Saudi Arabia, one of the driest countries, is going green.
Saudi Arabia wants to generate at least 50 percent of the nation’s power by using renewables by 2030 and plant 10 billion trees in the coming decades.
The crown prince Mohammed bin Salman made this announcement, underlining The Saudi Green Initiative and The Middle East Green Initiative as the two initiatives that will bring about the green change and diversify its economy away from the dependence on oil.
With the help of environmental mechanisms & dedicated units, such as the Special Forces for Environmental Security, 14% of Saudi’s land is now under protection. Under the #SaudiGreenInitiative, this will grow to 30%. https://t.co/TxJi1rsht2 pic.twitter.com/O121E6eOhO
— Saudi Green Initiative (@Gi_Saudi) May 3, 2021
The initiatives aim to chart a path for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the region in protecting the planet, by clearly defining an ambitious road map that rallies the region and significantly contributes to achieving global targets in confronting climate change.
“As a leading global oil producer, the Kingdom fully recognizes its share of responsibility in advancing the fight against the climate crisis.
“Just as the Kingdom underpinned energy markets during the oil and gas era, it is going to become a global leader in forging a greener world,” the Crown Prince said in a statement.
He said the Kingdom and the region faced significant climate challenges, such as desertification, an immediate economic risk to the Kingdom and the region, with estimates of at least USD 13Bn lost due to dust storms in the region every year while air pollution from greenhouse gases is estimated to have shortened average Saudi life expectancy by 1.5 years.
The Prince underlined these initiatives:
- Most notably the planting of 10 billion trees within the Kingdom in the upcoming decades, which is the equivalent to rehabilitating roughly 40 million hectares of degraded lands, translating to a 12-fold increase from current tree covers.
- Raise the percentage of protected areas to more than 30% of its total land area, representing roughly 600,000 square kilometers, exceeding the current global target of 17%.
- Reduce carbon emissions by more than 4% of global contributions, by generating 50% of the Kingdom’s energy from renewables by 2030, which is estimated to eliminate more than 130 MT of carbon emissions and raising the rate of waste diversion from landfills to reach 94% in the Kingdom.
- The Middle East Green Initiative in coordination with neighboring and sister countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states and Middle Eastern countries will plant an additional 40 billion trees in the Middle East. The combined 50 billion tree planting program is the largest reforestation program in the world.
- This project, will restore an area equivalent to 200 million hectares of degraded land, representing 5% of the global target of planting 1 Trillion trees and reducing 2.5% of global carbon levels.
The Crown Prince highlighted that the two initiatives were a continuation of the environmental efforts in the Kingdom over the past few years.
“It is a testimony of the Kingdom’s serious desire to address the environmental challenges it has faced, from increase in temperatures and dust waves to low levels of rain and desertification.
“In this regard the Kingdom has carried out a comprehensive restructuring of the environmental sector, established The Environmental Special Forces in 2019, raised the percentage of natural reserves from 4% to more than 14% and increased vegetation cover by 40% in the past 4 years.
“This is all part of the Kingdom’s efforts to promote public health and raise quality of life for its citizens and residents,” he said.
The move has been met by well deserved praise, globally.
I congratulate Saudi Arabia 🇸🇦 for the new Saudi Green Initiative and the Green Middle East Initiative that aim at planting 50 billion trees in the region.
— Patricia Espinosa C. (@PEspinosaC) March 30, 2021
Am delighted to learn of "Green Saudi Arabia" & "Green Middle East " initiatives by my brother, His Royal Highness Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman! Have offered our support on these as there are many complementarities with our "Clean & Green Pakistan" & "10 Billion-Tree Tsunami. pic.twitter.com/ExHSS8DUVh
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) March 29, 2021
#SriLanka congratulates the Kingdom of #SaudiArabia’s “Saudi Green” and “Middle East Green” Initiatives, which call for regional cooperation to tackle the #environmental challenges facing Saudi Arabia and the wider region. 🇱🇰|🇸🇦
— MFA SL 🇱🇰 (@MFA_SriLanka) May 7, 2021