Saudi Arabia names senior diplomat as 1st climate envoy
Published: May 30, 2022 04:59 PM
The wide view of the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia on July 17, 2021.(Photo: Xinhua)

The wide view of the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia on July 17, 2021.(Photo: Xinhua)

Saudi Arabia announced 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, minister of state for foreign affairs, to the envoy role was announced as part of a series of royal orders decreed by King Salman.

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

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

Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil exporter, has been cashing in on the spike in energy prices resulting from the Ukraine crisis. In early May, the kingdom announced that economic growth in the first quarter had risen 9.6 percent compared to the same period in 2021, which the statistics authority said represented "the highest growth rate in [the] last 10 years."

It has resisted US entreaties to raise oil output in an attempt to bring prices down in the wake of the Ukraine conflict, instead stressing its commitment to the OPEC+ oil alliance, which Riyadh and Moscow lead.

Saudi energy minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said earlier in May that the country expected to ramp up its daily oil production capacity by more than 1 million barrels to exceed 13 million barrels by 2027.

Yet in 2021, Saudi Arabia pledged ahead of the COP26 climate change summit to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2060, sparking skepticism from environmental campaign group Greenpeace. 

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