The International Energy Forum (IEF) Secretary General Joseph McMonigle commended the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on its pledge to reach net-zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2060.
Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman made the commitment at the launch of the Saudi Green Initiative (SGI) in Riyadh on Saturday, days before the start of the COP26 climate change conference due to be held in the UK on Oct. 31 – Nov. 12.
The Kingdom has also joined the Global Methane Pledge, he added. This commits countries to reducing methane emissions by 30 percent from 2020 levels by 2030.
"The IEF commends the leadership of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for this ambitious goal. It is a historic and momentous decision, backed up by a real commitment to implementation," said McMonigle.
The Crown Prince told attendees at the launch event: "The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia aims to reach zero-net emissions by 2060 under its circular carbon economy program in accordance with the kingdom's development plan … while maintaining the kingdom's leading role in strengthening security and stability of global oil markets."
Providing further details, Prince Muhammad announced plans to cut carbon emissions by over 270 million tons per year, on the back of investments of more than SR700 billion.
Minister of Energy Prince Abdulaziz Bin Salman said the Kingdom had already made significant progress in reducing emissions from its oil and gas operations.
Moreover, Saudi Arabia is investing heavily in solar power, and is on track to become one of the world's top hydrogen producers, he added.
The Kingdom has submitted details of its Nationally Determined Contributions required by the COP26 meeting on Saturday, Prince Abdulaziz said.
The net-zero announcement brings the Kingdom, the world's top oil exporter, into line with other nations that have pledged to become net-zero by 2060, including China. Several other countries have pledged to achieve net-zero by 2050.