For decades, Saudi Arabia’s economy has been highly vulnerable to oil price shocks. Climate change presents an additional challenge to Saudi Arabia’s economy as it affects both the oil and non-oil economic sectors. Aware of the potential threats posed by climate change, Saudi Arabia has expressed its intention to engage in remedial action and planning in accordance with the kingdom’s efforts toward economic diversification.
While Saudi Arabia’s long involvement in global climate change negotiations has attracted mounting attention from analysts and researchers alike, little is known about the kingdom’s climate change governance at the domestic level or its progress in terms of addressing climate change in line with its economic diversification strategy. This paper sheds light on Saudi Arabia’s climate change governance at the national level. In particular, it examines the challenges and opportunities for aligning climate change policies with the kingdom’s economic diversification strategies.
Drawing from secondary literature and interviews with Saudi climate change experts, the paper reveals that effective governance of climate change in Saudi Arabia still faces fundamental challenges, among them, a lack of quantitative data, consistency, and certainty; absence of a climate action plan; heavy involvement of the Ministry of Energy, Industry, and Mineral Resources and the energy industry itself in addressing climate-related matters; and fragmentation of climate-related policies and efforts.