Saudi Arabia’s efforts in approaching climate change were manifested with pioneering and effective theses, with realistic goals, which culminated in the Saudi Green Initiative and the Green Middle East, through which Saudi Arabia contributed to developing effective solutions to the dilemma of climate change, at a time when other countries were unable to play their role.

Saudi Arabia’s wise directions are not limited to its efforts to maintain the balance of oil markets and the stability of the global economy, but rather it is advancing globally based on a realistic road map in the field of circular economy and reducing carbon emissions. Far from traditional theories that demonize fossil fuels by raising issues of environmental pollution, addressing global warming and reducing emissions with inaccurate studies based on baseless slogans, the Kingdom presented real initiatives whose effects began to appear in many regions of the Kingdom, even before the launch of the Saudi Green Initiative. Through the concept of the circular carbon economy, with a commitment to the need to adapt to future needs, local, regional and global energy.

It is noteworthy that the road map towards zero neutrality drawn up by the International Energy Agency is not realistic, and despite this it was adopted by some leaders of industrialized countries (who decided to return the most polluting coal mines to the environment). The paradox is that the agency’s directions are putting obstacles in front of all fossil energy sources, especially oil and gas, while turning a blind eye to coal. On the other hand, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was able to differentiate its efforts in the field of climate change and reduce emissions with a qualitative and diversified model of energy sources from oil, gas, wind energy, solar energy and hydrogen soon, as other countries lack this diversity.

Quality initiatives

In 2021, the Kingdom launched the Saudi Green Initiative and then the Green Middle East Initiative, then the second version of it was launched on the sidelines of the twenty-seventh conference of the parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP27), and the third version of the two initiatives will be launched in conjunction with the activities of the United Nations Conference Climate Change in the Emirates (COP28) next December.

The two initiatives are part of the Kingdom’s efforts to achieve global goals to combat climate change, and they are considered the largest afforestation project in the world that aims to plant 50 billion trees, including 10 billion trees in Saudi Arabia. The Saudi green initiative is not limited to planting trees, but also aspires to achieve a sustainable future and improve the quality of life and is designed to reduce carbon emissions by 60 percent in the region, which faces great climate challenges, especially since one of the most prominent features of the Arabian Peninsula is sandy deserts with a climate Hot, little rain, sandstorms.

A blow to the carbon tax

The Kingdom blocked the road through its efforts (Green Saudi Arabia and the Green Middle East), at one negotiating table that had been called for by the United States of America, and included Russia, China and Saudi Arabia, regarding carbon emissions, so that Saudi Arabia would burn a card that was being prepared for use against certain countries, and announced a plan “Zero carbon” in 2060, even though Saudi Arabia does not use coal to generate electricity, which is the most harmful fossil fuel and responsible for a large proportion of the world’s total greenhouse gas emissions.

Therefore, it is axiomatic that a carbon tax should be imposed primarily on coal power plants rather than oil, and on coal producers and consumers. However, international efforts must work to achieve an integrated system to address climate and environmental challenges and raise the quality of life, but not by undermining the use of hydrocarbon fuels, which cannot be replaced in the long term.

Saudi Arabia say and do

There is much debate that the issue of climate change is being used for political purposes to put pressure on the economies of oil-exporting countries, but Saudi Arabia has not hesitated to prove its commitment to sustainability in word and deed. And if climate change really represents a crisis, then it is not only with slogans that crises are faced. Rather, the matter requires effective global leadership and moral commitment before it is political. The Kingdom has also shown the ability to implement its strategy, and the best evidence of this is the positive results achieved, based on the reality of the Kingdom’s economy, which are in line with the results of international research centers and already exceed many expectations.

It is noteworthy that an integrated work system was in place in the Kingdom, even before the launch of these serious initiatives, dedicating a sustainable transformation from traditional energy sources used to generate electricity to renewable and environmentally friendly energy sources, by building electricity generation stations with renewable energy, which will provide half of the Kingdom’s electric energy by 2030. , while generating the other half of the gas. Setting this goal contributed to raising the level of environmental awareness in the Kingdom and led to increased international cooperation in reaching the goals of confronting climate change.

Saudi Arabia succeeded in being the first to launch four major sustainable mega projects: Qiddiya, NEOM, the Red Sea Project, and Amaala. These projects aim to contribute to improving the quality of life, reducing carbon emissions, preserving marine and coastal environments, and accelerating the transition to clean energy by promoting the use of renewable energy sources for power generation.

Wise water management

One of the biggest challenges involved in planting 10 billion trees in Saudi Arabia is water scarcity, as the kingdom’s freshwater ecosystems are limited. However, this challenge will be met by progress in the water treatment sector, and the Kingdom has become the largest producer of desalinated water in the world. Important steps are being taken in the sectors of water distribution, sanitation and wastewater treatment, for example to irrigate trees.

This water can then be released into the atmosphere, where it evaporates, causing precipitation elsewhere, a process known as evapotranspiration, which softens the atmosphere and reduces dust. The Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture intends to reduce water consumption by about 43 percent from the current 250 liters per person per day to 150 liters per person per day by 2030, which is one of the highest rates of per capita water consumption in the world.

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