Kazdağları Press Release
According to the report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which we can describe as a “red alert”, to say the least, it seems very difficult to limit the global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees.
This means: The whole world is under a very serious threat to existence with the climate catastrophe. Located in the Mediterranean Basin, which is one of the regions where the ecological and social destructions of the climate crisis will be seen the most, Türkiye will be more and more exposed to extreme natural events such as drought, forest fires, temperature increase, floods, and thirst, famine, hunger, forced migrations will not only affect the social welfare of people but also deeply affect all living species.
However, the effects of the climate crisis will not be the same across society; It will deepen the systemic inequalities in access to basic human rights such as food security, access to clean water, the right to health, the right to housing and even the right to life, against villagers, workers, the unemployed, women, LGBTIQ+ individuals, children, youth, refugees and all oppressed people.
In this critical period when the climate crisis should be our top priority, Turkiye continues to pursue an energy policy that is dependent on fossil fuels; In 2020, the share of fossil fuels in Turkiye’s primary energy supply was 83%, and its share in electrical energy production was 58%. In terms of greenhouse gas emissions announced by TÜİK (Türkiye Statistics Institute) in the past days, Turkey increased its greenhouse gas emissions by 3% in 2020 compared to 2019, reaching 524 million tons of CO2 equivalent, despite the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic crisis. 70% of these emissions come from the energy sector and Türkiye still continues its coal-dependent energy policies.
Coal-fired power plants have a very heavy balance sheet in terms of Public Health; According to the report published by the International Health and Environment Union at the beginning of 2022, coal-fired power plants caused approximately 196,000 premature deaths, 117,000 premature births, and 1.2 million cases of bronchitis in children between 1965 and 2020. The health cost it causes has been calculated as 320 billion Euros. In the same report, it was calculated that between 2005 and 2020, 5 coal-fired power plants in Çanakkale caused over 3,000 premature deaths, nearly 2,000 premature births, and over 22,000 cases of bronchitis in children. The cost of health is close to 7 billion Euros. These numbers are extremely worrying.
The Kazdağları region, which starts from Soma and includes Kınık, Bergama, Dikili, Ayvalık, Gömeç, Burhaniye, Havran, Edremit, Savaştepe, İvrindi, Gönen, Balya, Ezine, Biga, Lapseki, Çanakkale, has an area of approximately 1,700,000 hectares. 1,300,000 hectares, which corresponds to 79% of this area, is divided into 1,634 mining licenses. 41% of these licenses are active licenses, of which 57% are in the exploration phase and 43% are in the operating license phase. 38% of the licenses are licensed as tender areas. There are a total of 17 thermal power plants of various sizes in this region, including those under construction and project.
The climate crisis cannot be reduced to the arithmetic of greenhouse gases and a solution cannot be found by transferring capital to the big companies that are responsible for this crisis with pure engineering techniques. As the Climate Justice Coalition, our urgent demands are listed below, considering that the climate crisis creates political, economic and social problems and must ensure a just transition;
- Climate crisis action plan: Turkey urgently needs to prepare a detailed action plan covering the sectors of electricity generation, transportation, buildings, industry, services, agriculture, waste and land use. In this plan, the responsible institutions, the completion dates of the actions and the anticipated greenhouse gas emission reductions should be determined, the follow-up should be done seriously and the progress should be shared with the public. Turkey should calculate a carbon budget based on historical responsibility and fair sharing, and after reaching the peak in greenhouse gas emissions by 2025 at the latest, emissions should decrease in line with the carbon budget, and greenhouse gas emissions should be zeroed in 2050.
- Closure of coal-fired power plants: The action plan for the closure of coal-fired power plants, which are the main culprit of the climate crisis and increase electricity costs by transferring significant resources to the private sector, should be put into effect immediately;
- Renewable Energy: In all new power plant projects, impacts on nature and social life (externalities) should be included in the investment costs, social, environmental and health impact assessments should be done properly. These projects should not threaten bird migration routes, agricultural lands, forest areas and habitats. HEPPs that permanently destroy river basins under the name of renewable, GPPs that poison agricultural lands and underground/surface water assets, toxic flue gas wastes of Biomass Power Plants, WPPs built in forest areas should not be allowed.
- Energy Policies: Energy should be seen as a basic need, not as a resource transfer to capital, and should not be commodified. New investments should be oriented towards social benefit and local needs, in harmony with long-term planning. Reducing energy demands, reducing energy losses, increasing energy efficiency by 50% should be the priority areas of energy policies. Energy demands should be replaced by energy efficiency, not by constantly building new power plants.
- Protection of forest assets: Our forests, which are important carbon sinks and contain endemic species valuable in terms of biodiversity, should be protected against all kinds of construction and plunder.
- Protection of agricultural lands and aquatic ecosystems: Incentives should be provided for organic agriculture instead of industrial agriculture. Pollution of ground and surface waters should be prevented; the use of seas and streams as waste water discharge areas should be terminated; advanced biological treatment plants should be established and reuse of treatment water should be ensured.
- Urbanization/Social life: In cities that have become uninhabitable due to mega-urban planning, policies should be implemented against profit and rent-oriented practices, including the defense of the right to the city, and policies that encourage the return from the city to the countryside, and that strengthen local production and consumption. Urban planning should be done by considering ecological criteria and social needs, and unplanned plans that concentrate the population in certain mega-cities and create great infrastructure needs should be abandoned. The relationship of the urban population with nature should not be allowed to be interrupted. Urbanization should be re-planned in a way that will keep the balance of agriculture and industry and reduce logistics flows as much as possible. During the production of local solutions to the climate crisis, different formations such as women’s movements, union representatives, professional chambers, ecology organizations should be constantly gathered, and the views and suggestions of these groups should be seriously evaluated.
- Ecocide law: With the participation of ecological organizations, labor and professional organizations and experts on the side of the public, we want eco-crime to be recognized as a crime in our penal code.
- Economic policies: Instead of economic growth and consumption-centered policies that threaten ecosystems, policies that focus on development, non-marketed subsistence economy and basic human needs such as healthy environment, water and food should be produced. With the development of production and services according to social and ecological justice criteria, social transformation should be achieved in order to reduce consumption and production. In this context, policies such as shortening working hours, redistribution of wealth (income transfer), minimum corporate tax at the global level, absolute limitations on environmental pollution (paying for social costs and destruction) should be implemented.
We will fight for climate justice with the same determination as we fight against the pollution of our soil, air and water and the destruction of wildlife with the greed of companies for profit in Kazdağları Mountains.