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Fossil fuel subsidies as a lose-lose: Fiscal and environmental burdens in Turkey

  • Sevil Acar (a1), Sarah Challe (a2), Stamatios Christopoulos (a3) and Giovanna Christo (a4)

Attempts at common agreements to phase out fossil fuel subsidies (FFS) have been increasing, as the topic generated momentum through the Rio Dialogues prior to the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) and following the Paris Agreement in 2016. This study quantifies the magnitude and the relative importance of FFS in the Turkish economy and produces a relevant national FFS synthesis for policy design. FFS form a complex system of a self-contradictory nature that stands in stark contrast with the Turkish government’s statements regarding sustainable development. Based on available data from the 2000s, we find that Turkey provides state support for coal and the exploration of oil and natural gas that represents roughly 0.2 percent of its nominal GDP per year. Continuing to subsidize fossil fuels narrows down the fiscal options that could otherwise be used to support cleaner technologies and mitigation actions. Given the fact that fossil fuels have significantly negative implications for the environment and health, eliminating those subsidies has the potential to help combat environmental pollution, climate change, and related problems.

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Authors’ Note: This work was supported by Altınbaş University (formerly İstanbul Kemerburgaz University) under the Research and Publication Grant (No.: 2012–2013). We also acknowledge great assistance by Ronald Steenblik in updating the FFS estimates calculated by different institutions.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views, official policy, or position of the institutions, agencies, or organizations that the authors were/are affiliated with during the time of drafting the article or the time of publication. Neither the aforementioned institutions, agencies, and organizations nor any person acting on their behalf may be held responsible for the use which may be made of the information contained therein. At the time of project conceptualization and research, Stamatios Christopoulos was serving as a programme analyst with the United Nations Development Programme, whilst at the time of publication he is serving as a programme management officer with UN Environment. Reproduction is authorized provided the source is acknowledged.

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New Perspectives on Turkey
  • ISSN: 0896-6346
  • EISSN: 1305-3299
  • URL: /core/journals/new-perspectives-on-turkey
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