G20 Leaders’ Side Event: Safeguarding the Planet

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Saudi Arabia hosted the side event on Safeguarding the Planet during the second day of the summit. The event was held virtually and led by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud.

The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud opened the side event, indicating G20 commitments towards safeguarding the planet. The Saudi G20 Presidency is driving an ambitious approach to Circular Carbon Economy (CCE) to manage greenhouse emissions across the world and industries to protect the planet:

“Your Majesties, Your Excellencies, Your Highnesses,

I am honored to welcome you to the second side-event which will focus on safeguarding the planet within the framework of the circular carbon economy. 

As we recover from the repercussions of the pandemic, we must create the conditions conducive of robust, inclusive, balanced, and sustainable economies by means of enabling people, safeguarding the planet, and shaping new frontiers to seize the opportunities of the 21st century for all.

Safeguarding the Planet is of critical importance. With the increase in emissions due to economic and population growth, we must pioneer sustainable, pragmatic, and cost-effective approaches for achieving ambitious climate goals.

In this spirit, the Saudi Presidency has promoted the Circular Carbon Economy (CCE) that allows holistic management of emissions to mitigate the challenges of climate impacts and advance cleaner and more sustainable energy systems as well as advancing stable and secure energy markets and energy access.

Through this initiative, countries will be able to adopt and promote technologies that match their transition paths through the 4Rs of the Circular Carbon Economy (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Remove). Together, the “4Rs” comprise a  holistic, integrated, and pragmatic approach that values all options to managing emissions in all sectors. 

The Kingdom will formally launch a dedicated Circular Carbon Economy National Program that will consolidate and accelerate the current momentum toward sustainability in a holistic manner. We ask other countries to work with us to help achieve the goals of this program: tackling climate change while continuing to create growth in the economy and increase the well being of humanity. In 2012, we launched the Saudi Energy Efficiency Program, a cornerstone of emission reduction within the framework of CCE.

In the Kingdom, we have many existing initiatives that capture carbon and turn it into valuable feedstock. This includes the world’s largest CO2 purification plant built by the Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC)  with a capacity of 500,000 tons per year and Saudi Aramco’s enhanced oil recovery plan with 800,000 tons per year of CO2 emissions. Likewise, in NEOM we are developing the largest green hydrogen plant.

Recognizing the important role nature-based carbon sequestration, the Kingdom has been advocating the  ambitious goal of conserving, restoring and sustainably managing 1 billion hectares of degraded land by 2040. 

In addition, we have great plans for renewables, including wind and solar which will generate 50% of the Kingdom’s electricity by 2030.

In this regard, we would like to listen  to our colleagues about their different initiatives and aspirations in this area.

Thank you.

The Presidency remains committed in its efforts to safeguarding the planet by preserving coral reefs, ocean ecosystems, and taking concrete actions to tackle land degradation and habitat loss. With a coordinated approach on environment, we ensure the G20 countries commitment to build a more inclusive, more sustainable, and more resilient future.

World leaders participated in the event including the, Prime Minister of Italy – Giuseppe Conte, Prime Minister of India – Narendra Modi, President of the People’s Republic of China – Xi Jinping, Prime Minister of Japan – Yoshihide Suga, and Prime Minister of Australia- Scott Morrison, and President of the United States Donald Trump.

Prime Minister of Italy, Giuseppe Conte, said:

“The existential threat posed by climate change, land degradation and the decline of global biodiversity has already brought us to a crossroad, one that will determine whether we are able to Safeguard our Planet and a build a sustainable future. I am convinced the G20 can lead the world in the right direction.”

Prime Minister of Japan, Yoshihide Suga, said:

“Global environmental issues are urgent challenges that the international community should address. We, the G20 leaders, need to take the lead and work together as a team…for this great mission of ‘Safeguarding the Planet’, Japan will take the initiative while continuing further collaboration with other countries.”

Prime Minister of Australia- Scott Morrison, said:

“We need to Safeguard our Planet. This is an ongoing, long term collective responsibility…it is good that the G20 is in strong agreement about the importance of preserving our oceans and this is a very important issue for Australia…as G20 members we all have important responsibilities, to the present and also the future. We must all take action to Safeguard our Planet for our peoples and for the generations to come.”

President of the People’s Republic of China – Xi Jinping, said:

“The G20 should continue to take the lead in tackling climate change…China supports deepening G20 coordination in reducing land degradation, conserving coral reefs, and cleaning up plastic from the ocean…let us work together for a clean and beautiful world.”

Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi, said:

“Climate change must be fought not in silo’s – but in an integrated, comprehensive and holistic way…This is the best time for further increasing research and innovation in new and sustainable technologies. We should do so with a spirit of cooperation and collaboration.”

President of the United States Donald Trump, said:

“We must preserve the majesty of God’s creation. Together, we can protect our environment, promote access to clean, affordable energy, and deliver a future of opportunity, prosperity, and hope for our nations all over the world.”