Saudi Arabia has stepped up its policies on energy efficiency and cutting carbon emissions as it prepares to host the upcoming 2020 G20 Riyadh summit next month.
A comparative scientific study revealed that Saudi Arabia leads the G20 countries in reducing carbon emissions, an indicator for the success of government programs and policies on raising energy efficiency amid the challenges posed by the country's GDP and population growths.
“For the first time in recent history since 2010, Saudi Arabia's carbon footprint has slowed down significantly,” the study said, citing a host of successful energy efficiency policies that involve transport, industry, buildings, and energy price reforms.
The study, entitled: "How does Saudi Arabia’s recent energy performance compare with other G20 countries?", showed that global carbon emissions seemed to stabilize in 2014-2016; however, in 2017 global emissions picked up once more, rising above 2% growth in 2018.
“The Kingdom’s carbon emissions decreased by -1.1% in 2017 and -3.4% in 2018, while global carbon emissions increased by 1% and 2%, respectively. From 2015 to 2018, Saudi Arabia’s carbon emissions decreased by -2.7%,” the study said, basing its observation on the international BP’s Statistical Review.
“This drop in emissions cannot be attributed to a lack of economic growth since during this period the Kingdom’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 3.1%. Nor can falling emissions be attributed to a slowdown in population growth, as it increased by 6.3% during this time,” the study added.
“The Kingdom’s energy price reform and efficiency policies seem to be working.”
“While the full impacts of these programs will become apparent only over many years, the data from 2010-2014 shows a volatile but improving pattern of the Kingdom’s domestic energy consumption that accelerated across 2015-2018.”
For the period 2015-2018, the Kingdom’s carbon emissions declined by -2.7%, while the G20 average grew by 2.3%.
Global and G20 oil consumption grew almost at the same rate (4.4% and 4.3% respectively), while, as mentioned earlier, the Kingdom’s oil consumption dropped -6.2%.