Saudi Arabia’s oily lies at COP26


gerenpeace poster on pole, planet earth first

Saudi Arabia is pumping up its propaganda machine during COP26 to deflect the true nature of its intentions, announces Greenpeace. Saudi Arabia recently announced it will be net zero by 2060, a long way off, and with no exit plan to wean the world from oil (remember its oil shale announcement?). Meanwhile Saudi Arabia has plans to increase its oil production from 12 million barrels per day to 13 million barrels per day by 2027

How can anyone take Saudi Arabia seriously? They are developing 90 untouched islands on the Red Sea, one with Foster + Partners, are creating the world’s most nuts environmental nightmare “green” city called Neom, where they have evicted locals and even killed a Bedouin activist. It’s like a villain making promises while crossing his fingers behind his back. 

Ahmad El Droubi from Greenpeace, who obviously sees the ongoing contractions Saudi Arabia spouts out into the world: “We question the seriousness of this announcement, as it comes in parallel with plans for the Kingdom to increase its oil production … and seems to simply be a strategic move to alleviate political pressure ahead of COP26.”

Ahmad El Droubi, Saudi Arabia plans to be carbon neutral by 2060, and says it will use carbon capture and storage technologies to get it there. Greenpeace calls its bluff.

Ahmad El Droubi via Flickr

But the words are likely just a smokescreen, as Saudis plan on carbon capture and storage technologies (CCS), which have not been proven to scale and which may require more energy than the emissions they sequester. The use of CCS as a golden bullet idea summons the idea that Saudi Arabia can “buy” its way out of unrestrained use of fossil fuels. The usual old world approach.

“The stipulations of the announcement are of great concern as they focus on an array of false solutions, such as CCS whose viability at scale remains largely unproven and its potential to deliver significant emission reductions by the mid-century is currently limited,” says El Droubi.

“Safe, permanent, and verifiable storage of CO2 is difficult to guarantee and there are many hidden climate impacts of such technologies.

mohammed bin salman

“We’ll be carbon neutral by 2060.”

“The proposition of increased dependence on natural gas and development of a hydrogen economy, based primarily on it, are also of great concern; blue hydrogen relies on CCS and also maintains the status quo of dependency on fossil fuels, according to a recent study the total carbon dioxide equivalent emissions are only 9%-12% less than for grey hydrogen.”

Greenpeace, a leader in environmental education and action warns that climate change is a global threat that requires a global reduction of carbon emissions and that fossil fuel exporting countries have a responsibility beyond their national borders.

“We urge Saudi Arabia to stop expanding their investment in oil and gas at home and abroad,” El Droubi says. “The region has an abundance of renewable energy potential. There are faster, cleaner, safer, more efficient, and cheaper means that exist to reduce CO2 emissions.”

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