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Saudi energy minister at FII: Carbon offsets can help with emissions goal

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Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman Al Saud said that a scheme to offset carbon emissions could help the Kingdom’s plans for net zero emissions.

Speaking at the Future Investment Initiative (FII) Summit in Riyadh on Wednesday, the minister said the Kingdom played such an important role in 2020 in terms of crafting the circular carbon economy agenda.

“What we’ve been always consistently saying there are three main pillars. I think any person who has been involved in energy would recognize,” Prince Abdulaziz said.

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“First, energy security and energy security and energy security. I think it’s the most fundamental pillar when it comes to when talking about energy… We can say the fundamental other pillar is economic prosperity, economic growth,” he added.

The minister also said that climate change is the “most daunting challenge that we are faced with.”

“We honestly believe that these three pillars have to be attended to without in any way whatsoever compromising any of the three,” the Kingdom’s energy minister added.

Net zero carbon emissions by 2060

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman launched the inaugural Saudi Green Initiative (SGI) Forum in Riyadh earlier this week, announcing that Saudi Arabia aims to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2060, the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.

The Kingdom will also join the Global Methane Pledge to contribute to cutting global methane emissions by 30 percent by 2030, as part of its commitment to deliver a cleaner, greener future.

The energy minister was speaking at a session titled “Science in Action: Investing in the Circular Carbon Economy” in the second day of the summit.

The session, moderated by Bloomberg anchor Yousef Gamal El Din, tackled the question of “How can the investment community, business, and government work together to achieve progress towards the G20 recommendations of the circular carbon economy?”

Speakers at the panel included: Henrik Andersen, the CEO and Group President of Vestas Wind Systems, Matthew Harris, Founding Partner at Global Infrastructure Partners, Jennifer Holmgren the CEO of Lanzatech, Lorenzo Simonelli, the Chairman and CEO of Baker Hughes, and William Winters, the Group CEO of Standard Chartered Bank.

For his part, Andersen, the CEO and Group President of Vestas Wind Systems, announced during the session that the company’s regional headquarters will be moved to the Kingdom.

Vestas Wind Systems is a Danish manufacturer, seller, installer, and servicer of wind turbines.

On Wednesday, it was announced that 44 international companies plan to move their regional headquarters to Riyadh, but no further details were yet available.

Circular carbon economy

In 2020, under Saudi Arabia’s presidency of the G20, the world’s largest economies endorsed the concept of circular carbon economy - an integrated and inclusive approach to transitioning toward more comprehensive, resilient, sustainable, and climate friendly energy systems that support and enable sustainable development.

When it comes to Saudi Arabia’s energy strategy, the minister shared a chart with the audience highlighting the country’s ecosystem.

“This is our energy,” he said.

“We are talking about carbon, hydrogen, we’re doing all of the above,” Prince Abdulaziz said.

“It’s about reducing efficiency, and the change to producing hydrogen.”

Referring to the country’s Saudi Green Initiative and Middle East Green Initiative, the minister said: “We have, I think, the most humane initiative that we could ever come up with, and we’re willing to enlarge it if everybody wants to enlarge it.”

“I’m sure that people have noticed that we have been repositioning ourselves,” he added.

The fifth edition of Saudi Arabia’s annual investment forum, FII, is taking place between October 26 to 28 this year in the Kingdom’s capital Riyadh under the theme of ‘Invest in Humanity.’

Read more:

Saudi Arabia’s Green Initiative plan for net zero emissions explained

Saudi Arabia came out ahead of COVID pandemic, proved its resilience: Al-Falih at FII

Global companies to announce regional headquarters in Riyadh: Saudi minister