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Iran–A Case Study

April 19, 2018

By Paul Homewood




According to the US EIA, Iran holds the world’s fourth-largest proved crude oil reserves and the world’s second-largest natural gas reserves.

Not only is it a major producer of oil and gas, it is also a major consumer. According to BP, primary energy consumption was 270 Mtoe in 2016, compared to 188 Mtoe in the UK.

Oil and gas accounted for 98% of Iran’s consumption, with non-hydro renewables as little as 0.04%:




Although Iran exports nearly two thirds of its oil output, it consumes 99% of its natural gas production in net terms. In fact it even imports small amounts from Turkmenistan, as EIA explain:

Iran’s imports of natural gas from Turkmenistan began in 1997 in response to lack of domestic infrastructure that would deliver natural gas from the south to the major consuming centers in northern Iran. Turkmenistan’s natural gas volumes filled this critical gap for years, especially during winter months.


Energy consumption has risen rapidly since 1980, as a result of industrialisation and consumer demand:



Demand for heating is particularly significant in the north of the country, where temperatures regularly dip below freezing in winter:

Average min and max temperatures in Teheran, Iran   Copyright © 2018,tehran-ir,Iran


Electricity generation is also dominated by fossil fuels:



All of which begs the question, what possible incentive does Iran have to stop using fossil fuels?

Any large scale switch away from oil and gas would in all likelihood destroy the economy and bring riots in the streets.

That is why Iran’s INDC for Paris pledged just a tiny cut of 4% in GHGs from Business As Usual (which basically means anything the Mullahs want it to mean).


It goes without saying that Iran’s emissions of CO2 are already well above those of the UK, 630 MtCO2e, compared with 406 MtCO2e.


Somehow I don’t see Iran taking the blindest bit of notice of Claire Perry’s “climate leadership”!

  1. bob permalink
    April 19, 2018 6:11 pm

    Of course Iran will continue using its plentiful indigenous fossil fuels. What’s more, with all the sanctions and anti-Iran hinderances the west spews out (nearly as much as its Russiaphobia rubbish), then Iran couldnt adapt its economy to use less fossil fuels because of our sanctions. Since its the West that loves the AGW anti-carbon religion then Iran would be justified to increase carbon emissions just to annoy the preachers in the West. And Russia should (doubtless will) offer the same 2 fingered gesture to the Wests religion! China just thinks the West is nuts.

    • markl permalink
      April 19, 2018 6:29 pm

      So it’s the West’s fault Iran isn’t following CC diktats? And Russia, China, India, and the 175 other countries that signed the Paris Discord that either pledged nothing or pledged something and delivered nothing? Only the industrialized Western countries are the bad guys? Think about that for a minute. Someone has been drinking too much of the CC Kool Aid.

  2. Mark Hodgson permalink
    April 19, 2018 7:11 pm

    Paul, you’ve obviously read Iran’s INDC under the Paris Agreement, but it’s actually quite hilarious (unless you think the Paris Agreement is serious, in which case it should be quite upsetting).

    “The Islamic Republic of Iran, in recent decades, has always supported the international efforts to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) and to adapt to the impacts of climate change, on the basis of the principle of “Common But Differentiated Responsibilities” (CBDR). Despite various obstacles such as unjust sanctions, the eight year imposed war upon Iran (1980-1988) which put Iranian young and talented human resources at risk, as well as hosting millions of refugees from the neighboring countries, Iran has implemented comprehensive programs over the last three decades in the field of sustainable development. In the coming years, however, economic growth, social development, poverty eradication and environmental sustainability continue to be the main priorities of the national development agenda.
    In spite of the desire to move towards low-carbon economy and to implement and achieve its objectives, young population and national development requirements on the one hand, and availability of hydrocarbon resources from the other hand, have made the national development to rely on the energy-intensive industries. These have made upward trend of GHGs emissions in the country inevitable.
    Dependence of the national economy on revenues from production and export of oil and its byproducts – that are high-carbon intensive- have made the economy, public welfare, resources and technology of the country, vulnerable to mitigation of GHGs emission. These adverse impacts from the point of view of response measures to climate change, have turned the Islamic Republic Iran to a suitable candidate, to the attention of developed country parties to the Convention, in the areas of finance, technology transfer and capacity building support (according to articles 4.8 and 4.9 of the UNFCCC).
    This intended program, inclusive of unconditional and conditional participation in mitigating GHGs emission as well as in terms of areas related to adaptation, is in its entirety, subject to the removal of economic, technological and financial restrictions and in particular termination of unjust sanctions imposed on Iran during the past several decades, as well as non-imposition of restrictions or sanctions in the future.
    Obviously, due to the long-term impacts of unjust sanctions and restrictions, capacity development and creation of suitable institutional structures will be a time consuming process and constrain achieving objectives of this program, even if international financial and technical support as well as technology transfer are provided. The Islamic Republic of Iran, while has no legally binding commitments under the Convention to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while emphasizing the voluntary nature of its actions, presents its “Intended Nationally Determined Contribution”, as endorsed by the Cabinet of Ministers, in the following macro-areas of mitigation, vulnerability and adaptation.
    It is noteworthy that, this document does not constitute committing the Islamic Republic of Iran, in any way, in a binding manner, with regard to the measures that will be undertaken in its various economic and industrial sectors.”
    And sure enough, the detail demonstrates that they aren’t really interested:
    “On the basis of national capabilities, financial resources available and requirements of the national development program, taking into account GHGs emission scenarios, the Islamic Republic of Iran intends to participate by mitigating its GHGs emission in 2030 by 4% compared to the Business As Usual (BAU) scenario.” And
    “Subject to termination and non-existence of unjust sanctions, availability of international resources in the form of financial support and technology transfer, exchange of carbon credits, accessibility of bilateral or multilateral implementation mechanisms, transfer of clean technologies as well as capacity building, the Islamic Republic of Iran has the potential of mitigating additional GHGs emission up to 8% against the BAU scenario (i.e. 12% in total). ”
    And just to make the point (in case we hadn’t got it already):
    “The Islamic Republic of Iran has already included a program to mitigate GHGs emission in its “Fifth 5 Year National Development Plan” (2010 to 2015), targeting 30% reduction in energy intensity. Unfortunately, due to the unjust sanctions imposed on our economic, financial and technological sectors, not only this target was not achieved, but energy intensity was increased in recent years. ” And:
    “Bearing in mind the status of the Islamic Republic of Iran as a major developing country with a growing economy, the national development plan of the country aims to achieve 8% economic growth annually, with an emphasis on energy and industrial sectors in the next fifteen years. ”
    And despite offering next to nothing, they aren’t shy about asking for lots of money:
    “The total annual investments needed to achieve unconditional and conditional GHGs mitigation are about 17.5 and 52.5 billion US dollars respectively”.

    • HotScot permalink
      April 19, 2018 8:18 pm


      Judging by the amount of fossil fuel Iran has at it’s disposal it’s little wonder they are hanging onto it for grim death and resisting being overrun by the ‘civilised’ West.

      On the other hand, if they are, as alleged, sponsoring international terrorism on behalf of the Islamic nation, they deserve to lose the lot.

      Shame to witness a highly educated, sophisticated nation, directed by religion.

      Beyond that, I’m personally at a loss as to how to unravel the Iran/Russia relationship which adds a dynamic well beyond most political commentators comprehension, particularly the BBC.

      Sorry to go OT.

  3. John Palmer permalink
    April 19, 2018 7:28 pm

    We’ve sent in our INDC, we’re a developing nation, we’re reducing our CO2 output and we support the Paris Agreement……so give us the money, it’s only a few $$$billion!

    • HotScot permalink
      April 19, 2018 8:26 pm


      Assuming one can repeat the prevailing political mantra of the moment, one can do as one wants on the global political stage.

      To make matters worse, it seems to be confirmed that we’re getting Charly Farly as our next King, imminently.

      Great, a dyed in the wool amateur green who has opinions on Architecture. Is there no end to the mans talents?

      • roger permalink
        April 19, 2018 9:51 pm

        He is also an expert on arctic ice and can count up to 100 as in 100 months to save the planet.
        We are truly blessed

  4. Athelstan permalink
    April 19, 2018 11:09 pm

    Peak oil?

    there’s no end to it, there’s loads of the lovely black stuff.


    Somehow I don’t see Iran taking the blindest bit of notice of Claire Perry’s “climate leadership”!


    On the Twelfth of never………………and that’s only a maybe.

  5. Athelstan permalink
    April 19, 2018 11:58 pm


    nada, zilch – from the beeb weather weasels…………..nothing, radio silence about our recent and prolonged cold spring.

    glory! but hey today ‘wuz the warmest evah since 1949’!!

    some consistency there huh?

  6. Craig permalink
    April 20, 2018 5:05 am

    ‘’What incentive does Iran have?” – Have a look at their INDC. They want all sanctions removed so they are free to develop nuclear weapons and billions in cash

  7. Robin Guenier permalink
    April 20, 2018 6:41 am

    Somehow I don’t see Iran taking the blindest bit of notice of Claire Perry’s “climate leadership”!

    But wait. Perhaps the mullahs will change their minds now that Ms Perry has announced ( that the UK is to “draft new laws that will cut emissions to net-zero“:

    In a submission to the UN’s climate change agency, Perry said: “The UK will need to legislate for a net-zero emissions target at an appropriate point in the future to provide legal certainty on where the UK is heading.”

    The notice was given in a cover letter for the UK’s 2050 climate goals to the UN. She added: “We hope the UK can be an inspirational example of what is possible” and committed to working with other parties to help them submit their own long term goals.

    After all, how could they ignore “an inspirational example”?

    • April 20, 2018 8:02 am

      Fuel and energy generally are very heavily subsidised in Iran.

      Waste, inefficiency, and fuel smuggling are rife.

    • dave permalink
      April 20, 2018 9:02 am

      “…need to legislate at an appropriate point for a net zero-emissions target…”

      “…at an appropriate point…”

      How about agreeing to legislate in 3000 AD – if things are going really well – with the target to be met by 4000 AD?

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