Saudi Arabia Checkup

Saudi Arabia—Falling Behind

The 2016 Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI) report concludes that Saudi Arabia has made no improvement in its overall ranking in the CCPI and places the country at the bottom of the ranking for lack of significant progress in the country’s exploiting its high potential for renewable energy instead of relying on its oil reserves. However, the report notes that the Kingdom has not blocked the Paris climate agreement.

Climate Action Tracker evaluates Saudi Arabia’s abatement target of reducing emissions by up to 130 MtCO2e in 2030 as stated in its Paris Agreement Pledge and rates this abatement target as  inadequate to make a fair contribution to keep global warming to below a  2 degree Celsius increase. It explains that this pledged abatement rate will result in an 840–1042 MtCO2e excluding LULUCF by 2030, a 70–110% increase above 2010 levels, or a 350–450% increase above 1990 levels which is insufficient to meet a minimum fair contribution to controlling global warming to 2 Celsius let alone the stronger Paris Agreement goal to 1.5 Celsius. It bases this conclusion on the uncertainty around Saudi Arabia’s targeted emissions level and the significant scaling down of its planned policies aimed at diversifying the energy mix and investments in renewable energy resources from 54 GW of renewable and 17 GW of nuclear energy by 2032 to 9.5 GW in 2023 and omitting the reference to nuclear power.

It seems that the extent to which Saudi Arabia is able to implement its proposed domestic emission reduction programs is dependent on the revenues it receives from its oil production. However, increased oil revenues means increased oil exports that will result in increased CO2 emissions in other countries.

Learn More

Burck, Jan, Franziska Marten, and Christoph Bals. 2016. Climate Change Performance Index, 2017 results. Germanwatch and Climate Action Network (CAN).
The Intended Nationally Determined Contribution of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia under the UNFCCC
Climate Action Tracker