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Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, at the summit. Image Credit: Dubai Media Office

Riyadh: Saudi Arabia’s crown prince launched a Middle East Green Initiative on Monday which he said aimed to invest 39 billion riyals ($10.4 billion) to reduce carbon emissions in the region and protect the environment.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said the kingdom, which is the world’s top oil exporter, would contribute 15% of the funds and would work with other states and development funds on the funding and execution of the initiatives.

“As part of the kingdom’s leading role in developing energy markets, it will work to establish an investment fund for carbon circular economy solutions in the region and an initiative to offer clean energy solutions to help feed more than 750 million people worldwide,” he said.

Saudi Arabia would work to establish a regional carbon capture and storage centre, a regional early storm warning centre and a regional cloud seeding programme, he also said.

He was addessing ‘The Middle East Green Initiative Summit’ attended by several heads of state.

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Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman received Sheikh Maktoum on the sidelines of the summit. Image Credit: Dubai Media Office

From the UAE, Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, is attending the summit.

Earlier upon his arrival at the King Khalid International Airport, he was received by Prince Mohammad bin Abdur Rahman bin Abdul Aziz, Deputy Governor of Riyadh region, a number of senior officials.

Sheikh Maktoum is accompanied by a high-profile delegation, including Mohammad bin Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs; Dr. Sultan bin Ahmed Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology; Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, Minister of Climate Change and the Environment; Sheikh Shakhbout bin Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of State, and Sheikh Nahyan bin Saif bin Mohammad Al Nahyan, UAE Ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

When plans for the initiative were first announced in March, the crown prince had said it aimed to reduce carbon emissions in the region by 60% and reverse desertification in one of world’s most water stressed regions by planting billions of trees.

On Saturday, the crown prince pledged that Saudi Arabia would reach “net zero” emissions by 2060 at the Saudi Green Initiative forum.

The Gulf state is hosting the climate events ahead of COP26, the United Nations conference in Glasgow, which hopes to agree deeper global emissions cuts to tackle global warming.