Iran has gone through a decade of economic woes marked by international sanctions, the COVID-19 pandemic, and high inflation. Despite a slight recovery in 2021, the economy is fragile and remains the government’s top priority. Developments in climate policy, including renewable energy, have been limited. Notably, Iran remains one of the few countries that has not yet ratified the Paris Agreement. The Climate Action Tracker continues to rate Iran’s provisional climate pledge and climate policy as “Critically insufficient”.
In its 2015 Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC), Iran committed to reducing emissions by 4% (unconditional reduction) or 12% (conditional reduction) below business as usual (BAU) by 2030. Iran is expected to significantly overachieve both targets, with currently implemented policies. The main reason for this is the highly inflated BAU scenario it used as a basis for the target.
Iran’s economic turmoil has hindered its capacity to address climate change. Investments in mitigation measures – renewable energy deployment in particular– have significantly slowed in recent years, as the government has been prioritising Iran’s economic recovery. This is best exemplified by the Seventh Five-Year Development Plan (2023-2027), a strategic document which serves as a guiding framework for annual budgets and policy developments. Unlike the previous edition, the new plan is exclusively focused on addressing Iran’s pressing economic challenges and is completely devoid of mitigation policies or renewable energy targets.
The impact of the economic sanctions on Iran’s emissions has been mixed. While oil production and exports have both decreased, some production has been diverted to domestic consumption. In 2021, emissions increased by around 7% from the previous year due to the country’s gradual economic recovery.
Iran is not immune from climate change impacts such as droughts and floods, which are driving internal migration. An important first step would be for Iran to ratify the Paris Agreement, and revise its climate pledge, which we interpret as leading to more than doubling emissions from 2010 to 2030, well above what we expect emissions in 2030 to be with current policies. Iran, in its INDC, states that mitigation targets will not be implemented if international sanctions are in place.
The CAT rates Iran’s climate targets and policies as “Critically Insufficient”. This rating indicates that Iran’s climate policies and commitments reflect minimal to no action and are not at all consistent with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C temperature limit.
If all countries were to follow Iran’s approach, warming would exceed 4°C. Under Iran’s current targets and policies, emissions will continue to rise and are consistent with more than 4°C warming. To get a better rating, Iran needs to ratify the Paris Agreement, set a more ambitious target for emissions reductions, and establish and implement ambitious policies.
The CAT rates Iran’s policies and action as “Critically Insufficient” when compared to its fair share. Iran has developed few mitigation policies. Some of the policies it had begun to put in place, such as the development of renewable energy, have been slowed down or halted in reaction to international economic sanctions The Seventh Five-Year Development Plan released in 2023 does not include any mitigation measures. Yet, Iran’s policies are sufficient to easily overachieve both its conditional and unconditional INDC targets, as these are based on highly inflated emissions growth projections.
The full policies and action analysis can be found here.
The CAT rates Iran’s conditional target as “Critically Insufficient” against modelled domestic pathways. Iran’s conditional target pledges an emissions reduction of 12% below business as usual, which would lead to emissions increasing by around 125% compared to 2010 levels.
The “Critically insufficient” rating signals minimal to no action and is not at all consistent with the 1.5°C temperature limit. If all countries were to follow Iran’s approach, warming would exceed 4°C.
The CAT rates Iran’s unconditional target as “Critically Insufficient” against its fair share range. Iran’s unconditional target pledges an emissions reduction of 4% below business as usual in 2030. The CAT estimates this would lead to emissions increasing by around 145% compared to 2010 levels.
The “Critically insufficient” rating signals minimal to no action and is not at all consistent with the 1.5°C temperature limit. Iran’s unconditional target is not in line with any interpretation of a fair approach to meeting the 1.5°C limit. If all countries were to follow Iran’s approach, warming would exceed 4°C.
Iran does not have a net zero target.