Paris Agreement Bill Awaits Majlis Ratification

Only 22 countries have so far ratified the Paris Agreement, accounting for 1% of global emissions
Abadan Petrochemical Complex in Khuzestan Province. Iran accounts for 1.30% of global emissions.Abadan Petrochemical Complex in Khuzestan Province. Iran accounts for 1.30% of global emissions.

The government of President Hassan Rouhani has submitted the Paris Agreement Bill to the Majlis for its ratification.

The bill outlines the government’s measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 4% relative to the business-as-usual scenario.

While Iran’s unconditional pledge is to decrease emissions by 4%, officials say with sufficient international aid, Iran can reduce its emissions by 12% by 2030.

Representatives of 195 countries negotiated a historic agreement in Paris last December to curb global emissions of greenhouse gases and limit the planet’s warming to under 2°C, preferably 1.5°C, by 2100.

The agreement was signed by senior officials of 180 countries in April in a ceremony in New York City.

For the agreement to enter into force, 55 countries representing at least 55% of global emissions must ratify it. So far, only 22 countries have ratified the deal, accounting for 1% of global emissions.

Iran accounts for 1.30% of global emissions, which is high compared to other countries because despite Tehran’s increasing emissions over the past few years, the economy has failed grow.

Whereas in developing countries, an increase in greenhouse emissions is a sign of a growing economy, the same cannot be said about Iran where emissions have increased despite years of economic stagnation, which is indicative of the enormous cost and waste of energy.

According to Iran’s Meteorological Organization, the country’s greenhouse gas emissions have increased by 3% in the past decade.

  Wasteful Energy Sector

Many blame Iran’s high energy consumption on the fact that the sector, especially electricity, is heavily subsidized. In other words, consumers pay a fraction of the real cost. This has not only led to excessive energy use because it is cheap, but it has also taken a toll on the Energy Ministry’s revenues, according to Energy Minister Hamid Chitchian.

A climate plan of action unveiled by the government last November explicitly states the need for significant policy reform in the energy sector, which is responsible for over 90% of Iran’s greenhouse gas emissions.

With the lifting of economic sanctions in January, Iran hopes to get access to modern technology for achieving what some call “unambitious” climate targets.

Official estimates suggest that $17.5 billion in investment are needed to ensure Iran meets its unconditional pledge, i.e. without international aid, of 4% reduction in emissions by 2030.

To meet the conditional pledge of 12% reduction, it would need about $35 billion in international aid.

Iran announced in May that it will embark on a project with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization to reduce its energy footprint by optimizing its generation and consumption to help rein in rising carbon emissions and meet its 2030 climate change target.

The ultimate objective of the project is to find ways to reduce the energy footprint of and carbon emissions in key sectors, namely oil, iron and steel, petrochemical, brick and cement production.