The oil giants in the Persian Gulf are seeking to achieve carbon neutrality, with fossil fuels considered the biggest culprit in climate change and air pollution, which prompted them to put in place public policies and plans to reduce harmful emissions, especially from oil installations and drilling operations.
The year 2021 witnessed the launch of the giants of the Arabian Gulf – especially Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar – plans that included targets to achieve carbon neutrality through investments to develop the green economy, and reduce emissions from oil and gas facilities.
According to a World Bank classification, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait and Qatar are among the top 10 countries in the world that emit carbon emissions per capita.
In October 2021, Saudi Arabia – which is the largest oil exporter in the world and the largest producer of crude in OPEC – launched its new environmental initiatives to achieve green targets and work to confront climate change by reaching carbon neutrality.
The initiative included a package of investments amounting to 700 billion riyals ($186.62 billion) to develop the green economy, as part of Saudi Arabia’s goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2060.
The plan also included initiatives in the energy field, which aim to reduce carbon emissions by 278 million tons annually by 2030.
The Kingdom began the first phase of afforestation initiatives by planting more than 450 million trees, while rehabilitating 8 million hectares of degraded land.
The country is also working to allocate new protected lands, bringing the total protected areas in Saudi Arabia to more than (20%) of its total area.
The Kingdom’s initiatives also included its intention to transform the capital, Riyadh, into the world’s most sustainable city.
On the external front, Saudi Arabia has established a fund to invest in solutions for circular carbon economy technologies in the Middle East region.
The Kingdom has launched a global initiative that works to provide clean fuel solutions to provide food to more than (750) million people worldwide.
And in March 2022, the Saudi Public Investment Fund signed 5 non-binding memoranda of understanding with national companies, to trade carbon credit in the Middle East and North Africa.
The signing included Saudi Aramco, Saudi Airlines, ACWA Power, Maaden, and Inwa, a subsidiary of NEOM.
The memorandums of understanding stipulate that these local entities cooperate with the Public Investment Fund, and work to develop a voluntary market for carbon credit trading, through the supply, purchase and trading of carbon credits.
The UAE aims to reach carbon neutrality to face climate change by 2050, which was announced by the country during the Expo 2020 Dubai.
The UAE government has launched the country’s strategy to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, which aims to invest more than 600 billion dirhams (163.36 billion dollars) in clean and renewable energy until the middle of this century, with the goal of reducing harmful emissions by 23.5% by 2030.
The UAE seeks to achieve savings equivalent to 700 billion dirhams ($ 190.58 billion) through those targets until 2050, which included raising the efficiency of individual and institutional consumption by 40%, and increasing the contribution of clean energy in the total energy mix produced to 50%, of which 44% are renewable energy. and 6% nuclear energy.
It also aims to reduce carbon emissions from the electricity production process by 70% over the next three decades.
The UAE plans to plant at least 30 million mangrove trees that capture and store large amounts of carbon by 2030.
The year 2021 witnessed the launch of Qatar, which last year ranked second in the list of the largest LNG exporters in the world, the National Strategy for Environment and Climate Change, which aims to confront climate change, achieve carbon neutrality and sustainable development.
Through the strategy, Qatar aims to reduce the carbon intensity of liquefied gas facilities by 25% by 2030, while eliminating emissions from routine flaring in natural gas production.
The strategy also included a 25% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, and a 0.2% reduction in methane intensity by 2025.
To achieve the goal of mitigating greenhouse gas emissions, Qatar Energy Company has directed investments in advanced technology to increase energy efficiency and reduce emissions from burning natural gas, amid its intention to rely on renewable and clean energy sources in the coming years.
It also plans to establish 30 air quality monitoring stations by 2023, while increasing the number of biodiversity reserves.
Kuwait also has a strategy to reduce emissions and reach carbon neutrality, which it announced during the activities of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which was held in Glasgow, United Kingdom.
Through the strategy, Kuwait aims to reduce the rise in greenhouse gases by 7.4% of its total emissions until 2035.
The strategy also included the country’s intention to transition to an economic system with low carbon equivalent emissions.
It intends to increase the nature reserves to reach 15% of the total area of the country, while working on planting mangroves in the coasts and northern islands, with the aim of capturing and storing carbon.
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