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Tara Shirvani

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Tara Shirvani
Born (1986-10-08) October 8, 1986 (age 37)
Vienna, Austria
🏫 EducationUniversity of Oxford (PhD), University of Cambridge (MEng)
💼 Occupation
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Tara Shirvani (born 8 October 1986) is an Iranian-Austrian speaker, scientific advisor and international activist on climate change, energy policy and technological innovation. She is currently working for the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and was previously at the World Bank in Washington. She is one of Aviva’s Women of the Future and a Forbes 30 under 30 Awardee.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Tara was born in Vienna in 1986 with Iranian ancestry from Tehran and Isfahan, growing up between Austria and Iran and graduating from Wasagasse BG9 in Vienna.[2] She completed her Bachelor of Science in International Management in 2006 at ESCP Business School (French: École Supérieure de Commerce de Paris). She went on to receive a Masters in Engineering for Sustainable Development from Cambridge University and a PhD in Inorganic Chemistry from Oxford University.


From 2013 until 2018 Shirvani worked at the World Bank Group in Washington, D.C., where she co-led the delivery of the World Bank’s Africa Climate Business Plan [3] a platform for climate action that finances 176 projects totalling $17 billion dollars with the aim to galvanize low-carbon developments[4]. Since 2018 she is working at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development based in London where she is representing the bank at the G20 Global Infrastructure Connectivity Alliance while leading the dialogue on disruptive technologies and digital transformations[5].

Climate change and innovation[edit]

Shirvani is a strong advocate of third-generation biofuels from sources such as micro- and macroalgae while being highly critical of first-generation biofuels due to the effect on food prices and the subsequent effect on the developing world. She further strongly supports second generation biofuels, however, which are manufactured from inedible biomass such as corn stover, wood chips or straw. These biofuels are not made from food sources (see food vs. fuel).

Shirvani is a vocal advocate for the deployment of innovative technologies and smart solutions to propel action against climate change impacts particularly in fossil-fuel intensive sectors such as transport and energy [6]. In a video published in the Financial Times on 16 September 2019, she criticizes how the mining of cryptocurrencies is having a negative environmental impact on our planet. [7]

Iranian energy policy[edit]

As an agenda contributor to the World Economic Forum, Shirvani regularly contributes papers exploring the interplay between Iran’s nuclear negotiations and energy supply, and the geopolitical impact of its gas supply on geopolitical considerations for transportation corridors.[8] In 2015 she outlined in Foreign Affairs how Europe’s decision making process during the nuclear sanction negotiations was strongly influenced by the EU-blocks dependency on Russia’s monopoly gas supply [8]. In 2017 she collaborated with the Stanford University Iran 2040 Project publishing on the outlook for expanded renewable energy generation in Iran. [9]


  1. "Highlights Forbes 30 under 30 2016".
  2. "Coming back - not an option (German)".
  3. "World Bank's Africa Climate Business Plan". Retrieved 2018. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  4. "Africa Climate Business Plan". Retrieved 3 February 2020.
  5. "Drones are already transforming the transport sector". Retrieved 9 October 2019.
  6. "Disruptive technology and innovation in Transport" (PDF).
  7. "Bitcoin mining hurts our climate".
  8. 8.0 8.1 "Tehran Power Lobby".
  9. "The Outlook for Natural Gas, Electricity and Renewable Energy in Iran".

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