Turkey’s greenhouse gas emission increased by 7.7 percent in 2021

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Greenhouse gas emissions in Turkey increased by 7.7 percent in 2021, according to official figures released today (March 29) by the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat).

Turkey’s CO2 production, a natural gas that causes global warming, has steadily increased since the 1990s. In 1990 the CO2 emission per capita was 4 tons. This rose in thirty years to 6,3 tons in 2020, and in 2021, it grew to 6,7 tons per capita.

71.3 percent of all CO2 emissions came from energy resources, 13.3 percent from industrial processes, and agriculture contributed with a 12.8 percent share to Turkey’s carbon output.

Efforts leave much to be desired

Turkey’s new emission number comes amidst recent disturbing research by the UN, which indicate that the effects of global warming are worse than expected. During last week’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), UN Chief Antonio Guterres stressed again that developed countries need to reduce their carbon emissions to net zero by 2040.

In 2021, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan took a green turn. He ratified the Paris Agreement, which requires the country’s emissions to be zero by 2053, the Presidency Directorate of Communications published a book on ‘Turkey’s Green Development Revolution’, and ‘climate change’ was added to the name of the Ministry of Environment and Urbanization.

Nonetheless, the efforts leave much to be desired as greenhouse gas emissions keep spiraling upwards, and the Mediterranean country remains largely dependent on highly polluting natural resources.

“Turkey’s fossil fuel dependency does not come cheap to our country, just like the rest of Europe. Turkey needs to start using its high potential in renewable energy sources such as solar and wind as soon as possible and set an exit target from fossil fuels,” Duygu Kutluay states, who works as a campaigner for Beyond Fossil Fuels, an organization that recently criticized Turkey for not having a strategy to transition away from coal.

A 2022 report by the think-thank Ember indicated that it is feasible for Turkey to drop its share of fossil fuels from 50 to 24 percent by 2030 if it focuses on solar power and wind power. Additionally, this would help fix Turkey’s energy dependency, a major Achilles heel of its economy. Turkey consumed over 50 billion cubic meters of natural gas in a year in the last two years, and over 30 percent imported from Russia. (TY/WM)


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