- Scholars in Turkey urged the country must amend energy policies towards increasing the share of coal in Turkey's energy generation, mining more lignite, and increasing imports of coal, amid ongoing COP21 Summit focusing on crucial climate agenda in Paris.
The joint signed statement of scholars raised concern on policies based on coal-fired power plants, underlining their several adverse effects to public health, the climate policies of Turkey and the environment, underlining nearly half of global greenhouse gas emissions and three-quarters of emissions produced from electricity and heat generation.
“Energy policies towards increasing the share of coal in Turkey's energy generation, mining more lignite and increasing imports of coal should be amended. New coal-fired power plants should not be built and licences should be cancelled” the statement said.
According to recent reports, Turkey is ranked fourth in the world after China, India and Russia in construction of new coal-fired power plants.
The country provides 90 percent of its energy supply and 70 percent of its electricity generation from fossil fuels and nearly 30 percent of its electricity is generated through burning coal.
“If all the planned coal-fired power plants are constructed, Turkey is expected to make a leap equal to its current total emissions by 2030” scholars stressed.
The joint statement underlined necessity of scientific studies regarding the health problems caused by air pollution due to coal-fired power plants and, in turn, the necessary public health measures should be taken.
The health cost of coal-fired power plants currently in operation in Turkey is at least 2,876 premature deaths, 637,643 working days lost and 3.6 billion euros, according the recent numbers.
Additionally, subsidies provided to the coal sector should be completely removed as soon as possible, the statement said, having added “if only the subsidies provided to coal are cancelled, 5.4 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions can be expected by 2030”.
Renewable energy sources with high employment potential should be utilized rather than coal mining with low share in the Turkish economy in terms of both production and employment indicators, scholars emphasized, as the share of coal mining in the total production of the Turkish economy is below 1 percent, and its share in employment is 0.7 percent.
Also, the “claimed clean” coal technology in new thermal power plants are “misleading”, and it is “kept on the agenda so that coal use can be continued” according to the signed statement.
Thus, scholars told Turkey should adopt an energy policy and an economic development approach “based on sustainable, low-carbon, and renewable resources.”
Turkey has risk of facing costs and restrictions, as underlined in the statement, if the country does not reshape its energy policies, in line with EU's efforts to recede the coal sector and close coal-fired power plants, regarding energy trade, they urged.
The declaration, signed by leading Turkish universities' professors, calls on the government to “say no to coal”.