In Saudi Arabia, we take pride in being the world’s largest energy provider. We take pride in being the reliable partner that provides the energy that the world needs to evolve, grow and function.
This pride motivates many to join the industry. Young people have, generation after generation, grown up intending to study at the world’s best schools so that they can work in the energy sector — all to be part of our Kingdom’s workforce. Yet, what if I told you that there is much more to be proud of, and in areas that are in greater need of our youth’s action and attention?
Unfortunately, the up-and-coming generation is not fully aware of our country’s role in combating the global climate challenge. If the youth only knew the magnitude of the Kingdom’s work and objectives in this field, I have no doubt many would not miss a chance to be part of this effort.
Although Saudi Arabia is known for its vast oil reserves and production, it is a country that is emerging as a leader in the fight against climate change. The Kingdom has recognized the urgency of addressing this issue and is taking significant steps to develop renewable energy sources, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and promote sustainable practices. These efforts are evident in various projects and initiatives that have been launched in recent years.
If we look at the Saudi Green Initiative, we find that it aims to reduce CO2 emissions by 60 percent and generate 50 percent of the country’s energy from renewable sources by 2030.
It also seeks to plant 10 billion trees, increasing the country’s green cover and capturing millions of tons of carbon dioxide. And the efforts do not stop there.
The Kingdom is investing in mega-projects such as NEOM that will run entirely on renewable energy and be a hub for technological innovation and sustainable development. This futuristic city will rely on multiple sources of energy ranging from helium to solar and wind.
These initiatives are critical for several reasons. They show the importance of investing in new technologies and infrastructure to support a low-carbon economy. They also underscore that addressing climate change is not only an environmental imperative but also an opportunity for economic growth and diversification.
Saudi Arabia’s efforts to combat climate change serve as an example of how countries can still make a meaningful impact. It is time that you become part of the new generation that continues the tradition of being proud of the Kingdom’s legacy as the global energy leader
Finally, it demonstrates energy is energy whether it comes from fossil fuel or clean and renewable sources, and Saudi Arabia plans to remain the global leader in energy.
This ambition by Saudi Arabia provides an array of opportunities for both companies and individuals in investment, education, innovation and career paths.
We must look at what we can do ourselves. As individuals, we also have a role to play in combating climate change. Here are some steps you can take to reduce your carbon footprint and contribute to a more sustainable future:
• Education: Pursue paths related to clean energy.
• Career choice: Pursue fields related to clean energy, carbon capture and renewable energy.
• Conserve energy: Use energy-efficient appliances, turn off unnecessary lights, and unplug electronic devices when they are not in use.
• Reduce, reuse, recycle: Minimize waste by reusing items, recycle materials, and opt for products with minimal packaging.
• Travel responsibly: Choose public transportation, carpool, or cycle when possible. Consider offsetting your carbon emissions when you fly.
• Support renewable energy: Invest in solar panels for your home or choose energy providers that use renewable sources.
• Eat sustainably: Opt for a plant-based diet, buy locally produced food, and reduce food waste.
• Raise awareness: Educate yourself and others about the importance of climate change and the steps that can be taken to mitigate its impact.
• Support policies and businesses: Advocate for policies that promote climate action and support businesses that prioritize sustainability in their operations.
As I write this, I call to action all those of my generation, all the youth of Saudi Arabia who will eventually lead this great country.
Climate change is a pressing issue that demands immediate action from both governments and individuals.
Saudi Arabia’s efforts to combat climate change serve as an example of how countries can still make a meaningful impact. It is time that you become part of the new generation that continues the tradition of being proud of the Kingdom’s legacy as the global energy leader.
• Sara Alsheddi is at Advanced Learning schools, Ibdaa 2023 finalist (research project on solar irradiance levels in Saudi Arabia) and Climate Science International Olympiad 2022 finalist.