Saudi ambassador to the UK: Kingdom ‘can lead world’ on climate change

Special Saudi ambassador to the UK: Kingdom ‘can lead world’ on climate change
Prince Khalid bin Bandar speaking to Frank Kane from Arab News at COP26 in Glasgow. (AN_Photo)
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Updated 18 November 2021

Saudi ambassador to the UK: Kingdom ‘can lead world’ on climate change

Saudi ambassador to the UK: Kingdom ‘can lead world’ on climate change
  • Prince Khalid bin Bandar hails ‘defining moment’ for Kingdom

GLASGOW: Saudi Arabia is “ready, willing and able” to lead the world in tackling climate change and global warming, the Kingdom’s ambassador to the UK told Arab News on Monday.

“It’s very simple, really. There is a problem. There’s a solution. And we’re working toward the solution to the problem,” Prince Khalid bin Bandar said at the COP26 environmental summit in Glasgow.

“This is an international issue, and it requires everybody working together in a common fashion to achieve a common goal. Saudi Arabia is ready, willing and able to take its position among the international community to solve the problem and do what it can.”

The Kingdom has set a target date of 2060 to achieve net zero carbon emissions and significant reductions in greenhouse gases as part of the Saudi Green Initiative.

Prince Khalid led the Saudi delegation on the first big day of set-piece speeches, bilateral negotiations, and candid exchanges of views at the Glasgow event. World leaders including US President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson stressed the gravity of global warming and the ambassador echoed theirsentiments.

“It’s a defining moment, for Saudi Arabia, and for the role it’s playing in climate change,” he said. “What you’ve seen is us not only committing to things in the long term, and the medium term, but also the short term.

“This isn’t something we’re doing for COP26. We’re doing this for the benefit of the Saudi population. We believe in quality of life. And in order to provide quality of life for Saudi Arabia, we need quality of life for the world.”

Prince Khalid saw no conflict between Saudi Arabia’s role as the world’s leading hydrocarbon exporter and its commitment to energy transition. “It’s not about the export of hydrocarbons,” he said. “We want to become an exporter of energy, period, whether it’s renewable, or a mix, with mixed hydrogen use like blue and green hydrogen.”

The Saudi experience could benefit the rest of the world, the ambassador said. “We live in a world in Saudi Arabia where we had very little, it’s a desert, there’s no water, there’s no food. It’s hot, it’s dry. It’s very, very difficult. We understand harsh climates. And we, through technological innovation, have managed to provide for our people a safe, comfortable place to live.”

The world had to tackle the challenge in a collaborative way but with one eye on each country’s economic and cultural circumstances, Prince Khalid said. “It’s a varied world, and different people and different countries have a different journey from where they are. Each has a different makeup, whether it’s culturally, socially, economically. And each one will require different solutions to solve their problems.”