In order to ensure ecological stability, Turkey has finally taken a step. With the Paris Climate Summit in 2015, the official processes of the consensus reached on reducing emission rates were initiated. According to the joint decision among 175 countries, including Turkey, the countries agreed to determine and implement their own green policies. The Turkish government has also been involved in the Green Deal process by ratifying the Paris Climate Agreement and has taken green transformation steps.
According to the Green Deal approved by the European Parliament in 2021, European Union countries have decided to reduce their carbon emissions by 55% by 2030. Turkey, which set out with the target of Net Zero Carbon Emission for 2050, needs to change its existing production mechanisms in order to reach this target. In order to enable a transformation in the context of its carbon footprint, Turkey will also enter a process of reducing greenhouse gas emissions that will last for years, as well as additional taxes.
The Turkish business world has also started to prepare for this new period. Especially the holdings, which include giant companies, are explaining their ‘green’ projects one by one. For example, Koç Holding, which is Turkey’s largest private sector company and ranks first in exports to Europe, has recently announced that it has committed to reaching the carbon neutral level by 2050. However, both the question marks about Turkey’s commitments and the inadequacy of the budget and infrastructure allocated to the infrastructure that will enable production in accordance with the Green Deal put this process at risk.
The steps taken by Turkey after the signing of the agreement, in which the energy sector accounted for 72% of the greenhouse gas emissions in 2019, are not considered sufficient. The main objective of the agreement is to achieve to keep the global temperature increase significantly below 2 degrees Celsius, to limit it to 1.5 degrees if possible, and to reach the carbon-neutral target for the whole planet by 2050, with the emission reduction steps included in the national contribution declarations of the parties. However, Turkey has committed to reducing the increase in greenhouse gas emissions, not emission reduction, in the Green Deal. The adequacy of this statement should be questioned because it does not seem possible to reach the ‘net zero emissions’ target by limiting the emission increase alone.
Experts emphasize that Turkey needs to make radical changes in its energy policies in order to achieve its climate targets. Exiting coal and switching to renewable energy in electricity generation are vital steps to reach the 2030 targets. According to the report published by the Istanbul Policy Center (IPC), it seems possible to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 37% until 2030, if Turkey takes the necessary steps.
The energy sector, which has the largest share in Turkey’s carbon emissions, is likely to take a different path with the exit from coal. It is stated in the IPC report that it is aimed to reduce the emissions from the electricity and energy sector by half by 2030, considering that electricity production is the sector that will provide the fastest reduction, and it is stated that it can be aimed to completely abandon coal in energy production by 2035. In addition, it is very important that the sectors in question have the necessary equipment to adapt to climate policies more easily in reducing carbon emissions of the sector. Policies supported by transformations such as increasing energy efficiency, electrification and the use of new technologies will play an important role in the transition to implementation.