DUBAI: Saudi Arabia will be doing more than many Western countries to tackle climate change by the end of the decade, Prince Abdul Aziz bin Salman, the Kingdom’s energy minister, told a panel of energy leaders at the Future Investment Initiative (FII) forum in Riyadh.
“Whatever we will do in the Kingdom will support emissions reduction, and we are doing it willingly because the economic benefits (from new energy technologies) are clear,” he said.
“We will enjoy being looked at as a reasonable and responsible international citizen because we will be doing more than most European countries by 2030 (to combat climate change),” he said.
Saudi Arabia had “set the pace” in tackling the global energy crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Prince Abdul Aziz said.
“When the going got tough, the tough got going,” the prince said, paying tribute to the efforts and optimism of the Kingdom’s youth during the pandemic recession.
“The energy minister has been energized by the energy of youth,” he added.
The panel discussed how the global energy sector can power the post-pandemic recovery, which Prince Abdul Aziz said will depend on the rollout of vaccines around the world.
“We have to maintain our hands on the situation until we’re more comfortable that people are using the vaccines and lockdowns are coming down,” he said.
Prince Abdul Aziz highlighted the Kingdom’s commitment to combat climate change via the framework of the Circular Carbon Economy, the strategy developed by Saudi Arabia and endorsed by G20 leaders.
The Paris Agreement on climate was an economic opportunity for Saudi Arabia, which has developed innovative techniques of producing and using clean energy, as well as a way of mitigating climate change.
“We are long believers in the Paris Agreement and are doing everything in our power to achieve it,” Prince Abdul Aziz added.
Patrick Pouyanne, CEO of French energy company Total, said that he was looking for low-cost energy resources in the Middle East.