The problem of massive emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the burning of fossil fuels and their climatic impact have become major scientific and political issues. Future stabilization of the atmospheric CO2 content requires a drastic decrease Of CO2 emissions worldwide. In this study, energy utilization and its major environmental impacts are discussed from the standpoint of sustainable development, including anticipated patterns of future energy use and subsequent environmental issues in Turkey. Several aspects relating to energy utilization, renewable energy, energy efficiency, environment and sustainable development are examined from both current and future perspectives. Turkey is an energy importing country; with more than half of the energy requirement being supplied by imports. Domestic oil and lignite reserves are limited, and the lignites are characterised by high ash, sulfur and moisture contents. Because of increasing energy consumption, air pollution is becoming a great environmental concern for the future in the country. In this regard, renewable energy resources appear to be one of the most efficient and effective solutions for sustainable energy development and environmental pollution prevention in Turkey. Turkey's geographical location has several advantages for extensive use of most of the renewable energy sources. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.