Policy Perspectives

Options for Climate Change Policy in MENA Countries after Paris




August, 2016


O5. Economywide Country Studies

  • Many economies in the MENA region are vulnerable to the negative impacts of climate change given their fragile ecosystems and high dependency on hydrocarbon resources.
  • Like many other developing countries, MENA countries have framed their commitments as part of the COP21 climate change negotiations within the broader context of sustainable development and with a focus on adaptation.
  • The key sources of greenhouse gas emissions avoidance and mitigation in their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions submitted by MENA countries are deployment of renewables, energy efficiency, and switching of fuel mix towards natural gas.
  • The agreements at the Paris climate change summit raise a number of challenges to MENA countries that require thorough understanding and coordination among the policy makers in the region.
  • However, countries such as Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria face challenges to meet the targets for renewable generations in their INDCs.
  • MENA policymakers must use both demand side management and market-based policy instruments to take advantage of the enormous and cheap GHG emissions mitigation opportunities in MENA.
  • MENA countries have significant potential for energy savings through elimination of inefficiencies and waste and a potential of cutting back the region’s expanding carbon footprint.
  • Market-based options are generally more efficient and cost effective than non-market based options, but the choice between the two depends on the specific country national circumstances.
  • This Policy Brief examines the challenges and opportunities for MENA countries presented by both climate change and by policy responses to it. It reviews the history of intergovernmental climate change agreements over the past 20 years up to the Paris conference in 2015. It concludes with potential actions by MENA policymakers for both mitigation and climate change policy.