Conference evaluates Turkey’s post-Kyoto strategy

November 13, 2009, Friday/ 17:01:00/ YONCA POYRAZ DOĞAN
A high-level official from the Environment Ministry has said at a conference in İstanbul evaluating the country’s climate strategy that Turkey’s emission reduction target is likely to be 11 percent by 2020.Sedat Kadıoğlu, deputy undersecretary of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, said that a definite reduction target will be clearer at a high-level meeting next week in Ankara.

“We will know about the actual target next week on Wednesday. But this is the figure given by the Climate Change Coordination Board [in Turkey],” Kadıoğlu said yesterday at a conference titled “Climate Change, Global Threats & Low Carbon Prosperity Toward Copenhagen,” put together by the Turkish Parliament and a European Union parliamentary initiative, Globe EU, based in Brussels.

Kadıoğlu said Turkey has decided to voice at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP 15) in Copenhagen in December that it will keep its current status of exclusion from Annex B, freeing it from emission reduction commitments. He clarified that as an Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) country, Turkey was included in Annex I of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 1992, and even in Annex II, which is the list of relatively advanced industrialized countries that have committed themselves to financial and technical transfers to developing countries. After Turkey’s objections, it was eventually removed from Annex II but as a non-signatory to the original 1997 protocol, it was also not included in Annex B, freeing it from emission reduction commitments.

Speaking at the opening of the conference, Environment and Forestry Minister Veysel Eroğlu said Turkey is in a region that is quite vulnerable to climate change and the country is indeed committed to the implementation of policies and measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“At the same time, Turkey is determined to continue its economic development within the principle of sustainable development,” Eroğlu said. “Even though Turkey does not have any quantitative reduction commitment, significant efforts in all sectors have been launched to do that.”

Turkish officials at the conference reiterated that per capita annual emissions in Turkey are 4.5 tons compared to 23.5 tons in the United States and 11 tons in Denmark where the climate summit will be held on Dec. 7-18, drawing up strategies for the post-Kyoto policies and commitments.

The scientific community has concluded that human activities have been the main cause of global warming in the past 50 years and pointed out droughts, heat waves, and rising sea levels to catastrophic levels are expected if the trend continues. To at least slow down the trend in climate change, the Kyoto Protocol was signed in 1997 under the UNFCCC. Countries which ratified it committed to reduce their emissions by an average of 5 percent from 1990 levels by 2012. The Turkish Parliament ratified the protocol as recently as Aug. 26 this year.

Steen Gade, chairman of the Environment Committee of the Danish Parliament and Denmark President of Globe Europe, said that the European Union has ambitious emission reduction targets. “Even if there is no agreement in Copenhagen, the EU has a target of a 20 percent reduction in its emissions by 2020, and if there is an agreement, it will be 30 percent,” he said at the conference.

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