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Leading oil exporter Saudi Arabia has vowed to cut greenhouse gas emissions to zero by the end of the next century as the kingdom targets becoming a hub for sustainable energy, including solar and wind power.
This week, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is also head of the country’s oil firm, unveiled a bold development plan dubbed Vision 2030 – an effort to transform the energy-intensive industrial powerhouse into a low-carbon economy that relies on hydrocarbon technologies.
The plan foresees Saudi Arabia reducing its carbon footprint by 95% by 2050, it says.
Over the next two decades, the kingdom will use energy efficiency and renewable energy to reach its goal, the plan adds.
Saudi Arabia previously pledged to reduce its carbon footprint by 10% from 2005 levels, but it falls short of a global agreement aiming to keep temperatures from rising more than 2C.
Saudi Arabia cut emissions by 21% between 2007 and 2015, the nation’s statistics authority says.
It plans to start producing solar energy this year using vast green fields it set up across the world’s biggest oil exporter with the help of a Saudi billionaire Alwaleed bin Talal.
The large-scale solar developments it plans to have up and running by 2030 will cover nearly 500 sq km and generate about 1,800 megawatts, the Energy and Water Minster Khalid al-Falih said.
“Our plan for wind and solar is the most ambitious in the world,” Falih said.
Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter, is working to trim its budget deficit by spending billions on new mega projects in an effort to diversify its economy.
It has already launched a large investment fund investing in non-oil sectors that aims to raise funds of more than $500bn.