A Green Middle East… Saudi Arabia’s Vision – Asharq Al-awsat – English


International and Arab News
In an unprecedented initiative that is not just empty talk but a real effort to support joint efforts in the Middle East to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and remove them from the atmosphere, Saudi Crown Prince and Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman took the unprecedented step of launching the ‘Middle East Green Initiative.’ The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will contribute 2.5 billion dollars to support this initiative over the next ten years.
The Middle East Green Initiative comes at a crucial time, as the world is ringing the alarm bells in response to the climate catastrophe threatening the entire planet. Indeed, dangerous changes and catastrophes have been seen recently as sea levels and carbon dioxide emissions rise.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s initiative seeks to remove around 700 tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, plant 50 billion trees, increase green spaces 12-fold, and restore an area equivalent to 200 million hectares of degraded land.
Among the practical solutions that help protect the environment are using green and environmentally friendly sources of energy and incentivizing their use to reduce the damage to the environment and climate change. Green hydrogen is among these environmentally friendly sources of energy. It does not emit carbon. It is produced by separating the hydrogen and oxygen molecules in water and can be used as fuel for cars or in industry.
Temperatures rising by 1.5 degrees Celsius will have catastrophic effects on the planet. Indeed, this rise threatens to obliterate historical cities like Basra, Alexandria, and London in a few years if we continue to damage the atmosphere as we are currently doing by polluting and emitting carbon dioxide. This has imposed priorities, including the protection of tropical forests and aid for countries harmed by climate change.
The Saudi Middle East Green Initiative turns promises into action. Everyone is called to limit the rise in temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius. However, these remain hopes and promises. That needs to change; we need to see action and implementation. The dangerous repercussions of climate change will be disastrous for us all. Neither big nor small countries are exempt, nor are members of the Security Council or non-members. Everyone will suffer from this environmental disaster together.
In light of the shocking predictions of Alexandria, Basra, and London drowning, alongside 33 other global cities, accelerating the response to climate change becomes a global rather than local issue. Given that previous conferences and summits did not lead to practical solutions, regional initiatives, at the forefront of which is the Saudi Middle East Green Initiative, have become serious solutions for climate change. Indeed, the solutions put forward by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will strongly contribute to the fight against pollution, which has damaged the climate.
The most important question remains: do we still have to take the necessary steps to save the climate and planet Earth, or are we out of time? Are several cities around the world threatened with drowning because of rising sea levels as the glaciers melt because of climate change? These glaciers are also important sources of fresh water, which poses another threat, as seen in the rivers of the Alps.
Those behind the Saudi Middle East Green Initiative are ringing the alarm bell. They are saying that we don’t have time for talk without practical solutions, like contributing 2.5 billion dollars to resolve the climate crisis through a well-thought-out initiative with a vision and a feasible plan.
Saving the plan is the solution. Scientific solutions are the solution. This is, first and foremost, the responsibility of great rich industrial countries. They are morally responsible for the repercussions of climate change, rising sea levels, and the emissions of dangerous gases, including carbon dioxide. That is why we see the Saudi initiative. The Kingdom wants to contribute to remedying the world’s climate, which pollution has made ill.
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