Fatih Birol, President of the International Energy Agency (IEA), warned that Turkey is lagging behind in a rapidly changing global energy system.
IEA President Birol, who made the closing speech of the event organized at the Turkey Pavilion at the COP28 Climate Summit, made important statements regarding Turkey’s energy systems.
Speaking at the panel titled The Dilemma of Green Transition: Navigating Challenges, Unlocking Opportunities, and Ensuring Coherence, Dr. Birol said, “No country is an island. Each country affects the other”. Emphasizing that it is a myopic point of view to think that the policies of one country will not affect the other, Birol emphasized that the global energy system is changing very rapidly, even faster than many people think, and explained this change with examples from different fields.
In 2023, Birol stated that most of the new installations added to the global energy system came from renewable energy fields and that a similar process is taking place in the transportation sector. Emphasizing that there is already an “electric vehicle revolution”, Birol said, “With the most conservative estimate, half of the vehicles in traffic will be electric in 2030.” Birol stated that the main reason for explaining all this transformation is to show the direction the world is heading, “I am sorry but I have to say, Turkey is not going in the right direction on this issue,” he said.
Stating that the increase in energy prices, energy security issues, the climate crisis and new developments such as the Border Carbon Regulation Mechanism introduced by the EU Green Deal will deeply affect Turkey, the IEA President said, “About half of Turkey’s exports are made to the EU. Therefore, we need to think about how we will decarbonize these products we trade. This process is on the way, if you cannot adapt, someone else will take your place. Another country will take over this trade.”
Underlining that carbon prices are rising, that this will continue, and that new energy technologies such as hydrogen are developing rapidly, Birol said that Turkey has important opportunities and that time is running out for Turkey to utilize them. Birol said that Turkey needs to realize its energy transformation rapidly and underlined that we are dependent on foreign energy production in fossil fuels.
“An energy policy dependent on a single country or a few countries is not right. We need to diversify it. The conflict between Ukraine and Russia is a clear example of how problematic this approach is” Birol said. Stating that Turkey has a tradition of finding solutions to problems at the last minute, “We can do it again but the time is running out”, he said.