Turkey Subsidies

Turkey–Exact amount not available, estimated between US $ 300 million and $ US 1.6 billion

It is difficult to record the actual amount that Turkey spends on fossil fuel subsidies. According to a report published by Oil Change International and 350.org in 2015; Turkish government provides an estimated US$300 million to US$1.6 billion (TRY 683 million to TRY 3.6 billion) per year in fossil fuel producer subsidies. Given the number of subsidies for which data is not available, this estimate is likely highly conservative.

In 2013, Turkey provided some US$500 million in public funding specifically for fossil fuel exploration. In addition, the government provided between $250 and $400 million in support to hard coal enterprises. Turkey’s government-funded coal exploration program has increased coal reserves by over 50% since 2005, opening up 5.8 billion tons of new coal to be mined.

Turkey also receives international public finance to support fossil fuel operations. Between 2007-2015, fossil fuel projects in Turkey have received more than US$5 billion (TRY 11.38 billion). Of this total, over US$1.5 billion (TRY 3.4 billion) went to coal projects.

The 2012 New Investment Incentives Regime provided a higher level of subsidies to oil and coal investments than to renewable energy – encouraging carbon-intensive infrastructure projects over clean energy sources. The elevated incentives represent a potential subsidy for coal alone of US$11.6 billion (TRY 26.4 billion) based on a planned new lignite coal power plant capacity of 14.5 GW for 2012 to 2030.

Government guarantees for loans and power purchase agreements involving fossil fuels represent significant contingent liabilities for the central budget. Such liabilities can ultimately threaten the country’s credit rating and, hence, cost of borrowing.

In fact, the problematic area in Turkey in terms of climate change is not fossil fuel production, it is fossil fuel consumption. While the contribution of Turkey to world fossil fuel production was 1.7%, the consumption share approached 1%. Its share in world oil consumption is 0.8%, in natural gas consumption it is 1.2%.

If Turkey wants to make a contribution in the area of climate change, it should focus on consumption, not only fossil fuel production. However, the cost of increasing energy efficiency is not lower than the incentives given to research and production. The extent to which developed countries will assume responsibility for the aid of developing countries in meeting these costs is still in the bargaining process.

Parallel to this assistance, steps to be taken by Turkey are:

To end government-funded fossil fuel exploration activities
Eliminate tax exemptions for exploration activities
Exclude coal exploration from the Mining Fund’s below-market rate loans
Exclude fossil fuel projects from government guarantees
Set a timeline to phase out all producer fossil fuel subsidies starting with coal. A strategic transition is a must by ensuring new employment opportunities for miners.

Learn More

Acar S., Kitson L. “Türkiye’de Kömür ve Yenilenebilir Enerji Teşvikleri” International Institute for Sustainable Development, 2015
WWF Turkey and Istanbul Policy Center “Low Carbon Development Pathways and Priorities for Turkey”, 2015
Oil Change International and 350.org, “The Cost of Subsidizing Fossil Fuel Production in Turkey: Why Turkey Should Implement the G20 Commitment to Phase Out Fossil Fuel Subsidies” 2015

Turkey Survey

92% of farmers surveyed agree that climate change is a problem all over the world;
and 93% believe that the reduction of forests directly affects the climate

The results of the Survey on Climate Change Awareness of Farmers held in December 2015 were published in a report in 2016.

Out of 200 farmers who participated in the survey, 56% were primary and secondary school graduates, while the remaining 44% were trained in high schools and universities and received master degrees. 60% of the respondents were farming for 20 years or more. The average size of each farmers land was 110 acres, which is approximately two times the Turkey average.

Some of the survey results are as follows:
92% of farmers agree that climate change is a problem all over the world
93% of the farmers stated that the reduction of forests directly affects the climate
93% of farmers report that agricultural production is at risk in extreme weather conditions

In short, the vast majority of the farmers participating in the survey accept that the climate change is a major problem that affects their agricultural production. They are also willing to cooperate in taking measures to mitigate the effects of climate change. The awareness seems to be high but this may be due to the fact that farmers are most affected by climate change and feel their immediate impact.

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Çiftçilerde İklim Değişimi Farkındalığı Anket Sonuçları 2016

Turkey Strategies

Turkey: (1) Strengthen country’s Paris Agreement pledge; (2) Strengthen standards for energy efficiency in the construction of new buildings

According to Climate Action Tracker, Turkey submitted its Intended National Determined Contribution (INDC) on 30 September 2015, with a greenhouse gas reduction target (including land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF)) of up to 21% below business as usual (BAU) in 2030. As of 9 May 2017, Turkey has not yet ratified the Paris Agreement. Excluding LULUCF emissions, the target in the INDC is equivalent to a 348% increase from 1990 levels, or a 97% increase from 2012 levels. This pledge is judged to be “inadequate”. Turkey’s commitment is not compatible with interpretations of a “fair” approach in line with holding warming below 2°C, let alone with the Paris Agreement’s stronger 1.5°C limit. This means that if most other countries followed Turkey’s approach, global warming would exceed 3–4°C
Turkey’s ongoing investment in expanding coal power production stands in strong contrast to the need to fully decarbonise the power sector by 2050. In addition to operating 67 units of coal-fired power plants (emitting 72 MtCO2 yearly), six units are under construction, and more than 73 units are planned. If all of these units were built, the total emissions from coal would increase annual Turkish emissions by at least 40%.

Turkey has significant potential to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by changing its reliance on fossil fuels. To achieve such reductions, Turkey needs a stronger commitment from its business sector. For example, Turkey has an active construction sector. While there is non-stop new construction going on, old buildings are being reconstructed as earthquake resistant. However, when these investments are made, their energy consumption and mitigation measures are not considered. A new program can be initiated to train construction companies on energy efficiency and renewable energy measures, a new policy can be issued to support energy efficient and renewable energy producing buildings (e.g. tax reduction, grid connected solar panels). Such opportunities are available for other sectors as well.

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Turkey Renewable Energy

Turkey—No 100% Commitment by 2050
Benchmark: 30% of total electricity demand and 10% of transportation sector demand covered by renewable energy by 2030

Turkey has not made a commitment to reach 100% renewable energy by 2050.

On the one hand, Turkey aims to meet a production portfolio in which renewable energy is at least 30% of total electricity demand, and 10% of the transportation sector demand by 2023. To meet this goal Turkey needs to reduce the energy intensity, the amount of energy consumed per unit GDP, to at least 20 percent by 2023 from the reference year 2011.

The share of renewable energy sources in electricity generation is planned to increase to at least 30% in 2023. The government is supporting the use of renewable energy sources such as hydraulics, wind, solar, and geothermal.

The country’s biggest renewable energy project is signed for Konya in March 2017. The solar power plant will be 1,000 MW. Following the signing of the contract, photovoltaic modules will be produced in a factory in Konya over 21 months. The plant is expected to produce power in 3 years. The Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources has announced that a similar tender will be open for wind energy as well.

Turkey Success Project

Turkey—Climate Policy Package

Turkey is expected to put into practice the “Climate Policy Package” which involves three policy instruments:

1. Carbon taxation
2. Use of carbon tax revenues for electricity generation from renewables by means of a renewable energy investment fund
3. The promotion gains in energy efficiency by industry

The goal of this Climate Policy Package is to help achieve a 20% decrease in the carbon emission intensity (annual CO2 emission/GDP) of the economy and meet Turkey’s INDC pledge to the Paris Agreement. So far the carbon taxation and tax revenues from renewable energy investments components have not been implemented. However, efforts to promote more energy efficient industries are rapidly proceeding. The government provides support for energy efficiency investments by manufacturing industries with an annual energy consumption of 500 TEP (tons of oil equivalent. To qualify, such industries must pledge to reach a minimum of 20% energy saving per unit product and a maximum return period of 5 years for investment. The incentive includes a value added tax exemption, customs tax exemption, tax reduction, insurance premium support for the employer, and support for interest and assignment of the investment site. The impact of these incentives has not been assessed yet but the actions taken only for industry cannot be enough to meet Turkey’s INDC pledge.

An assessment of Turkey’s economic carbon intensity shows that in order to achieve the 2°C target, the economy’s CO2 emission intensity should be decreased by 60% by 2030. To fully achieve the 2°C target, additional policies and their implementation are required.

Turkey Checkup

Turkey—Falling Behind

Turkey’s Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) calls for a 21% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from a business as usual (BAU) level by 2030 with an implementation period that starts in 2021. However, coal-rich Turkey is straying further and further from the path of climate safety1.
Experts have suggested that Turkey could establish carbon markets to achieve its INDC target. Carbon-pricing measures could reduce its projected emissions by 40%. But it seems this recommendation does not resonate with the current government as they intend to continue with the full utilization of domestic fossil fuel resources (mainly coal with low calorific value) until 2023.

There is one thing that seems certain for Turkey: a fair, balanced, and equitable contribution to global efforts requires much progressive political will and a stronger commitment to international law.
Climate Action Tracker and the Citizens Climate Agreement Campaign rank Turkey as “Inadequate”. I do not completely agree with this ranking as private sector actors, the ministry, and international organizations are supporting energy efficiency and renewable energy markets through several projects. In 2015, among more than 30 recipient countries, Turkey got the lions’ share (almost 20%) of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development funding for energy efficiency and renewable energy investments. In addition to EBRD, the government of Turkey has been working closely with other multilateral development banks such as the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the International Finance Corporation in order to tap other sources of climate financing including the Clean Technology Fund1. However, the legal authorities should also force carbon emitters to work on decreasing their carbon emissions. With greater political commitment, Turkey could at least improve its ranking as “Inadequate”.

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Turkey Emission Reduction Policy

Government Regulation on Monitoring of Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Even though Turkey has been trying to take responsibility for the fight against climate change, there has not yet been any significant policy adopted and implemented by the Government to decrease GHG emissions. The reasons might be the lack of local data and information to start a policy dialogue between the actors.  For this reason, in 2012 the Government issued the Regulation and Monitoring of Greenhouse Gas Emissions. The purpose of this Regulation is to set forth the principles and procedures for monitoring and reporting emission levels from businesses and government enterprises. Some of the facilities subject to the Regulation are as follows:

Oil refineries;
Facilities with thermal power equal to or higher than 20 MW (except for hazardous and domestic waste incineration facilities);
Certain steel and iron production facilities;
Clinker facilities with a daily capacity of 500 tons and above or revolving furnaces with a daily capacity of 50 tons and above; and
Facilities producing paper, paperboard or cartons with a daily capacity of 20 tons and above.

Within the scope of this regulation, these types of facilities are subject to monitoring, reporting and verification processes every year. These monitoring and verification activities may stimulate the establishment of a mandatory carbon market in Turkey. Turkey’s Energy Efficiency Strategy Document 2012-2023 includes actions to be taken related to setting up a carbon trading system.

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Turkey Extreme Weather Event

Extreme Rainfall in the Black Sea Region

In June 2016, Ordu, a coastal city in the Black Sea Region of Turkey, faced an extreme weather condition. A heavy rainfall of 300 kg per square meter resulted in a terrible disaster and loss of life. Landslides occurred in 16 regions that caused the destruction of many houses and bridges. Coastal roads were also closed to traffic due to landslides.

While deforestation increased the catastrophic consequences, improper construction techniques played a major role in this specific disaster. An old bridge built in 1940 was not demolished, but the bridge that was built ten years ago together with new retaining walls was demolished.  Several newly built houses were submerged. The main reason for this is that the new buildings and bridges have been constructed on the waterway without a proper soil survey. Also when agriculture was common in the region, the cultivated areas had waterways that resulted in a gradual flow. As agricultural activities decreased, these waterways could not find an offset such as street gutter.

After the incident, the construction permits in the risky areas have been revoked. However the existing buildings have not been evacuated yet which paves the way for similar disasters occurring in the future. The precautions to be taken in the region as well as the improvements made after the catastrophe are insufficient. After almost a year, the demolished bridges and retaining walls have not yet been repaired. It is necessary to take action without losing time in order to prevent similar incidents in the Black Sea Region.

Turkey Media Organizations

Broadcast Media

Sürdürülebilir Yaşam TV – Sustainable Living Collective broadcasts documentaries and movies through its website Surdurulebiliryasam.tv under several topics related to sustainable living. The collective organizes a Sustainable Living Film Festival simultaneously in 20 cities across Turkey in cooperation with local NGOs and activist groups every year.

Content Samples:

The collective is supported by individual volunteers as well as professional organizations. The purpose is to bring people together to work to make a positive change. There are several short film videos that are posted under the topic of sustainable living. One of the latest short films, “Earth is Our Home,” is about climate change; one of the biggest problems that threatens both humanity and our planet.

Learn more: http://surdurulebiliryasam.tv/film/dunya-bizim-evimiz

Contact: info@surdurulebiliryasam.tv
Print Media

EKO IQ is a magazine that has been published since 2010. Its purpose is to become a communication tool in Turkey against unsustainable living of individuals and practices of companies. They try to create a sustainable mindset for all individuals from the business world to NGOs, from scientists to children.
EKOIQ is published by Sürdürülebilirlik Yönetim ve İletişim Hizmetleri Ltd. Şti. (Sustainability Management and Communication Services Company) and it is the first carbon neutral magazine of Turkey.

Content Sample:

News, interviews, and articles can be found on their website under several topics related to sustainability. One of the latest articles discusses the “Fighting Climate Change from the Perspective of Economic Policies” report of TÜSİAD (Turkish Industry and Business Association). It covers an interview with Prof. Dr. Erinç Yeldan who also helped prepare this report. He says the most important conclusion of the report is that the economic effects of reducing carbon emissions can be “invigorating”. However, the crucial issue that needs to be emphasized is: Political will and social stability.

Learn more: http://ekoiq.com/emisyon-azaltimi-ekonomik-canlandirici-bile-olabilir-ama/

Contact: dergi@ekoiq.com

Online Media

Çevreci TV is a group of journalist who have struggled to protect the environment and have no other concern than leaving a clean and livable world to future generations established the site cevrecitv.com
It was created by Sezgin Akkoyun who broadcast one of Turkey’s first environmental programs called, “Çevre ve İnsan”. Their belief is that they will ultimately end up defeating the environmental opponents.

Content Samples:

There are several news articles, interviews, and videos posted on their website that are related to environmental issues. One of the latest post covers “Effects of Climate Change on Water Resources Project”. The application area of the project is 25 river basins covering all of Turkey and the projection period is from 2015 to 2100.

Learn more: http://cevrecitv.com/2017/01/24/goruntulu-haber-iklim-degisikliginin-su-kaynaklarina-etkisi-projesi/

Contact: haber@cevrecitv.com

Turkey Subnational Best Practices


Eskişehir—Eskişehir is one of the 12 new cities that recently joined the Building Efficiency Accelerator program that is now working in 23 communities worldwide. The participating cities will implement recommendations from a World Resource Institute’s Report that focuses on eight categories of policies and actions that can help decision-makers to plan changes in their cities. Eskisehir is currently pursuing multiple district redevelopment projects to improve construction quality and public spaces. The mayor and his team are finding ways to include building efficiency measures within the plan to lower energy use while reducing pollution and waste.

World Resources Institute (WRI) Turkey
Director of WRI Sustainable Cities-Turkey: Arzu Tekir
Email: arzu.tekir@wri.org

Gaziantep—Gaziantep has developed the first municipal climate change action plan in Turkey with the help of the French Development Agency. The plan analyzes Gaziantep’s current energy usage and GHG emissions. It also develops sustainable urban development solutions. Gaziantep Province Directorate of Environmental and Urban Planning published in 2016-2019 A Clean Air Action Plan. Throughout the implementation of this action plan, compliance with EU emission regulations is targeted.
Hasan Alan, Director of Gaziantep Province Environmental and Urban Planning
Email: gaziantep@csb.gov.tr

Kocaeli—Kocaeli is part of the European Council’s Opportunities for Low Carbon Urban Transportation Project. The target is to develop and share information on innovative and environmentally friendly transportation solutions among selected cities and to support the implementation of these solutions. Sustainable Transportation Association—EMBARQ is  a project partner that is helping Kocaeli implement this Project. Throughout the Project, the applicability of solutions such as public transportation, transportation infrastructure, urban logistics, sustainable urban mobility plans/integrated transportation will be discussed.

Tuğçe Üzümoğlu Project Assistant of EMBARQ-Turkey
Email tugce.uzumoglu@wri.org

Learn More

“World Resource Institute Turkey – Sustainable Cities” http://wrisehirler.org/calismalarimiz/proje-sehir/buildinglab-eski%C5%9Fehir

“Gaziantep Clean Air Action plan 2016-2019”

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