The decisions that will be taken as a result of Turkey’s first Climate Council will shape the country’s future in the fight against climate change, an official from the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources said.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency (AA) on Turkey’s policies on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and its goal of net zero emissions by 2053, Abdullah Buğrahan Karaveli, Head of the Department of efficiency and the environment at the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources, underlined the importance of timing regarding the first Climate Council.
“The Climate Council (is taking place) at a very crucial time, to form the key elements to plan Turkey’s next 30, 40, 50 years, what roadmaps need to be followed, what needs to be done in what sector, what should not be done, what kind of method should be followed, here are all discussed,” he noted.
Mentioning that since the fight against climate change is directly associated with the reduction of greenhouse gases, the key sectors also being energy, industry and transport, Karaveli recalled that net zero carbon emissions mean the balance of carbon dioxide emissions with its removal through forests as carbon sinks.
To achieve this, important and very high-level work must be carried out in all sectors, said Karaveli, who also chairs the first session of the greenhouse gas reduction commissions (Energy, Transport and Industry).
“There were very useful and constructive discussions, and what needs to be done in accordance with the plans based on scientific knowledge and data is listed step by step, and with the decisions made as a result of this advice, the 30, 40, 50 years of Turkey will be shaped,” he said.
Turkey’s first Climate Council kicked off on Monday to draw up a roadmap in line with the Paris Agreement to achieve net zero emissions by 2053. The event will end on Friday.
More than 1,000 representatives from public institutions and universities, scientists, businessmen, farmers and activists attended the event.
Challenges towards the 2053 target
Noting that Turkey is a developing and growing country, as its population and economy are growing steadily, Karaveli said its energy demand is growing above the world average at the same time.
“For example, while global energy demand growth due to COVID-19 decreased in 2020, it increased in Turkey as part of electricity. In 2021, while the global average increased 4.5%, Turkey’s electricity demand increased by more than 8%… These are the challenges of the process,” he said.
Stressing that the energy sector has priorities such as reducing external dependence and energy costs, he added that now, when reducing greenhouse gas emissions is added to these priorities, the energy sector is undergoing tests to define what needs to be done to move the country towards the goal set in this direction.
“The main thing to do and the most important way to tackle carbon emissions is to minimize energy demands in sectors such as industry, transport, buildings and agriculture by reducing the input energy without limiting the quality of the service and the product, the production”, he said.
In other words, he added, the most important thing that can be done here is to minimize energy demand in Turkey by taking action at the highest level within the framework of savings and efficiency.
In response to a question on how decreasing energy demand would be possible in a growing population, Karaveli highlighted efficiency and saving behaviors at the individual level pointing out that things done at the micro scale bring macro-scale changes.
“The view that carbon emissions will only decrease if the global economy and population do not continue to grow is not correct. The objective here is to minimize demand,” he pointed out, referring to figures from the International Energy Agency showing that the world will grow. by 40% by 2050, while energy demand is expected to decrease by 7%.
Regarding renewable energy, which is one of the effective ways to achieve a healthy climate, Mr. Karaveli said that it constitutes 54% of the total installed capacity of the country and that renewable energy represents about 40% of electricity production.
“Therefore, Turkey ranks 12th in the world and fifth in Europe in terms of installed capacity of renewable energy and first in geothermal energy and ranks first in hydropower in Europe,” he noted.
Saying that these figures prove how quickly Turkey has adapted to renewable energy, Karaveli added that there is a need to further accelerate the speed of this transformation for the future.
“Turkey has a much higher renewable potential than Europe, and since the barriers are far fewer and the opportunities far greater, the country can more easily maximize the use of renewable energy,” he said.
Calling on young people to carefully follow the advice and its results and build their own careers on these issues, Karaveli said the next 30 to 50 years of the world are planned.
He concluded that if young people also closely follow the technological developments around the issue of climate change, they could be the future of Turkey and develop the country, because half of the technology to be used on the ground has not not yet been developed.
Onur Ünlü, head of the Association for Energy Efficiency and Management (EYODER), speaking at the Climate Council, said that the demand for energy efficiency has increased both in the sectors public and private in the face of rising energy costs around the world.
“We expect a very big jump in the energy efficiency sector this year,” he told AA.
He indicated that the EYODER brings together energy efficiency consulting firms operating in the sector, approved by the ministry and supports the expansion of this market.
Noting that Turkey can be a pioneer in the field of energy efficiency, Ünlü said: “Maybe we entered the industrial revolution late or we missed many eras, but we are on the same line starting point than other countries in the “green”. phase of transformation and the fight against climate change. We have the chance to move forward and become a world leader in this field.
Noting that energy consumption can be reduced with savings, which will provide significant returns for the country, Ünlü said that it is possible to reduce energy consumption by 10% with this method.