Air pollution - Drivers and pressures (Turkey)
- Air pollution
It is considered that in the decrease of major pollutants, the type of energy sources have an impact. Turkey achieved a strong decoupling of SO2 and CO emissions from economic development. The use of high-sulphur coal in residential heating has been prohibited, and its substitution by gas (mostly from Russia and Iran) has expanded in urban areas. Turkey has also developed significant lignite washing capacity. Energy intensity has improved, and air quality concerns have been better integrated into energy policies. The new Energy Efficiency Law and the Law on Utilisation of Renewable Energy Resources for Generating Electricity aim to promote energy efficiency and the use of renewables. There are lower tax rates for natural gas, LPG and bio-diesel. Part of these changes was brought about by the new regulations on air emissions from stationary sources. All coal fired power plants have been equipped with flue gas desulphurisation units. In the transport sector, several new regulations on emissions from motor vehicles and quality standards for motor fuels have promoted vehicle fleet renewal, with an increasing proportion of the car fleet being equipped with catalytic converters. The use of leaded gasoline was banned in 2004.
Although SOx standards for emissions from medium-sized solid fuel plants were strengthened, emission standards for power plants using high-sulphur oil are still lenient compared to EU regulations. After a notable drop in 2000-01, both road freight and passenger traffics have increased rapidly and are a major source of air pollution, including in urban centres. Taxes on some motor fuels and vehicles still do not reflect their impact on air quality. For example, the tax rate for high-sulphur diesel fuel is lower than for fuel with a low sulphur content. CO2 emissions have continued to increase. There are cross-subsidies concerning electricity prices. Even though Turkey is the first country in Europe that uses solar energy for heating (e.g. water heating) on a wide scale the large potential for use of heat from renewables (geothermal, solar thermal and biomass) has not been effectively utilised. Despite major upgrading of the rail network, railway freight traffic has not increased and railway passenger traffic has decreased.
An important impetus to strengthen air management policy in the review period came from the EU accession negotiation process. In 2007, Turkey adopted its EU Integrated Environmental Strategy which, inter alia, called for the full harmonisation of the Turkish legal framework with the EU Air Quality Framework Directive (and its four sister Directives), the EU Fuel Quality Directive, and other Directives related to climate change and the availability of consumer information on fuel economy and CO2 emissions from new vehicles.
Household supply of natural gas has risen rapidly and is now around 25% of TPES. Until recently, only five cities had gas distribution systems. Between 2004 and 2006, licenses were awarded to private investors for building and operating “greenfield” gas distribution systems in 31 additional cities; 20 of these cities are reported to have started to use natural gas. It is expected that with the supply of gas to these cities, natural gas demand will rise sharply in the short to medium term.