The Paris conference and Turkey

The Paris conference and Turkey

Before the climate conference in Paris, there were huge “climate justice” demonstrations all over the world. The concept of climate justice is a new one that has emerged in recent years. It demands the addressing of production, consumption and commerce forms that generate climate change.  

Tens of thousands of people took to the streets in Australia, Japan, Bangladesh and Philippines for climate justice. 

It has been calculated that 30 million people will have to leave their houses and land by 2050 because of floods, erosion and the contamination of drinking water caused by climate change. 

Turkey is one of the countries that will be affected the most from drought but because we wake up every day to a darker day than yesterday, we are in no position to think about climate change. 

It was only a couple of weeks ago that we heard from olive growers at the Ayvalık Olive Harvest Days about how drought has affected our growers, including olive trees.

Products such as olives, wheat, apricots, hazelnuts, walnuts, which has reached the price of almost 100 Turkish Liras a kilo, and grapes in Turkey are only a few of these that are affected by drought, frost and floods.

In France, vine growers are alarmed. French winemakers have noticed that for the last 30 years, the alcohol in wine has increased every decade. Research is being conducted to figure out how vineyards can harmonize with climate change. 

Also, Europe has pledged to decrease greenhouse gasses by 40 percent by 2030 and it will achieve this by saying goodbye to “historic coal dependency.” 

On the other hand, Turkey’s dependence on coal is increasing. The “Coal Report” prepared by Sabancı University’s Istanbul Policy Center has shown that with coal occupying a significant place in our energy policies, a climate policy toward the decreasing of greenhouse gasses has become impossible. 

Both in Turkey and in the world, civil societies are more focused on the issue than governments.

Expert Ümit Şahin from the Istanbul Policy Center noted Turkey has decided to participate in the Paris regime whereas it did the opposite in Kyoto. It submitted its Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) to the U.N. at the last minute.

According to the document, Turkey will decrease greenhouse gasses by 21 percent before 2030. 

According to Turkish Statistics Institute (TÜİK) data, Turkey’s total greenhouse gas emissions in 2013 were 459 million tons. If the same rate continues, Turkey’s emissions will be over 1 billion tons. This intention document declares that Turkey will limit this to 929 million tons. However Şahin pointed out emissions will double compared to 2013. 

“The document does not say how these figures will be reached. The methodology should be transparent,” he said. 

An agreement will be finalized in Paris but that would be inadequate, he believed. It is bad news for all of us that deals will be inadequate when disasters related to climate change have doubled compared to 20 years ago.