Saudi Arabia and the Paris Climate Agreement

Aisha Al-Sarihi

Saudi Arabia joined the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 1994 and, in 2016, ratified the Paris Climate Agreement, which was adopted in 2015. For a country that has not significantly contributed to the historic accumulation of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions but at the same time has an economy underpinned by the windfall profits from hydrocarbon exports, Saudi Arabia has adopted a cautious position toward climate action. Specifically, Saudi Arabia’s cautious approach toward global climate change mitigation measures has allowed time for the Kingdom to strategically identify its own climate mitigation measures that take into consideration common but differentiated responsibilities, while at the same time ensuring that efforts to keep global warming below 1.5°C focus on reducing GHG emissions rather than restricting specific sources of energy. Indeed, in the last two years alone, Saudi Arabia announced a series of climate pledges that transcend the national level and showcase the Kingdom’s climate leadership at regional and global levels.