Two years ago, representatives of more than 190 countries signed the Paris Climate Accord at COP21. Global Network Perspectives asked experts across the network about the policies that their countries are implementing in order to meet the commitments made in the agreement—and the challenges that remain.
Two years after the adoption of the COP21 agreement in Paris, what types of policies are being implemented in your country to meet the commitments made in the agreement? Is there optimism about meeting those commitments?
One of the important developments is the implementation of renewable energy projects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Turkey. Wind energy projects here were supported by the government and most recently (March 2017) a project to install a 1-gigawatt solar power station was approved with a guaranteed purchasing of the produced electricity at competitive market prices. These developments are encouraging; however more needs to be done to reach the goal of COP21 commitments. The largest share of GHG emissions in Turkey are due to the energy sector (by 71.6% according to TURKSTA statistics from 2015. Therefore, policy measures to increase carbon-neutral energy technologies and also investments in more energy efficient electricity generation/use needs to be encouraged. In most of the renewable energy projects, the bottleneck is due to dependence on the technology and systems that must be imported. In addition, tax incentives for hybrid and pure electric vehicles are not sufficient to create incentives for the consumers.
Is the agreement driving innovation in the business community in your country? Has it prompted new investments or private-public partnerships?
The business community is focusing on the renewable energy technologies to take advantage of the guaranteed purchasing agreements by the national grid. Although the businesses are willing to invest for the capacity installation, the R&D investments are very small compared to the installed capacity. The main innovation is through business and financing perspectives rather than technology development.
What are the biggest challenges in meeting the commitments in your country or region?
The biggest challenge is the financing of the new, cleaner and more efficient technologies. As a developing country, there are many complex issues that needs to be addressed: economic growth, providing jobs, regional security, education and healthcare. Limited national resources must be divided among these areas and policy makers must prioritize the use of limited funds among these pressing issues.