People, Environment

DOE’s Latest Proposal on Climate Change, Air Pollution

DOE’s Latest Proposal on Climate Change, Air PollutionDOE’s Latest Proposal on Climate Change, Air Pollution

Iran’s top environmental official has urged senior government and provincial officials to do their part to save energy in an attempt to curb air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

Massoumeh Ebtekar, the head of the Department of Environment, has called on top officials and the general public to join her so-called “18° C Challenge” which encourages setting the thermostat in offices at an optimal temperature to reduce emissions, address the ballooning air pollution crisis and cut heating costs in winter.

The campaign encourages lowering office temperature to 21° C and corridor temperature to 18° C, which happens to mirror the UK Fuel Poverty Strategy.

It also advises turning off heating systems on weekends and public holidays.

The campaign has received the backing of top officials. On her Instagram account on Friday, Ebtekar uploaded directives by First Vice President Es’haq Jahangiri, who instructed all government bodies to comply with the new standards, and Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh, who put the National Iranian Gas Company in charge of monitoring government bodies’ compliance with the directive.

Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and Shahindokht Molaverdi, vice president for women and family affairs, have also voiced support for the campaign.

Although touted as a way to reduce air pollution, the campaign has a far greater impact on cutting Iran’s greenhouse gas emissions than addressing Iran’s — especially Tehran’s — smog problem.

Iran has pledged to cut its emissions by 4% — or 12% subject to international aid — relative to the business-as-usual scenario by 2030, and reforming energy policies is essential to helping Iran meet its targets.  

Experts and environmentalists often complain about the unusually high levels of consumption and waste in Iran that includes water, electricity, gas, gasoline, bread and other foods. One common reason highlighted by most observers is the fact that much of these items are subsidized by state coffers to the tune of billions of dollars a year.