AS IT HAPPENED: Day two of COP26 sees new pledges for greener world, but is it enough?

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Joe Biden reacts during a meeting on "the Build Back Better World (B3W)", as part of the World Leaders' Summit of the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow. (AFP)
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Will anything change? Greta and other critics have their doubts. (File/AFP)
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Updated 03 November 2021

AS IT HAPPENED: Day two of COP26 sees new pledges for greener world, but is it enough?

GLASGOW: World leaders reached agreements on deforestation, curtailing methane emissions and as the initial phase of COP26 came to an end on Tuesday.

More than 100 countries, including the US, China and Brazil, signed a pledge to “collectively halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030 while delivering sustainable development and promoting an inclusive rural transformation.”

Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden launched a plan to reduce methane emissions, a gas that contributes significantly to global warming. 

The announcement was part of a broader effort with the European Union and other nations to reduce overall methane emissions worldwide by 30% by 2030.

But there were also tensions with Biden accusing the leaders of China and Russia of making a “big mistake” by not attending the event.
 Boris Johnson said he was feeling cautiously optimistic - but warned against “false hope”.

Here are the highlights of the events of day 2, Tuesday, as they unfold (all times are GMT):

07.40pm: Joe Biden wraps up the day with a final press conference in which he claims there had been historic progress during the opening days of COP26 on addressing global warming.

However, he took aim at Russian President Vladimir Putin and China's leader Xi Jinping for not attending, calling it a big mistake.

07.25pm: US President Joe Biden said that China’s leader Xi Jinping made a “big mistake” by not attending the Glasgow climate and G20 summits but said he hoped for talks to prevent conflict.
“It’s been a big mistake, quite frankly, for China not showing up. The rest of the world looked at China and said ‘what value are they providing?’,” Biden added.

06:15pm: Frank Kane has written a piece about President Joe Biden's cynicism towards other nations at COP26 and how a little less skepticism might persuade the rest of the world to follow his lead.


This section contains relevant reference points, placed in (Opinion field)

05:20pm: UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson held a press conference in which he outlined some of the commitments made during the first two full days of COP26. 

“We must take care to guard against false hope and not to think in any way that the job is done, because it is not - there is still a very long way to go,” Johnson said. “But all that being said, I am cautiously optimistic.”

He said they were still pushing to reach a target of $100 billion to help poorer nations. On China, Johnson said President Xi Jinping's absence from the conference “doesn't mean the Chinese are not engaging.” 

Johnson also praised India for making a big commitment by saying it would increase its use of clean energy.

05:45pm: Read more of Arab News’ coverage on COP26.

Saudi ambassador to the UK: Kingdom ‘can lead world’ on climate change

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Greta Thunberg tells young protestors COP26 won’t help climate

03.54pm: Kuwait’s Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah affirmed Kuwait’s keenness to adopt a national low carbon strategy until 2050.
He said the national strategy is based on a circular carbon economy to promote the reduction, disposal, reuse and recycling of greenhouse gases.
Legislation and laws will be enacted to support the strategy to reduce emissions and adapt to their negative effects at the national level, in line with local, regional and international environmental obligations, Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled added.

“Kuwait, in compliance with Paris Climate Agreement, updated its contributions document on Oct 12, 2021, whereby Kuwait contributes to a package of development projects based on a vision that would avoid an increase in greenhouse gases equivalent to 7.4 percent of its total emissions until 2035,” he said.
Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled said that Kuwait attaches great importance to diversifying the country’s energy sources by introducing renewable energies and replacing fossil fuels with liquefied gas to ensure the sustainability of energy supplies for future generations.

03.24pm: Bahrain’s Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad said the kingdom is committed to reaching net zero by 2060 and has set a range of ambitious interim goals to ensure that we proceed without delay. 
“By 2035, we will reduce emissions by 30 percent through decarbonization and efficiency initiatives and double our deployment of renewables from the targets we set at COP21,” he said.

“Our 2035 targets also include carbon removal solutions by quadrupling mangrove coverage, doubling tree coverage in Bahrain, and directly investing in carbon capture technologies, which we believe is essential,” Prince Salman added.

03.09pm: US President Joe Biden announced a joint US-UAE Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate (AIM for Climate) “to catalyze public and private investment in climate-smart agriculture and food systems innovation” over the next five years.

01.40pm: President Joe Biden thanks everyone who signed the "game-changing commitment" to reduce methane emmissions.

12:43pm: Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s last-minute withdrawal from the COP26 Summit in Glasgow this week is yet more evidence of his disastrous environmental strategy and his inability to listen to his own people, experts have told Arab News.

12:38pm: Countries pledge 30% reduction in methane emissions.

12:30pm: Japanese PM Kishida says Japan is ready to offer up to $10bn in additional assistance for decarbonization in Asia



09:45am: China says President Xi Jinping was not given an opportunity to deliver a video address to the COP26 climate talks. 

08:41am: BlackRock Inc says it has raised $673m for an infrastructure fund with backing from the French, German and Japanese governments to invest in climate-focused projects such as renewable energy in emerging markets.

06:00am : In an interview published today, the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the UK, Prince Khalid bin Bandar told Arab News that the Kingdom was “ready, willing and able” to lead the world in tackling climate change and global warming.




Japan company Uhuru signs smart-city business pact in Saudi Arabia

Updated 7 sec ago

Japan company Uhuru signs smart-city business pact in Saudi Arabia

  • The company plans to use Uhuru’s strengths to enhance convenience and safety for religious tourism, including the Hajj

TOKYO: Tokyo-based Uhuru Corp. has signed an agreement with Web Arabia, a technology company operating in Riyadh, to promote smart city-related business in the Kingdom.

Web Arabia specializes in smart-city solutions and is a subsidiary of Metscco Heavy Steel Industries, a leading general-engineering company responsible for infrastructure construction in Saudi Arabia.

The company plans to use Uhuru’s strengths to enhance convenience and safety for religious tourism, including the Hajj, as well as urban infrastructure such as buildings, stadiums and airports.

Uhuru has been developing various projects in the Kingdom, including research and development programs in collaboration with local organizations.

Saudi Arabia recorded 27.4 million foreign visitors in 2023.

ADNOC to boost production target by 2030

Updated 27 May 2024

ADNOC to boost production target by 2030

RIYADH: The Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. plans to boost its local manufacturing target for critical industrial products to 90 billion dirhams ($24.5 billion) by 2030 in a bid to strengthen the UAE’s industrial sector and expand local manufacturing capabilities.

ADNOC made the announcement at the “Make it in the Emirates” forum, adding that the new target is part of its expanded In-Country Value program, which aims to drive an additional 178 billion dirhams back into the UAE economy by 2028. 

“This expanded initiative will support the UAE’s economic diversification, attract local and international investors, and provide high-skilled private sector jobs for UAE nationals. Additionally, it will stimulate entrepreneurial growth and drive sustainability in ADNOC’s supply chain,” said Sultan Ahmed Al-Jaber, minister of industry and advanced technology, and ADNOC managing director and group CEO. 

This expanded initiative will support the UAE’s economic diversification, attract local and international investors.

Sultan Ahmed Al-Jaber, UAE minister of industry and advanced technology

The company said its previous 2027 target of 70 billion dirhams worth of products was “delivered ahead of schedule” following the award of two contracts for metal pipes and valves worth 16.8 billion dirhams to local manufacturers.

The contracts include 8.8 billion dirhams for metal pipes to PM Piping Petroleum Equipment, Ajmal Steel, and the Emirati-owned Al Gharbia Pipe Co.; and 8 billion dirhams for mechanical valves to Samamat, Camtech Manufacturing, Tisco Valves Manufacturing, PTPA, MT Valves and Industries.

ADNOC’s expanded ICV program also aims to provide a micro, small and medium enterprises accelerator program to enable Emirati businesses and local mSMEs to conduct business across ADNOC’s supply chain.

Saudi Arabia’s Sports Boulevard doubles its existing investment fund to $533m  

Updated 27 May 2024

Saudi Arabia’s Sports Boulevard doubles its existing investment fund to $533m  

RIYADH: Private sector participation in the Sports Boulevard project is set to increase as the foundation behind Riyadh’s largest linear park plans to double its investment fund to SR2 billion ($533 million). 

In a press release, the Sports Boulevard Foundation announced its partnership with Ajdan Real Estate Development Co. and Albilad Capital to add an additional SR1 billion to the private real estate investment fund “Sports Boulevard Real Estate Fund 1.” 

This increased funding will be utilized to bolster private sector participation within the Arts District, one of the destinations within the Sports Boulevard project. 

The Sports Boulevard Development Co. will continue to hold the majority of units in the fund, while Ajdan Real Estate Development Co. will serve as a developer and primary investor, and Albilad Capital will act as the fund manager. 

This partnership underscores the collaborative effort behind the expansion, signifying a strategic alliance aimed at creating a vibrant urban space that enhances Riyadh’s cultural and economic landscape.  

The project aims to develop a mixed-use lifestyle destination consisting of residential, retail, office, and entertainment components.  

Covering a land area of over 39,000 sq. m. at the heart of the Arts District, the total combined built-up site spans approximately 240,000 sq. m., boasting over 100,000 sq. m. of net leasable area.   

The design of this destination draws inspiration from the Sports Boulevard Design Code, influenced by the Salmani Architectural Style. This ensures a dynamic and immersive lifestyle experience for both residents and visitors. 

Situated at the intersection of Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Road and Prince Turki bin Abdulaziz Al Awwal Road, it offers expansive public spaces, recreational areas, and cycling-friendly tracks. 

Covering an area of 184,000 sq. m., the project extends beyond private development parcels, providing ample space for recreational activities and pedestrian-friendly pathways, efficiently linked to the promenade and cycling bridge. 

Sports Boulevard, a mega project launched by King Salman bin Abdulaziz in 2019, and supported by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, spans over 135 km on Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Road.  

It features safe green pathways for pedestrians, cyclists, athletes, and horse riders, connecting Wadi Hanifah in the west to Wadi Al Sulai in the east. 

Additionally, the project includes over 4.4 million sq. m. of greenery, open spaces, and up to 50 multidisciplinary sports facilities. It also hosts several unique destinations and investment zones, totaling an area exceeding 3 million sq. m. 

Closing Bell: Saudi benchmark index edges down to close at 11,831

Updated 27 May 2024

Closing Bell: Saudi benchmark index edges down to close at 11,831

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul All Share Index slipped on Monday, losing 19.42 points, or 0.16 percent, to close at 11,831.22.  

The total trading turnover of the benchmark index was SR5.8 billion ($1.5 billion) as 110 stocks advanced, while 108 retreated.   

On the other hand, the Kingdom’s parallel market Nomu also slipped 189.65 points, or 0.71 percent, to close at 26,448.54. This comes as 30 stocks advanced while as many as 34 retreated.  

Similarly, the MSCI Tadawul Index also dropped 2.67 points, or 0.18 percent, to close at 1,470.41.    

The best-performing stock of the day was Saudi Paper Manufacturing Co. The company’s share price surged 4.89 percent to SR75.10.  

Other top performers included CHUBB Arabia Cooperative Insurance Co. as well as Middle East Specialized Cables Co., whose share prices soared by 3.96 percent and 3.46 percent, to stand at SR34.10 and SR32.85 respectively.  

On Nomu, Osool and Bakheet Investment Co. was the top gainer, with its share price rising by 9.22 percent to SR48.   

Other best performers on Nomu were View United Real Estate Development Co. as well as Al-Modawat Specialized Medical Co., whose share prices soared by 6.53 percent and 6.20 percent to stand at SR79.90 and SR150.80, respectively.  

Additional top gainers included Almujtama Alraida Medical Co. and Bena Steel Industries Co.  

On the announcement front, Saudi Basic Industries Corp., known as SABIC, received all necessary approvals from relevant authorities to complete the acquisition of its subsidiary Saudi Iron and Steel Co., also known as HADEED, by the Public Investment Fund. 

In a statement on Tadawul, SABIC announced that it has satisfied all transaction-related conditions to complete the SR12.5 billion acquisition announced earlier in September 2023. 

Furthermore, Saudi Arabia aluminum producer Al Taiseer Group Talco Industrial Co. is listing a 30 percent stake on the Tadawul stock exchange following an initial public offering, setting the final offer price at SR43 per share. 

The company is selling 12 million shares and has completed the book-building process for institutional investors, which saw a coverage of 68.5 times the total offer shares, according to Alinma Investment Co., the lead manager and financial adviser to the issuance. 

The book-building process for retail investors will run for two days starting on May 28. During this time, they can subscribe to a maximum of 10 percent of the shares. The final share allocation is set for June 2. 

Saudi Arabia focused on promoting energy efficiency: top official

Updated 27 May 2024

Saudi Arabia focused on promoting energy efficiency: top official

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s budding energy efficiency sector has witnessed notable growth, with the number of licensed service providers reaching 55 by the end of 2023, says a top official. 

As the Kingdom strives to reduce its carbon footprint, with recently amplified goals to achieve net-zero by 2060, the Saudi Energy Efficiency Center is working to aide the nation in realizing these ambitions, Nasser Al-Ghamdi, the CEO of the center noted. 

In his inaugural address at the Saudi ESCO forum, the top executive stressed the entity’s role in raising awareness about energy efficiency. He highlighted that 26 universities nationwide have adopted energy efficiency topics and courses in their curricula.

“Since the inception of the center, we have launched various initiatives that will help in reducing energy consumption,” Al- Ghamdi said.

Among these undertakings, the body has succeeded in launching and implementing more than 200 training programs in the field of energy efficiency, the CEO added. 

The executive emphasized that the center has strived to create the necessary ecosystem for suppliers and their beneficiaries in this “promising market” to ensure the quality of energy-efficiency service providers.

He added that this will be achieved through the application of a licensing system for those interested in investing in this field after meeting the technical requirements necessary to provide the service. 

Highlighting the role that the fledgling sector is playing in achieving net-zero goals, the CEO said: “The sector, which is considered relatively new, is helping companies and enterprises and buildings in finding solutions to efficiently use energy, including financing and managing solutions and projects. These companies also contribute energy consumption analysis and knowing opportunities for companies to improve their consumption.”

Due to the absence of energy efficiency activities in the commercial sector, one of the highest energy consumers in the Kingdom, accounting for 15.7 percent of total consumption of facilities in the nation, the body launched a pilot project to improve this field. 

The initiative aims to improve conditions in the commercial sector by raising business owners’ awareness of opportunities, as implementing energy auditing projects is expected to improve overall efficiency.