Turkey proposed financial package for Paris climate deal

Turkey proposed financial package for Paris climate deal

European heavyweights France and Germany along with the United Nations and the World Bank have proposed a special “financial package” to Turkey in return for its ratification of the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change.

As a reminder, Turkey signed the agreement on April 22, 2016 but has not ratified the agreement, which entered into force in November 2016 and was expected to be enforced by the end of 2020. As of today, 186 countries out of 195 signatories have already ratified and joined the agreement. Turkey, Russia, Iran and Iraq are among countries who have signed but have yet to ratify the deal.

The main aim of the Paris agreement is to bring all nations into a common cause to combat climate change and adapt to its effects by contributing to emissions reduction and keeping a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius.

The agreement that divides nations into two as “developed” and “developing” obliges the developed countries to financially support the efforts of the latter to build clean, climate-resilient futures.

The reason why Turkey has not yet ratified the agreement is that it’s categorized as a developed country with the obligation to provide financial resources to assist developing countries in implementing the objectives of the climate convention.

Turkey says it’s a developing country and needs financial assistance to stick to the agreement. What is weird with this categorization is the fact that it states Turkey as a developed nation while placing China, Singapore, South Korea, India, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, Argentina and oil-rich Gulf states as developing.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had made clear that Turkey will not ratify the agreement unless its demands are met. He recalled that promises were given to him by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and former French President François Hollande during the negotiations for the Paris Agreement.

In a speech in July 2017, he said he had told French President Emmanuel Macron and Merkel: “No offense, but we will not pass it in our parliament as long as the promises made to us are not delivered.”

According to sources, France and Germany have taken the lead for pushing Turkey to ratify the agreement. A financial package jointly prepared by these two European countries with the support of the U.N. and the World Bank has been proposed to the Turkish government’s consideration in recent months. The Turkish government’s evaluation of the package is still ongoing through an interagency team led by Finance, Environment, Energy and Foreign ministries in Ankara.

The move comes as the U.N. is preparing to host the Climate Action Summit to be held in New York on Sept. 23 on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly.

Recent signals given by the Turkish government indicate that Turkey is not far away from ratifying the agreement should the financial package proposed by France and Germany satisfy its expectations.

Turkey’s Chief Climate Envoy and Deputy Environment and Urbanization Minister Mehmet Emin Birpınar has emphasized that Turkey sits in one of the regions that would most be affected by climate change, in an opinion piece he penned for the daily Sabah on Sept. 11.

“Based on projections, the average temperature in Turkey is estimated to be set to rise by up to 5 degrees Celsius by 2100,” he wrote.

According to the Global Climate Risk Index 2019, disasters caused by climate change in Turkey led to an economic loss worth nearly $2 billion in 2017, the chief negotiator said.

“Unless we act now, a nightmare scenario is awaiting us in which we face huge economic losses in key sectors such as energy, transport, urbanization, agriculture, industry, trade and tourism,” he said. “On top of that, it may bring Turkey’s dynamism in development to a halt to a significant extent. How environmentally habitable such a world will be raising critical questions for not only people but also all of Earth’s creatures.”

Days ahead will show whether Turkey will join the majority of the nations in combatting climate change.