ISTANBUL, 2 NOVEMBER 2021 – Turkey can be coal free by 2030. How? Fossil fuel companies must be made financially responsible for their externalities in line with the ‘polluter pays’ principle, and the government must end subsidies for coal – shows the new report published by Europe Beyond Coal, Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe, Sustainable Economics and Finance Research Association (SEFiA), WWF-Turkey (World Wildlife Fund), Greenpeace Mediterranean, 350.org and Climate Change Policy and Research Association.
According to the First Step in the Pathway to a Carbon Neutral Turkey: Coal Phase out 2030 report, income from a carbon pricing mechanism combined with savings from cancelling coal subsidies would provide finance to facilitate an equitable, just transition for Turkey’s coal industry, in this decade. Currently no coal plant or mine owner in Turkey bear any of the health, pollution, or climate costs created by their operations, and their polluting businesses further benefit through purchase guarantees and capacity mechanisms.
The report finds that:
When power plant operators are required to bear the costs of coal’s externalities, coal electricity generation becomes uneconomic, meaning that market forces alone would bring about domestic coal exit by 2029.
The report’s coal phase out scenario, which foresees a coal exit by 2030, shows that carbon emissions from the power sector would decrease by 82.8% between 2021 and 2035, leaving emissions at 27.6 million tons of CO2 by 2035.
In comparison, the business as usual scenario shows that it will be very hard to reach Turkey’s 2053 carbon neutral target if coal stays a part of its energy mix.
High electricity prices make energy security and energy independence especially vital. Focusing on a coal phase out in favour of building up renewable energy generation to 73.6 percent will address these needs.
A coal phase out and just transition to renewable energy can be achieved with an increase in annual spending of only 0.5 percent of Turkey’s gross domestic product until 2029, which equates to EUR 24 billion over the period.
A coal phase out must include a just transition mechanism that creates new local economic opportunities, and an inclusive and fair transition for those living in coal regions.
“Turkey has taken a much needed commitment to climate action with it to this year’s crucial COP26 climate conference. This makes a quick shift from coal to renewable energy necessary, and this study shows that it is technically and financially achievable,” said Özlem Katısöz, Climate and Energy Policy Coordinator for Turkey at Climate Action Network Europe. “The most important pieces now will be planning ahead for the social dimension of this transition, so those living and working in coal regions share in the opportunities this renewable energy revolution will bring.”