“Decarbonization of Turkey’s Economy: Long-term Strategies and Immediate Challenges” Research Has Been Published

“Decarbonization of Turkey’s Economy: Long-term Strategies and Immediate Challenges” Research Has Been Published

Within the scope of Civil Society Dialogue Program (Fifth Phase), Turkey Economic Policy Research Foundation (TEPAV), Southeast Europe Change Network (SEE Change Network) and the Climate Action Network (CAN Europe)  have conducted the project “Turkey 2050 Calculator: Climate Policy Dialogue” project during April 2019 – June 2020. As the final product of this project the report “Decarbonization of Turkey’s economy: long-term strategies and immediate challenges” has been prepared .

This report reflects on some of the main considerations identified during the project’s dialogue meetings and the research activities that took place as an internal process of the project. The report provides a big-picture perspective of the most pressing challenges for Turkey to overcome in achieving a low-carbon 2050 vision. Within this report the discussion on the viability of high-carbon and non-emitting controversial infrastructures is presented and socio-technical solutions based on low-carbon technologies are explored. In addition to this, the freshwater, land-use, biodiversity and air quality dynamics in which electricity generation has a significant footprint is evaluated and the social dynamics of business-as-usual and alternative energy outlooks towards a 2050 vision is analyzed. Lessons learnt from European Union (EU) countries and globally for staying within the planetary boundaries mandated by the Paris Agreement are also presented.

Download full report here

The highlights from the report can be summarized as:

  • Power sector as the immediate challenge. To meet the challenge of accommodating the demand from local resources, Turkey can either continue its reliance on fossil fuels or it can set an ambitious decarbonisation agenda for a sustainable and renewable-based energy system coupled with significant efficiency measures.
  • The energy transition is a long-term process. If energy and climate consequences of the decisions taken today are to be better understood, there is a need to extend the temporal frame of reference and develop strategic responses that look beyond 2023, in order to avoid the risk of stranded assets. 
  • Improving energy efficiency is achievable and applicable to several sectors in a cost-competitive way. There is potential to increase the security of supply and enhance the overall competitiveness of the economy through efficiency measures. 
  • Current plans for scaling lignite pose the risk of locking-in the country to carbon-intensive infrastructure for decades. Coal-fired generation is proving unviable for the high-priced political, market, economic and climate risks. 
  • Nuclear technology is not sustainable in environmental, social, political and market terms. Energy dependency of the technology, viability in the current market dynamics, risks associated with earthquakes and the intergenerational and interspecies risks that the technology poses to land, water and livelihoods adds to the existing drawbacks of the lifecycle of the nuclear technologies in the Turkey context.
  • Natural gas is not a long-term solution towards decarbonization. The low-carbon transition without natural gas is possible. The future of natural gas is limited, even as a bridging fuel. 
  • The growing business case and availability of abundant resources provide an enabling environment for Turkey to scale power generation from renewables. The significant decline in the costs of renewable energy technologies has led to a new era in power generation. 
  • Turkey’s freshwater resources, land, air and biodiversity are being negatively impacted by climate change and infrastructures for power generation. A transition planning process must carefully address all of these aspects in order to reverse harmful, negative impacts. Achieving food security, supporting health and prosperous lifestyles, and conserving water and biodiversity – alongside energy security – is of the utmost importance for Turkey’s economy today and in the future. 
  • There is a strong need to incorporate well-being of key transition stakeholders in phasing in and phasing out processes of energy infrastructure. Transitioning to a low-carbon economy needs strong attention to the employment opportunities of renewable technologies together with a careful design of the future of workers in high-carbon industries. 
  • A public dialogue on the long-term energy transition – given its far-reaching implications at the technological, economic and societal levels – is a pressing necessity in Turkey. The significant need for engagement and deliberation around how to accommodate often competing stakes of the socio-technical regime, socio-economic concerns and global commons around the niche and mainstream technologies in an equitable way persists. 
  • Analytical decision-making tools are essential in facilitating multi-stakeholder concerns. Analytical tools (open-source tools such as European Calculator (EUCalc)) that support the decision-making process are vital in inclusion and consensus-building. 
Download full report here

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