2060, while preserving its role in the security and stability of global energy markets.
During the inaugural Saudi Green Initiatives (SGI) forum, Prince Salman said the initiative is based on the Kingdom’s role in confronting shared international issues, its belief in the need for collaborative efforts to confront climate change and the necessity of the green transformation to deliver social and economic prosperity to the Kingdom.
The Crown Prince added that the Kingdom’s ambition to reach net zero emissions aligns with its economic diversification and development plans and the ‘Dynamic Baseline’ for emissions reduction.
He stated, “The Saudi Green Initiative will provide huge investment opportunities for the private sector, quality job opportunities for the next generation of leaders in the Kingdom and enhanced international relationships that will have a positive impact on the region and the world.”
In his opening remarks at the forum, the Crown Prince announced a diverse set of initiatives as a roadmap to protect the environment and address climate change challenges, while achieving SGI’s ambitious targets. He added that the first wave of initiatives that will deliver against the targets under the Saudi Green Initiative include programmes that aim to achieve more than 278 Mtpa carbon emissions reduction by 2030 – this is said to be more than double the emissions reduction target set at the announcement of the Saudi Green Initiative earlier this year.
The Kingdom said it will also join the Global Methane Pledge to contribute to cutting global methane emissions by 30% by 2030, as part of its commitment to deliver a cleaner, greener future.
In addition, the Crown Prince said the Kingdom plan to plant 450 million trees and rehabilitate eight million hectares of degraded lands will lead to a reduction of 200 million tons of carbon emissions with additional initiatives to be announced in the future. The transformation of Riyadh into one of the world’s most sustainable cities is already underway, with an extensive set of sustainability solutions.
He went on to state that an increasing area of land is being designated for protection in the coming years, to achieve the first 20% of the goal to protect over 30% of the Kingdom’s total land area, with initiatives to deliver the final 10% to be announced at a later stage.
The transition to net zero carbon emissions will be delivered in a manner that preserves the Kingdom’s leading role in enhancing the security and stability of global energy markets, particularly considering the maturity and availability of technologies necessary to manage and reduce emissions, he explained.
To further amplify its protection of terrestrial, marine and coastal environments, the Crown Prince announced that Saudi Arabia is joining the Global Ocean Alliance, establishing the Ocean Exploration Foundation and announcing a number of initiatives – including a Global Center for Tourism Sustainability.
The tree planting and land rehabilitation programmes come on the heels of Bahrain’s nationwide campaign to plant more than 50,000 trees and shrubs, which will be launched in phases by the National Initiative for Agricultural Development (NIAD).
The campaign, ‘Forever Green’, will be held under the patronage of Her Royal Highness Princess Sabeeka bint Ibrahim Al Khalifa, wife of His Majesty King Hamad and NIAD Consultative Council president.
It aims to support the country’s strategies to sustain the development of the agricultural sector, expand the green area and highlight the aesthetic features of the kingdom.
“The trees and shrubs will be planted in the four governorates on an area covering more than 70,000sqm and more than 21,000 linear metres during the first stage that runs until March 2022,” a statement from NIAD said.
Special Envoy for Climate Affairs and Supreme Council for the Environment chief executive Dr Mohammed Bin Daina welcomed the Saudi initiatives which, he said, reflect awareness of the importance of tackling the climate changes and promote urban sustainability.
The two forums will lead up to the UN Climate Change Conference COP26, due to start at the end of the month.
Saudi Arabia also intends to join the Global Oceans Alliance, the Alliance to Eliminate Plastic Wastes in Oceans and Beaches and the Sports for Climate Action Agreement, in addition to establishing a global centre for sustainable tourism, and a non-profit foundation to explore the seas and oceans.
The move has received global praise. Britain’s Prince Charles, in recorded remarks at the environment event in Saudi Arabia yesterday, said there was a ‘dangerously narrow window’ to accelerate climate change action.
Citing experts, he said the UN Climate Change Conference COP26 must have nationally determined contributions. The Prince of Wales said the Saudi Green Initiative and a wider Middle East Green Initiative, which Riyadh will host, would help ‘accelerate’ the great progress already made.
Riyadh will host a wider Middle East Green Initiative, which, together with the Saudi Green Initiative, will include the plantation of 50 billion trees in the region, the protection of marine and coastal environments and the generation of 50 percent of Saudi Arabia’s energy from renewable sources.
Leaders from all around the world are expected to take part in the Middle East Green Initiative, including an American delegation led by the US climate envoy John Kerry and Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan.
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Source: ME Construction News