Turkey Emission Reduction Challenges

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Leading Emission Reduction Challenges: (a) Rising consumer and industrial demand for energy; (b) Dependence on fossil fuel as an energy source; (c) Political crisis


Current Greenhouse Gas Emission Levels

Turkey is responsible for 0.94% of total global GHG emissions. This may not seem much but GHG emissions in the country increased from 170 million of tCO2eq in 1990 to 312 mtCO2 in 2014. This increase makes Turkey one of the top 20 emitters in the world. The country has one of the fastest growing economies, and globally ranks second in natural gas and electricity demand growth after China. Projections show that this demand growth trend will continue to rise.

Turkey imports nearly 99% of the natural gas and 89% of its oil supplies. Therefore, the country is in need of diversification of its energy sources. Currently, primary energy demand is met by natural gas (35%), coal (28.5%), oil (27%), hydro (7%), and other renewables (2.5%).

Emission Reduction Challenges

Leading emission reduction challenges include: (a) rising consumer and/or industrial energy demand; (b) dependence on fossil fuels as energy sources, especially oil and natural gas; and (c) the current political crisis.

Increasing economic growth and dependence on imported energy can be counted as factors that constrain Turkey’s ability to fulfill its Paris Agreement goals. Further complicating emission reduction efforts are current political factors such as the recent military coup attempt, Syrian refugees, and tensions with Russia.

Leaving aside political issues, Turkey has been trying to reduce its dependence on imported energy that is mainly fossil fuels. A National Renewable Energy Action plan has been proposed for the period of 2013-2023, under which Turkey is committed to obtaining 30% of its total installed energy capacity from renewable sources such as hydro, geothermal, wind and solar. By 2023 Turkey plans to generate 10% of its total electricity demand from 2 nuclear power plants. Turkey also plans to increase coal-powered electricity output from 32 billion kilowatt-hours in 2014 to 57 billion Kwh by 2018.

According to current plans, Turkey might achieve its Paris Agreement pledge by boosting its renewable energy production and making improvements in energy efficiency. However, the plans for coal-powered electricity production and nuclear power plant construction leave a question mark on the sincerity of Turkey’s commitment. The reduction of energy dependency by using coal at its source creates a conflict with reduction of GHG.

–Submitted by Climate Scorecard Country Manager Özlem Duyan

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