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Biden climate envoy Kerry to visit Saudi Arabia next week

Secretary of State John Kerry speaks with United States Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power at a Security Council meeting on counter terrorism at the United Nations on 30 September 2015 in New York City. [Spencer Platt/Getty Images]
The then-Secretary of State John Kerry speaks with United States Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power at a Security Council meeting on counter terrorism at the United Nations on 30 September 2015 in New York City. [Spencer Platt/Getty Images]

US President Joe Biden's climate envoy, John Kerry, will travel to Saudi Arabia next week for meetings with government counterparts and business leaders on efforts to address the climate crisis, the State Department said on Thursday, Reuters reports.

Kerry will visit Riyadh on 24 and 25 October before the UN climate change convention in Glasgow that starts on 31 October, the department said in a statement.

In Riyadh, Kerry will participate in the Middle East Green Initiative Summit, which will discuss ways to reduce emissions, reverse desertification and grow forests.

The United States and the EU are trying to get Saudi Arabia, the world's largest oil exporter, to join a global initiative on slashing emissions of methane 30 percent by 2030 from 2020 levels. More than 30 countries including Germany, Canada and Japan have joined the partnership which covers 60 percent of global GDP and 30 percent of global methane emissions.

Saudi Arabia is building a $5 billion plant to produce 'green hydrogen' by extracting the gas from water using electrolysers powered by solar and wind power. Hydrogen can be used in fuel cell vehicles or be blended with natural gas to create a cleaner-burning fuel, but today most hydrogen is extracted using fossil fuels that produce large amounts of planet-warming emissions.

Kerry said last month that hydrogen could be a multitrillion-dollar global market in the coming decades.

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Asia & AmericasMiddle EastNewsSaudi ArabiaUS
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