RIYADH: The circular carbon economy is the only way to tackle climate change, said Saudi Minister of Communications and Information Technology Abdullah Alswaha, as he outlined the Kingdom’s green initiatives during the UN Climate Change Conference, or COP 27, in Sharm El-Sheikh.
The circular carbon economy is based on the remove, reduce, re-use, and recycle loop, the minister explained.
When it comes to the “remove” factor, he said the Saudi Arabian Oil Co., or Aramco, in collaboration with the Ministry of Energy, has launched a carbon capture and storage hub with a storage capacity of up to nine million tons of carbon dioxide per year.
With adequate talent and technology, the minister stressed Aramco has demonstrated that carbon can coexist within the transition to net zero underground.
The “reduce” factor is evident in the Red Sea Project whereas it is completely powered by as much as 400 megawatts worth of solar energy, said Alswaha, adding that this is considered one of the largest storage implementations of 1.4 gigawatts per hour. As part of the project, he added that geospatial data was leveraged to map the projects into pixels. When it comes to ecotourism, the Red Sea Project is projected to preserve as much as 99 percent of the environment with zero waste landfill, Alswaha disclosed.
As for the “recycle” factor, Saudi chemical manufacturing company SABIC’s partnership with American technology firm Microsoft has contributed to the fact that 20 percent of every single Microsoft product nowadays is made up of recycled plastic from the ocean powered by SABIC, he revealed.
“If you want a nation that is driving big action with a bold ambition under the Saudi Green Initiative and the Middle East Green Initiative with the leadership of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, it is the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” Alswaha said.
Talking about the role of the growing digital economy, he said the world should not only move to economic, social, and governance but also to digital ESG in the sense that digital governance can go hand in hand.
This comes as he said one cannot today decouple the digital world from the physical world.
As a result, Saudi MCIT has partnered with Aramco in February to launch Prosperity7 Ventures, a one-billion-dollar venture capital fund and one of the largest climate tech funds.
“We genuinely believe we're building the right models under the Saudi Green Initiative and the Middle East Green Initiative to drive global consensus and collaboration,” the minister highlighted.
Still, Alswaha stressed that there is no doubt that collective action plays a vital role in tackling climate change.