190% Increase in Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Turkey Since 1990

190% Increase in Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Turkey Since 1990

Recently Reported Greenhouse Gas Emissions Levels: 374.13 Megatons in 2018, a 190.56% increase over 1990 levels (Source: IEA)

Current greenhouse gas (GHG) levels in Turkey have been exacerbated by emissions from coal, oil, and gas industries (161.0 Mt, 115 Mt, and 93 Mt respectively). GHG emissions are mainly composed of CO2, methane, and nitrous oxide and according to Our World in Data—in cooperation with the Global Carbon Project—Turkey’s contribution to global GHG levels is currently a little over 1%.

Turkey’s GHG emissions have increased by 118% between 1990-2015 and this trend is projected to accelerate with the energy sector contributing most to these high levels. However, the Climate and Energy Policy Coordinator for Turkey from CAN Europe reported carbon emissions have not been rising as expected in the last 5 years given energy demand has not grown as projected. These circumstances will likely delay Turkey’s peak emission date, a time which has not been announced by country officials yet.

Turkey’s proposed climate change action initiatives from the last decade remain controversial as there continues to be growing efforts to support fossil fuel energy plants and the sector at large. Since 2010, the country’s proposed strategies include the National Climate Change Strategy 2010-2023, National Climate Change Action Plan 2011-2023, National Energy Efficiency Action Plan 2017-2023, and 10th Development Plan 2014-2018. The Seventh National Communication Report called attention to the successful acceleration of renewable energy investments in the wind and solar industries as a direct result of the renewable Energy Sources Support Mechanism (YEKDEM) and the By-Law on Renewable Energy Resource Areas (YEKA).

According to the report of Climate Transparency (Brown to Green: The G20 Transition to a Low-Carbon Economy 2018): “The 2011 Climate Change Action Plan stipulates that deforestation and forest damage be reduced by 20% until 2020 to a 2007 baseline…Turkey has a feed-in tariff, capacity auctions, pre-licensing auctions and other support schemes in place for different renewable energy sources, and plans to include 30% renewables in total installed capacity by 2023.”

Turkey’s Biennial Report to the UNFCCC in 2016 argued that the share of the removals from LULUCF is decreasing with the developments in sustainable forest management, afforestation, forest-fire management, and the annual conversion of cropland to perennial cropland and grassland. However, Carbon Brief (Profile: Turkey) indicated that there are high uncertainties about the accuracy of the data and the method for measuring LULUCF removals in Turkey.

Currently there is no available data to show the impact of these plans and strategies.

Activity Ratings

Emissions Levels: * / 4 stars

Turkey’s emissions have increased during the last decade. Over the past 10 years, Turkish economy has grown at an average of 5%. This situation were highly dependent on energy sector that has had a direct relation with rising energy demand and investment in fossil fuels.

Existing Policies: * / 4 stars

Even though new plans and strategies that have focused on stimulating renewable energy initiatives were released in official documents during the last decade, the country’s dependence and investments on fossil fuels has been continuing. While Turkey has been one of the countries which have not yet ratified the Paris Agreement in its national assembly, the country announced tenders for the coal power via domestic lignite and currently initiated the construction of 1.3 GW Hunutlu power plant.

Combined Activity Rating: ** / 8 stars

Turkey is losing the ground of its rightful arguments about the historical emissions by new explorations of fossil fuels along with rising investments in coal power plants instead of gravitating towards renewable energy in higher degrees.

Contact: Ministry of Environment and Urbanization

Prof. Dr. Mehmet Emin BİRPINAR, Deputy Minister

E-mail: mehmet.birpinar@csb.gov.tr

Contact: Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources

Abdulkadir BEKTAŞ, PhD, Head of the Environment and Climate Department

E-mail: abektas@enerji.gov.tr

Ümit ÇALIKOĞLU, Deputy General Director of General Directorate of Renewable Energy

E-mail: ucalikoglu@enerji.gov.tr

Aslı OĞUZ, Engineer, General Directorate of Energy Affairs

E-mail: haticeasli.terzioglu@enerji.gov.tr

Contact: Ministry of Transport and Intrastructure


E-mail: burak.ciftci@udhb.gov.tr

Hasan Umur ALSANCAK, Environmental Engineer

E-mail: humur.alsancak@udhb.gov.tr


E-mail: ufuk.koca@udhb.gov.tr

Contact: Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry

Prof. Dr. Yusuf SERENGİL, Academician

E-mail: serengil@istanbul.edu.tr

Ümit TURHAN, Deputy Head of Department

E-mail: umitturhan@ogm.gov.tr


E-mail: erayozdemir@ogm.gov.tr

Uğur KARAKOÇ, Forest Engineer MSc

E-mail: ugurkarakoc@ogm.gov.tr

Abdüssamet AYDIN, Agricultural Engineer

E-mail: abdussamet.aydin@tarimorman.gov.tr

Nurdan BUĞDAY, Engineer

E-mail: nurdan.bugday@tarimorman.gov.tr

Contact: Turkish Statistical Institute

Sebahattin SARI, Head of Departments

E-mail: sebahattin.sari@tuik.gov.tr

Fatma Betül DEMİROK, National Inventory Focal Point

E-mail: betul.bayguven@tuik.gov.tr

Erhan ÜNAL, Expert

E-mail: erhan.unal@tuik.gov.tr

Kadir AKSAKAL, Expert

E-mail: kadir.aksakal@tuik.gov.tr

Gizem ULUSOY, Expert

E-mail: gizem.kavlak@tuik.gov.tr


CarbonBrief. (May 3, 2018). “The Carbon Brief Profile: Turkey”. Retrieved from:



Climate Action Tracker. (July 30, 2020). “Turkey”. Retrieved from: https://climateactiontracker.org/countries/turkey/

Climate Transparency. (2018). “Brown to Green: The G20 Transition to A Low-Carbon Economy”. Retrieved from: https://www.climate-transparency.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/BROWN-TO-GREEN_2018_Turkey_FINAL.pdf

IEA. (2020). “Turkey”. Retrieved from: https://www.iea.org/countries/turkey

Republic of Turkey, Ministry of Environment and Urbanization. (2018). “Deputy Minister”. Retrieved from: https://www.csb.gov.tr/teskilat-semasi/bakan-yardimcisi

Republic of Turkey, Ministry of Environment and Urbanization. (2012). “Republic of Turkey – Climate Change Action Plan 2011-2023”. Retrieved from: https://webdosya.csb.gov.tr/db/iklim/editordosya/iklim_degisikligi_eylem_plani_EN_2014.pdf

Republic of Turkey, Ministry of Environment and Urbanization. (2018). “Seventh National Communication of Turkey under the UNFCCC”. Retrieved from: https://www4.unfccc.int/sites/SubmissionsStaging/NationalReports/Documents/496715_Turkey-NC7-1-7th%20National%20Communication%20of%20Turkey.pdf

Republic of Turkey, Ministry of Development. (2014). “The Tenth Development Plan”. Retrieved from: https://sbb.gov.tr/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/The_Tenth_Development_Plan_2014-2018.pdf

Republic of Turkey, Ministry of Environment and Urbanization. (January 2016). “Turkey’s Joint First and Second Biennial Report under the UNFCCC”. Retrieved from: https://unfccc.int/files/national_reports/biennial_reports_and_iar/submitted_biennial_reports/application/pdf/turkey_joint_first_and_second_biennial_report.pdf

Republic of Turkey, Turkish Statistical Institute. (April, 2020). “Turkish Greenhouse Gas Inventory 1990 – 2018: National Inventory Report for submission under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change”. Retrieved from:


Ritchie, H. & Roser, M. (2017). “Turkey: CO2 Country Profile”. Retrieved from:


UNFCCC. (No Date). “Summary of GHG Emissions for Turkey”. Retrieved from: https://di.unfccc.int/ghg_profiles/annexOne/TUR/TUR_ghg_profile.pdf 

This post was submitted by Turkey Country Manager Barış Can Sever

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