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How Jordan can reduce its greenhouse gas emissions

It may emit less than some of its peers, but the country's climate goals are just as ambitious

Jordan is threatened by water shortages as Mena countries are warming at twice the global average Reuters TV
Jordan is threatened by water shortages as Mena countries are warming at twice the global average

Home to around 11 million people, Jordan is a small greenhouse gas emitter compared to many countries. But it is still investing in mitigating climate change in the transport and industrial sectors. 

Total greenhouse gas emissions in Jordan in 2018 were 35.81 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide, which represents 0.06 percent of the global total. Emissions per capita are also low – and decreasing – and stand at 3.6. tonnes/capita.

But the kingdom has established ambitious greenhouse gas emission reduction targets relative to its peers in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena).

It has increased its commitment to reduce emissions from 14 to 31 percent by 2030, with 26 percent conditional on financing and 5 percent unconditional.

The reductions are reflected in sector targets such as Jordan’s electric vehicle fleet reaching 8.3 percent of the country’s total vehicles. Average annual CO2 emissions are expected to be 241,000 tonnes lower.

Using World Bank shadow prices for carbon, from 2022 to 2030 Jordan could save an estimated $70 million through lower carbon emissions from the vehicular fleet.

The Mena region is warming at twice the global average and is projected to be up to 4C warmer by 2050.

The area’s main players must therefore increase their trust in sustainable finance, and governments must facilitate initiatives to encourage public-private partnerships.

December’s UN Cop28 climate summit in the UAE will help set milestones for public-private collaboration, but companies in Mena often need to catch up with those elsewhere in their sustainability efforts.

According to the World Bank Group’s Country Climate and Development Report, Jordan needs $9.5 billion in investments to move toward low carbon development and foster a greener economy.

Over 60 percent of that figure must come from the private sector (not including the Aqaba-Amman Water Desalination and Conveyance Project), and investment needs to cover the water, agriculture, energy, transport and urban waste management industries.

To mobilise sustainable finance we must improve government practices concerning public investment management and leveraging private investments. 

Jordan can develop a robust pipeline of capital investment by piloting innovative government support mechanisms. This will strengthen the worth of public-private partnership projects and scale up the role of state-owned enterprises in financing green infrastructure and climate change projects.

Businesses in Jordan can play a crucial role by creating eyecatching sustainable investments. And many jobs can be adapted and created through climate-focused investments in renewable energy, but even more so in the construction and agri-food sectors.

Climate change can only be solved by the mobilisation of all segments of society. The road to Cop28 will require the inclusion of and engagement with young people, as today’s youth are the climate leaders of tomorrow.

Our young population has the potential and capabilities to create an enduring impact, as our region works to mainstream the new climate investment narrative.

Hamzeh Al-Alayan is general manager of Edgo and a regular regional energy and industrial commentator