NGOs:  Turkey can improve  economic performance by adopting tighter emission targets

Turkey  had ratified the Paris Agreement on fighting climate change after long delays, but progress towards reducing emissions has been mediocre at best according to NGOs. The government doesn’t regularly report data on emissions. Erdogan’s government and large swathes of the business community are reluctant to take measures to reduce Turkey’s carbon footprint, because of the mistaken perception that doing so would cut profits and economic growth.


According to,  17 civil society organizations (NGOs) and think tanks working in the field of the climate crisis researched the economic benefits of updating Turkey’s emission reduction targets. The results are eye-opening: Stronger efforts to mitigate emissions would bring faster economic development and more employment.


The participants hosting a panel made a joint call to the government ahead of the 28th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28), which will begin in Dubai on November 30. They expressed that, for Turkey to achieve its net-zero target by 2053, it should aim for at least a 35% absolute emission reduction by 2030 compared to the year 2020.


35 percent reduction in emissions

In their call to the government, the organizations highlighted that every minute lost makes Turkey more vulnerable to climate crisis. They listed the benefits to the Turkish economy that would result from updating emission reduction targets and taking concrete steps to achieve these targets as follows:

The transition to renewable energy can reduce inflation: According to the report, if more electricity is generated from solar and wind, consumer inflation can be reduced by 7 points.

Energy self-sufficiency can be achieved

Turkey, which imports 78% of its fossil fuels, becomes dependent on other countries and vulnerable to energy crises. Since October 2021, when Turkey ratified the Paris Agreement, the country has spent 175 billion dollars on importing fossil fuels, including coal, gas, and oil.

However, according to EMBER’s study, electricity generated from solar and wind in Turkey prevented nearly 7 billion dollars of energy imports in one year, almost equivalent to one month’s energy import. By phasing out coal by 2030, it is possible to increase the current domestic production share in electricity generation from 60% to 70%

Energy costs would decrease

According to SEFiA’s (Sustainable Economy and Finance Research Association) report, if Turkey had implemented the planned solar and energy projects in 2022, the cost of electricity production would have decreased by 11.8%

New employment opportunities will be created

According to the International Energy Agency’s report, updating Turkey’s emission reduction target will create new employment opportunities. Solar and wind energy investments have the potential to create employment five times more than coal

There will be opportunity to combat unemployment and poverty

According to the TÜBİTAK project report prepared by Boğaziçi University academics, the green growth model could increase national income by 7% compared to a scenario where nothing is done. Moreover, in this model, employment and income increase more in low-income regions compared to high-income regions

Reduction in health problems and public costs

According to HEAL’s report, coal-fired thermal power plants operating in Turkey for 55 years are estimated to have caused at least 200,000 premature deaths and at least 320 billion euros in health costs.

High-tech, value-added investment areas focusing on wind and solar power develop

According to IPC’s “Co-Benefits” study, increasing the capacity of electricity generation from solar and wind will expand the related value chain in industrial production. Additional capacity of 15-25 GW in solar energy can increase production from 0.8 billion dollars to 6.8 – 11.3 billion dollars.

Establishment of an economy compatible with global net zero transformation

Since EU countries aim to end the sale of new vehicles running on petrol by 2035 at the latest, an increase in electric-based sectors is expected. Diesel and gasoline car parts account for 11% of Turkey’s environmental product exports as of 2020. The EU Border Carbon Adjustment Mechanism in 2026 will affect the iron and steel sector, which is the 3rd largest foreign trade item. With a net-zero industrial strategy, Turkey’s position in these sectors can be maintained

Increased access to global climate finance

By committing to ambitious climate actions, Turkey can seize the opportunity to access financing for the transition to a low-carbon economy, such as funds for a just transition.


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Published By: Atilla Yeşilada

GlobalSource Partners’ Turkey Country Analyst Atilla Yesilada is the country’s leading political analyst and commentator. He is known throughout the finance and political science world for his thorough and outspoken coverage of Turkey’s political and financial developments. In addition to his extensive writing schedule, he is often called upon to provide his political expertise on major radio and television channels. Based in Istanbul, Atilla is co-founder of the information platform Istanbul Analytics and is one of GlobalSource’s local partners in Turkey. In addition to his consulting work and speaking engagements throughout the US, Europe and the Middle East, he writes regular columns for Turkey’s leading financial websites VATAN and and has contributed to the financial daily Referans and the liberal daily Radikal.