Saudi Arabia is one of the countries to count on technologies like carbon capture and hydrogen to fulfill its carbon neutral commitments. The Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said on Monday in Riyadh at a forum attended by heads of state that the country will establish a $10.4 billion investment fund to support carbon capture technologies.
The announcement follows an earlier pledge made on Saturday that Saudi Arabia would neutralize greenhouse gas emissions within its borders by 2060.
The carbon capture investment initiative includes a fund to improve carbon sequestration and a plan to feed hundreds of millions of people by providing them with clean cooking fuels. The country will contribute 15% to the initiatives. It also plans to open regional centers for early warning of storms, sustainable fishing, and cloud seeding.
“Climate change is an economic opportunity for individuals and the private sector,” said Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. He also added that reducing emissions will “create jobs and strengthen innovation in the region.”
Despite those commitments to cut emissions, Saudi Arabia officials emphasized that the kingdom and others would need to pump crude for decades to come. Other leaders at the Riyadh conference, though, expressed the opposite views and claimed governments need to accelerate efforts to slow climate change.
Last week, Greenpeace UK’s team of investigative journalists, Unearthed, released a huge leak of documents on how countries are trying to change a crucial scientific report on how to tackle climate change ahead of the COP26 Climate Summit.
Saudi Arabia was one of the countries mentioned in the documents that are trying to pressure the UN to play down the need to move rapidly away from fossil fuels.
The carbon capture initiative of Saudi Arabia is a major step forward, however, a big push to keep pumping fossil fuels from the ground is also witnessed in the country and among other major oil producers. Much bigger climate actions are needed for the world to mitigate climate change and most of all a complete phase-out of coal globally is necessary to be achieved as a first step.