Saudi Arabia on Monday set a target of delivering a net-zero emissions world by 2060 by adopting policies to cut carbon emissions from almost all forms of energy production, according to a report in local news.
Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest oil exporter, is one of the world’s top producers of carbon-dioxide gas, and also has the world’s largest proven gas reserves, both of which produce large amounts of the greenhouse gas.
Saudi Arabia is expanding its oil and gas industry to reduce reliance on oil, now at half of the nation’s energy mix. Its position on climate change contrasts with the U.S., an ally but a major oil consumer, which last year imposed sanctions on seven major oil producers over past policies supporting the production of hydrocarbons.
During a rare visit by a visiting foreign leader, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said the world’s oil industry needs to diversify sources of electricity, which made up half of the world’s demand. The Crown Prince stressed that the oil and gas industries must move toward different business models and technologies, the report said.
Based on its carbon emissions for oil and gas production, Saudi Arabia was the 20th-biggest emitter of carbon gases in the world last year, according to a report from the International Energy Agency. More than 800 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions were released in the first half of 2018, equal to the annual carbon emissions of Greece.
The Asian energy agency said OPEC, together with non-OPEC nations, will be able to compensate for lower output in the U.S. and Iran, which will balance global markets this year and next.
In April, Saudi Arabia reached an agreement with China to cooperate on oil and gas research. In November, the world’s biggest two economies announced plans to team up to focus on renewable energy and carbon-neutral energy generation.
Saudi Arabia is also a top producer of natural gas, which contains one-fifth of the world’s atmospheric greenhouse gas. With some of the world’s biggest reserves of natural gas, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar are likely to be crucial in supplying gas to developing markets around the world.
—by Alexa Jonasson
The Associated Press contributed to this report.