Saudi Arabia to establish investment fund to combat climate change in the region

The kingdom plans to more than double its target of reducing annual carbon emissions to 278 million tonnes by 2030

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman gives a speech from his office as he addresses the Saudi Green Initiative forum opening ceremony, in Riyadh. Courtesy of Saudi Royal Court
Powered by automated translation

Saudi Arabia plans to establish an investment fund focused on the circular carbon economy and to safeguard the environment after its pledge to reach net-zero emissions by 2060.

The world's largest oil exporter committed to funding clean energy sources for cooking as well as sustainable technology under the Green Initiative Foundation.

"We will establish an investment fund for the circular carbon economy and an international economic initiative to provide food for more than 750 million people in the world through an initiative," Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told an environment forum in Riyadh on Monday.

The overall investment for these initiatives is estimated at 39 billion riyals ($10.4bn) with the kingdom contributing around 15 per cent of the amount to financing.

"We will work with regional and international numbers to search for ways to implement these initiatives. And to uplift the co-ordination level we will announce the establishment of the Green Initiative Foundation to support our missions in the future."

In addition to its pledge to reach net-zero by 2060, the kingdom also plans to more than double its target of reducing annual carbon emissions to 278 million tonnes by 2030. This is up from a previous target of 130m tonnes.

The crown prince highlighted "gaps in the ecosystem" that needed regional co-operation to fix.

"In conclusion to counter act climate change, we need to create the environment to protect our natural resources in the region and to enhance our co-operation to achieve," he said.

Climate change also proved an opportunity for the private sector to add more jobs in the region

"We believe that climate change is an opportunity also for the private sector, which the initiative should create jobs and quality jobs," Crown Prince Mohammed told the forum.

The kingdom's green initiatives represent investments of more than 700bn Saudi riyals ($186.6bn) that will create major opportunities for the private sector, create more jobs and develop a green economy.

The announcement at the SGI comes ahead of the crucial UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties, or Cop26, in Glasgow, to be held from October 31 to November 12. The gathering of world leaders aims to agree on steeper emissions cuts to address global warming amid rising threats from climate change.

Saudi Arabia became the second Gulf country, after the UAE, to unveil a net-zero emissions target.

Bahrain, one of the smallest producers in the Gulf, also pledged to reach emissions neutrality by 2060 on Sunday.

Updated: October 25, 2021, 3:53 PM