Dynamics of energy sector and GHG emissions in Saudi Arabia

A. N. Khondaker, Syed Masiur Rahman*, Karim Malik, Nahid Hossain, Shaikh Abdur Razzak, Rouf Ahmad Khan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


The energy sector is the main contributor to GHG emissions in Saudi Arabia. The tremendous growth of GHG emissions poses serious challenges for the Kingdom in terms of their reduction targets, and also the mitigation of the associated climate changes. The rising trend of population and urbanization affects the energy demand, which results in a faster rate of increase in GHG emissions. The major energy sector sources that contribute to GHG emissions include the electricity generation, road transport, desalination plants, petroleum refining, petrochemical, cement, iron and steel, and fertilizer industries. In recent years, the energy sector has become the major source, accounting for more than 90% of national CO2 emissions. Although a substantial amount of research has been conducted on renewable energy resources, a sustainable shift from petroleum resources is yet to be achieved. Public awareness, access to energy-efficient technology, and the development and implementation of a legislative framework, energy pricing policies, and renewable and alternative energy policies are not mature enough to ensure a significant reduction in GHG emissions from the energy sector. An innovative and integrated solution that best serves the Kingdom's long-term needs and exploits potential indigenous, renewable, and alternative energy resources while maintaining its sustainable development stride is essential. Policy relevance The main contributor to GHG emissions in Saudi Arabia is the energy sector that accounts for more than 90% of the national CO2 emissions. Tremendous growth of GHG emissions poses serious challenges for the Kingdom in their reduction and mitigating the associated climate changes. This study examines the changing patterns of different activities associated with energy sector, the pertinent challenges, and the opportunities that promise reduction of GHG emissions while providing national energy and economic security. The importance of achieving timely, sustained, and increasing reductions in GHG emissions means that a combination of policies may be needed. This study points to the long-term importance of making near- and medium-term policy choices on a well-informed, strategic basis. This analytical paper is expected to provide useful information to the national policy makers and other decision makers. It may also contribute to the GHG emission inventories and the climate change negotiations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)517-541
Number of pages25
JournalClimate Policy
Issue number4
StatePublished - 4 Jul 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 Taylor & Francis.


  • GHG emissions
  • Saudi Arabia
  • energy sector
  • renewable energy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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