For the last two weeks people across the globe protested to end the use of fossil fuels and switch to renewable energy for one reason- put an end to the devastating effects of climate change. Today, the people of Turkey joined the Break Free actions and drew their red lines in Aliaga, Izmir protesting against government plans to build more coal fired power plants.
Standing on top of the biggest coal ash damn in Aliaga, Izmir- hundreds of people spelled “STOP” to coal plants in Turkey as the children of Aliaga are getting sicker by the minute because all they breathe is coal ash.
At COP21 in Paris last December, countries signed an agreement to end climate change. The Paris Agreement was supposed to mark the beginning of the end of fossil fuels, instead it marked the beginning of more talk. Turkey signed the Paris Agreement and pledged to cut the country’s emissions 21% by 2030, yet it is unclear how they plan to do this as the Turkish Government is planning to build 80 new coal fired power plants by 2023. This means the country will have 101 coal plants and 268 million tons of CO2 by 2023.
With 70% of its electricity being imported- Turkey is an energy dependent country. The rest of the electricity comes from coal, lignite, natural gas and fuel oil. If you’ve ever been to Turkey you know that it gets very hot and there is a lot of sunshine, average annual total sunshine duration of 2,640 hours to be exact, which means the country has the largest solar potential among European countries after Spain.
Turkey has a huge potential for wind energy and it currently has only 3 GW of installed capacity, but have stated they plan to increase wind capacity 20 times by 2020.
With such high domestic potential for satisfying the energy needs of the country, Turkey’s plans to build 80 new coal plants make no economical sense. These coal plants come at the expense of people’s health and livelihood, and with 70% of greenhouse gas emissions coming from the country’s energy sector they are worsening the effects of climate change in many areas of the world.