Ambitious decarbonization efforts for Turkey's electricity supply, passenger road and rail transport, and residential buildings sectors can reduce emissions and generate business opportunities for various sectors
Turkey could reduce emissions substantially by bringing the power sector, residential buildings and passenger ground transport onto a Paris-compatible pathway that would see emissions drop by 14% compared to 2017 levels by 2030, a new analysis on Turkey showed Tuesday. According to Scaling Up Climate Action: Turkey analysis by Climate Action Tracker (CAT), which has taken a close look at the major emitting sectors in Turkey's economy, the country is 30% below where current developments are heading and far below the emission levels resulting from Turkey's non-ratified Paris agreement target (INDC) that would result in an increase of emissions of 90% from 2017 levels. Turkey’s INDC submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) ahead of the Paris Conference of the Parties (COP) in 2015, commits Turkey to up to 21% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from the Business as Usual (BAU) level by 2030. The National Energy Efficiency Strategy Paper (NEESP) issued in 2012 sets a long-term goal target of 20% reduction in energy intensity by 2023 compared to 2008 figures.
Around 50% of Turkey's national greenhouse gas emissions come from the supply of electricity, passenger, road and rail transport and the residential buildings sector, the report found. "Turkey set a weak Paris agreement target and is already overachieving it. There is clear room for it to increase that pledge," the study showed. "If Turkey were to increase its target to the level resulting from scaled-up climate action in the three target sectors we have identified, the CAT would increase Turkey's rating by two grades to insufficient," the report read.
Turkey is the only G20 country that has not ratified the Paris agreement, yet. The country signed the Paris deal on April 22, 2016, but has not ratified it yet. As of today, 186 countries out of 195 signatories have already ratified and joined the agreement. The Paris agreement aims to mobilize all nations around a common cause to combat climate change and adapt to its effects by reducing carbon emissions and keeping a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius. The deal categorizes countries as "developed" and "developing," obliging the developed countries to financially support the efforts of the latter to build clean, climate-resilient futures. The reason why Turkey has not yet ratified the agreement is due to its categorization as a developed country with the obligation to provide financial resources to assist developing countries in implementing the objectives of the climate convention. Turkey argues that it is still an industry-reliant developing country and needs financial assistance to take the necessary steps. "Ambitious decarbonization would significantly reduce emissions and foster co-benefits such as business opportunities for the construction and manufacturing industry, employment generation, reducing pollution and promoting modern housing," Hanna Fekete from NewClimate Institute, one of the Climate Action Tracker's research organizations, was quoted as saying in the report. Turkey aims to increase its share of renewable energy, as well as domestic coal for electricity generation.
Renewable energy sources met 46% of Turkey's total electricity demand in the January-October period of 2019, Turkey's Energy and Natural Resources Minister Fatih Donmez announced previously. He said that imported coal and lignite plants accounted for 36% of the total electricity production while natural gas plants constituted 17% in the same period. Last year, coal – which was still the main source of electricity generation – accounted for 37.3% of the total production. Electricity generation from natural gas and hydroelectric power totaled 29.8% and 19.8%, respectively. Wind power plants generated 6.6% of Turkey's electricity, while solar power provided 2.6%. Geothermal power plants also produced 2.5% of the electricity last year, and the remaining amount was met by various other energy resources. Electricity generation recorded a 2.2% rise in 2018 compared to the previous year and reached 303.9 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh). In the first half of this year, Turkey's installed power was at 90,421 megawatts (MW). Hydroelectric power plants accounted for 31.4% of the aggregate power while 29% came from natural gas. Coal made up 22.4% of the installed power while wind and solar constituted 8% and 6%, respectively. In terms of geothermal power, where Turkey ranked fourth worldwide with over 1,500 MW, accounted for 1.5% of the installed power while the remaining came from miscellaneous sources. ELECTRICITY IS KEY SECTOR "Given that the price for renewables in Turkey's auction rounds is very low, this brings into question the economic attractiveness of adding more fossil fuels," said Ursula Fuentes, senior climate policy advisor at Climate Analytics of the findings on Turkey. She noted that under a Paris agreement-compatible electricity sector, Turkey has the potential to phase out coal by 2030, focus on renewables and fully decarbonize its electricity generation by the mid-century. According to the study, decarbonizing the electricity sector is key to decarbonizing both the transport, rail and buildings sectors. Electrification of the passenger vehicle fleet ensuring 100% zero-fossil vehicle sales by 2035 is required to bring the Turkish passenger transport sector onto a pathway in line with the Paris agreement, the analysis showed. Other influencing factors, besides electrification, include introducing fuel efficiency standards and a shift toward a higher share of public transport. Turkey is one of the largest automotive manufacturers and exporters and also aims at producing electric vehicles domestically which is considered an important step in enabling such a transition in Turkey and improving global competitiveness, the report said. A Paris-compatible residential buildings sector in Turkey requires strengthened standards for new buildings toward near-zero energy and extensive renovation of existing residential buildings. The report found a potential from 40% to 50% emissions reduction from residential buildings by 2030 is achievable for Turkey. "To achieve this, Turkey needs to strengthen its standards for new buildings toward near-zero energy and a deep renovation of existing buildings, including electrification of cooking and improving energy efficiency, also required for lighting and other appliances," the study found. TURKEY, BRAZIL LEADING IN RENEWABLES The Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI) 2020 showed Tuesday that although the global renewable energy capacity is continuously increasing, investments in the renewable sector still need acceleration to meet the growing demand in a compatible way with the Paris climate agreement. Latvia, Sweden and Denmark lead as "high" performing counties in terms of renewable energy investments, while Turkey and Brazil have been rated as countries that need to do better. However, in terms of rapid renewables growth, Turkey is among the high performing countries with renewables deployment over the past years. "Turkey ranks quite low in the CCPI 2020 mainly because the methodology weighs greenhouse gas emissions and country targets most. While Turkey has increased the share of renewables in the last year, the country's emission reduction targets are still incompatible with the current level of the climate crisis," Climate and Energy Policies Coordinator for Turkey at CAN Europe, Elif Gunduzyeli, told Anadolu Agency (AA). Meanwhile, between 2009 and 2018, emissions have risen by 1.5% per year, with only the years 2014-2016 showing a slight slowdown. Preliminary data for 2018 suggest that global greenhouse gas emissions grew by 1.9%," the index found. According to the European Commission's Joint Research Center 2019 report on global carbon emissions, the world's two largest economies, the U.S. and China, account for the highest emissions as they are responsible for more than 40% of the global emissions. Before the Industrial Revolution, levels of atmospheric carbon were around 280 parts per million (ppm). By 2013, that level had breached the 400ppm mark for the first time. There are huge disparities between the world's top 15 carbon emissions generating countries. China creates almost double the emissions of the second-placed U.S. The report revealed that China accounts for 29.7% of global emissions and is followed by the U.S. with 13.9%. European Union member countries are responsible for 9.1% of the total global emission and India ranks fourth with 6.9%. Turkey ranks 15th, responsible for 1.1% of the total carbon and greenhouse gas emissions.