Saudi Arabia will meet the environmental challenge — energy minister

Prince Abdul Aziz highlighted Saudi projects in energy efficiency, solar power generation, and renewables. (Screengrab)
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Updated 25 June 2020

Saudi Arabia will meet the environmental challenge — energy minister

  • Prince Abdul Aziz highlighted Saudi projects in energy efficiency, solar power generation, and renewables
  • He was speaking at a webinar organized by the Future Investment Initiative (FII) Institute from New York

Saudi Arabia will continue to use its vast oil reserves in an environmentally efficient way, Energy Minister Prince Abdul Aziz bin Salman told an international audience of thought leaders on Thursday.
“I can assure you that Saudi Arabia will not only be the last producer, but Saudi Arabia will produce every molecule of hydrocarbon and it will put it to good use, and it will be done in a most environmentally sound and more sustainable way. I’m willing to say that by 2050, we’ll be the last and the biggest producer of hydrocarbon,” he said at a webinar organized by the Future Investment Initiative (FII) Institute.

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READ MORE: AS IT HAPPENED: FII Institute’s ‘Don’t Forget Our Planet’ virtual conference

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“I love challenges … We’ll live up to the challenge of sitting on a huge amount of hydrocarbon, and we’ll make better use of it,” he added.
“You should come and see all the young boys and girls of Saudi Arabia, how they aspire to these challenges and how they’re inspired by them. We’ll be the pacesetter.”
The prince was speaking on a panel with other energy leaders on the subject of “the new sustainable energy equation,” discussing the challenges and opportunities presented by recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
He reaffirmed Saudi Arabia’s commitment to the concept of the circular carbon economy, which seeks to remove harmful pollutants from the environment via a mixture of recycling and removing pollutants, as well as sophisticated technology to remove emissions from the industrial process. “We’re trying to lead by example, and we’re putting our money where our mouth is,” he said.

The prince highlighted Saudi projects in energy efficiency, solar power generation and renewables that aim to generate half of the Kingdom’s electricity from non-hydrocarbon sources by 2030. “We have a leadership that values sustainability,” he said.
The event — the second in a series of online gatherings leading up to the FII forum in Riyadh in October — was opened by the governor of the Kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund, who emphasized the need for a sustainable recovery from the economic shock of the pandemic.

“The recovery from the pandemic will give us the opportunity to hit the reset button,” the governor said, highlighting Saudi Arabia’s initiatives via public-private partnerships in recycling, energy efficiency, alternative energy sources and environmental protection.
The keynote speaker of the event was British anthropologist Jane Goodall, who said the response by governments to the pandemic had been “pretty good.” She added: “If only we’d responded in the same way to the climate crisis.”

Decoder

What is circular carbon economy?

Circular economy is a system aimed at eliminating waste and the continual use of resources. Inspired by how nature works, it is a closed-loop system where carbon emissions are reduced, reused, recycled and removed.


Saudi Arabia’s 6-point plan to jumpstart global economy

Updated 07 July 2020

Saudi Arabia’s 6-point plan to jumpstart global economy

  • Policy recommendations to G20 aim to counter effects of pandemic

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia, in its capacity as president of the G20 group of nations, has unveiled a six-point business plan to jump start the global economy out of the recession brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Yousef Al-Benyan, the chairman of the B20 business group within the G20, told a webinar from Riyadh that the response to the pandemic -— including the injection of $5 trillion into the global economy — had been “reassuring.”

But he warned that the leading economies of the world had to continue to work together to mitigate the effects of global lockdowns and to address the possibility of a “second wave” of the disease.

“Cooperation and collaboration between governments, global governance institutions and businesses is vital for an effective and timely resolution of this multi-dimensional contagion transcending borders,” Al-Benyan said.

“The B20 is strongly of the view there is no alternative to global cooperation, collaboration and consensus to tide over a multi-dimensional and systemic crisis,” he added.

The six-point plan, contained in a special report to the G20 leadership with input from 750 global business leaders, sets out a series of policy recommendations to counter the effects of the disease which threaten to spark the deepest economic recession in nearly a century.

The document advocates policies to build health resilience, safeguard human capital, and prevent financial instability.

It also promotes measures to free up global supply chains, revive productive economic sectors, and digitize the world economy “responsibly and inclusively.”

In a media question-and-answer session to launch the report, Al-Benyan said that among the top priorities for business leaders were the search for a vaccine against the virus that has killed more than half-a-million people around the world, and the need to reopen global trade routes slammed shut by economic lockdowns.

He said that the G20 response had been speedy and proactive, especially in comparison with the global financial crisis of 2009, but he said that more needed to be done, especially to face the possibility that the disease might surge again. “Now is not the time to celebrate,” he warned.

“Multilateral institutions and mechanisms must be positively leveraged by governments to serve their societies and must be enhanced wherever necessary during and after the pandemic,” he said, highlighting the role of the World Health Organization, the UN and the International Monetary Fund, which have come under attack from some world leaders during the pandemic.

Al-Benyan said that policy responses to the pandemic had been “designed according to each country’s requirements.”

Separately, the governor of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority said that it was “too early” to say if the Kingdom’s economy would experience a sharp “V-shape” recovery from pandemic recession.