The climate issue in Turkey

The climate issue in Turkey

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) İzmir deputy Murat Bakan filed a parliamentary question the other day for Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım to ask why Turkey has not brought the Paris Agreement it has signed to parliament’s general assembly. This was a timely parliamentary question while climate change continues to be the hottest subject in the world. 

Turkey is among the 190 countries which signed the Paris Agreement aiming to fight climate change and restrict greenhouse gas emissions. The agreement went into effect last November after being ratified by 97 countries, including the United States and China, who emit the most greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. 
Since the Paris Agreement has not been brought to the parliament, we do not know whether or not Turkey has any preparations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and keep global warming at a level of less than 2 degrees. 

İzmir CHP deputy Murat Balkan’s question coincided with the broadcast of a documentary on the National Geographic Channel “İklim Meselesi” (The Climate Issue) which focuses on the effects of climate change on this land. The first episode of the documentary was aired on Sunday presented by two famous people. 

Actor Halil Ergenç, who played Sultan Süleyman in the popular TV series “The Magnificent Century,” and actor Ozan Güven, who played in the movie “Annemim Yarası” based on a story in Bosnia, visit places that have been affected by climate change and talk to people who have witnessed the effects. 

Ergenç spoke to a veteran miner who has worked in coal mines in the Black Sea province Zonguldak for many years. 

“Coal power plants kill,” said the miner. “In 21st century, coal power plants are not being built. We are wasting our tomorrow for today.”

On the other hand, due to the coal which is promoted as “cheap energy,” people are getting sick and hospitals are spending 3.6 billion euros a year to cure them. In the documentary, Associate Professor Sevil Acar said, “The view that coal is cheap and renewable energy is expensive is totally wrong.” 

The subject that Turkey is resisting renewable energy is constantly brought up. 

Güven, accompanied by his little son, visited one of the spots of paradise of the Black Sea region, Çamlıhemşin, discussing with local people the negative effects of the hydroelectric power plants on bees and fish. These people who live in this rough nature know that once the ecological balance is disrupted, the cost would be a fall in honey production and a change in the flora. 

An old person from the Black Sea said: “I will not give my creek. As the state, your duty is to produce electricity not within my creek but outside my creek.”

Ergenç and Güven discuss with experts which path should be taken to guarantee the future of our energy. Turkey is a growing and developing country which needs energy. 

“Energy productivity” and investments in solar and wind energy are two subjects experts agree on. 
One of the experts drew attention to Germany, which receives much less sunshine than Turkey but obtains 20 to 25 percent of its energy from the sun. 

Güven, at one point during the documentary, turned to his son Ali and told him, “Go and tell those to your friends at school,” emphasizing the awareness of children. 

Otherwise, as the old miner said, if Turkey is spending its future, that will affect them the most.