- Devastating Forest Fires
- Unusually Heavy Storms and Rain in the North Eastern Provinces
- Increased Use of Coal for Domestic Heating
- The Share of Renewable Energy in Installed Energy Capacity Reached 53%
- Turkish Parliament Ratified the Paris Climate Agreement
2021 has been a very challenging year for Turkey regarding the climate and emission control mainly due to the extreme weather events that took place in the country.
Game Changing Events:
Turkey has suffered from devastating forest fires in the southern part of the country in July and August. In almost ten days, over 300 forest fires started in 25 different provinces. In addition to anthropogenic factors, climate change played a major role in this disaster. The rain level was 25% less than the seasonal averages and the average Daily temperatures were 2-4 degrees centigrade higher. Over 177.000 hectare of naturally grown forests over the centuries turned to ash. The amount of carbon emissions reached extreme levels during that period not only in Turkey but globally as well. Over 1.8 billion tons of atmospheric CO2 were due to widespread forest fires all over the globe in 2021. Unfortunately, the huge size of the forests lost will inevitably cause further climate change in the region in the coming years. The Turkish Government immediately started afforestation efforts; however, it will take decades to have the same forest concentration and habitat.
Strangely enough, Turkey suffered from storms and heavy rain in the north eastern provinces during the period in which the Southern part of the country was suffering from forest fires and record level air temperatures. Around 100 lives were lost in provinces where the rain level exceeded 300 mm in 24 hours. Substantial amounts of agricultural soil and cultivated land were swept to the sea causing hardly reversible changes in agricultural land. The tons of mud and dirt swept to the sea has changed the habitat on the shore affecting fishing and other economic activities.
Due to economic problems and increased foreign exchange rate, the cost of natural gas which is fully imported has substantially increased. Combined with diminishing household income, the utilization of local coal for domestic heating as an alternative to natural gas has increased causing an increase in emissions and air pollution in urban areas after November 2021.
Paris Agreement Pledge and Renewable Energy Use
The Turkish Parliament ratified the Paris Agreement in October 2021, despite the fact that Turkey was one of the early signatories of the agreement in 2016. The implementation of the clauses of the agreement commenced immediately under the supervision of the “Ministry of Environment and Climate Change”. Even before the ratification of the Paris Agreement, the support of the Turkish Government for renewable energy was in place. The share of the renewable energy has reached a record level of 53% of the total installed energy production capacity of the country, which is 99 GW.
Deputy Minister Prof Dr Mehmet Emin Birpinar
The Ministry of Environment, Urban Planning and Climate
Department of Climate Control
Tel: +90 (312) 410 10 00
Deputy Minister Dr Alpaslan Bayraktar
The Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources
Department of Environment and Energy Efficiency
Tel: +90 (312) 212 64 20
This Post was submitted by Climate Scorecard Turkey Country Manager Dr Semih Ergur