By Kriyana Reddy, Research Associate
Iran has long had its share of environmental issues including air pollution, water management, and the effects of climate change. But in 2016, major developments in environmental policy in Iran helped boost the country’s “green” status. For instance, Iran passed the Clean Air Bill, imposing fines on excess air pollution, and became the 106th nation to ratify the Paris Agreement in early November 2016. Additionally, the Iranian Department of Environment endorsed several successful environmental campaigns such as “Car-Free Tuesday” and a plan to protect the Persian Leopard.
Since implementation of the JCPOA, Iran’s environmental protection sector has also seen an increase in foreign investment. For example, in 2016, Iran and Germany signed a memorandum of understanding to construct environmentally friendly housing in Hashtgerd and Isfahan. Member of the Board of Instructors at Düsseldorf University in Germany Fereydoun Bodaghi says that Iran could soon attract over $20 billion in investments, and notes that the environmental protection sector seems one of the most promising areas.
Easing of sanctions has also brought other benefits to Iran’s environmental sector. For example, the Iranian Department of Environment stated that it could mitigate greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 by 12 percent as opposed to only 4 percent if sanctions had not been lifted. And, thanks to eased export/import restrictions, Iran will gain access to key technical equipment—manufactured abroad—to monitor air pollution in Tehran and other major cities.
Even more promising is Iran’s continued interest in renewable energy sources. Although the country has the fourth-largest oil reserves and second-largest natural gas reserves in the world, Iran is rapidly expanding projects in geothermal, biomass, and nuclear energy generation. Last year, the Iranian government established a goal of installing 5 GW of renewably energy by 2021, and its first major green power build out last summer was estimated to draw in nearly $12 billion in investment by completion.
But Iran still has work to do. As of 2013, nearly 98 percent of Iran’s energy consumption was derived from natural gas and/or petroleum. Only 2 percent of energy generation came from renewables. Additionally, air pollution costs Iran roughly $20 billion annually, three to four times greater than the government’s development budget. But as more time lapses since the implementation of a comprehensive sanctions relief program, Iran’s collaboration with foreign investors and firms is expanding, and the environmental sector is at the hub of the action.
Below is information about an upcoming conference in Tehran, Iran, that looks to connect domestic and foreign firms to opportunities in the green/environmental and energy sectors in Iran.
The 16th International Exhibition of the Environment
Tehran International Permanent Fairground – Tehran, Iran
February 24–27, 2017
The conference is free of charge. More information on the event can be found here.