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Saudi Arabia is setting ambitious climate targets — without hurting their oil business. Not only does the oil and gas sector represent most of Saudi Arabia’s business dealings, but the desert country burns these fossil fuels to meet power-hungry needs such as air conditioning and processing salty seawater into drinking water.
Still, Saudi Arabia is pledging carbon neutrality by 2060, meaning the country will remove as much greenhouse gas as it emits. Their submission to the U.N. promises to:
- Actively capture and store enough carbon dioxide deep underground to reduce carbon emissions by 35% (or 278 million tons) per year by 2030.
- Meet half of the country’s electricity demands from renewable sources — a major jump from less than one percent today. This aggressive goal has so far only been achieved by Iceland and Norway.
- Plant 10 billion trees over the coming decades to further reduce emissions, though some say it’s not clear how Saudi Arabia will achieve this goal given it’s the third driest country in the world. Others seeing desertification, like some countries in Africa, are taking a similar approach by planting a “Green Wall” to keep the Sahara Desert from expanding.
- Invest public and private money to make it happen, including $187 billion from the kingdom alongside a new investment fund.
The pledge was met with enthusiasm by the U.S. and Europe, who have been pressuring Saudi Arabia for some time. It also helps protect a region particularly vulnerable to global warming; in recent years, Saudi Arabia has suffered several severe heat waves reaching up to 122 °F.
🎬 Take Action
Want to do your part in the fight against global warming? The U.N. suggests these ten actions.
- Al Jazeera (Where we found this story) 10 days old | 4 minutes long
- Climate Change News Details of the pledge 10 days old | 7 minutes long
- Bloomberg Saudi Arabia’s carbon footprint 13 days old | 9 minutes long
- DW.com Africa’s Green Wall 1 minute long
- National Grid Capturing and storing carbon 4 minutes long
- National Geographic Saudi Arabia’s oil profits 2 minutes long
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Saudi Arabia’s renewable energy goals really blew me away!
Art Credit: Joan G. Stark