RIYADH: According to the UN, net zero emissions can be achieved by balancing carbon dioxide emissions with elimination or eliminating emissions.
Net zero emissions is also called carbon neutral or becoming climate neutral. This specific climate goal is key to reducing global warming under the 2015 Paris Agreement. The agreement calls on countries to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.
For oil and gas-dominated Gulf Cooperation Council countries, this means translating net-zero emissions ambitions into concrete action.
Saudi Arabia is committed to achieving net zero emissions by 2060. The country has undertaken billion-dollar climate change initiatives under the Saudi Green Initiative program, which aims to establish a regional carbon capture and storage center, storm early warning center and cloud seeding programs as part of its efforts to create a greener future.
The Kingdom will also join the Global Methane Pledge to reduce global methane emissions by 30% by 2030 to deliver a cleaner, greener future.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said the Kingdom will plant 450 million trees and rehabilitate 8 million hectares of degraded land by 2030, reducing 200 million tonnes of carbon emissions with additional initiatives to be announced in the years to come.
According to the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center, the Kingdom will achieve this ambition through numerous programs and initiatives, including energy efficiency, renewable energy, hydrogen and carbon capture, use and storage.
Saudi Arabia established the Saudi Center for Energy Efficiency in 2010 and launched the Saudi Energy Efficiency Program in 2012.
“Since then, the program has led to numerous actions to improve energy efficiency. For example, insulation standards for buildings have been introduced, minimum energy efficiency levels for appliances like air conditioners have been increased, fuel economy standards for cars have been launched and various awareness campaigns have been implemented,” KAPSARC researcher Anwar Gassim told Arab News.
Saudi Arabia has launched and built several large renewable energy projects, taking advantage of its natural potential in solar and wind. For example, there is the Sakaka Solar Power Plant, the first “utility scale” solar energy project in Saudi Arabia, with 1.2 million solar panels laid out over an area of more than 6 km². and a capacity of 300 MW.
“This project, which is fully operational, has set a new world record for the lowest solar power generation cost,” Gassim said.
Another example is Dumat Al Jandal, Saudi Arabia’s first large-scale wind project. “With a capacity of 400 MW, Dumat Al Jandal is the largest wind farm in the Middle East,” he added. “In addition, Saudi Arabia very recently announced five new renewable energy projects, with a combined capacity of 3,300 MW,” he said. .
Additionally, Saudi Arabian Oil Co. has been a pioneer in carbon dioxide capture and storage to improve oil recovery from its fields. At its Hawiyah plant, Saudi Aramco can capture 45 million standard cubic feet of gas, which they pump and store in an oil reservoir, resulting in increased oil production.
Saudi Basic Industries Corp. built one of CCUS’ largest plants, which uses the captured gas to produce liquefied carbon dioxide that can be used in the food and beverage industry. It also uses the captured gas to produce valuable chemicals like urea and methanol.
The Kingdom aims to become the world’s leading producer and exporter of hydrogen in hydrogen production and has already taken the first step on a global scale. Saudi Aramco and SABIC, in partnership with Japan’s Institute of Energy Economics, announced in 2020 the Kingdom’s first shipment of blue ammonia to Japan.
“Ammonia, a form that facilitates the transport of hydrogen, is obtained by combining hydrogen with nitrogen,” Gassim said.
“The blue ammonia was shipped to Japan for use in carbon-free power generation,” he added.
Additionally, NEOM has announced plans to build one of the largest green hydrogen plants in the world.
Saudi Arabia has also announced its ambition to produce 50% of its electricity from renewable energy by 2030, with the remaining 50% coming from natural gas.
According to the state government portal, the UAE was the first country in the Middle East to establish the Net-Zero strategy by 2050, pledging to reduce carbon emissions by 23.5%, or 70 million tonnes by 2030.
The Abu Dhabi Department of Energy has announced new clean energy generation projects focusing on solar and nuclear sources to help achieve these goals. Additionally, the Dubai Future Council of Energy has released a detailed plan to establish a carbon-free economy.
The Abu Dhabi Fund for Development has also pledged $400 million to a new energy transition program to finance renewable energy projects in developing countries that would otherwise be unable to raise funds.
The deployment and use of clean energy solutions is one of the main pillars of the UAE model to meet the challenge of climate change and reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
The UAE government portal said the country started financing clean energy projects more than 15 years ago and has invested more than $40 billion in the sector to date.
Current trends predict that clean power generation capacity, including solar and nuclear, will reach 14 GW by 2030, up from around 100 MW in 2015 and 2.4 GW in 2020.
The country has also invested in renewable energy companies worth about $16.8 billion in 70 countries, focusing on developing countries.
It has also provided more than $400 million in aid and soft loans for clean energy projects.
Qatar, which has the highest carbon intensity per capita in the world, reaching 34.3 tonnes of carbon dioxide per capita in 2021, has created a national climate change action plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by 2030 and the carbon intensity of liquefied natural gas installations. 25% the same year.
Qatar is the world’s largest producer of liquefied natural gas and aims to increase production to 127 million tonnes per year by 2027.
He says his gas production helps fight climate change globally, as it can help the world shift from highly polluting fuels like oil and coal to renewable energy.
The plan pledged to step up carbon capture and storage efforts at its gas production facilities, Reuters reported.
Kuwait has pledged to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 7.4% by 2035.
The country estimates greenhouse gas emissions at around 142 tonnes of carbon by 2035, 65% more than in 2016. The 7.4% reduction would limit GHG emissions by almost 11 tonnes to 132 tons.
Most of the reduction in GHG emissions would come from a substitution of oil for gas in energy production, according to Enerdata intelligence and consultant.
In 2016, fuel combustion activities accounted for 95% of the country’s total GHG emissions, or 86 tonnes, followed by industrial processes and product use 2% and waste 2%.
In 2018, Kuwait implied a commitment following the Paris Agreement to transition to a low-carbon economy without a quantitative target, Enerdata reported.
Bahrain has committed to net zero emissions by 2060 and committed to a 30% reduction by 2035, including investments in renewable energy, carbon removal solutions and reforestation.
The state action plan includes an integrated strategic plan for reforestation, aesthetic landscaping and green spaces in all regions of the country.
More than 120 parks and public gardens have already been built in all governorates in addition to a series of ongoing construction projects in which it has been observed that they should meet the housing and urbanization needs of each region, according to the Climate Action Platform.
Oman is the latest country to commit to net zero emissions by 2050, recently announcing its plan. The goal is to achieve zero routine flaring by 2030 and a 7% reduction in emissions by that year.
According to media reports, renewable energy and energy efficiency efforts are among the country’s interim targets, aiming to produce 20% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2027.
In October, Oman also established the State Sustainable Development Center to oversee and monitor zero-carbon plans and programs.
The agreement of the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris, signed by 192 countries, including Oman, obliges states to balance anthropogenic emissions by sources and removals by sinks of greenhouse gases in the second half of this century, reported The National.