Saudi Arabia Raising Standard With Steep Environmental Goals
By 2030, Saudi Arabia aims to cut, avoid, and remove 278 million tonnes of annual greenhouse gas emissions like carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane, according to its revised NDC. In its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), Saudi Arabia also outlined their comprehensive strategy for reaching this goal. This strategy includes, but is not limited to, the use of energy efficiency measures, renewable energy sources, carbon capture, utilisation, and storage (CCUS), and hydrogen. Several of these sectors have already seen significant development, with Saudi Arabia showing leadership in terms of execution.
One year after declaring its intention to reach net-zero emissions by 2060, Saudi Arabia lowered its 2030 emissions target in its Nationally Determined Contribution. The Paris Agreement is an international convention to combat climate change that nearly every country in the world signed.
Saving energy and lowering carbon dioxide emissions in Saudi Arabia is one of the best instances of effective policy execution. In 2010, Saudi Arabia initiated the Saudi Energy Efficiency Program and the Saudi Energy Efficiency Center. Many initiatives have since resulted from the programme, all with the goal of increasing energy efficiency in various fields.
Many prominent Saudi organisations have voluntarily established emission reduction goals in response to the government of Saudi Arabia's vision and aims. Saudi Aramco, SABIC, STC, ACWA Power, and Ma'aden have all announced plans to become carbon neutral by 2050 within the past year or two.
Saudi Arabia's megaprojects have also built sustainability into their plans. For instance, NEOM aims to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030, and Red Sea Global aims to achieve carbon neutrality for the entire Red Sea Project between Alwajh and Umluj. Many more Saudi entities will likely develop sustainability strategies and set net-zero targets as a result of the ambition displayed by the Saudi government, gigaprojects, and prominent enterprises.
Saudi Aramco absorbs 45 mscf/d of CO2 at their Hawiyah facility; this gas is then piped to an underground oil storage facility where it is used to improve output.
SABIC constructed one of the world's largest CCUS plants and now puts the half a million tonnes of carbon dioxide it captures annually to good use. Liquid CO2 (for the beverage industry), urea (for farming), and methanol (for fuel) are all examples of such goods (a key ingredient in many commonly used chemical products.) The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia plans to increase its CCUS efforts in the next years, with the ultimate goal of converting a greater volume of captured CO2 into marketable goods.
Clean hydrogen, both Green and Blue, has been exported from Saudi Arabia at an unprecedented rate.
The first ever global shipment of blue ammonia travelled from Saudi Arabia to Japan, with significant contributions from both Saudi Aramco and SABIC, as well as the Institute of Energy Economics, Japan (IEEJ). For its part, NEOM has just launched a green hydrogen project that is already under way and which will have the capacity to generate 650 tonnes of green hydrogen per day by 2026.
Many other examples of action have been taken, for instance in the realms of waste management and tree planting. More talk of turning aspiration into action is anticipated to emerge from this year's COP27 flagship events for the Saudi Green Initiative and the Middle East Green Initiative in Sharm El Sheikh.