Saudi Arabia working on plan to boost climate target

World’s top petroleum exporter not deterred by incoming Trump presidency; says it will explore new ways to cut carbon emissions

Riyadh is primed for reform (Pic: Hamza82/Flickr)


Oil-rich Saudi Arabia is looking into how it can boost its climate targets, a delegation source has said on the sidelines of global climate talks in Marrakech.

Long regarded as an obstacle to a UN climate agreement, the Arab Kingdom has mollified its tone in recent years under pressure from the US and other developed countries.

With President-elect Donald Trump threatening to axe the Paris climate agreement, many assumed the Saudis could follow suit, but a representative insisted they will toughen carbon cuts.

“We are looking at it right now – we are re-evaluating our programmes to see those areas where we are advancing so we can meet our targets as soon as possible,” the source said.

“I think every country should challenge themselves… on an annual basis we are really challenging our different sectors to do more.”

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In a plan submitted to the UN in 2015, Riyadh said it would reduce its annual emissions from business as usual by up to 130 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent by 2030.

Analysis by independent body Climate Action Tracker rates the Saudi pledge as “inadequate” and says plans to move away from fossil fuels are too slow.

“If most countries followed Saudi Arabia’s approach, global warming would exceed 3–4C,” the CAT team say.

“The proposed abatement of 130 MtCO2e/year is still far from what could be deemed a fair contribution by Saudi Arabia to limiting global warming to 2C.”

Under its “Vision 2030” plan the government aims to deploy nearly 10 gigawatts of renewables by 2020 and diversify the economy away from hydrocarbons.

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