Iran Only Committed to 4% Emissions Reduction

Travel & Environment Desk
The Paris Agreement demonstrates that countries are serious about addressing global warming.
The Paris Agreement demonstrates that countries are serious about addressing global warming.

Iran became the 106th country on Sunday to ratify the landmark Paris Agreement, which went into force worldwide on November 4, but the ratification of the deal does not mean the country can deliver on its pledge of 12% reduction.

Iran’s unconditional pledge is to decrease emissions by 4%, officials say, which will be implemented as soon as possible. However, only with the complete lifting of nuclear sanctions against Iran and after receiving sufficient international aid and state-of-the-art technology, Iran can fulfill its conditional pledge by the UN deadline.

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.

Department of Environment chief, Massoumeh Ebtekar, had told Financial Tribune earlier this year that Iran cannot commit to its pledge as long as international sanctions remain in place, even though sanctions related to the Tehran's nuclear program were lifted in January.

However, ratification of the deal by the Majlis means Iran will begin to implement measures to meet its unconditional pledge and will not wait until sanctions are lifted.

"The parliamentary approval means we can now work toward reducing our emissions by 4% relative to the business-as-usual scenario," said an environment official on the phone who was not authorized to speak to the media.

"To achieve a 12% reduction, we require international assistance and the complete lifting of sanctions."

Mohsen Nasseri, the head of National Climate Change Office, told Financial Tribune that Iran will not have a problem meeting its unconditional pledge.

"We've run simulations and concluded that we'll be able to fund our efforts to reduce emissions by 4% [by 2030] without international aid," he said.

Under the agreement, all governments that have ratified the accord, which includes the US, China, India and the European Union, now carry an obligation to hold global warming to no more than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. That is what scientists regard as the limit of safety, beyond which climate change is likely to become catastrophic and irreversible.

The 2015 Paris Agreement was agreed last December by almost 200 countries and has been described as the most complex global treaty since the Marrakesh (trade) Agreement, signed in 1994.

The government reportedly started implementing some measures even before the deal was ratified by the parliament, such as developing renewable energy sources.

"However, we'll begin implementing a majority of our plans, especially those outlined in our pledge, in 2020," Mohammad Sadeq Ahadi, the deputy head of National Climate Change Office, said on the phone.

He added that other measures, such as moving toward a low-carbon economy, are outlined in the sixth five-year economic development plan (2016-21).

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