Saudi Arabia eyes 2060 for timeline to achieve net zero emissions
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced on Saturday that his country will aim to achieve "net zero" emissions by 2060,though he noted that hydrocarbons were still important, Reuters reported.
Prince Mohammed also noted that by 2030, degraded areas of land would be restored and hundreds of millions of trees would also be planted, according to The Associated Press.
The crown prince's remarks at the Saudi Green Initiative come roughly one week before the start of a U.N. climate summit in Glasgow, which seeks to receive pledges from countries over how they will reach a target of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels.
The European Union and United States are both aiming to reach a net-zero date of 2050, according to the AP. However, China and Russia have also stated they are seeking a 2060 target date.
Prince Mohammed, whose country is responsible for producing roughly 10 percent of oil globally, said that Saudi Arabia would reduce emissions through an “Carbon Circular Economy” initiative, according to the AP. The news outlet said that critics argue that the approach does not eliminate fossil fuels but instead uses unreliable technology for capturing and storing carbon.
Saudi leaders also expressed confidence that they could continue to play an important role within the oil industry — even expanding their production — without jeopardizing their efforts to cut back emissions.
Earlier this week, the BBC reported that Saudi Arabia and several other countries apparently seemed to lobby for a U.N. report slated to be released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to amend certain language or recommendations around reducing fossil fuels.
According to the BBC, which obtained the leaked documents, "phrases like 'the need for urgent and accelerated mitigation actions at all scales…' should be eliminated from the report" — a submission gleaned from a Saudi oil ministry adviser.