Saudi Arabia’s 2018 CO2 Emissions Fall Faster Than Expected

Latest data for the year of 2018 show that emissions in Saudi Arabia have fallen significantly for the first time, down 4.4% or 26 million tons, according to researchers at the King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center (KAPSARC).

KAPSARC recently published an analysis noting that Saudi Arabia moved up from being fourth to the third fastest reducer of emissions from fuel consumption among the G20 group of countries, behind Brazil and France and in front of Germany and Japan.

Source: KAPSARC analysis based on Enerdata Global Energy & CO2 Database (2018 data) and IEA (2017 and earlier).

Source: KAPSARC analysis based on Enerdata Global Energy & CO2 Database (2018 data) and IEA (2017 and earlier).

“Enerdata has released an update to its 2018 data estimates showing that in 2018 Saudi Arabia’s total carbon dioxide (CO2 ) emissions fell by 4.4% or 26 million tonnes of CO2 (MtCO2 ) from 579 MtCO2 to 553 MtCO2 . The previous estimate was a 2.4% reduction (15 MtCO2 ),” the KAPSARC report notes. KAPSARC said the reduction was due to “a stronger fall of 5.48% in the economy’s energy intensity, which was responsible for 81% of the reduction in CO2 emissions,” and a “1.3% fall in the carbon intensity of the energy supply, which was responsible for 19% of the reduction.”

G20 countries account for around 80% of global emissions.

“This new data shows that the impact of energy efficiency and energy price reforms in reducing wasteful energy use has been even greater than expected,” said Dr. Nicholas Howarth, one of the authors of the study, according to a report in the Saudi Gazette. “Prior to 2016, CO2 emissions grew at over 5% each year. Seeing emissions now fall so strongly may come as a surprise to many. It also comes as Saudi Arabia hosts the G20 where climate change is an important agenda item. It sets the stage well for the Kingdom to show leadership on the issue.”

The study, written by Howarth and KAPSARC colleagues Alessandro Lanza and Thamir Al Shehri, is available as a PDF here.