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Circular Carbon Economy: Global Saudi Initiative for Energy Sustainability, Environmental Protection

Circular Carbon Economy: Global Saudi Initiative for Energy Sustainability, Environmental Protection

Saturday, 28 November, 2020 - 09:15
Journalists sit in the media center during a G20 meeting in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, February 22, 2020. REUTERS/Ahmed Yosri

Saudi Arabia’s concept of circular carbon economy strategy has found an international welcome during the Saudi G20 Summit. The proposal constitutes a revolutionary innovation in reducing the rate of carbon emissions, as it included a new supporting component for the three existing principles.

The circular carbon economy is an idea that emerged from Riyadh, and aims to encourage the use of all types of energy existing on the surface of the earth but within controls that ensure their sustainability and at the same time reduce climate change.

The Saudi efforts concluded by adding the “reuse” component within the three elements: “reduction”, “recycling” and “disposal”; thus completing the tight circular system and helping to restore balance to the carbon cycle in the same way that occurs in nature.

More practically, the circular carbon economy project will convert the greenhouse gases that are one of the main contributors to global warming into a fully-fledged economy, based on a high-precision technical treatment of carbon emissions from all industrial sectors through the mentioned four strategies.

The circular carbon economy system would help restore the balance of the carbon cycle in the same way that it occurs in nature, which would make this industrial innovation mitigate the accumulations of carbon in the atmosphere and limit its negative effects on public health.

The idea of a circular carbon economy, which includes the ‘reuse’ component that is proposed by Saudi Arabia, would mean that carbon emissions are captured and stored underground, and then converted into useful products, such as fertilizers and methanol.

Eric Williams, energy and environmental economist at the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center told Asharq Al-Awsat the reports prepared on the circular economy of low carbon emissions have been submitted to the Saudi G20 meetings, adding that the center has launched, in cooperation with five international organizations, a guide to carbon circular economy.

“We have worked with the International Energy Agency, the International Renewable Energy Agency, the Nuclear Energy Agency, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, as well as the Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute, to clarify the opportunities presented by the circular carbon economy approach that includes the principles of reduction, reuse, recycling and disposal,” he said.

Williams noted that the studies also covered the need to take into account the local conditions of each country when implementing the new concept, in a manner that does not conflict with sustainable global development.

He added that Saudi Arabia has achieved a clear and complete approach that would create an integrated and practical framework for managing the carbon emissions process and move towards a comprehensive, flexible, sustainable energy system free of emission leaks.

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