Turkey ratifies Paris deal ahead of key climate summit
ANKARA, Turkey (AP) – Turkey ratified the Paris climate agreement on Wednesday, joining the global fight against climate change weeks before the start of a key summit in Glasgow, Scotland.
Lawmakers in parliament unanimously approved the deal.
Although Turkey was one of the first countries to sign the Paris Agreement in 2016, it refused to ratify it as it sought to be reclassified as a developing country rather than a developed country in order to avoid targets more severe emission reductions and benefit from financial support. It was one of six countries, including Iran, Iraq, Eritrea, Libya and Yemen, not to ratify it.
The approval precedes the climate summit, known as Cop26, which begins on October 31 and aims to encourage countries to take stronger action to tackle climate change.
It also follows a series of natural disasters and extreme weather events that have hit the country and have been largely blamed on climate change, including drought, the worst forest fires in its history and deadly floods. Climate experts have warned that the Mediterranean basin, which includes Turkey, faces the risk of severe drought and desertification.
Opposition parties hailed Wednesday’s ratification as a “late but historic step,” but warned Turkey must now take action to cut emissions.
âWe have a long list of things to do in front of us,â said Sadi Durmaz of the opposition nationalist party IYI. âAn ambitious goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 should be set.
Climate experts also hailed the development “as the start of a new era”.
âWhile a new carbon-free order is being established, Turkey could not be excluded from this new order,â said Ozlem Katisoz, climate and energy policy coordinator for Turkey at the Climate Action Network .
âThe first step towards rapid emission reductions by 2030 should be to stop building new coal-fired power plants and launch a plan to shut down existing coal capacity,â she said.
The stated goal of the Paris Agreement is to limit global warming to well below 2, preferably 1.5 degrees Celsius, above pre-industrial levels. The world has already warmed by 1.2 degrees Celsius since that time.
Under the agreement, nations are expected to define measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, based on their economic status.
Turkey’s planned contribution, determined nationally, was a reduction of 21% by 2030, from a projected emission of 1,175 million tonnes to 929 million tonnes. In 2012, the total CO2 emissions in Turkey were around 440 million tonnes, with the energy sector releasing 70.2% of these emissions.
Ankara said Turkey’s greenhouse gas emissions are below the European Union and OECD averages and are responsible for 0.7% of global emissions. He also said the country had financial and technological constraints in tackling climate change and wanted access to funds and technology to meet the goals.
Turkey depends on imported fuel and natural gas as well as coal and hydroelectric power plants for its energy needs. However, it has many opportunities to harness renewable energy resources, environmental groups say.
In July, forest fires devastated swathes of forest land along Turkey’s southern coast, killing eight people and forcing thousands to flee. As firefighters continued to fight the blazes, parts of the country’s northern Black Sea coast were hit by flooding that left 82 people dead.
Earlier this year, a layer of marine mucilage blanketed the Sea of ââMarmara, threatening marine life. Meanwhile, hundreds of flamingos and adults were found dead in drought-stricken Lake Tuz, a breeding ground for birds.
The government has recognized that climate change is one of the main causes of these disasters, but has done little to protect the environment, allowing deforestation for infrastructure and mining, while pushing for urbanization through the country.
Bilginsoy reported from Istanbul.
Read the Associated Press articles on climate issues at https://apnews.com/hub/climate