This blog was originally published as a case study in “Banking on Climate Chaos: Fossil Fuel Finance Report 2021” — a report by Rainforest Action Network, BankTrack, Indigenous Environmental Network, Oil Change International, Reclaim Finance, and Sierra Club. You can see the full report here.
EMBA Hunutlu is a 1,320-megawatt coal power plant under construction in southern Turkey. The plant is located in the country’s Iskenderun Bay area, which is already suffering from air pollution caused by industrial facilities including a gas power plant, two coal power plants, and a steel factory. Three new coal plants are proposed or under construction, of which EMBA Hunutlu is closest to completion. Once operational, EMBA Hunutlu will run on 2.8 million tons of imported coal per year and will emit more than 200 million tons of CO2 during its projected lifespan.
The entire Iskenderun Bay area, including the two million inhabitants in the nearby city of Adana, will be affected by the increased air pollution coming from EMBA Hunutlu. Studies estimate that its operations will contribute to 2,000 deaths over its 40-year lifetime. EMBA Hunutlu will likely also have a severe impact on the Yumurtalik biodiversity hotspot, which is a reproduction zone for marine turtles that are protected by three different international conventions.
The project is a joint venture between China’s Shanghai Electric Power Company, Avic-International Project Engineering Company, and two Turkish investors. It is expected to cost $1.7 billion and is partly financed by the China Development Bank, ICBC, and Bank of China via a 15-year loan. EMBA Hunutlu is one of China’s largest investments in Turkey and is a project under China’s Belt and Road Initiative. In the summer of 2020, more than 20 NGOs called on the Chinese banks behind the project to withdraw.