Welcome to the Earth.Org Global Sustainability Index, where Earth.Org examines the policies and actions regarding the environment of every nation on earth. Combining the most respected global indexes on pollution, climate change, policy, energy, oceans, biodiversity we have produced an overall Global Index, which will be updated annually. This is the Global Sustainability Index scorecard for Iran.
Despite many theoretically effective policies, an issue hampering their implementation in Iran is corruption, which is prevalent across the economy including in the fossil fuel sector. Another issue hampering the country’s climate commitments is the sanctions that have been placed on it. Authorities have made it clear that they do think they can cut emissions with sanctions in place. Iran’s NDC states that any climate action depends on the removal of these sanctions, which make it more difficult to access project financing and technology transfer required to meet its renewable energy goals.
In May 2017, the government launched a National Strategic Plan on Climate Change, which was originally intended as an appendix to the current sixth five-year development plan, which runs from 2017 to 2021 and does not itself mention climate change. However, it was not approved by the cabinet. Instead, a series of mitigation targets for 2021 were brought in, which include an increased share of renewables to 5% of installed generation capacity, cutting overall gas flaring by 90% and decreasing energy consumption in the building sector by 5%. However, as it stands, it is unlikely that Iran will meet its target for clean energy by 2021.
- Globally, Iran is the 7th largest emitter of GHGs. It has very large reserves of oil, gas and renewable energy potential, but sanctions have hampered their ability to transition to clean energy.
- Iran includes sustainable development in its five-year development plans. The last, which ended in 2015, aimed to reduce energy intensity by 30%. Since 2017, new, more robust plans have been announced. These include cutting gas flaring by 90%, decreasing energy consumption in the building sector by 5%, increasing renewable generation capacity by 5% and following Euro IV car standards.
- While these goals have been praised by the UN as “reflecting Iran’s strong political will in achieving sustainable development,” corruption remains a hindrance.
You might also like: Global Emissions (2016)
Biodiversity, Policy: Sachs, J., Schmidt-Traub, G., Kroll, C., Lafortune, G., Fuller, G. (2019): Sustainable Development Report 2019. New York: Bertelsmann Stiftung and Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN).
Oceans: Halpern, Benjamin S., et al. “An index to assess the health and benefits of the global ocean.” Nature 488.7413 (2012): 615-620.
Pollution: Wendling, Z. A., Emerson, J. W., Esty, D. C., Levy, M. A., de Sherbinin, A., et al. (2018). 2018 Environmental Performance Index. New Haven, CT: Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy. https://epi.yale.edu/
Climate Change: Climate Change Performance Index; Jan Burck, Ursula Hagen, Niklas Höhne, Leonardo Nascimento, Christoph Bals, ISBN 978-3-943704-75-4, 2019
Energy: Enerdata –World Energy Statistics – Yearbook.