Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said on Monday the world’s largest oil exporter planned to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 70% by 2060 from 2005 levels, according to an interview with Bloomberg.
The crown prince also said global companies that want to do business in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East will be unlikely to include oil and gas among their energy sources, in a more environment-friendly direction than they have been in in the past.
Saudi Arabia, despite being the largest exporter of crude oil in the world, does not publish emissions figures. Saudi Arabia has been an exception to an OPEC cap on production that it did not join until late last year.
“We don’t have a zero emissions target yet, but we are working on this and we should be hitting it in 2060,” the crown prince said. “We need to cut 70% from 2005 levels by 2060. This is only a wish.”
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The use of gas is one strategy that Saudi Arabia has previously been considering to reduce carbon emissions.
According to the United Nations, the GCC, an organization of Gulf Cooperation Council countries, is the largest polluter in the region and the second in the world.
The Crown Prince said that technology developments in Saudi Arabia have left many in the energy industry doubtful that the kingdom will be able to reduce its emissions to such levels.
“Many have their doubts about our ability to be able to do this. There are many companies that are very interested in doing business in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East. But they can’t do so unless they exclude the consumption of fossil fuels,” he said.
Prince Mohammed said that Saudi Arabia’s leaders will not allow the progress made in energy production and renewable-energy to slow down, given “major challenges” posed by a global growing population and the rise of hybrid vehicles.
Oil demand will grow 1% annually for the next 20 years, the crown prince added. Saudi Arabia has doubled its gas production in the past five years and plans to reach 10-15% of Saudi gas consumption from 6% in the next five years.
• This article was amended on 29 May 2018 to reflect that no company was said to have included oil and gas in its list of energy sources.