Turkey's new carbon registry

01 Sep 2010

A key step to integrate Turkey with global carbon markets was taken on 7 August 2010 by the Ministry of Environment and Forestry. With the newly established national carbon registry, projects developed and executed to reduce and contain greenhouse gas emissions and increase sinks can now be registered to avoid double counting as well as ensure market transparency and integrity.

New Horizons - Providing impetus to the Ministry’s efforts, the “Capacity Building for Climate Change Management in Turkey” project has played a significant role in this accomplishment. Expert support and capacity improvement as well as bringing stakeholders together to discuss how to position Turkey in the post-2012 regime of the Kyoto Protocol have been instrumental in the Ministry’s preparation of the Communiqué on Procedures for Registration of Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Projects which will regulate the national carbon registry.

Turkey has been hosting projects which generate certificates traded in voluntary carbon markets since 2005. While their exact number is unknown due to lack of a national registry system to date, there are over 100 projects in Turkey registered with the Gold Standard, VER and VCS standard organizations.

Following the first commitment period, it is crucial for Turkey to be ideally positioned in the post-2012 regime in order to benefit from the market-based flexible mechanisms of the Kyoto Protocol including emission trade. Emission trade, which has expanded rapidly and continues to be a key economic tool in responding to climate change. Carbon markets, which have helped Governments achieve their emission reduction commitments under the Protocol, grew exponentially in recent years. The emission reduction rights traded in these markets has reached 8.7 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent as of the end of 2009. Although Turkey cannot benefit from the related mechanisms of the Protocol, the number of projects that raise revenues from Voluntary Carbon Markets continues to grow exponentially.

Emission targets for industrialized country Parties to the Kyoto Protocol are expressed as levels of allowed emissions, or “assigned amounts”, over the 2008-2012 commitment period. Such assigned amounts are denominated in tonnes (of CO2 equivalent emissions) known informally as “Kyoto units”.

The ability of Parties to add to their holdings of Kyoto units (e.g. through credits for CDM or LULUCF activities) or move units from one country to another (e.g. through emissions trading or JI projects) requires registry systems that can track the location of Kyoto units at all times.

In addition to recording the holdings of Kyoto units, these registries “settle” emissions trades by delivering units from the accounts of sellers to those of buyers, thus forming the backbone infrastructure for the carbon market.

Each registry operates through a link established with the International Transaction Log (ITL) put in place and administered by the UNFCCC secretariat. The ITL verifies registry transactions, in real time, to ensure they are consistent with rules agreed under the Kyoto Protocol. The ITL requires registries to terminate transactions they propose that are found to infringe upon the Kyoto rules.

However, Turkey is not generating any Kyoto units yet and thus not obliged to establishment of any associated registry system, the established registry for the voluntary carbon projects will allow the country to experience the process adopted from the Protocol’s national approval process with respect to registry system.

The registry is expected to enhance effectiveness of carbon market projects through increased knowledge sharing and avoid or minimize double-sellings of certificates while promoting good practices of those projects.

Run jointly by the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, the State Planning Organization (SPO), Turkish Industrialists and Businessmen Association (TÜSİAD) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) since 2009, the “Capacity Building for Climate Change Management in Turkey” project aims to facilitate the effective engagement of Turkey in the international climate change policy dialogue, enhance the capacity of Turkey’s national authorities to participate in this policy dialogue and develop necessary Voluntary Carbon Market structures.