The Secretary General of the International Energy Forum (IEF) Joseph McMonigle welcomed Saudi Arabia’s plan to confront climate change with a series of measures including planting 50 billion trees across the Middle East and accelerating the transition to renewables.
Saudi Arabia is a member of the IEF, the world’s largest energy organization whose mandate is to promote dialogue on energy policy and support its members in the transition to a sustainable energy future.
“This is an exciting announcement regarding the Saudi and Middle East Green Initiatives to reduce carbon emissions and further strengthen efforts on the climate crisis,” said Mr McMonigle.
Under the Saudi Green Initiative announced on Saturday, the kingdom plans to raise vegetation cover by planting 10 billion trees in the country, reduce carbon emissions by making half of the country’s power from renewable sources by 2030, combat pollution and land degradation, and preserve marine life, according to a statement issued by the Saudi Press Agency.
Under the Middle East Green Initiative, also announced on Saturday, the kingdom will coordinate with neighbouring states and regional allies to plant an additional 40 billion trees, making the combined total the largest reforestation program in the world, according to the SPA.
Announcing the initiatives, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman said; “As a leading global oil producer, the kingdom fully recognizes its share of responsibility in advancing the fight against the climate crisis. Just as the kingdom underpinned energy markets during the oil and gas era, it is going to become a global leader in forging a greener world,” according to the SPA.
Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter, faces significant environmental challenges, including desertification and air pollution. During its presidency of the Group of 20 last year, the Saudi government secured the G20’s endorsement of the concept of the Circular Carbon Economy, which supports technologies such as Carbon Capture Utilization and Storage and Direct Air Capture. These are expected to prolong the life of hydrocarbons by removing the greenhouse gas emitted when they are burned.
More details of the Saudi Green Initiative are due to be announced in the next few months, and Saudi Arabia will host a forum with international partners for the Middle East Green Initiative in the second quarter of 2022, according to the SPA.