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No one-size-fits-all solution to achieving net zero, says Saudi energy minister

Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman. (AFP/File)
Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman. (AFP/File)
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05 Feb 2023 03:02:14 GMT9
05 Feb 2023 03:02:14 GMT9

Ghadi Joudah

RIYADH: As the world pushes to achieve net zero, there is no one path or a defined one-size solution that fits all, said Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman during an energy event in Riyadh.

“There are many pathways that get us there … pathways that take into account national circumstances, economic development, and solutions that are local, national, regional, and global,” the minister said during his inaugural speech at the 44th International Association for Energy Economics conference.

The energy event, which is being held for the first time in the Middle East and North Africa region in Saudi Arabia with the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center and Saudi Association for Energy Economics, will run from Feb. 4 to 9.

The conference’s theme this year is “Pathways to a clean, stable, and sustainable energy future”. 

The minister who also held a conversation with energy expert Daniel Yergin at the IAEE 2023 added that there is always a better chance for collective efforts and holistic solutions. 

“Cocooned solutions tend to bring people far and tend to create more chaos. So, in the endeavor of everybody trying to bring the solution to these problems, I’m afraid we might end up with a more chaotic situation than what everybody’s aspiring.”

Prince Abdulaziz said that the Kingdom is working toward sequestration, which is the technique of capturing and storing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

“We are reaching out to everybody around the globe, trying to market our hydrogens. We’re going to move by producing electricity, converting it to hydrogen.”

The minister added that the world needs hydrocarbons, not fossil fuels. 

“To have the world continue using hydrocarbons, you have to mitigate and you have to showcase that you are mitigating all greenhouse gases because people are overlooking methane,” he said. 

With sequestration in mind, the minister further added: “We have a proven record on methane emission. Let me see who is gonna match us. We will produce, we will continue to produce, we will be the last man standing.”

He said that it has been the Kingdom’s endeavor to work on mitigating all greenhouse gas emissions in all sectors.

“Our motto for advocacy simply said, we need the whole world to produce all sources of energy, albeit mindful of climate change.”

Prince Abdulaziz spoke about the humanitarian aspect of clean energy, which is cooking or preparing food for the poor. 

“This is a noble humanistic cause that people need to focus on, as there are hundreds of millions of people who are devoid of modern energy resources,” he added. 

The conference offers academia, the scientific community, businesses, and governments the opportunity to examine the ways in which the energy environment is changing, and to investigate concepts and tactics that ensure long-term success in a low-carbon future.

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