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Top Oil Exporter Saudi Arabia Aims to Become Carbon Neutral by 2060

The country's leader also pledged to double its annual reduction target.

The crown prince of Saudi Arabia announced this Saturday that the oil-rich nation is targeting ambitious zero-net emissions by 2060, according to Reuters.

“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia aims to reach zero-net emissions by 2060 under its circular carbon economy program in accordance with the kingdom’s development plan ... while maintaining the kingdom’s leading role in strengthening security and stability of global oil markets,” Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said in recorded remarks at the Saudi Green Initiative.

The country also doubled its annual target to reduce carbon emissions to almost 280 million tonnes, up from a previous target of 130 million tonnes. The nation is a signatory to the Paris climate pact.

On Saturday, Riyadh shared details of its nationally determined contributions (NDCs). NDCs are specific targets for individual states under global efforts to prevent average global temperatures from rising beyond 2.7°F (1.5° C) above pre-industrial levels.

This month, top oil-producer United Arab Emirates also announced a plan for net-zero emissions by 2050, a more ambitious plan than Saudi Arabia by 10 years.

Last March, Saudi Arabia pledged to generate 50% of its energy needs from renewables by 2030 and plant billions of trees. The nation has been investing heavily in solar for a few years now.

'Critically insufficient'

The country has also been criticized for acting too slowly on climate change. Climate Action Tracker gave the country the alarming lowest possible ranking of “critically insufficient”.

Possibly to fight this image, Saudi Arabia has been initiating some high-profile eco-friendly projects. For instance, its new zero-carbon futuristic city The Line has made headlines around the world earlier this year.

The Line, a city that is "a 105-mile [170 km] belt of hyper-connected future communities, without cars and roads and built around nature, is a direct response to some of the most pressing challenges facing humanity today such as legacy infrastructure, pollution, traffic, and human congestion."

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