Saudi Arabia makes Cop26 commitments on carbon emissions

Boris Johnson holds phone call with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on climate change and Iraq

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson, left, and Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Getty
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Boris Johnson spoke with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Wednesday as the country’s energy minister told the Cop26 summit in Glasgow the country was moving quickly to respond to the climate crisis.

Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman Al Saud spoke at the UN climate summit in Scotland to affirm the country’s goal of reaching a net-zero carbon economy by 2060 and real cuts in its emissions by the start of the next decade.

A statement issued on behalf of Mr Johnson, the UK prime minister, said countries were being urged to increase commitments in the final days of the talks. “He welcomed Saudi Arabia’s commitment to reach net zero by 2060 and their efforts to transition away from fossil fuels,” the Downing Street statement said.

“They discussed the importance of making progress in negotiations in the final days of Cop26, including on finalising the outstanding elements of the Paris Rulebook.

“The Prime Minister said all countries needed to come to the table with increased ambition if we are to keep the target of limiting global warming to 1.5°C alive.”

On Wednesday, Prince Abdulaziz said international efforts to combat climate change should not undermine global energy security.

“The kingdom has revised its nationally determined contributions, pledging to reduce emissions by 278 million tonnes per annum by 2030,” he said. “That is more than double the whole [figure] previously said in 2015.

“The kingdom has also announced its ambition to achieve net zero by 2060 within the circular carbon economy framework, in line with the kingdom’s development and economic diversification plans.”

Prince Abdulaziz said Saudi Arabia’s efforts would take place within the context of its efforts to realise the stability of energy markets in the world.

He said investments in technology by Riyadh would ensure the supply of clean fuels to 750 million people in Africa and the Middle East. Pointing to a large afforestation programme and its plans to become a major producer of hydrogen, the minister said climate-focused investment plans stood at $185 billion.

“Our response will be successful when we address three main pillars energy security, economic development, ensuring the well being of peoples,” he said. “These pillars must be addressed jointly, without compromising for one for the sake of another. It is imperative that we recognise the diversity of climate solutions and the importance of emissions reductions, as reflected in the Paris Agreement, without any bias towards or against any particular source of energy.”

Separately, Mr Johnson and the Crown Prince addressed the recent aggression in Iraq.

“The leaders also shared their deep concerns about the recent attack on the residence of Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al Kadhimi and reiterated their staunch support for the stability and prosperity of Iraq,” the statement said.

Updated: November 10, 2021, 12:01 PM