What is behind the sudden Saudi interest in climate change?


Saudi Arabia is the only member of the G20 that has not added any wind and solar energy during the past decade, compared with Brazil, Japan and Mexico.

  • All the Saudis' initiatives about the environment took place after the results of the American presidential elections
    All the Saudis’ initiatives about the environment took place after the results of the American presidential elections

Since the beginning of this year, the Saudi crown prince’s sudden interest in environmentally friendly projects that reduce energy emissions and climate change has been striking. This concern, completely removed from the mentality of the oil princes, forces an attempt to investigate his backgrounds, especially since the Saudi Crown Prince’s declarations, as part of his vision, have always aimed to address the Americans. The suffering of the Saudi regime from the consequences of Trump’s loss in the US presidential elections, is still chasing him in more than one file, so will the dress-up of concern for the environment and climate change be the latest attempt to replace one image with another in the American imagination, or does the trend anticipate a new campaign of pressure on the regime?

On April 22, King Salman bin Abdulaziz delivered Saudi Arabia’s speech at the climate summit organized by Washington, based on US President Joe Biden’s intention to involve industrialized countries in his climate plan, which is estimated to be worth about $ 2 trillion.

In his speech, the Saudi king said that Riyadh, during its presidency of the G20 in the year 2020, pushed for “adopting the concepts of a circular carbon economy and launching two international initiatives to reduce land degradation and protect coral reefs.”

And it was clear in the Saudi King’s speech that he was keen to mention his son and Crown Prince Muhammad – who is excluded by the US President from participating in the meetings and summits organized by the United States – indicating that the latter recently launched the “Green Saudi Arabia” and “Green Middle East” initiatives, which aim – According to the Saudi declaration – to “reduce carbon emissions in the region by more than 10% of global contributions, and plant 50 billion trees in the region.”

He was keen to point out that “the two initiatives were supported by the international community,” and promised to “work with partners to achieve their goals,” by hosting a “forum for the Saudi Green Initiative and a summit for the Green Middle East Initiative” this year.

It should be noted that all the Saudis ’initiatives on the environment took place after the results of the US presidential election, which showed Joe Biden’s victory, as the G20 summit organized by Saudi Arabia took place on November 21, 2020. The announcement by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman about the project” The Line – environmentally friendly – was in the Neom area on January 10, and then announced the initiatives for Green Saudi Arabia and the Green Middle East on March 27th.

In light of these dates associated with change in Washington, the need to scrutinize Saudi official intentions emerges, especially if it is taken into account that Riyadh has previously shown its reluctance to adopt projects related to reducing carbon emissions and curbing climate change.

In March 2018, Mohammed bin Salman and Japanese billionaire Masayoshi Son (Chairman of SoftBank Group) signed a memorandum of understanding to establish “the largest solar energy project in the world, to produce 200 gigawatts in Saudi Arabia, at a value of about $ 200 billion.” Months, specifically on September 30, The American “Wall Street Journal” reported According to official Saudi sources, as saying: “No one is working seriously on the project. Its implementation has been neglected.”

During his tenure, former US President Trump has repeatedly attacked the tide of preserving the environment and curbing climate change. He attacked the scientific studies and ideas promoted by this trend, in parallel with his withdrawal in 2017 from the “Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative – EITI” and the Paris Climate Agreement, which the regime in Saudi Arabia was not far from.

“Trump will win another term to kill all the ridiculous lies of climate.” This was the response of Muhammad al-Sabban, a former advisor to the Saudi oil minister and a member of the Saudi Supreme Economic Council, to a tweet by the New York Times climate editor in September 2019.

It is true that al-Sabban does not currently hold an official position, but he expresses the opinion of the ruling Saudi elite, which he has always been close to, and has been its official representative in the “UNFCCC meetings” for nearly two decades.

It is not possible to mention the performance of the Saudi delegation at the UNFCCC during the past 20 years, but it is sufficient to mention The Saudi delegation needs to fight any reference to carbon emissions, Or making commitments to reduce oil burning operations to produce electric energy.

Today, Al-Sabban comments on the warning of John Kerry, Biden’s presidential envoy on climate change, the oil companies and their call to stay away from oil and invest in clean energy sources, so that they do not lose everything and find themselves out of the game, considering that the West says: “We succeeded in making you believe the climate lie Now, we are wiping out the oil era so that you can get back to what you were before oil, “to conclude by saying:” It is a clear message and tough measures are being taken globally to achieve this goal. When will we wake up from our slumber? “

And last March, the global electricity company, Ember, which specializes in climate and energy research, published a statistical bulletin on the classification of the G20 countries in terms of power generation and their contributions to carbon emissions.

AndThe company’s report shows that Saudi Arabia It is the only country within the G20 that still generates all its electricity through burning oil and gas exclusively.

  • Company numbers
    The numbers of the global “Ampere” company

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the only member of the G20 that did not add any wind and solar energy during the past decade, compared with Brazil, Japan and Mexico that began using wind or solar energy since 2010, all of which exceeded by the end of the global average decade, achieving nearly 10%. Or more market share. The report notes that Saudi Arabia continues to make promises of electric transmission, but there is no progress yet.

In light of the American announcement of the climate plan, which is clearly going to be one of the tools of the battle in the hands of the Biden administration in the face of America’s opponents, such as China, for example, which is accused of being the number one polluter of carbon dioxide in the world, it seems that Riyadh is feeling pressure coming from Washington, to be added to The pressure of the Yemen and Khashoggi war files and the adjustment of its regional policy.

Days after Bin Salman announced the “Green Saudi Project” and the “Green Middle East”, the US presidential envoy on climate John Kerry visited Dubai, and the so-called “Regional Climate Change Dialogue for the Gulf States, the Middle East and North Africa” ​​was held, which was boycotted by Saudi Arabia, which was boycotted by Saudi Arabia. It is assumed that, days before the Dubai meeting, it launched green initiatives to reduce carbon emissions!

This Saudi concern can be perceived if we take into account the messages and reports of American lobbyists working for Saudi Arabia in Washington to lawmakers, elites and American study centers about the “The Line” project in the NEOM area. The lobby group “LS2group” sent on January 22 to offices. American lawmakers’ promotional report for the “The Line” project, on behalf of the Saudi Embassy in Washington, highlighting the point of adopting 100% clean energy in the project.


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