ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News
European Commissioner for Climate Action Connie Hedegaard (C), Turkish Development Minister Cevdet Yılmaz (L) and Environment Minister Erdoğan Bayraktar attend the Regional Environmental Network for Accession Policy Seminar in Istanbul. AA photo
Turkey should increase its efforts to tackle climate change, a European Union
commissioner said, while a Turkish minister requested financial support for the efforts.
European Commissioner for Climate Action Connie Hedegaard said at a meeting in Istanbul April 13 that climate change was pounding Turkey’s door and Turkey would be one of the countries most affected by climate change.
Despite the warning, Turkish Development Minister Cevdet Yılmaz said at the Regional Environmental Network for Accession (RENA) Policy Seminar that Turkey was implementing the emission-decreasing and adjustment policies but could not do the international mechanisms.
“Without receiving any funds, we have managed a great success in practice in the last 17 years and decreased our carbon emissions by 20 percent,” Yılmaz said, adding that Turkey needs to be supported financially in its efforts.
Hedegaard acknowledged that Turkey had successfully adapted a national climate strategy and action plan, but said it still had a lot to do.
Although Turkey made some progress in cutting down carbon emissions, they will have increased by 2020, the commissioner said. “In the end the big challenge we all face is how can we make emissions start to decrease,” Hadegaard said.
“It’s in our hands to stop climate change, for bringing down the cost; we have to start action as soon as possible. Turkey is the EU’s strategic partner, a neighbor, a good candidate country, in a large scale, an important player in the world scene. I see that Turkey and EU have to cooperate more.”
Environment Minister Bayraktar said climate change was a global problem but the responsibilities for its solution should be regional.
“We aim to make the region the most environment-friendly place on earth,” the minister said. “Turkey has a high opinion of cooperation with the EU on know-how, research and development, innovation, eco-technologies and finance issues.”
Bayraktar said a large-scale project with a budget of 10 million euros has been launched to increase public awareness and prepare businesses for further action on emissions cutting.