BY DIDEM ERYAR UNLU
Q&A with Stephane Crouzat, Climate Ambassador of France
France has held the presidency of the Council of the European Union since January 1, 2022. The country, which will continue to hold the presidency until the end of June, aims to reach carbon neutrality by 2050. France’s Climate Ambassador Stephane Crouzat, who visited Turkey for the of the ‘Eco-Climate Economy and Climate Change Summit and Fair’ hosted by the Ankara Chamber of Commerce (ATO), answered questions from daily DUNYA.
Climate Ambassador Crouzat said steps have been taken to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius since the Paris Climate Agreement, which was adopted in 2015, and many countries committed to reaching net-zero carbon emission by 2050. Crouzat also emphasized that Turkey should strengthen its existing commitments.
HOW DO YOU VIEW THE RECENT WORK BY TURKEY ON CLIMATE CHANGE? WHAT SHOULD TURKEY DO FURTHER PROGRESS IN ITS FIGHT AGAINST CLIMATE CHANGE?
The European Union has reduced carbon emissions by 55% with the support of the work for climate change. France aims to reach carbon neutrality by 2050. Turkey’s being a party to the Paris Climate Agreement and its carbon emission target are very important. To achieve the clean energy goals set by the Paris Climate Agreement, the World Bank provided a EUR 3.1bn loan to Turkey as part of a plan that was financially supported by France and Germany. As the European Union, I think that there is a lot of work to do with Turkey for sustainable development, energy and climate, and climate change. I look forward to working together with Turkey in its ecological transition work. France is ready to help Turkey in every respect so that it can achieve its goals. However, Turkey should strengthen its national contribution commitment before the 27th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP27) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) that will be held this year.
ARE YOU COLLABORATING WITH TURKISH COMPANIES FOR GREEN TRANSFORMATION?
We are working with the companies during their transition period to the low carbon economy. We see that Turkish companies are eager to join the green transformation. Transformation of the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) is very important in this process. The Agence Française de Développement (AFD), which has worked in this field for many years, has collaborated with the Turkish banks. Especially our work for energy efficiency finance is giving quite effective results. We are ready to help Turkey to end coal consumption in particular.
WHAT ROLE WILL NUCLEAR ENERGY PLAY IN THE EUROPEAN UNION’S GREEN ENERGY TRANSFORMATION AGENDA?
Within the scope of the European Union, nuclear energy is a challenging issue in the green energy transformation process. 70% of electricity is generated by nuclear power plants in France. This ratio was forecasted to be reduced to 50% in 2025; however, this date has been postponed to 2035. If Emmanuel Macron wins elections, France will build 14 new nuclear power plants by 2050. In this way, it is planning to significantly reduce the country’s dependence on fossil fuels on its journey to becoming carbon neutral. High-technology small reactors will in particular become prominent. We can say that nuclear energy has been today’s most effective clean energy solution. We are also prioritizing investing in offshore wind farms.
THE EUROPEAN UNION HAS STARTED TO SEEK ALTERNATIVE ENERGY RESOURCES AND SUPPLY ROUTES, ESPECIALLY AFTER RUSSIA INVADED UKRAINE. WILL THE WAR EASE THE TRANSITION TO GREEN ENERGY? WHAT SHOULD THE EUROPEAN UNION DO TO REDUCE ITS DEPENDENCE ON IMPORTED ENERGY RESOURCES FROM RUSSIA?
The Russia-Ukraine war isn’t easing the transition process to green energy. Today, the European Union meets 40% of natural gas, 27% of oil, and 46% of coal imports from Russia. That’s why we are dependent on Russia in terms of energy. But this dependency can be reduced by two-thirds by the end of 2022. To do so, energy efficiency should be increased, energy consumption should be reduced, transition to renewables should be accelerated, and alternative energy resources should take the place of Russian energy. Green hydrogen plays an important role in this. The usage of green hydrogen, especially in transportation, may create a significant impact. France has prepared a EUR 8bn package to develop green hydrogen.
“As the European Union, I think that there is a lot of work to do with Turkey for sustainable development, energy and climate, and climate change […] France is ready to help Turkey in every respect so that it can achieve its goals.”