Turkey ratified the Paris Climate Agreement a few weeks before the start of the Critical Summit in Glasgow, Scotland, joining the global fight against climate change.
Although Turkey was one of the first countries to sign the Paris Agreement in 2016, it stopped approving it in an attempt to re-classify it as a developing country rather than a developed country in order to avoid strict emissions reduction targets and benefit from financial assistance. It was among six countries that did not approve, including Iran, Iraq, Eritrea, Libya and Yemen.
The agreement was unanimously approved by 353 members of Turkey’s parliament on Wednesday.
Announcing that Turkey would ratify the agreement at the UN General Assembly last month, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said countries that have “historic historical responsibility” for climate change should do their utmost.
“That nature, our air, our water, our soil, has done the most damage to the earth; Anyone who exploits natural resources ruthlessly must make the greatest contribution to the fight against climate change, ”he said.
The United Nations has welcomed Turkey’s move. Stephen Dujarric, a spokesman for UN chief Antonio Guterres, told Anadolu News Agency:
One of the biggest threats
Turkey has felt the full force of climate change, with rapid floods and wildfires killing nearly 100 people in July and August. The countries of the country are also suffering from the increased drought.
Climate experts warn the Mediterranean basin, which includes Turkey, is at risk of severe drought and desertification.
The stated goal of the Paris Agreement is to limit global warming to -1.5 degrees Celsius below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) compared to pre-industrial levels. The world has already warmed 1.2C (3.2F) since then.
Under the agreement, countries are expected to determine greenhouse gas emissions reduction measures depending on their economic situation.
According to a report by the British Council last month, about 5 per cent of young people in Turkey believe that climate change is one of the biggest threats to the country.
Prior to Turkey’s approval, the Climate Action Tracker project said Ankara’s efforts to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement were “critically inadequate”.
According to the European Forest Fire Information System, about 200,000 hectares (494,000 acres) of forests have been burned in Turkey this year – more than five times the annual average.
Turkey’s nationally determined contribution was down 21 percent by 2030 from 92.5 million tonnes to 1,155 million tonnes. In 2012, Turkey’s total CO2 emissions were 400 million tons, with the energy sector releasing .20.2 percent of those emissions.
Ankara says Turkey’s greenhouse gas emissions are lower than the European Union and OECD averages and account for 0.7 percent of global emissions.
It further said that the country has financial and technical limitations in tackling climate change and wants access to funds and technology to reach the target.
Turkey relies on imported fuel and natural gas as well as coal burning and hydropower plants for its energy needs. However, there is ample opportunity to use renewable energy resources, environmental groups say.
In July, wildfires ravaged the southern coast of Turkey, killing eight people and forcing thousands to flee. As firefighters battled the blaze, parts of the country’s North Krishna Sea coast were flooded, killing 822 people.
Earlier this year, a layer of ocean mucilage covered the Marmara Sea, threatening marine life. Meanwhile, hundreds of babies and mature flamingos have been found dead in drought-stricken Tuz Lake, a breeding ground for birds.
The government has acknowledged that climate change is a major cause of the disaster, but has done little to protect the environment, allowing deforestation for infrastructure and mining as urbanization continues across the country.