Turkey needs climate change policy, urge experts

Last month, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu vowed to make climate change a top priority when Turkey hosts next year’s G20 summit

Turkey needs climate change policy, urge experts

World Bulletin/News Desk

As negotiations for a draft deal to tackle the climate change issue at a South American summit are set to begin this month, experts urge that energy-hungry Turkey establish a focused climate change policy to induce low carbon consumption.

For the upcoming two weeks, envoys from 195 countries will attempt to roadmap a climate agreement in Peru’s capital Lima ahead of the 2015 Paris talks, aimed at obtaining the first ever global deal on limiting greenhouse gas emissions.

Last month, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu vowed to make climate change a top priority when Turkey hosts next year’s G20 summit.

Davutoglu said that climate change was the biggest issue facing humanity today.

Indeed, 2014 is on track to becoming the warmest year on record.

Conservation supervisor at the World Wide Fund for Nature’s Ankara office, Mustafa Ozgur Berke says he is pleased with Davutoglu’s remarks but believes Turkey needs to set a date to limit its greenhouse gas emissions.

“Turkey’s climate policy does not have integrity, there is no target,” he says.

Likewise, other countries such as India, Russia, and Japan have yet to set limits.

Berke says that Turkey’s greenhouse gas emissions have increased by 133 percent since the nineties.

They stood at 180 million tons in 1990. They reached 439 million tons in 2012, according to Turkey’s national statistics agency, TURKSTAT.

“Although Turkey’s historical responsibility is not as much as other developed countries such as Germany, France or the U.K., our contemporary liability is increasing,” he says.

According to Berke, Turkey’s share on global emissions is one percent. 

“For many in Turkey, even zero-sizing our emissions will not change much,” Berke says.

He adds that this mentality has to change especially since the world’s most polluting countries, the U.S. and China announced a historical deal aiming to limit their respective carbon emissions.

According to the deal, the U.S. plans to cut carbon emissions by 26 to 28 percent by 2025.

Although China did not set a specific target for cutting emissions, it did agree to increase the share of non-fossil fuels in energy production to 20 percent by 2030.

And, last October, European Union leaders agreed on a climate change pact requiring cutting greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40 percent by 2030.

The Turkey representative of the think tank European Climate Foundation, Ceren Ayas says that the deal between the two countries would dominate future climate negotiations.

“For a long time we couldn’t hear any pledge from the two biggest carbon emitters to limit emissions. In this respect, this deal will direct conventional partnership meetings, such as 2015 Paris,” Ayas says.    

The 2015 Paris meeting is hoped to mark a “decisive stage in negotiations on the future international agreement on a post-2020 regime,” according to a statement from France’s Foreign Ministry.

“By the end of the meeting, for the first time in over 20 years of the U.N. negotiations, all the nations of the world, including the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases, will be bound by a universal agreement on climate,” the statement added.

Referring the U.S.-China deal, World Wide Fund representative Mustafa Ozgur Berke says: “Turkey has no excuse to not setting a date for limiting its greenhouse gasses.”

According to Berke, China’s pledge on limiting its emission is very important as the country is still developing. “Similar to Turkey, energy demand in the country is increasing, manufacturing industry is developing; they are planning to open hundreds of new coal mines, and still China says it will limit its emissions.”

While Turkey is not particularly effective at fighting against climate change, the country has taken steps to adapt to it, says Berke: “The Ministry of Forest is preparing a plan about how climate change will shift forest management.”

Climate change is expected to hit developing countries most. Higher temperatures, changes in precipitation patterns, rising sea levels, and more frequent weather-related disasters are expected to affect agriculture, food and water supplies, according to the World Bank.

According to the World Bank’s “Turn Down the Heat” report conducted by Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, says “We are on a path to a 4 degrees Celsius warmer world by the end of this century.”

International talks have focused on keeping global warming within 2 degrees Celsius of pre-industrial times.

Although Turkey does not boast a concrete climate change program, some municipalities in the country have taken matters into their own hands.

For instance, Gaziantep announced in 2012 that it would reduce its carbon emissions by 15 percent per capita by 2023.

Moreover, Antalya, located near the Mediterranean Sea, prepared an “Antalya Carbon Footprint Inventory and Sustainable Energy Action Plan” last year.

Earlier last month the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change urged to increase the use of renewable energy to 80 percent, up from the current 30, by 2050, and to quit fossil energy by 2100, in order to have the slightest change at limiting climate change effects.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 04 Aralık 2014, 12:26