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Saudi Arabia is set to introduce legislation to allow for the sale of fossil fuels in the country, with an attempt to curb global warming now on track.
The draft bill, which has yet to be approved by parliament, will make it illegal for anyone to burn fossil fuels.
“We are looking for a way to help reduce the emission of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide, among other greenhouse gases,” said Abd al-Hamid al-Mazrouei, head of the government’s environment department.
The proposal, known as the Green Climate Protection Act, would also ban the construction of new oil and gas facilities.
Its first step will be to allow the sale, export and production of oil and natural gas from existing fields.
But critics say it would leave Saudi Arabia with a huge financial burden, while it would also make it harder for the kingdom to tackle climate change.
The legislation was introduced by the ruling family and is expected to pass the lower house of parliament in a vote on Tuesday.
Saudi Arabia has been under international pressure to curb emissions of greenhouse gases, which account for nearly 40 per cent of global emissions.
The country’s government has announced plans to cut carbon emissions by 15 per cent by 2030.