RIYADH: Saudi Arabia will lead the way on green initiatives instead of waiting for them to be developed elsewhere, the Kingdom’s energy minister vowed as he hit back against skepticism over the country’s environmental commitments.
Speaking at the LEAP 2022 forum in Riyadh, Abdulaziz bin Salman Al Saud, minister of technology for energy transition, talked up his country’s plan to achieve net zero on carbon emissions by 2060.
Al Saud argued that technological developments could see Saudi Arabia hitting that target ahead of schedule.
He said Saudi Arabia would be using carbon to create a circular economy, and warned that pushing ahead to renewable energy too soon is actually counterproductive in the fight against climate change.
Al Saud said that many people were questioning the Saudi green initiatives as they did not see how a hydrocarbon country would join an effort to limit hydrocarbons.’
He said: “The answer is simple, instead of waiting for solutions to come our way we should be there to develop this solution and get the world into it.”
Discussing measures already taken, Al Saud said a million oil barrels are being reused instead of being destroyed, and he pointed to the megacity of NEOM and other “ambitious giga projects” as “samples of how engaged we are.”
Al Saud spoke of the importance of hiring young people into key industries, “as they have much bigger interests to see it through.”
Referring to developing technologies to help with the transition to a net zero economy, he said that Saudi Arabia wanted to put together a “global ecosystem” as there is “nothing better than an organized system.”
Al Saud also warned against rushing towards renewable dependence before such facilities are fully developed, claiming some countries who had gone down this route are “burning more than they produce.”