Saudi Arabia and climate change: the effectiveness of being proactive towards a global crisis

The world is awaiting the COP26 climate summit to be organized in Glasgow, Scotland, amid great challenges that the summit will place on the table for a number of 197 world leaders who will be attending, while the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was already a pioneer in proposing and implementing practical measures and initiatives on climate protection, which represented a model for the world.

The Saudi awareness and interest in climate issues is translated in the announcement of Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, of launching the “Green Saudi Arabia” and “Green Middle East” initiatives, which have been universally supported by countries and international organizations, since their launch in last March.

The two initiatives were launched by the Kingdom, “as a leading global oil producer fully aware of its share of responsibility in advancing the fight against the climate crisis, and that, just as its pioneering role in stabilizing energy markets during the oil and gas era, it is working to lead the next green era.”

The two initiatives launched by the Crown Prince were both translated into the historical and unique role of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, towards international issues and confronting crises, with a vision based on a strategic approach adopting the methodology of taking an action not just being the reaction, based on the fact that efforts to protect the planet require collective action from the actors in the international community.

In its strategies on climate issues, the Kingdom upholds the “concept of the circular economy of carbon”, which is a scientific mechanism based on 4 strategies, including: “mitigation, reuse, recycling, and removal”; in line with a comprehensive and successful management of the emissions file, so that this scientific mechanism ends with the removal of emissions from the atmosphere by applying the natural and geological extraction of carbon, storing and extracting it directly from the air, as well as developing a set of solutions to eliminate emissions.

The Kingdom role comes ahead of the worldwide efforts on climate change issues, whose organizers are calling for the implementation of measures aimed at “reducing the impact of human activities on the climate,” in line with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, known as the “Paris Agreement.”

While international efforts are based – within the Paris Agreement to increase the production of renewable energy, the Kingdom is working locally in this regard, in line with the efforts of the megaproject NEOM, towards benefiting from renewable resources (solar energy, wind energy, and hydrogen production”, as well as benefiting from the programs of the Saudi Energy Efficiency Center, in preserving the environment.

The importance of the Kingdom’s approach to climate change issues appeared obviously after the study conducted by the World Meteorological Organization, which suggested a 40% probability that the global temperature for at least one year would be 1.5 degrees Celsius warmer than the pre- industrial revolution global temperature.

The renewal of climate change issues in parallel with the Saudi role emphasizes the Kingdom’s proactive vision regarding one of the most serious issues that threaten humanity, in which there is no more clear evidence for this from a report issued by the United Nations, which went to scientifically confirmed possibilities of temperature rise across the Mediterranean faster than the global average in the coming decades, threatening the very vital agricultural, fisheries and tourism sectors.