Climate action can save Turkey nearly $150B by 2040: World Bank report

Turkey stands to reap $146 billion (TL 2.52 trillion) in savings over the next 20 years if it takes effective and appropriate actions to boost resilience and adaptation against the impact of climate change and to mitigate economy-wide emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases , a pioneering World Bank report said Monday.

The benefits would come largely from reductions in fuel imports and health benefits from reduced air pollution, and contribute to energy security and lower energy expenditures, it was said in a report titled “Türkiye Country Climate and Development Report (CCDR).”

The report called for deep decarbonization of the power sector, energy efficiency and electrification in buildings and transportation, as well as reduction of carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions in industry and agriculture.

Regarding the major changes, the report also says Turkey needs “to reverse course as the world’s 17th largest carbon emitter and to achieve its pledge of carbon neutrality by 2053.”

The CCDR, dubbed a new series of country diagnostic reports from the World Bank Group, “explores the linkages between climate and development to identify priority actions to reduce carbon emissions and build resilience, while supporting economic growth and poverty reduction,” the statement released on the bank’s website read.

The Turkey CCDR, meanwhile, is the first to be issued in the new report series.

Anna Bjerde, World Bank vice president for the Europe and Central Asia region, said “like so many countries around the world, Turkey is experiencing extreme weather events brought on by climate change.”

“With the ratification of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change last year, Turkey joins the global community to tackle this crisis,” Bjerde said.

“The CCDR will allow the World Bank to expand our successful partnership with Turkey to deliver more transformative action to protect lives and livelihoods,” she added.

The World Bank report sets out an illustrative strategy for a resilient and net zero development pathway (RNZP) that combines adaptation and mitigation actions while exploring the costs and benefits of reaching Turkey’s pledge to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2053.

The strategy focuses on sectors that are key to the country’s efforts to reduce carbon emissions, such as power, transportation, industry and forestry.

The report said that electricity is the largest contributor to emissions and a clean electricity grid is needed to drive emissions reductions through the electrification of buildings, transport and industry.

“Deep decarbonization of the power sector requires a sustained transition from coal, expansion and integration of renewable energy, and decisive actions to increase energy efficiency. This will help Turkey achieve energy security, reduce energy costs and meet burgeoning demand,” it said.

In the buildings and transportation sector, the report underlines that better buildings and transport infrastructure “can save lives through higher resilience, but also yield economic benefits by being more energy efficient, improving supply chains, and enhancing mobility, while reducing congestion and air pollution, ” which “would make Turkey’s cities more livable, attractive, resilient, and competitive.”

Reducing emissions in industry and manufacturing is a long-term challenge with short-term opportunities that rely on mobilizing the most recent and most efficient technologies, the report went on to say, adding that for Turkey, “transitioning to greener and more efficiency technologies is also a way of maintaining or even growing its export market share, especially in the European Union.”

There is a need for “a targeted set of policies and measures to optimize emissions reductions, including by crop harvesting, reducing illegal logging, stopping deforestation, strengthening control of forest fires, and increasing forest landscape restoration efforts,” it also said.

The report noted that investments in resilience “are also urgent and essential in a country heavily affected by natural disasters.”

According to official data, in 2021 alone, 107 floods, 66 forest fires, 16 snowstorms and 39 landslides occurred in the country.

The World Bank said that an estimated $165 billion will be needed over the 2022-40 horizon, and that “the private sector is expected to pick up half that cost.”

“And these additional investments are small relative to the size of the Turkish economy and the net benefits they can generate – $146 billion by 2040 after accounting for all costs,” it said.

“A resilient and net zero pathway, which can help Turkey achieve its development and climate objectives while expanding economic and social gains, is feasible,” according to Auguste Kouame, World Bank country director for Turkey.

“Today, thanks to achievements made in renewable energy, solar and wind are the cheapest way to meet most future power demand,” Kouame said.

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