Going green could create 300,000 new jobs for the Turkish economy by 2030

Posted June 28, 2022

A new report by UNDP and ILO sees dramatic economic benefits in shifting new investment from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources

Ankara, 28 June 2022 – Türkiye could increase its GDP by as much as US$8 billion per year, create more than 300,000 new jobs by 2030, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 8 percent compared to the 2019 level – all by investing in renewable energy rather than continuing to rely on fossil fuels. These are the findings of a joint analysis released today in Ankara by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the International Labour Organization (ILO). Investing in wind and solar power to satisfy future energy needs would thus yield not only environmental benefits but also strong economic ones, in terms of growth, job creation and the trade balance.

“Discussions of climate policies tend to focus on the costs, suggesting that there is a trade-off between protecting the planet and safeguarding the economy,” said UNDP Resident Representative Louisa Vinton. “This study shows that this is a huge misconception. Investing in renewable energy and shifting away from hydrocarbons would bring sweeping economic gains, including a major net increase in employment. Green energy is thus a win-win scenario, and, based on the analysis, we see room for the country’s leaders to take far more ambitious policy decisions.”

“Climate activism will only succeed if we can ensure a just transition, in which environmental benefits are matched by a strong sense of social justice,” said ILO Director Numan Özcan. “Our analysis suggests that fast-tracking green and low-carbon policies could address many structural challenges that the Turkish economy is currently facing. In our view, the green economy could be the model that Türkiye needs to achieve its vision of high-income prosperity.”

To conduct the study, SINTEF, an independent Norway-based research company, used a macroeconomic simulation called the “green jobs assessment model”, developed for ILO, that has so far been applied in 15 countries. The simulation compared a “business as usual” scenario for Türkiye with a “green” scenario to explore the potential consequences of shifting all new energy investment from coal, natural gas and oil (which are mainly imported), into solar and wind power. Importantly, the study assumes the same level of investment overall; there are no additional costs to the economy.

In addition to the striking numerical gains in employment, the shift would yield a range of other positive outcomes:

  • Job gains would be widespread, benefitting all but three of 66 different Turkish economic sectors;
  • Renewable energy would create greater demand for higher-quality jobs, requiring investment in skills;
  • Green energy is cheaper, so renewables would leave aside funding for areas such as energy efficiency;
  • Investing in renewable energy would increase demand for Turkish products and services; and
  • Diversification would make the Turkish electricity system more resilient to climate and price shocks.

The fossil fuel industry is the main loser in the process, requiring preparations for a “just transition” for sector workers. But overall, the analysis concludes with a resounding vote of confidence in the outlook for “green jobs.”

To ease the transition, the analysis recommends modernizing the technical and vocational education systems to supply the new skill sets required for renewable technologies. Social protection systems will also need to be refined to shift labour power from declining industries like coal to new ones. To secure funding for these measures, the study proposes creating a “just transition fund” that could be financed through a tax on carbon-intensive households.

To read the full report, please go to: undp.org/turkiye/publications/social-and-employment-impacts-climate-change-and-green-economy-policies-türkiye          

Contact: Faik Uyanık, UNDP Türkiye, faik.uyanik@undp.org; Gamze Orhun, ILO Office for Türkiye, orhun@ilo.org