Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia drops three places, to 63rd, in the CCPI this year, from 60th in last year’s CCPI, now making it the second lowest ranked performer.

The country’s fall in rank owes to ratings of very low for all four CCPI categories: GHG Emissions, Renewable Energy, Energy Use, and Climate Policy.

Saudi Arabia announced a new target of net zero by 2060 in the run-up to COP26, building on its previous Vision 2030 and Saudi Green Initiative (SGI), which looked at reducing the country’s dependence on oil production and at increasing renewables. The CCPI experts welcomed these new ambitions and if these initiatives show success, the country may increase its CCPI standing in future editions.

Under the new SGI, the emissions reductions target for 2030 will also more than double the previous one, but the delivery of net zero relies on the ‘circular carbon economy,’ with carbon removals, tree planting, hydrogen, and carbon capture and storage. Under this new plan, emissions would continue rising during the 2020s and state-owned Saudi Aramco would increase its oil and gas production, despite its also having a net zero 2050 target. Saudi Arabia’s share of renewable energy in the total energy supply was rated very low, with the country’s first wind farm not opening until 2021. Almost half the country’s emissions derive from power generation.

Although Saudi Arabia’s new Nationally Determined Contribution has a more ambitious emissions reduction target than the previous one, neither its 2030 GHG target nor its GHG per capita are aligned with a well-below-2°C pathway (as it has the highest per capita GHG emissions of the G20 nations). The country’s climate targets and policies are also not consistent with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C temperature limit.

The following national experts agreed to be mentioned as contributors for this year’s CCPI:  Eisa Qahtan; Khaldoon Aziz;  Sarah Alharthey (Alstom Transport)

Technical note: how to read the target comparison graph

The graph above shows the development of a country over the past years compared with its Paris compatible pathway and 2030 target. For all three quantitative categories of the CCPI, this visualisation gives an overview of where a country is right now, where it would need to be to fulfil the Paris Agreement promises and where it aims to be in 2030.

For GHG emissions per capita, the data includes LULUCF, as used for the emissions per capita indicator. This leads to the vast changes in emissions of some countries with high forest coverage.
The calculation of individual country target pathways is based on the common but differentiated convergence approach (CDC). It is based on the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities” laid forth in the Framework Convention on Climate Change. All Annex I countries therefore have a decreasing pathway from 1990 onwards, starting at that year’s emissions. 60 years later, in 2050, these countries are expected to reach net zero emissions. All other countries, which did not reach the level of global average emissions in 1990, are allowed to increase emissions until the average is reached. But by latest 2015 these countries, too, have decreasing pathways and 60 years to reach net zero. These pathways start from the global average.

The Renewable Energy data is given in per cent of Total Primary Energy Supply (TPES) and includes hydro energy, consistent with the respective CCPI indicator. As global distribution of Renewables (especially solar and wind) only started in the 2000s, the pathways in this category start in 2010. All countries have an equal goal: 100% Renewables in 2050, each starting from its 2010 value.

For Energy Use the Primary Energy Supply per capita is shown. All pathways for this category start at country’s 1990 values and meet at global average of 80 gigajoules per capita in TPES.
For 2°C and 1.5°C scenarios, a decrease in emissions by reducing the (growth in) energy use is as crucial as deploying renewable (or other low-carbon) technologies. The IPCC carried out a scenario comparison using a large number of integrated assessment models. From the scenarios available, we observe that the total amount of global energy use in 2050 has to be roughly the same level or a bit higher than it is today, with a margin of uncertainty. At the same time population will grow slightly between today and 2050. We therefore pragmatically chose the well-below-2° compatible benchmark to be “same energy use per capita in 2050 as the current global average”, which is 80 gigajoules per capita in TPES.