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Saudi Arabia to launch regional carbon trading platform

03 September 2021 IHS Markit Energy Expert

Saudi Arabia will set up a platform for the trading of carbon offsets and credits generated in the Middle East and North Africa as part of the country's efforts to fight climate change, the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported 3 September.

SPA said the Riyadh Voluntary Exchange Platform will be a joint venture between the Public Investment Fund, the country's sovereign wealth fund, and the Saudi Tadawul Group, which owns the Saudi Exchange.

"This initiative will come to be the primary destination and the main platform for companies and institutions that target reducing their emissions, or contributing toward that, through the trading of verified, approved and high-quality carbon equivalent credits certificates," SPA said.

No other details were announced.

Vision 2030

In recent years, Saudi Arabia has unveiled a series of initiatives to mitigate the effects of climate change.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman reaffirmed in March that the kingdom will generate 50% of its energy from renewables by 2030. Saudi Arabia first announced its renewable target in 2016 as part of the Vision 2030 initiative.

At the time, Saudi Arabia generated 0.1% of its total electricity generating capacity of 330.5 terawatt-hours (TWh) from solar, while 59.6% came from natural gas, and 40.3% from oil, according to a 2017 US Energy Information Administration report.

In a 29 October 2020 report, IHS Markit said the country's power generation increased to 365.16 TWh in 2019, of which 0.02% came from renewables, mainly solar.

The country's National Renewable Energy Program in January 2019 announced plans to install 27.3 GW of mostly solar and to a lesser extent wind by 2023 and 58.7 GW by 2050.

Saudi Arabia is ranked 15th globally for its GHG emissions.

State initiatives

The kingdom is not the only nation to launch or look into launching a carbon trading market as part of goals to combat climate change this summer.

Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry is planning to test the feasibility of a nationwide carbon credit market from 2022 as part of efforts to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, according to an interim report from a ministerial study group published 5 August.

Chinese government officials announced that 16 July marked the debut of the country's long-awaited national carbon emissions trading scheme (ETS) for the power sector, and that more than 4.1 million mt of carbon allowances changed hands. The ETS is being managed by the Shanghai Environment and Energy Exchange.

Given China's economic size and status as the world's largest emitter of carbon, the Chinese ETS is expected to quickly expand to become the world's largest carbon market, surpassing the EU ETS in terms of carbon emissions covered.

--Original reporting by Abdul Latheef, OPIS.


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