National Observer: Turks rally for coal-free future on first day of G20

By Fran Dinshaw, National Observer:

People in the heart of Turkey’s coal country are demanding a fossil fuel-free future as the G20 summit gets underway in Antalya.

Residents of the coal city of Zonguldak and the surrounding region are protesting against the high levels of local air pollution and resulting ill effects on human health — the result of two coal power plants in the nearby town of Çatalağzı. The crisis is set to deepen if the Turkish government approves construction of a further 14 new coal power plants slated for the Zonguldak area, which includes 78 km of Black Sea coastline.

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Climate Central/Reuters: G20 Spending on Fossil Fuels Dwarfs Renewables

Climate Central/Reuters:

The G20 countries spend almost four times as much to prop up fossil fuel production as they do to subsidize renewable energy, calling into question their commitment to halting climate change, a think tank said.

The G20 spent an average $78 billion on national subsidies delivered through direct spending and tax breaks in 2013 and 2014, according to a report from the Overseas Development Institute (ODI).

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Agence France Presse: World leaders vowed to lessen global warming by 2 degrees at Paris climate summit


ANTALYA — Leaders of the world’s top economies vowed to seek a deal to stave off catastrophic global warming at the upcoming UN conference in Paris, according to a draft statement drawn up Monday, November 16, at a summit in Turkey.

Negotiators at the Group of 20 summit haggled through the night on the text of the statement as Saudi Arabia and India initially refused to include specific climate goals like curbing global warming to less than two degrees Celsius (3.6 Farenheit), sources said.

“Climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time,” said the draft communique which will  undergo a final review by leaders later in the day. We affirm our determination to adopt a protocol, another legal instrument or an agreed outcome with legal force,” at the COP21 talks, the draft said.

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The Straits Times: World leaders back drive for Paris climate deal

The Straits Times:

ANTALYA, Turkey (AFP) – Leaders of the world’s top economies on Monday (Nov 16) vowed to seek a deal to curb climate change at an upcoming UN conference in Paris, according to a draft statement drawn up in tough, all-night talks.

Negotiators at a Group of 20 summit in Turkey haggled into the early hours as Saudi Arabia and India initially refused to include specific goals such as limiting global warming to less than 2 deg C above pre-industrialised levels, sources said.

France, backed by the European Union (EU), is working furiously to make the climate talks a success and Paris officials bristled at the reluctance of some countries to include its basic objectives in the statement.

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G20 Turkey Communiqué a major missed opportunity to change the game on climate

Turkey: 16 November, 2015: Turkish civil society and climate groups from across Turkey and the world have responded to today’s G20 Leaders Communiqué with a mix of shock and disappointment.

“Coming right before the Paris Climate Summit, the G20 was an opportunity for Heads of State from a range of countries to show their commitment to scaling up climate action both inside and outside of the UN,” Cem İskender Aydin, from İklim Ağı (Climate Network) said.

“Heads of State could have provided a clear and powerful signal ahead of the Climate Summit by putting a date for the end of fossil fuel subsidies, and agreeing to stop funding fossil fuel projects around the world,” Ümit Şahin from İklim için (For The Climate) said.

“Instead they have rehashed worn positions and in doing so risk being on the wrong side of history,” he said.

By not using the G20 to get onto the same page about the critical issues to be discussed at COP21, they’ve made their job that much harder.

“A broad and diverse range of civil society, non-profits and advocacy groups from across Turkey and the wider international climate and development movement all worked co-operatively to develop a set of four clear asks for G20 Leaders to meaningfully address the great climate challenge facing us,” Barış Karapınar, General Manager of TEMA Foundation said.

They were:

  1. A complete and total end to ALL fossil fuel subsidies.
  2. Stop our financial risk from climate impacts and action; demanding the G20 set a clear plan by 2018 to stress test all spending against its compatibility with global climate commitments.
  3. An immediate end to all investment plans for the expansion of existing and all new coal fired powered plants and mines in Turkey.
  4. G20 leaders to unequivocally state their support for a long-term goal and ambition mechanism in Paris.

“We have been deeply affected by the dreadful events that have taken place in Paris and Beirut and stand in solidarity with the victims and the people caught up in the violence. These events have pushed the G20 agenda towards a strong and necessary focus on security.

“As people who live in Turkey we are no strangers to such dreadful and senseless violence. Climate change will only increase conflict, increase violence and play a role in even greater geopolitical conflicts and mass migration of desperate refugees,” Efe Baysal from Yuva Association said.

Groups as diverse as The Pentagon, the US Department of Defence, The Atlantic Council, NATO, the Global Military Advisory Council On Climate Change (GMACC), the Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia Pacific (CSCAP) and the Australian Defence Force have all concluded that climate change is one of the most serious security threats to the globe and that serious and immediate action is required.

A number of states (from the USA to Germany, Australia and the UK) have now included climate change in national security statements or strategies.

The G20 Leaders have failed to grasp this most basic of facts that the science illustrates so compellingly.

“The G20 Leaders have failed to grasp this most basic of facts that the science illustrates so compellingly. Many people around the world had seen the G20 as the perfect moment for Heads of State (HoS) to gather ahead of the COP, push the agenda on climate harder and make the work needed in Paris a fortnight later for COP21 just that little bit easier,” Christian Eicheinmuller Turkey Representative of Heinrich Boll Stiftung said.

“They have to do that. Some of our demands are incredibly simple to meet, indeed the C20 have nominated over the last few days 2020 as the year to phase out the perverse incentives of fossil fuel subsidies – all these G20 Leaders need to do is agree that this year must be the last moment for real action for the decision made way back in 2009 in Pittsburgh to be actioned!” Christian Eicheinmuller said.

G20 members are currently spending 789 times more on fossil fuel subsidies than they are on the Green Climate Fund, and yet they say in the communiqué how critical this Fund is and climate finance is – this is patently obscene,” Ethemcan Turhan from Ecology Collective said.

“The threat of new and expanding coal plants and mines in Turkey remains unattended to. This is deeply shameful, people are sick and dying from filthy coal and plans are afoot for international finance to build even more – this is a global problem of major significance,” Cem İskender Aydın from TEMA Foundation said.

“On long term goals and ambition we can see some reference on ambition but no foresight about plans to decarbonise our economies, as we know we must,” Ümit Şahin from İklim İçin (For the Climate Campaign) said.

We must hope that these Leaders display the leadership in Paris that we failed to glimpse here in Turkey on all matters to do with climate change, the most pressing of our global problems. The world is depending on it and the world is most certainly watching,” Ümit Şahin said.


G20 Leaders Communique:


C20 Sustainability Working Group- G20 must take action on fossil fuel subsidies ahead of Paris climate talks

G20 leaders meeting in Turkey this week must tell the world how they plan to phase out fossil fuel subsidies by 2020 or risk being seen as dragging its feet, a high-level sustainability forum declared today.

The G20 promised to phase out fossil fuel subsidies completely in 2009. But G20 governments still pump US$452bn annually into exploration for and production of fossil fuels, according to a report from the Overseas Development Institute released last week. [1]

The C20 Sustainability Working Group [2] made the recommendation ahead of this week’s G20 summit in Antalya, Turkey, which will be the last opportunity for world leaders to discuss climate change before the UN climate summit taking place in Paris in two weeks time.

Samantha Smith, Global Climate and Energy Initiative Lead at WWF-International said: “With the world about to meet in Paris to come to agreement on climate, we need to see the G20 make good on its promise and provide a clear plan for ending inefficient fossil fuel subsidies in the final G20 communique. Fossil fuel subsidies aren’t just bad for the climate, they also ignore the rising health costs of air pollution, the falling returns on fossil fuel exploration, and the technological innovation which makes low-carbon energy systems the smart investment choice.”

Srinivas Krishnaswamy of Vasudha Foundation, India and co-chair of the C-20 Sustainability Working Group added that “the issue of clean, affordable, sustainable access to energy in all countries should be a priority area for the G20 countries. G20 countries should ensure that finance and technology access go to developing countries so that they can provide modern, clean energy to their citizens. Clearly, evidence from many developing countries shows that coal and fossil fuel generation has not adequately addressed the issue of access to energy.”

Cem Iskender Aydin, a Turkish representative in C20 Sustainability Working Group Steering Committee, added: “As a G20 Presidency, Turkey also has important responsibility to secure concrete action about most dangerous and polluting spending of the governments. Fossil Fuel Subsidies are damaging economy, triggering climate change and also creating social problems; therefore they should be immediately phased out. However, it is also important to indicate that Turkey should stop subsidizing coal and immediately cancel all new coal projects. “

The working group also recommended strong leadership from the G20 on providing climate finance for renewable energy, energy conservation and capacity building to address climate change. An ambitious programme of climate finance ahead of the Paris meeting should include committing new public money to help developing countries adapt to the impacts of climate change, the C20 said.




Operation Fact Check: Fossil Fuels, Turkey and the G20 Summit [infographics]

Below is a series of memes and infographics we have put together to present the facts about fossil fuel consumption in Turkey and the world as leaders meet in Antalya, Turkey for the 2015 G20 Summit.

Click on any of the images below and join our Twitter storm!

Fact #1: Global Coal Consumption up 105% Since 1980

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Fact #2: World Coal Consumption is up 105%, and China’s is Up 611%

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Fact #3: Turkey Produced 2.4 million Tons of Petroleum in 2014

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Fact #4: Turkey’s Installed Capacity Has Reached Over 71,000 Megawatts 

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Fact #5: Over 70% of Electricity in Turkey Was From Fossil Fuels in 2013

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Fact #6: Turkey has 13,838 Megawatts of Capacity from Coal Plants 

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Fact #7: 20.5% of Turkish Electricity is from Coal

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