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Climate Change- Saudi Green Initiative and Middle East Green Initiative

  • 28 April, 2021

  • 8 Min Read

Climate Change- Saudi Green Initiative and Middle East Green Initiative

Introduction

  • To combat climate change, Saudi Arabia has launched the Saudi Green Initiative and Middle East Green Initiative.

Progress towards goals

  • The two recent initiatives launched by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Deputy Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, to combat the threat of climate change — the ‘Saudi Green Initiative’ and the ‘Middle East Green Initiative’.
  • In fact, one of the main pillars of the Saudi G20 presidency was to “safeguard the planet”.
    • The Saudi leadership of the summit highlighted how climate change had negatively impacted the planet, people’s lives and their well-being.

Initiatives taken by G20 to combat climate change:

  • The G20 introduced initiatives like establishing a Global Coral Reef Research and Development Accelerator Platform to accelerate scientific knowledge and technology development in support of coral reef survival, conservation, resilience, adaptation and restoration.
  • G20 leaders also acknowledged the Circular Carbon Economy (CCE) Platform as a tool towards affordable, reliable, and secure energy and economic growth.

 

Initiatives under Saudi Green Initiative

  • The Saudi Green Initiative aims to raise the vegetation cover, reduce carbon emissions, combat pollution and land degradation, and preserve marine life.
  • As part of the initiative, 10 billion trees will be planted in the Kingdom.
  • It aims to reduce carbon emissions by more than 4% of global contributions, through a renewable energy programme that will generate 50% of Saudi’s energy from renewables by 2030.
  • Saudi Arabia is working towards raising the percentage of its protected areas to more than 30% of its total land area, representing roughly 6,00,000 sq km, exceeding the global target of 17%.

Initiatives under Middle East Green initiative

  • As part of the Middle East Green initiative, Saudi Arabia will work with the Gulf Cooperation Council countries and regional partners to plant an additional 40 billion trees in the West Asian region.
  • It represents 5% of the global target of planting one trillion trees and reducing 2.5% of global carbon levels.

Other efforts of Saudi Arabia

  • Saudi Arabia has been sharing its expertise and know-how with its neighbouring countries to reduce carbon emissions resulting from hydrocarbon production in the region by 60% and globally by 10%.
  • Saudi Arabia currently operates the largest carbon capture and utilisation plant in the world, turning half a million tonnes of CO2 annually into products such as fertilizers and methanol.
  • It also operates one of the region’s most advanced CO2-enhanced oil recovery plants that captures and stores 8,00,000 tonnes of CO2 annually.
  • Plans are afoot to deploy additional carbon capture, utilisation and storage infrastructure.
  • Saudia Arabia believes that nature-based solutions will play an important role in removing carbon as part of the CCE.
  • Saudi Arabia joined the International Solar Alliance.
  • To ensure momentum and continuity, Saudi Arabia will convene an annual summit called the Middle East Green Initiative which will host leaders from the government, scientists and environmentalists to discuss the details of implementation.
  • In partnership with participating countries, innovative methods will be researched to irrigate from treated water, cloud seeding and other purpose-driven solutions such as planting native trees which requires support for three years to grow and will then be able to survive on their own with natural irrigation.

Working towards Vision 2030

  • In 2016, the Crown Prince unveiled Vision 2030, a comprehensive road map to improve the quality of life of the citizens of the country.
  • As part of this, Saudi Arabia carried out a comprehensive restructuring of the environmental sector and established the Environmental Special Forces in 2019.
  • With NEOM and The Line, Saudi Arabia has already redefined the idea of sustainable habitats.

NEOM plan

  • Neom is the acronym for ‘New Future’.
  • It is a planned cross-border city in the Tabuk Province of northwestern Saudi Arabia.
  • It is planned to incorporate smart city technologies and also function as a tourist destination.
  • The site is north of the Red Sea, east of Egypt across the Strait of Tiran, and south of Israel and Jordan. (Near Gulf of Aqaba)
  • Saudi Arabia aims to complete the first section of Neom by 2025.
  • The project has an estimated cost of $500 billion.
  • On January 29, 2019, Saudi Arabia has announced setting up a closed joint-stock company named Neom with $500 billion.
  • The project is planned to be totally powered by renewable energy sources.

The Line city

  • It is a proposed smart city in Saudi Arabia in Neom, Tabuk that will have no cars, no streets, and no carbon emissions.
  • The city is part of Saudi Vision 2030 project, which Saudi Arabia claims will create 380,000 jobs and add $48 billion to the country's GDP.
  • The Line will be the first development in Neom, a planned $500 billion city
  • NEOM’s location also gives Saudi Arabia many advantages in the field of hydrogen production.
  • According to the World Bank, for every dollar invested in resilient infrastructure, $4 in benefits are generated.
  • With the Public Investment Fund recently pumping in $15 billion in the NEOM project and another $10 billion in renewable and solar energy projects, it is clear that the pandemic has only strengthened Saudi Arabia’s resolve to realise the goals of Vision 2030 and become one of the major producers of renewable energy with a capacity to generate 9.5 GW by 2023.

 

Source: TH

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