Saudi Arabia names senior diplomat as first climate envoy

Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Al Jubeir appointed as climate envoy



Adel Al Jubeir. — AFP file
Adel Al Jubeir. — AFP file

By AFP

Published: Sun 29 May 2022, 9:58 PM

Saudi Arabia announced on Sunday it had named a senior diplomat as its first climate envoy, as officials vow to ramp up oil production while pursuing ambitious goals for emission cuts.

The appointment of Adel Al Jubeir, the minister of state for foreign affairs, to the envoy role was announced as part of a series of royal orders decreed by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.

The announcement did not include details about the envoy’s mandate.

Al Jubeir, who previously served as foreign minister and ambassador to Washington, will continue in his role at the foreign ministry.

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In early May, the kingdom announced that economic growth in the first quarter had risen 9.6 per cent compared to the same period in 2021, which the statistics authority said represented “the highest growth rate in (the) last 10 years”.

Saudi energy minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said earlier this month that the country expected to ramp up its daily oil production capacity by more than one million barrels to exceed 13 million barrels by 2027.

Yet last year, Saudi Arabia pledged ahead of the COP26 climate change summit to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2060, sparking scepticism from environmental campaign group Greenpeace.

With increasing urgency to limit global warming, experts warn of the need to reduce fossil fuel use.

Speaking on a panel last week at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Saudi economy minister Faisal Al Ibrahim disputed the notion that his country’s policies were in conflict.

“We will continue to advocate increased capacity. We will also continue to advocate... reducing emissions,” he said.

“These two points do not contradict each other. The last thing we want is focusing on climate change without focusing on energy security.”


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