How Saudi Arabia is initiating action on greenhouse gas emissions reduction

How Saudi Arabia is initiating action on greenhouse gas emissions reduction
The Kingdom is aiming to plant more than 10 billion trees over the course of the next two decades as part of the Saudi Green Initiative.
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Updated 21 September 2021

How Saudi Arabia is initiating action on greenhouse gas emissions reduction

How Saudi Arabia is initiating action on greenhouse gas emissions reduction
  • At UNGA, Saudi Arabia will show it is a leader in the global campaign for energy sustainability
  • The Kingdom has a big environmental responsibility as a major player in global energy markets

DUBAI: Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, the energy minister of Saudi Arabia, set out the Kingdom’s position on climate change loud and clear at the Future Investment Initiative forum in Riyadh earlier this year.

“We are long believers in the Paris Agreement and are doing everything in our power to achieve it,” he said, before issuing a challenge to other countries to match the Kingdom’s ambition in the campaign to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and thereby mitigate global warming.

“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. 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.

That message — Saudi Arabia will be a leader in the global campaign for energy sustainability — will be hammered home at the continuing 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, where climate change and sustainability are bound to be key issues.

The UNGA meetings are an opportunity each year to monitor progress on the UN’s sustainable development goals, the set of 17 policy objectives put in place in 2015 as a “blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all,” and intended for full implementation by 2030.

That time frame coincides with Saudi Arabia’s own Vision 2030 strategy, itself designed to transform the Kingdom and diversify its economy away from oil dependency. Sustainability is a vital part of the Vision 2030 plan.

The message will be driven home in New York, and next month in Glasgow when the COP26 summit takes crucial decisions on the next phase of implementation of the Paris Agreements.

Saudi Arabia’s position on climate change is long-standing and clear: The Kingdom shares the concern of the rest of the world that global warming presents a risk to humanity if allowed to go unchecked. Moreover, as a major player in global energy markets, Saudi Arabia has a big responsibility for protecting the planet.




Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman set out the Kingdom’s position on climate change loud and clear at the Future Investment Initiative forum earlier this year

But, precisely because of its role as a leading energy producer, the Saudi position is far more nuanced than some in Europe and North America who have turned against hydrocarbon fuels in any form.

One Saudi policy adviser told Arab News: “We reject the false choice between preserving the economy and protecting the environment. We view the rising global demand for energy products as an opportunity to re-imagine the future of energy globally, and through the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, we aim to pioneer this future.”

That thinking is behind many of the energy policy initiatives that have emerged from Riyadh over the past couple of years. Prince Abdulaziz has long been an enthusiast of sustainability and energy efficiency, and the drive toward a comprehensive policy on climate change has been given new impetus since he was appointed energy minister two years ago.

Central to the Kingdom’s strategy on climate change is the concept of the circular carbon economy (CCE) — a framework for tackling climate change while continuing to enjoy the benefits of economic growth driven by oil and gas, the most efficient and powerful energy sources mankind has ever developed.

CCE is based on the principles of the 4Rs — to reduce, reuse, recycle and ultimately remove harmful CO2 and other emissions from industrial processes and the atmosphere.

The Kingdom has a longstanding policy of aiming to reduce greenhouse gases through energy-efficiency programs that target travel, industry and construction. Saudi oil is already one of the “cleanest” crudes in the world, as measured by independent scientists.

Saudi Aramco also has a big R&D program in place to develop more energy-efficient motor engines. Hydrocarbon products are reused and recycled across the Kingdom’s industrial sector.

Saudi Arabia long ago ceased the practice of gas flaring, which is still common practice in many oil-producing countries.

One of the persistent features of the Kingdom’s energy policy has been to use hydrocarbons and their byproducts as non-fuel ingredients in the chemical and other manufacturing industry, and this trend has accelerated since the merger between Saudi Aramco and SABIC, the petrochemicals giant.

Most climate experts agree that it is the fourth R — remove — that is the most challenging, but also potentially the most effective in lowering greenhouse gas emissions and slowing climate change to the 1.5C global temperature increase the Paris Agreement requires by 2050.

Saudi Arabia has a headstart in technologies linked to carbon capture, use and storage (CCUS), which aims to prevent CO2 from escaping into the atmosphere, either by reusing it in industrial processes such as building materials or storing it in secure “sinks” such as old oil reservoirs and other natural locations.




The Kingdom’s reliance on oil could soon become a thing of the past, with megaprojects such as NEOM being built on zero-carbon models. (AFP)

The Kingdom has also been funding R&D into direct air capture (DAC), which some climate scientists see as the long-term “silver bullet” in combating climate change. If CO2 can be successfully removed from the air on a global scale, that would go a long way to solving the problem of global warming.

However, until the technology is proven and widely available, there are other techniques that can be implemented to ameliorate airborne carbon. Again Saudi Arabia has been at the forefront with its Saudi Green Initiative, which envisions the planting of 10 billion trees in the Kingdom over the next two decades as part of a wider Middle East Green Initiative that will eventually see a total of 50 billion trees planted in the region.

When he launched the initiative earlier this year, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said: “As a leading global oil producer, we are fully aware of our responsibility in advancing the fight against the climate crisis, and that just as we played a leading role in stabilizing energy markets during the oil and gas era, we will work to lead the coming green era.”

The other major plank of the Saudi Green Initiatives is a commitment to lift the proportion of renewables in the Kingdom’s domestic energy mix to 50 percent by 2030, replacing oil as an energy-generating fuel, with the balance to come from natural gas.

The Kingdom has already begun this program, with big wind and solar projects announced earlier this year to generate electricity from renewable sources.

The jewel in the crown of the Saudi sustainability strategy is the NEOM megacity under construction in the Kingdom’s northwest, which will have a zero-carbon footprint, with all its power and water needs satisfied by non-hydrocarbon sources, notably “green” hydrogen.

All the Saudi mega-projects of Vision 2030 also have sustainability at the heart of their plans.

Saudi Arabia is already a pioneer in developing hydrogen fuels, and last year exported the first shipment of “blue” ammonia — a much cleaner fuel that is a byproduct of the oil and gas industrial process — to Japan for use in that country’s electricity generation industry.




Saudi Aramco’s Shaybah oilfield. The company is one of the most profitable in the world. (Reuters)

An alliance with Germany was announced this year to study and develop hydrogen fuels, combining Saudi energy expertise with German engineering and technological prowess.

Nobody in New York — or Glasgow next month — is underestimating the scale of the climate challenge ahead, but Saudi Arabia has shown, and will continue to show, that a responsible approach to the problem can be adopted without totally abandoning the power and efficiency of hydrocarbons.

The Kingdom is winning allies in this challenge. At last year’s G20 summit of world leaders, the CCE framework promoted by Saudi Arabia was adopted unanimously as the preferred global methodology for combating global warming.


Riyadh hosts second edition of luxury jewelry event

Riyadh hosts second edition of luxury jewelry event
Prince Sultan Hall in the Al-Faisaliah Hotel that is hosting the second edition of the Riyadh International Luxury Week. (AN pho
Updated 51 min 37 sec ago

Riyadh hosts second edition of luxury jewelry event

Riyadh hosts second edition of luxury jewelry event
  • In a luxurious hall in the center of the Saudi capital, visitors move between pavilions displaying latest jewelry products
  • Timepieces displayed include Christophe Claret’s limited-edition AlUla watch crafted especially for Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: Prince Sultan Hall in the Al-Faisaliah Hotel in Riyadh is hosting the second edition of Riyadh International Luxury Week featuring some of the best-known names in the jewelry sector.
Krayem Al-Enazi, president of the National Committee for Precious Metals and Gemstones, officially inaugurated Riyadh International Luxury Week on Tuesday, May 24. Guest of honor Prince Bandar bin Abdullah bin Abdulaziz bin Msaad bin Galaw Al-Saud also visited the event on its opening day.
Riyadh International Luxury Week, which will run until Saturday, May 28, is a curated event showcasing creations presented by international watch and jewelry brands and aiming to consolidate Saudi Arabia’s position as a key luxury market in the Middle East.
“We are proud to have inaugurated the second annual Riyadh International Luxury Week and welcome all our participants. It is a pleasure for us to bring together such a diverse range of brands, all under one roof in Saudi Arabia,” said Abdulrahman Al-Zeer, CEO of Riyadh International Luxury Week.
“The number of watch and jewelry collectors is growing here. And the appreciation for luxury goods is definitely on the rise. So, it is exciting to be providing the opportunity for brands to engage with enthusiasts on a more personal level,” Al-Zeer added.
Timepieces displayed include Christophe Claret’s limited-edition AlUla watch crafted especially for Saudi Arabia; Reservoir’s Kanister Silver, which pays tribute to the spirit of freedom and speed from the 1950s, and Timeless’ new neo-vintage watch, inspired by the design codes of yesterday and tomorrow.
Some of the jewelry brands to present their creations include Daniel K, which is featuring its Dani line of attainable jewelry for women who want a variety of designs with the versatility to transition from day to night, and Nsouli Jewelry, which combines exceptional gems with unique aesthetics to shape its timeless pieces. Luxury Italian brand FerrariFirenze, recognized for its meticulous craftsmanship, is also showcasing a collection of its new and best-selling creations.
The event saw a seminar on May 25 supported by Sotheby’s and the Saudi National Committee for Precious Metals and Gems. A second one, on watchmaking and collecting, is taking place on Thursday, May 26.
Misk Jewelry, which was established in Dubai in early 2020, also showcased its gems at the event, displaying “contemporary jewels reimagining traditional Emirati motifs…with each piece expertly handcrafted in the UAE,” according to founder and CEO Maher Khansaheb.
Khansaheb told Arab News: “After gaining exposure through our online store and excited clientele from our Gulf Cooperation Council market, we were eager to start venturing into markets outside the UAE, where we could provide our clients a physical presence. Saudi Arabia is one of our first international locations to do that.”
Khansaheb, who has 15 years of experience in jewelry designing, said that “clients from Saudi Arabia are particularly excited for the modern heritage-inspired designs of our collections, which give them a pop of their favorite colors through the gemstones that complement each piece.
“Saudi clients choose Misk for the quality of the items they would like to purchase and keep with them to treasure for years,” he added.
Abeer Al-Saeed, executive director of Dalal Jewelry, is also displaying her jewelry in a small booth at the exhibition.
Dalal Jewelry is a Saudi brand whose establishment seeks to tell stories about Saudi heritage and culture in a modern, inspiring way that aims to “raise the value of the Saudi brand in the field of jewelry,” according to Al-Saeed.
 


Saudi Arabia approves uniform for taxi, transport app drivers

Saudi Arabia approves uniform for taxi, transport app drivers
Updated 26 May 2022

Saudi Arabia approves uniform for taxi, transport app drivers

Saudi Arabia approves uniform for taxi, transport app drivers
  • From July 12 the uniform is a requirement in accordance with the provisions of the regulations governing the activity of taxi and taxi intermediaries
  • The TGA called on those interested in its services to visit its website, tga.gov.sa, to view the details of the approved uniform

RIYADH: The Saudi Transport General Authority has revealed a uniform for public transport, airport taxi and private hire taxi drivers, as well as drivers of passenger transport applications.

From July 12 the uniform will be mandatory for drivers in these roles.

The uniform is a requirement in accordance with the provisions of the regulations governing the activity of taxi and taxi intermediaries.

Uniforms will contribute to strengthening development efforts and will raise the quality of services in transport activities, the TGA said.

It added that the decision came as part of updates and improvements to taxi transport and passenger transport applications, including changes to the technical specifications of taxis.

The TGA has also rolled out electronic payment systems for taxi customers.

The authority affirmed its keenness to serve beneficiaries and strive to achieve the highest standards of quality in transport services throughout Saudi Arabia’s regions.

It called on those interested in its services to visit its website, tga.gov.sa, to view the details of the approved uniform. The public can also call the unified number 19929 to obtain further information.


Youth take center stage at MISK pavilion at WEF

Youth take center stage at MISK pavilion at WEF
Updated 45 min 48 sec ago

Youth take center stage at MISK pavilion at WEF

Youth take center stage at MISK pavilion at WEF
  • “Youth Majlis” hosted discussion panels involving Saudi ministers, global policymakers and youth leaders
  • Pavilion hosted the inauguration of a Youth Council and the second edition of its Global Youth Index

DAVOS: Saudi youth took center stage at the World Economic Forum (WEF) this week at the Mohammed bin Salman Foundation (MISK) pavilion in Davos. 

The venue, titled the “Youth Majlis,” hosted several discussion panels involving Saudi ministers, global policymakers and youth leaders on how best to empower young people, not just in Saudi Arabia but globally, and how the younger generation can find solutions to global concerns of the future. 

Saudi Minister of Economy and Planning Faisal Al-Ibrahim at the MISK pavilion in Davos. (KSAMOFA)

During the week, the pavilion hosted the inauguration of a Youth Council, as well as the announcement of the second edition of its Global Youth Index (GYI), which was launched by MISK to discover how young people perceive opportunities in 30 countries and what they identify as the most important future opportunities for them. 

The GYI, first launched in 2018, compiles metrics on the factors, policies and institutions that drive youth development. 

Saudi Minister of Finance Mohammed Al-Jadaan at the MISK pavilion in Davos. (KSAMOFA)

The findings of the GYI’s second edition, which were showcased via a digital interactive display in the pavilion, pinpointed four key areas of improvement for the 30 countries surveyed, as well as the wider world as a whole.

It focused on the need for better national digital strategies, better industry-to-vocational training, better health support, especially surrounding mental health issues, and more efforts to tackle social inequality. 

Discussions are held at the MISK pavilion in Davos. (KSAMOFA)

For MISK CEO Dr. Badr Al-Badr, capturing the voice and sentiments of the youth at an event such as the WEF was important. 

“As one of the few youth-focused platforms at Davos, the Youth Majlis highlighted a crucial perspective at the annual meeting,” he said. 

The MISK pavilion in Davos. (Supplied)

“By convening thought leaders and speakers from a variety of sectors and industries, the sessions held constructive dialogues aimed at driving youth-focused solutions to the greatest challenges facing us today. 

“The second Global Youth Index was launched at the Youth Majlis with a unique digital activation, showcasing the G20 countries and 10 more.” 

He added: “The data and sentiment gathered by the GYI report offers a unique set of insights for policymakers and officials and demonstrates how young people feel about the issues that matter most to them.” 

Saudi Minister of Energy Khalid Al-Falih at the MISK pavilion in Davos. (Supplied)

Saudi government officials, including Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan and Minister of Economy and Planning Faisal Al-Ibrahim visited the pavilion, with the latter telling a discussion panel that he would be sharing the results of the GYI with ministries across the Saudi government. 

Much like its Saudi Tourism Authority counterpart, the MISK pavilion also sought to showcase elements of Saudi culture to business and political figures and policymakers attending the WEF, as well highlighting the progress in the Kingdom under its Vision 2030 reform plans. 

Saudi Minister of Finance Mohammed Al-Jadaan at the MISK pavilion in Davos. (Supplied)

“I think it’s very interesting to see how important youth development is to a country like Saudi Arabia, which is, perhaps, perceived as a more traditional society,” said Manuel Pedreira, a Brazilian financial consultant who visited the pavilion. 

Another attendee, Laryssa Tsarnovska from Ukraine, said that despite the conflict in her own country, the GYI findings gave her hope that the world’s youth can play a role in shaping future development. 

“We definitely need to see youth more engaged in decision-making, what is happening in my country shows what can happen if populations are complacent, so I welcome the findings in this report,” she said.


Human Rights Commission chief and New Zealand Foreign Ministry official hold talks in Riyadh

Human Rights Commission chief and New Zealand Foreign Ministry official hold talks in Riyadh
Updated 26 May 2022

Human Rights Commission chief and New Zealand Foreign Ministry official hold talks in Riyadh

Human Rights Commission chief and New Zealand Foreign Ministry official hold talks in Riyadh

RIYADH: Awwad Al-Awwad, president of the Saudi Human Rights Commission, met Jonathan Kerr, the director-general of the Middle East and Africa Department at the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, in Riyadh on Wednesday to discuss a number of issues relating to human rights and the development of bilateral cooperation.

Also present at the meeting was Barney Riley, New Zealand’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia.


Saudi authorities seize amphetamine pills hidden in plastic beans

Saudi authorities seize amphetamine pills hidden in plastic beans
Updated 26 May 2022

Saudi authorities seize amphetamine pills hidden in plastic beans

Saudi authorities seize amphetamine pills hidden in plastic beans

RIYADH: Authorities in Saudi Arabia foiled an attempt to smuggle thousands of amphetamine pills and arrested two suspects, the General Directorate of Narcotics Control said on Wednesday.

Spokesman Maj. Mohammed Al-Nujaidi said security officials who monitor drug smuggling and distribution networks that target the Kingdom intercepted 403,000 amphetamine tablets. They were found in the possession of a Syrian national and a Saudi citizen in Jeddah, hidden in a shipment of fake plastic bean pods, he added. The two men were referred to the Public Prosecution.

Al-Nujaidi said that the Ministry of Interior’s security forces, in coordination with the Zakat, Tax and Customs Authority, will continue to work to uncover plots to smuggle narcotics into the Kingdom and arrest those responsible.