Turkey 'prepared' to play role in fighting global warming: Erdoğan

Turkey 'prepared' to play role in fighting global warming: Erdoğan

UNITED NATIONS – Anadolu Agency
Turkey prepared to play role in fighting global warming: Erdoğan

Erdoğan speaks during the Climate Summit at the UN headquarters in New York. REUTERS Photo

In a speech at the U.N. Climate Change Summit in New York on Sept. 23, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Turkey was “ready to do its part” in the fight against global warming.

Erdoğan said concrete steps must be taken to boost domestic and foreign environment-related investments and ensure energy security, otherwise irreversible economic and ecological harm due to climate change will impede both growth and sustainable development.

“A new binding agreement should include certain flexibilities for countries, within the scope of ‘common but differentiated responsibilities’ and ‘relative capabilities,’” he said.

Erdoğan emphasized that the costliness of measures against climate change should not deter countries from taking action.

“Reducing global warming [by] 2 [degrees] Celsius requires a fundamental change in production and consumption practices, along with new developmental strategies. This is only possible by activating additional financial resources and using new technologies,” he said.

The president also emphasized that the rights of the least-developed countries should be protected while creating new policies, as they are not the cause of climate change, but some of those most affected by its results.

“Developed countries should assume more responsibility in the fight against climate change, with regard to reducing carbon emissions and financial and technological support,” Erdoğan added.

‘Comprehensive projects’

The current climate change summit is to shape next year’s conference in Paris, which has been discussed as the most important climate change meeting since Kyoto in 1997.

The treaty is expected to include new measures to limit increases in global warming.

Mentioning Turkey’s individual contributions to the fight against climate change, Erdoğan said Turkey reduced its carbon emissions by 21 percent between 1990 and 2012.

“This figure excludes Turkey’s comprehensive projects on forests,” Erdoğan noted.

Erdoğan said Turkey is working within the scope of the 2011-2023 Climate Change Action Plan, aimed at increasing the share of renewable energy in total energy production by 30 percent, and decreasing the size of energy in the economy by 20 percent.

The opening of the annual U.N. meeting, which ends Sept. 30, follows the highest-level meeting on climate change to date, with some 120 world leaders responding to the secretary-general’s call for increased political momentum to address the warming planet.

“For all the immediate challenges that we gather to address this week – terrorism, instability, inequality, disease – there’s one issue that will define the contours of this century more dramatically than any other, and that is the urgent and growing threat of a changing climate,” U.S. President Barack Obama said.

But Obama, along with China, the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitter, said he would not propose targets to reduce carbon pollution beyond 2020 until early next year. The summit also exposed longstanding political divisions between rich and poor countries, raising questions about whether a new climate pact will be reached by the end of 2015.

These divisions, on a wide range of issues, are certain to be addressed in the week ahead. This year’s VIPs include Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, French President Francois Hollande, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Turkish President Erdoğan, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, British Prime Minister David Cameron and Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

Two prominent no-shows are Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, due to the Ebola crisis that has hit her country the hardest, and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, who gave no public reason.
While the assembly’s newly renovated chamber will be the scene of constant speech-making, most of the General Assembly’s real “business” will take place in private meetings and dinners. This year’s side events cover a number of crisis countries including Iran, South Sudan, Myanmar, Yemen and Somalia, with a recently organized high-level meeting on Ebola.