Welcome to the Earth.Org Global Sustainability Index, where Earth.Org examines the policies and actions regarding the environment of every nation on earth. Combining the most respected global indexes on pollution, climate change, policy, energy, oceans, biodiversity we have produced an overall Global Index, which will be updated annually. This is the Global Sustainability Index scorecard for Turkey.
Turkey’s expanding demands for energy are mostly being met by fossil fuels, particularly coal, and therefore its emissions are set to rise significantly. While the country has promised to constrain its emissions growth, it has long been criticised for its lack of climate action. This is a barrier to EU entry (as the country has long been trying to become a member) as it must align its policies with the bloc to satisfy membership conditions.
Under business-as-usual scenarios, Turkey’s emissions are set to nearly triple in the coming decades. It is the only party of the Paris Agreement that has yet to ratify the deal, as it has made ratification conditional on access to international finance, despite the fact that it is the single largest recipient of EU climate finance, receiving €667m per year on average between 2013 and 2016. When the US officially pulled out of the Paris Agreement in 2019, Turkey said that it would now be less inclined to ratify the deal, since the US’s departure jeopardises compensation promised to developing countries, further illustrating the country’s lack of concern for mitigating the climate crisis.
- Turkey remains the only G20 country that has not yet ratified the Paris Agreement. If most other countries follow Turkey’s approach, global warming will 4°C.
- Tenders for coal mines promoting domestic lignite were announced in mid-2019. While the coal expansion aims to increase energy security, water shortages in the intended regions cast doubt on the operating efficiency, output and reliability of thermal power plants. Turkey has also begun constructing its first nuclear power plant.
- However, the ongoing reduction in the costs of renewable energy technology and storage means that reliable power can be obtained cost-effectively without resorting to coal-powered generation. In fact, installation costs of solar photovoltaic in Turkey are among the lowest in the world.
- Turkey has increased its renewable electricity generation target from 30% to 38.8% by 2023 and has committed to investing almost US$11 billion in energy efficiency measures which, if fully implemented, is expected to reduce emissions by 14% below current policy projections by 2030.
- If Turkey achieves its plan to increase its installed capacity in wind and solar energy by almost 21 GW by 2024, it will be among Europe’s five top countries for the amount of renewables.
You might also like: Global Emissions (2016)
Biodiversity, Policy: Sachs, J., Schmidt-Traub, G., Kroll, C., Lafortune, G., Fuller, G. (2019): Sustainable Development Report 2019. New York: Bertelsmann Stiftung and Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN).
Oceans: Halpern, Benjamin S., et al. “An index to assess the health and benefits of the global ocean.” Nature 488.7413 (2012): 615-620.
Pollution: Wendling, Z. A., Emerson, J. W., Esty, D. C., Levy, M. A., de Sherbinin, A., et al. (2018). 2018 Environmental Performance Index. New Haven, CT: Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy. https://epi.yale.edu/
Climate Change: Climate Change Performance Index; Jan Burck, Ursula Hagen, Niklas Höhne, Leonardo Nascimento, Christoph Bals, ISBN 978-3-943704-75-4, 2019
Energy: Enerdata –World Energy Statistics – Yearbook.