Turkey should weigh in to tackle climate change and reduce health and social costs, by abandoning incentives to coal and policies that increase the share of coal in electricity, urged a report amid ongoing COP21 Summit held in Paris.
According to the coal report released by Istanbul Policy Center (IPC) entitled “Turkey's coal policies related to climate change, economy and health” Turkey, in which greenhouse gas emissions increased 110 percent in 2013 when compared to 1990, is among the top 20 emitters in the world.
Also, Turkey is ranked fourth in the world in regard to constructing new coal-fired power plants after China, India, and Russia.
The share of coal in its total emissions is approximately 33 percent, and coal emissions have increased by 130 percent during this time period, said the report.
Coal is known to comprise 44 percent of global CO2 emissions resulting from fossil fuels and 72 percent of CO2 emissions, stemming from electricity and heat generation.
Thus, it is the “primary cause of climate change” according to the report:
“The share of coal, oil, and gas in Turkey's primary energy supply was 88 percent in 2013. Almost more than 70 percent of electricity is produced from fossil fuels. The installed capacity of coal-fired power plants has increased by 77 percent when compared to 2004.”
“Turkey's energy demand will double by 2023”
According to the coal report, “the government, which foresees that Turkey's energy demand will double by 2023, aims to meet most of its increased need by building new coal-fired power plants.
“Turkey's energy strategy aims to ‘use all existing domestic lignite and hard coal potential for energy generation purposes' and ‘to utilize thermal power plants based on imported coal, which has high calorie value, to ensure supply security'” urged the report, stressing this approach “ignores the contribution that Turkey should make towards combating global climate change and precludes a meaningful mitigation policy.”
Turkey might have to face increased costs and commercial restrictions if the country ignores required policy changes, over EU's claimed leading role in the transformation to a low carbon economy, stressed the report.
The EU has agreed to increase the share of renewable energy in total energy consumption to 27 percent and to decrease greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% when compared to 1990 levels.
Coal causes cancer, premature deaths
The report also underlined health impacts of coal-fired power plants, which are the most polluting industries. The adverse effects of air pollution range from respiratory tract infections to respiratory system cancers, as well as increases in the prevalence of respiratory and circulatory system diseases and mortality rates.
The coal-fired power plants operating in Turkey's account have reportedly caused at least 2,876 premature deaths, 637,643 working days lost, and 3.6 billion euros in additional costs, according to the IPC report.