مركز سمت للدراسات It is the responsibility of oil-producing countries like Saudi Arabia to lead the way in tackling the climate crisis | مركز سمت للدراسات

It is the responsibility of oil-producing countries like Saudi Arabia to lead the way in tackling the climate crisis

Date & time : Wednesday, 31 March 2021

Adhwan Alahmari

 

A few days ago, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, announced two exciting initiatives: the Saudi Green Initiative and the Middle East Green Initiative. The first seeks to plant 10 billion trees within the kingdom in the upcoming decade; the second aims to plant 40 billion trees across the Middle East. In the wake of this announcement, many phone calls were made between the Saudi leadership and leaders of other countries in the Middle East to discuss and kickstart the initiative.

What Riyadh is trying to do here is advance the world’s reforestation project, which was launched by the World Economic Forum in 2020 with the aim of planting one trillion trees worldwide by 2050. The Middle East Green Initiative will play a major role in this and includes, not only the Kingdom, but other major oil producing and exporting countries in the region, including Kuwait, Qatar, Iraq, UAE, Libya and Algeria.

It is the responsibility of these oil producing-countries, foremost among them Saudi Arabia – the world’s second biggest oil producer, a major member of OPEC and the holder of the world’s second largest oil reserves – to reduce carbon emissions and increase adoption of clean technologies by utilities. This includes making the world greener and taking quick and effective measures to protect the environment. Doing so is far more useful than relying solely on individuals to reach our goals. The responsibility must fall on state governments, especially those causing harmful emissions, as in gas and oil producing countries.

Three years ago, Saudi Arabia announced the creation of a Special Forces for environmental security, with a mission to protect the green environment, preventing tree felling for firewood and saving wild animals from extinction. At first, the initiative wasn’t taken seriously, so the government started imposing deterrent fines to drum up tangible commitments – and it worked. Today, Saudis are more concerned about illegal hunting and firewood activities. It seems to me that this initiative and the royal order to establish the council for royal natural reserves before it were taken at the right time to put a definitive end to crimes against nature and future generations.

Two months ago, I had the opportunity to visit one of these reserves, known as King Abdul Aziz Royal Reserve just outside Riyadh. On our way there, I noticed a perfect harmony between deforestation on the right side of the road and higher levels of greenery on the left. Thanks to this visit, I was able to experience the capacity of humans, governments and individuals to make a difference between yellow and green colours in one single place.

 

Source; Independent

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