Turkey should reduce its emissions by 35% until 2030

Europe in transition

Turkey should reduce its emissions by 35% until 2030

  • Climate NGOs from Turkey ask the policy makers to aim for at least 35% absolute emission reduction by 2030 as the new climate target ahead of COP27

Istanbul, 31 August 2022  – Turkey(1) should aim to reduce its emissions at least 35% by 2030, in comparison with 2020 levels, in order to reach the announced net zero target in 2053 (2), outline civil society organisations gathered today. This means that Turkey, needs to reduce its emissions from 523.9 MtCO2e (million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent) (2020 levels) to 340 MtCO2e, in order to deliver the 2053 target.

The Paris Agreement, which aims to keep the global temperature rise at 1.5C degrees in order to prevent the climate crisis, has been ratified by 191 countries. Turkey has become a party by ratifying it in October 2021. All parties attending last year’s summit agreed to improve their emissions reduction targets prior to COP27 in November 2022 (3). In order not to exceed the 1.5 degree Celsius threshold, global emissions must decrease to net zero level by 2050.

In order for Turkey to reach its 35% absolute emission reduction target by 2030, the following targets should be achieved (4) (5) 

  • End electricity production from coal by 2030;

  • Increase the share of renewable energy sources in electricity production to 75%;

  • Increase the ratio of electric vehicles among total passenger vehicles to at least 20% and to at least 10% among the vehicles used in public transportation and freight transport;

  • Increase investments for railways: 5% from individual car use and 10% from public transportation should be transitioned to the rail system;

  • Increase energy efficiency, electrification and renewable energy use in industrial and agricultural applications; 

  • Phase out the use of coal and fossil fuels in buildings towards predominantly using electricity for heating. 

Organisations: Ekosfer Association, Greenpeace Mediterranean, Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL), Climate Change Policy and Research Association (IDPAD), 350 Association for Climate, Sustainable Economics and Finance Research Association (SEFiA), TEMA Foundation, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF-Turkey), Green Thought Association, YUVA, Europe Beyond Coal, Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe

Bengisu Özenç, SEFiA Director

“Recent research shows that if Turkey becomes proactive in addressing climate change issues, its national income will increase by 7%. Turkey depends on foreign imports for more than 70% of its energy supply. The main reason for this dependence is oil, fossil gas, and coal. What we need to do to stop the climate crisis is to stop using these three fossil fuels. A well planned energy transformation centred on wind and sun has the potential to bring along the necessary industrial development, supported by advanced technology and regional development opportunities. An ambitious action plan for 2030 will make us closer to these targets, and also show Turkey’s sincere commitment to achieve net zero emissions by 2053.”

Tanyeli Sabuncu, WWF-Turkey Climate and Energy Program Manager

“With the ambitious climate targets to be set today, Turkey can accelerate decarbonisation and benefit from the transformation sooner. For example, according to the estimates of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), it is possible to create 300,000 additional jobs by 2030 with additional investments in the field of energy efficiency, wind and solar energy, and provide an additional income of 10-45 billion TL for annual national income. On the other hand if Turkey cannot achieve sufficient emission reductions by 2030 it will have to undertake faster, more difficult and sharp emission reduction actions in the following years. This will place it under a heavy burden in order to reach the 2053 net zero target.”

Eylem Tuncaelli, TEMA Foundation – Head of Environmental Policies and International Relations Department

“Turkey has set the target of achieving net zero emissions by 2053. However, it is not clear which policies and intermediate targets will be used to achieve this goal. Because of this the 2030 target is a very important milestone on the road to 2053. In addition to setting a greenhouse gas reduction target for 2030, it is very important to prepare a roadmap that includes concrete actions and to plan social and ecological transformation with just transition principles.”

Sevil Turan, Greenpeace Mediterranean Program Director

“Among a number of steps that Turkey must take on the road to net zero, abandoning fossil fuels in its energy policy is of central importance. The reliance on fossil fuels creates huge costs both locally and nationally. In particular, a coal exit policy accompanied by a fair transformation perspective in electricity generation. This can play a major role in achieving Turkey’s climate goals.”

METU Faculty Member Prof. Dr. Ebru Voyvoda 

“Policy proposals towards achieving the 2053 net zero emission target should internalise the rights-based approach alongside compatibility with the 1.5 degree target of technological transformation, trade, finance and international policy, not forgetting Turkish and global economic conditions. 2030 is a critical interim year for the realisation of all these goals. Scientific reports that examine emissions originating from the energy sector show that it is realistic and possible for Turkey to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to 340 Mt CO2e by 2030. This means gradually ending the use of coal in electricity generation, and taking measures that will not imply major structural changes in transportation and industry.”


Press release in Turkish


  1. Turkish government is expected to update its greenhouse gas emission reduction target before the United Nations Climate Summit (COP27) to be held in Egypt in November 2022

  2.  In September 2021, at the UN General Assembly Turkey’s President Erdoğan announced Turkey’s Ratification of the Paris Agreement and 2053 as the deadline for the country’s planned net zero target.

  3. NDC, or Nationally Determined Contribution, is a climate action plan to cut emissions and adapt to climate impacts. Each Party to the Paris Agreement is required to establish an NDC and update it every five years.

  4. Turkey’s Decarbonization Roadmap Net Zero in 2050

  5. First Step on the Road to a Carbon Neutral Turkey: Exit Coal by 2030, by CAN Europe

Notes to editors

For more information: www.birbucukdece.com

What is Turkey’s current target? 

In 2015 Turkey set a target in the National Declaration of Intent for Contribution(INDC) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), of at least 21% emission reduction by 2030 compared to the policy scenario it had then. This calculation is made by reduction from the increase, not an absolute reduction. At the time Turkey’s emission was 430 MtCO2. The predicted increase was  1,175 MtCO2e by 2030. Turkey announced plans to limit its emissions to 929 MtCO2e by 2030. Although this target is called the “reduction target”, as can be seen from the numbers, it means a doubling of emissions even in line with the reduction target.

What is an absolute reduction? 

Absolute reduction means targeting a reduction from the current amount of emissions. For example, Turkey’s highest ever greenhouse gas emission was in 2017, 528 MtCO2e. In the calculation by civil society organisations, the climate target was calculated using the absolute reduction method, and the 2020 greenhouse gas emission level was taken as reference as it is the latest available data: 523.9 MtCO2e. For an absolute reduction of 35% by 2030, emissions should decrease to 340 MtCO2e.

What is Net Zero?

Net zero emissions refers to creating a balance between the amount of greenhouse gas accumulated in the atmosphere as a result of human activities (fossil fuel use, deforestation, waste management, livestock, etc.) with the amount of reduction achieved by human activities (restoration of sink areas, nature-based carbon capture and capture, etc.).

On the other hand, carbon neutral means that the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) released into the atmosphere and the amount of carbon held by the sink areas become balanced with each other.

In comparison, carbon neutral refers to the balance in CO2, while the concept of net zero emission refers to balancing all greenhouse gas emissions, including CO2. The reason for placing more emphasis on carbon dioxide – CO2 in the fight against climate change is because it accounts for 76% of total greenhouse gas emissions.

What is the Paris Agreement?

The Paris Agreement is a legally binding international treaty on climate change. It was adopted by 197 Parties at COP 21 in Paris, on 12 December 2015 and entered into force on 4 November 2016. Turkey is a party to the Paris Agreement.

Its goal is to limit global warming to below 2, preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels, a commitment Turkey has also signed.

The Agreement was accepted by 197 governments at COP21 held in Paris on 2 December 2015, and entered into force on 4 November 2016 (193 governments have ratified the Agreement, namely 192 countries and the EU).

Turkey ratified the Paris Agreement on 6 October 2021 and announced that it will update its existing Nationally Determined Contributions before COP27.

At the closing speech of COP26, the Turkish delegation said that all decisions in COP26 will be the primary driver for compliance with Turkey’s national and international commitments. One of the resolutions at COP26 refers to the parties’ readiness to come up with more ambitious climate targets by the end of 2022.


Özlem Katısöz, CAN Europe Climate and Energy Policy Coordinator for Turkey

ozlem.katisoz /at/ caneurope.org  Mobile: +90 5322042570