Turkey Needs to Develop a Multi-Sector Decarbonization Plan Among Other Climate Policies

Turkey Needs to Develop a Multi-Sector Decarbonization Plan Among Other Climate Policies

Policy Recommendation 1: Current Incentives and Plans for Coal-Based Power Plants Should be Decreased and Eventually Abandoned

Policy Recommendation 2: The Production and Use of renewable Energy Should be Supported

The energy sector is responsible for the largest share of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Turkey. Given that many of Turkey’s emissions stem from the use of exported and imported coal sources, the country’s fossil-fuel burning tendencies in the energy sector must be immediately reduced. For this purpose, it is highly recommended that current incentives and plans for coal-based power plants be decreased and eventually abandoned. Also, to compensate for the economic and social costs of a “leaving coal behind” policy, the production and use of renewable energy should be supported by legal and social support mechanisms.

Concerning this framework, one of the current Presidential decrees is backwards development in the renewable agenda, with a decision taken on 29 January 2021. According to this decree, while the renewable energy incentives under the framework of YEKDEM* will be provided by the currency of Turkish Lira, incentives for the fossil fuel power plants actuated by the imported sources will be delivered through foreign currency—which will create unfair conditions for investing in renewable energy facilities during the transition period. Similarly, as a discouraging factor, on 2 February 2021 the private consumption tax for electric cars will be enforced three times greater than previous tax prices.

Thereby, these decisions must be reversed in the short term to accelerate shifting to renewable energy production. “Leaving coal behind” policies, such as those mentioned above, will be significant for Turkey’s mitigation efforts since they will decrease the country’s dependence on this unsustainable energy source. The government’s recent decision to support fossil fuel incentives by enabling unfair currency implementation will be a major obstacle in this process. To overcome this hurdle, relevant non-governmental organizations and ministries are highly recommended to push for strengthening incentives towards renewable energy.

* YEKDEM is the Renewable Energy Sources Support Mechanism of Turkey.

Policy Recommendation 3: Turkey Needs to Develop a Multi-Sector Decarbonization Plan

The Climate and Energy Policy Coordinator for Turkey from CAN Europe, Özlem Katısöz, has indicated that Turkey does not have a decarbonization plan at all. Moreover, Dr. Ümit Şahin from the Istanbul Policy Center focused on decarbonization policy by saying it is crucial to decarbonize the entire economy, not just the energy industry. It is apparent that decarbonization practices in each sector—especially high-emission sectors like energy, industry, and transportation—will accelerate the transition towards a low-carbon economy in Turkey. Therefore, a comprehensive decarbonization policy is a significant step in promoting Turkey’s sustainability and mitigation efforts for the long run, while providing a considerable amount of reduction in GHG emissions in the short-term. Such a policy should include energy efficiency and conservation, and escalation of the use of renewable energy. The policy should be designed soon and put into practice in 202l. This role-model policy must focus on achieving a 50% reduction in GHG emissions with the support of other mitigation policies and practices by 2030. It should also include a goal of abandoning fossil fuels and transitioning to 100% renewables by 2050.

For this purpose, all relevant ministries and non-governmental organizations should cooperate to design and implement the details of Turkey’s new comprehensive decarbonization policy. Measurement tools for decarbonization outcomes must be immediately developed and introduced, and the outcomes of this policy should be measured using these tools. The proof for this policy’s success will be the visible emission reductions in each sector if the necessary measurement tools are to be developed and used.


Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (President of the Republic)

Republic of Turkey, President of the Republic of Turkey

E-mail: contact@tccb.gov.tr

Mr. Fatih Dönmez (Minister)

Republic of Turkey, Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources

E-mail: ozelkalem@enerji.gov.tr

Prof. Dr. Mehmet Emin Birpınar (Deputy Minister, chief negotiator to represent Turkey during the international climate change negotiations held within the scope of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change)

Republic of Turkey, Ministry of Environment and Urbanization

E-mail: mehmet.birpinar@csb.gov.tr / by.okm@csb.gov.tr

Post 36 is submitted by Climate Scorecard Turkey Country Manager Barış Can Sever

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