Turkey to raise its gas emission reduction target

Turkey will aim to reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emission by 41% below business-as-usual levels by 2030, up from 21% now, said Environment Minister Murat Kurum on Tuesday.

Kurum stated on the sidelines of the COP27 climate summit in Egypt’s Sharm el-Sheikh that the amount of greenhouse gas emission will peak in 2038 at the latest. But, Ankara aims for net-zero emissions by 2053.

Turkey ratified the 2015 Paris Agreement last year. It also submitted its first Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) in October 2021. All this outlines each country’s efforts to reduce planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change impacts.

Let’s see the most recent available data. It shows Turkey’s greenhouse gas emissions in 2020 were 523.9 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent. It is a 3.1% increase from the previous year. Under normal conditions, Ankara predicted that greenhouse gas emissions would reach 1.175 billion tonnes by 2030.

Turkey raised its gas emission by 30% in a decade

A group of environmental NGOs, including Europe Beyond Coal, gave a statement on the issue. They said that Turkey’s latest commitment did not represent a reduction from the current trajectory. On contrary, they said, it amounted to an increase of more than 30% in emissions over the decade.

Turkey’s annual average emission increase over the last 30 years has been 3%. Thus, the reduction scenario target simply means that the country will not deviate from the historical emission path, according to Bengisu Ozenc, director of the Sustainable Economics and Finance Association.

Ankara encourages renewables

Ankara encourages renewable energy generation and plans to start operating the first reactor at the Akkuyu nuclear power plant in 2023. Once all four reactors are operational, the plant is expected to generate up to 10% of Turkey’s electricity. Ankara has stated that it intends to build more nuclear power plants.

Turkey, according to Mehmet Dogan, Managing Director of GazDay Energy Consultancy, cannot meet its base load solely through solar and wind energy.

It does not appear that we will be able to meet this goal without a nuclear power plant, said Dogan. He added it’s a good thing Turkey will follow such a lofty goal.

We need to take steps like carbon taxation to encourage people to switch to renewable energy, he says.