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Oil tankers in Istanbul
Oil tankers in Istanbul
Gila Benmayor

ISTANBUL - Fatih Birol, the chief economist of the International Energy Agency, has offered some notable insights into the future of global energy markets. His presentation of the “World Energy Outlook 2012” report that focused on "energy efficiency" will undoubtedly be studied closely by the Turkish Industry & Business Association (TÜSÄ°AD).

But to better understand Turkey's particular situation, it is worth focusing on the recent presentation of Murat Mercan, the Deputy Minister of Energy, who outlined the country's energy vision for the future.

Here are the core points that stood out to me during the presentation:

-Turkey’s demand for energy will nearly double by 2030, rising from 53,000 to 100,000 megawatts.

-This growth will largely be pushed by demand from the private sector.

-For Turkey to be a part of the world’s largest 10 economies by 2023, the public energy authorities and private sector must work hand-in-hand.

-In the next 20 years, Turkey will be home to key new infrastructure, including pipelines, ports, shipping services; the country will boost its own dynamic petrol and natural gas sectors.

-Turkey’s lignite and bituminous coal reserves will play a major role in boosting the economy.

-By 2023, electricity production will be divided into four units. Some 30 percent will be produced from natural gas; 30 percent will come from coal; another 30 percent will come from renewable sources and 10 percent will be nuclear. Mercan highlighted that entering the “nuclear league” is a necessity, not a fantasy.

Global warming

While Mercan outlined Turkey’s energy vision, he reminded the audience that 1.3 billion people in the world live without electricity. As part of its energy goals, Turkey will help supply regions in undeveloped countries with strong energy channels and resources.

“We will support countries in Africa, such as Somalia and Nigeria, and help them lay foundations for more channels,” Mercan told me.

Still, a key factor in Turkey’s energy vision, which was not emphasized in Mercan’s presentation, was energy efficiency and global warming.

IEA chief Birol, raised the issue highlighting that with current policies in place, average global temperatures are set to increase by six degrees Celsius -- which could have catastrophic implications. “If as of 2017 there is not a start of a major wave of new and clean investments, the door to two degrees will be closed,” he said.

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Coronavirus

Chinese Students' "Absurd" Protest Against COVID Lockdowns: Public Crawling

While street demonstrations have spread in China to protest the strict Zero-COVID regulations, some Chinese university students have taken up public acts of crawling to show what extended harsh lockdowns are doing to their mental state.

​Screenshot of a video showing Chinese students crawling on a soccer pitch

Screenshot of a video showing Chinese students crawling

Shuyue Chen

Since last Friday, the world has watched a wave of street protests have taken place across China as frustration against extended lockdowns reached a boiling point. But even before protesters took to the streets, Chinese university students had begun a public demonstration that challenges and shames the state's zero-COVID rules in a different way: public displays of crawling, as a kind of absurdist expression of their repressed anger under three years of strict pandemic control.

Xin’s heart was beating fast as her knees reached the ground. It was her first time joining the strange scene at the university sports field, so she put on her hat and face mask to cover her identity.

Kneeling down, with her forearms supporting her body from the ground, Xin started crawling with three other girls as a group, within a larger demonstration of other small groups. As they crawled on, she felt the sense of fear and embarrassment start to disappear. It was replaced by a liberating sense of joy, which had been absent in her life as a university student in lockdown for so long.

Yes, crawling in public has become a popular activity among Chinese university students recently. There have been posters and videos of "volunteer crawling" across universities in China. At first, it was for the sake of "fun." Xin, like many who participated, thought it was a "cult-like ritual" in the beginning, but she changed her mind. "You don't care about anything when crawling, not thinking about the reason why, what the consequences are. You just enjoy it."

The reality out there for Chinese university students has been grim. For Xin, her university started daily COVID-19 testing in November, and deliveries, including food, are banned. Apart from the school gate, all exits have been padlock sealed.

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