- Turkey’s average temperature has been climbing since 1994 and is likely to continue to rise, boosting energy demand for cooling in upcoming decades. This will put additional pressure on Turkey’s energy system, as economic growth has already caused electricity demand to escalate rapidly.
- Although total annual precipitation across the country has neither increased nor decreased significantly, greater regional and seasonal disparities are projected. The incidence of extreme precipitation patterns involving droughts and heavy rainfall with flash floods is expected to increase.
- Turkey has established a complete set of climate change strategies, including a National Climate Change Strategy and a National Climate Change Action Plan. The Action Plan proposes planning renewable energy resources incorporating climate change impacts into a detailed implementation plan. The updated 2023 Action Plan could re-emphasise energy sector resilience and help mainstream climate resilience in national energy plans, which currently concentrate on climate change mitigation.
Turkey’s average temperature has been increasing since 1994 (apart from 1997 and 2011), with the rate of warming in the past two decades exceeding 0.0665°C per year, which is significantly higher than the world average, 0.0313°C. The number of summer days, warm days, warm nights and tropical nights increased from 1960 to 2010, while frosty days, cool days and cool nights became fewer.
Turkey’s average annual temperature is likely to continue rising, with summer temperatures increasing more sharply than winter ones. Economic growth in the country has already caused electricity consumption to rise rapidly, so higher temperatures that boost energy demand for cooling will exert even more pressure on the energy system in upcoming decades.
Although observations indicate no significant increase or decrease in total annual precipitation averages across Turkey, regional and seasonal disparities are evident. While annual precipitation increased in northern Turkey during 1960-2010, it declined in the Aegean and Southeastern Anatolia regions. Because the country receives most of its rainfall in the winter and spring and less in the summer, rising summer temperatures and evaporation losses could cause many parts of the country (except the Black Sea region) to experience summer water shortages.
Although lower total precipitation is predicted overall, particularly after 2041, seasonal and regional disparities will likely persist until the end of this century. Summer precipitation for 2071-2099 is projected to be up to 40% lower than during 1971-2000, while the amount of winter precipitation could increase in much of the country. While a significant decrease in precipitation is expected for southern Turkey, a slight increase is projected for northern areas such as the Black Sea region. Climate projections also indicate an increase in drought frequency, duration and severity by the end of the century. These changes are likely to put pressure on Turkey’s water resources, including hydropower plants in the Mediterranean region.
In fact, extreme precipitation patterns, such as severe and long-lasting droughts and heavy showers that cause flash floods, are projected to become more common in the near future and can have negative energy system impacts. For instance, droughts in 2020 caused electricity generation from hydropower plants to fall by 11.5% from the previous year, while flash floods provoked by heavy rainfall in the Black Sea region created power outages in the same year.
Turkey has established a policy structure to address climate change, consisting of a national Climate Change Strategy, a National Climate Change Action Plan (NCCAP) and the online NCCAP Monitoring System. These strategies, action plans and monitoring system shape the country’s efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change.
The national Climate Change Strategy 2010-2023 outlines short-, medium- and long-term objectives as the basis for actions to tackle climate change, and the Strategy’s goals include climate change mitigation and adaptation. The Ministry of Environment and Urbanization supervised development of the NCCAP in 2011 to enable implementation of the Climate Change Strategy.
The NCCAP’s objectives cover key selected areas such as energy, buildings, industry, transportation, waste, agriculture, land use and forestry, and adaptation. One of the adaptation actions – “planning renewable energy resources taking into consideration the impacts of climate change” – mandates that climate change impacts be taken into consideration during hydropower plant site selection and planning, and that the law on geothermal resources and natural mineral waters be reviewed in line with climate impacts and the adaptation approach. The NCCAP also provides direction on time frames, outputs, responsible organisations and relevant entities for each action.
Turkey is in the process of updating its NCCAP for the end of 2023. As part of this exercise, the government plans to review long-term (2030-2050) policy and strategy options that could reinforce energy sector climate resilience. In addition to the NCCAP, sub-state policies and measures to improve resilience to the impacts of climate change have been introduced in some places, although recognition and implementation of local efforts on climate change adaptation is still limited in others.
Nevertheless, energy sector climate change adaptation and resilience measures are not yet a standard part of national energy plans, which concentrate instead on climate change mitigation (e.g. reducing energy intensity, increasing clean energy shares, limiting GHG emissions and reducing electricity distribution losses).
The Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources’ Strategic Plan 2019-2023 sets out seven goals with 31 targets, but does not include climate change resilience. The Plan focuses primarily on energy supply security, energy efficiency, capacity-building, international co‑operation, technology development, market predictability and sustainable mining production capacity. The suggested measures could, however, simultaneously promote climate change adaptation co-benefits. Likewise, the actions prescribed in the National Energy Efficiency Action Plan 2017-2023 to manage peak heating and cooling demand and reduce distribution losses could also help strengthen climate change resilience.