The Environmental Performance Index ranks 120 countries on their environmental health and the vitality of their ecosystems.

According to the latest sustainability assessment, Saudi Arabia has risen 24 places in the global Energy Transition Index since 2021.

The Kingdom climbed from number 81 in 2021 to number 57 in 2023 on the World Economic Forum’s annual Energy Index Report, showing that it became the regional leader in the Middle East.

The findings are consistent with Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, which seeks to make the country’s economy more sustainable through diversification, including a focus on travel and tourism.

The research said that while the country “has long been a dominant player in the oil market,” it has experienced a “significant energy transition,” moving toward renewable energy and lowering its carbon footprint.

The report states that the Kingdom’s green initiatives, such as the establishment of the Regional Voluntary Carbon Market Co. (the first of its kind in the region), contributed to the country’s rise in the rankings.

The report also noted that Saudi Arabia still has space to reduce energy and carbon intensity notwithstanding the progress made in terms of substance.

Carbon capture technologies and the development of additional renewable resources were also highlighted in the report as opportunities for the Kingdom.

In addition, the report highlighted the fact that the Kingdom has committed to obtaining 50% of its energy needs from renewables by 2030. Several significant initiatives to reduce emissions and modify the domestic power mix are being led by the Saudi Green Initiative as well.

SGI’s efforts include increasing energy efficiency, investing in alternative energy sources, and developing a program for carbon capture and storage.

With a goal of planting 10 billion trees, SGI is taking a calculated approach to reforesting the planet. Planting 18 million trees and rehabilitating 60,000 hectares of degraded land in 2022 alone, the initiative successfully restored critical ecological parameters, enhanced air quality, and decreased sandstorms.

“The country’s shift toward renewables, with 11.4 GW capacity under development, represents a significant departure from the traditional economic model and may have geopolitical implications,” the research states.

The report added that with the right investments, research programs, training, and education, the Kingdom might become a strong leader in the energy transition.

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