RIYADH: British Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Neil Crompton praised the “Saudi Green” and the “Middle East Green” initiatives announced by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, stressing that these initiatives will help in protecting the planet.
“Fantastic to see the Crown Prince’s commitment to protect the planet and combat climate change through the ‘Saudi Green Initiative’ and the ‘Green Middle East Initiative,’” the envoy tweeted.
He posted the comment while retweeting Minister of Environment, Water and Agriculture Abdul Rahman Al-Fadli, who also applauded the initiatives for “protecting Earth and nature and achieving global goals.”
In another tweet, the British envoy, speaking of the UK and Saudi Arabia, wrote: “Building on the G20 and ahead of @COP26 we look forward to working together to deliver the vision of a cleaner, greener world.”
The UK will host the 26th UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow between Nov. 1-12, 2021. The COP26 Summit is expected to bring parties together to work toward the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
The Saudi Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture and the British Embassy in Riyadh jointly hosted a virtual roundtable last week to mark the celebration of Saudi Arabia’s Environment Week. It was also part of the “Together for our Planet” campaign, which aims to build awareness on the urgent need for action in the lead-up to the COP26.
The crown prince’s initiatives aim to chart a path for the region in protecting the planet and achieving global targets in confronting climate change.
The region faces significant climate challenges, such as desertification, and an immediate social and economic risk — $13 billion is lost to dust storms in the region every year, while air pollution from greenhouse gases is estimated to have shortened average Saudi life expectancy by 1.5 years.
The Saudi Green Initiative aims to raise vegetation cover, reduce carbon emissions, combat pollution and land degradation, preserve marine life and plant 10 billion trees within the Kingdom in the coming decades. The initiative will also work to reduce carbon emissions by more than 4 percent of global contributions through an ambitious renewable energy program that will generate 50 percent of the Kingdom’s energy from renewables by 2030.
Saudi Arabia will also work to raise the percentage of protected areas to over 30 percent of its total land area, exceeding the current global target of 17 percent.
Moreover, the Kingdom will start working on the Middle East Green Initiative in coordination with Gulf Cooperation Council states and Middle Eastern countries to plant an additional 40 billion trees in the Middle East.