Saudi Arabia 3rd-fastest reducer of fuel emissions among G20 nations

Carbon dioxide emissions in Saudi Arabia fell by almost double the predicted amount during 2018, the most up-to-date statistics from Enerdata have revealed. (Reuters/File)
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Updated 04 February 2020

Saudi Arabia 3rd-fastest reducer of fuel emissions among G20 nations

  • CO2 emissions in the Kingdom fell by almost double the predicted amount during 2018

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has become the third-fastest reducer of emissions from fuel consumption among G20 countries, according to latest figures.

Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the Kingdom fell by almost double the predicted amount during 2018, the most up-to-date statistics from Enerdata have revealed.

Data for the year showed a 4.4 percent or 26 million tons (MtCO2) fall in emissions in the country, down from 579 MtCO2 in 2017 to 553 MtCO2 in 2018. Previous estimates had put the reduction at 2.4 percent (15 MtCO2).

The results moved Saudi Arabia up from being fourth to the third-fastest reducer of emissions from fuel consumption among the top-five G20 group of countries, behind Brazil and France and in front of Germany and Japan.

Researchers at the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center (KAPSARC) have published an analysis based on the updated estimates.

“This new data shows that the impact of energy efficiency and energy price reforms in reducing wasteful energy use has been even greater than expected,” said Dr. Nicholas Howarth, a researcher at KAPSARC.

“Prior to 2016, CO2 emissions grew at over 5 percent each year. Seeing emissions now fall so strongly may come as a surprise to many.

“It also comes as Saudi Arabia hosts the G20 summit, where climate change is an important agenda item. It sets the stage well for the Kingdom to show leadership on the issue,” he added.

KAPSARC’s study findings showed that the rate of improvement in the energy intensity of Saudi Arabia’s economy was 5.5 percent in 2018, well above the global average of 1.2 percent.

Dr. Alessandro Lanza, another KAPSARC researcher, said: “Falling energy intensity was responsible for 81 percent of the emissions reductions, meaning more value is being created for every unit of energy consumed locally.”

According to researcher Thamir Al-Shehri, a sharp fall in diesel consumption was the main reason for the additional drop in emission levels.

“Emissions from the transport sector fell by an extra 10 MtCO2 than what was previously expected. This was due to diesel emissions falling by 19 MtCO2, or 43 percent, from 43.5 MtCO2 in 2017 to 24.5 MtCO2 in 2018.

“In addition to lower fuel use from consumers, part of the explanation for this large drop may be a lower payoff due to higher local diesel prices for those who would buy the fuel in Saudi Arabia to illegally export to other countries,” added Al-Shehri.


Cyprus sets stage for tourism recovery as airports reopen

Updated 18 min 17 sec ago

Cyprus sets stage for tourism recovery as airports reopen

  • Mediterranean holiday island tempts visitors with bold hospitality package that includes medical care

NICOSIA: Cyprus will reopen for international tourism on Tuesday, with airports welcoming visitors after an almost three-month shutdown, and a bold plan to cover health-care costs for visitors.

But with arrivals expected to be down by 70 percent this year due to the chaos brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s a leap of faith for the small Mediterranean holiday island.

“Nobody here is expecting to make any money this year,” Deputy Tourism Minister Savvas Perdios said. “We are setting the stage for the beginning of our recovery in 2021.”

The divided island’s tourism sector normally accounts for around 15 percent of gross domestic product, but has dried up in past months amid global measures to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Cyprus saw a record 3.97 million arrivals in 2019, with more than half its market made up of British and Russian visitors.

But even if the island’s airports in Larnaca and Paphos open up to arrivals on Tuesday, with the first flight due to arrive from Athens around noon, neither Britain or Russia are among the 19 countries allowed to land there.

The list of permitted countries, which also include Bulgaria, Germany and Malta, have been chosen based on epidemiological data and split into two categories.

Initially all travellers will need to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test undertaken within 72 hours of travel, but from June 20, only those arriving from six countries in the second category, such as Poland and Romania, will need to do so.

The government says the lists will be revised weekly and more countries can be added.

Cyprus will also cover accommodation, dining and medical care for any tourists who fall ill with the COVID-19 illness during their stay, as well as accommodation and meals for their families and close contacts.

“What we offer and what we sell is not the sun and the sea, it’s hospitality, and this is an extension of our hospitality,” Perdios said.

The government has designated a 100-bed COVID-19 hospital for tourists that Perdios said would be located in the Larnaca region, while 112 ICU units have been allocated for visitors.

Perdios said several four-star hotels would provide 500 quarantine rooms for close contacts of those who fall ill.

A raft of other health measures, including disinfection protocols and temperature checks at border controls, aim to protect travellers and locals alike.

“We’ve gone to big lengths to think ahead of things that could go wrong and try to devise plan Bs and Cs”, Perdios said.

The Republic of Cyprus, in the south of the island, has registered 960 novel coronavirus cases and 17 deaths.

Perdios expressed hope that British tourists could be welcomed “sometime after mid-July”, with Russia “slightly later, maybe by a couple of weeks.”

A recently announced deal with Hungarian low-cost carrier Wizz Air to open a base in Cyprus from July was also an important step towards expanding and diversifying the island’s tourist markets, he said.

While no date has been set to allow international tourists to visit the breakaway Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, only recognised by Ankara, the health-care commitment would still apply to those visiting the north during their stay once the crossings are reopened.

“I am very confident that not only will we be able to continue providing our citizens with protection, but also caring for everybody who comes to the island on holiday”, he said.

“If we are coming out with a scheme like this, it’s because we can afford it, but most importantly, because we feel that it’s the right thing to do.”