NOTE: This update covers only the Climate Action Tracker's assessment of Türkiye's updated NDC submitted in April 2023. The rest of the assessment is from our March 2023 update. It does not consider the outcome of the presidential and parliamentary elections on May 14.
Türkiye’s submitted an updated NDC in April 2023 which, though stronger on paper, will still lead to increased emissions and is not compatible with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C temperature goal. Türkiye’s NDC update can already be achieved with its current policies which lead to a significant emissions increase, indicating that they too will not drive real-world emission reductions. With the world’s third largest coal pipeline, the Turkish government will need to develop a coal phase-out plan for the power sector, which studies have shown is feasible by 2030, if it’s serious about its commitment to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2053. Türkiye’s CAT rating remains unchanged as ‘Critically insufficient’ on all fronts.
In the last two decades, Türkiye has experienced a large increase in energy demand which has resulted in Türkiye becoming heavily dependent on oil, coal, and fossil gas imports. Türkiye’s continued reliance on fossil fuel imports is not only a burden on the economy, but also leaves the country vulnerable to volatile commodity markets, exacerbated by the illegal Russian invasion of Ukraine and the depreciation of the Turkish lira. Despite the global climate crisis and the need for the world to get off fossil fuels, Türkiye plans to become a fossil gas hub.
Some key recommendations for reversing the upwards trend of Türkiye’s emissions are:
- Focus on maximising its huge renewable energy potential rather than investing further in domestic lignite coal and fossil gas production to reduce its dependency on imported fossil fuels, avoiding fossil lock-in and improving energy security.
- Develop a coal phase-out plan for the power sector and corresponding policies for implementation.
- Set a stronger 2030 NDC target that goes beyond current policies and drive emissions reductions. Ideally, this would be in the form of an emissions limit or reduction from a historical base year. At a minimum, Türkiye could update its BAU to reflect historical developments.
A ramp-up of renewable energy as well as a diversification of Türkiye's renewable energy sources to include more wind and solar would need to go hand-in-hand with coal-phase out. With its recently unveiled National Energy Plan for 2035, Türkiye has taken an important step in this direction by setting the target of increasing installed solar power capacity from 6.7 GW in 2020 to 52.9 GW by 2035 and tripling its installed wind power capacity. Unfortunately, the National Energy Plan does not put the country on track for an exit from coal, instead it increases installed coal capacity by 4 GW.
Türkiye has a limited number of policies in place to reduce transport emissions. On a positive note, Türkiye plans to manufacture its own electric vehicles (EVs), with sales of the first model set to begin towards the end of 2023. This will help the Turkish automotive industry’s international competitiveness and be an important opportunity to boost EV sales domestically. Türkiye’s EV market share was less than 1% in 2020.
Rapidly transitioning to renewables rather than expanding domestic fossil fuel production would help to put Türkiye on a much more realistic pathway to achieving its net zero target. Türkiye is working on a long-term strategy, but has not yet submitted it to the UNFCCC.
The CAT rates Türkiye’s climate targets and policies as “Critically insufficient”, a rating that indicates Türkiye’s climate policies and commitments reflect minimal to no action and are not at all consistent with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C temperature limit. If all countries were to follow Türkiye’s approach, warming would exceed 4°C.
In October 2021, Türkiye finally ratified the Paris Agreement and submitted its 2015 INDC as its NDC at that time. In April 2023, Türkiye submitted an updated NDC target. The new NDC target is, however, not in line with limiting warming to 1.5°C. Our assessment calculates this updated NDC would see GHG emissions increasing by 36% compared to current levels excluding LULUCF. Türkiye will be able to achieve this target under current policies: it will not drive any real-world emission reductions, even though it is numerically stronger than the first NDC.
For a better rating, Türkiye needs to set an ambitious NDC target that will actually drive emission reductions, rather than letting them continue to rise throughout the decade.
Türkiye’s current policies and action are “Critically insufficient” when compared to its fair share contribution. The “Critically insufficient” rating indicates that Türkiye’s policies and action in 2030 reflect minimal to no action and are not at all consistent with limiting warming to 1.5°C. If all countries were to follow Türkiye’s approach, warming would exceed 4°C. Türkiye needs to focus on adopting further policies and action to stop its emissions growth and start reducing emissions towards decarbonisation.
Türkiye continues to rely on, and invest in, fossil fuels to meet its increasing energy demands, even though costs for renewables are at record lows. The first of the long-delayed 1.32 GW Hunutlu coal-fired power plant’s two generation units came online in June 2022: the latest example of Türkiye’s commitment to expanding its coal capacity. These developments stand in strong contrast to Türkiye’s need to reduce the use of coal in electricity to close to zero by 2030 under a 1.5°C-compatible scenario. Meanwhile, Türkiye is set to start gas production in the first quarter of 2023 from the Sakarya gas field in the Black Sea.
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. The newly released National Energy Plan has set ambitious renewable energy targets for 2035 compared to Türkiye’s current levels of installed renewable energy capacity which is an important step towards transitioning away from fossil fuels.
By the end of 2023, Türkiye plans to sell the first models of its domestically produced EVs. This will help the Turkish automotive industry’s international competitiveness and be an important opportunity to boost EV sales domestically.
The full policies and action analysis can be found here.
We rate Türkiye’s updated NDC target as “Critically insufficient” when compared with modelled domestic pathways. The “Critically insufficient” rating indicates that Türkiye’s NDC target in 2030 reflects minimal to no action and is not at all consistent with limiting warming to 1.5°C. If all countries were to follow Türkiye’s approach, warming would exceed 4°C.
Türkiye already achieves this target based on our emissions estimate for 2030 under current policies, which further highlights the weakness of this target. Türkiye should significantly strengthen its 2030 target.
We also rate Türkiye’s updated NDC target as “Critically insufficient” when compared with its fair share contribution to climate action. The “Critically insufficient” rating indicates that Türkiye’s NDC target reflects minimal to no action and is not at all consistent with limiting warming to 1.5°C. Türkiye’s target is not in line with any interpretation of a fair approach to meeting the 1.5°C temperature limit. If all countries were to follow Türkiye’s approach, warming would exceed 4°C.
We do not have sufficient information to assess Türkiye’s climate finance contribution.
In 2021, Türkiye announced a 2053 net zero target. Since then, Türkiye’s newly established Climate Council convened in February 2022 to develop a roadmap to achieve net zero emission and to set other green development targets. Türkiye was expected to submit its long-term strategy (LTS) by the end of 2022, but has not done so. We evaluate the target as: "Poor".
The full net zero target analysis can be found here.
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