Thursday, February 05, 2009

Turkish parliament approves Kyoto protocol

ISTANBUL, Feb 5 (Reuters) - Turkey's parliament on Thursday approved its membership in the Kyoto protocol, the U.N.-led pact to combat global warming, the Anatolian news agency said.

Turkey had announced in June its intention to sign the accord, which was first agreed by world governments in 1997 at a conference in Kyoto, Japan, after years of delays because of concerns about the cost on its economy.

The Kyoto protocol binds industrialised countries to limit their greenhouse-gas emissions to 1990 levels. More than 170 nations have ratified the pact, which came into force in 2005.

"Being a party to the protocol is given importance as global warming becomes the world's biggest priority and most urgent problem in order to show our country's determination to fight climate change and that it's a country that can be trusted by the international community," according to a draft of the law carried by Anatolian, the state news agency.

Three lawmakers voted against the law, while 243 approved it, Anatolian also said.

Countries are now in U.N. talks to agree on an expanded deal to rein global warming from 2013. Developing countries want rich countries to prove they can meet their targets by 2012.


Blogger Nevin said...

This is great news!

If only the biggest polluters like America and China signed as well....

1:54 PM  
Blogger yuvakuran said...

Dear Nevin, I sincerely advocate ratification of Kyoto protocol, more utilization of local coal/ wind/ hydro sources, more thermal power plants with clean coal technologies i.e. Circulating Fluid Bed (CFB), Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC), firing local low quality lignite, more emphasis on national energy supply security, more professional education and creation of engineering backbone in nuclear technology, more green employment in green technology

2:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Kyoto ushers in new era for Turkey
Parliament's approval on Thursday of Turkey ratifying the Kyoto Protocol, a UN-led pact to combat global warming, will start a new era in Turkey as the country will have to enact a series of measures in every sphere from transportation to agriculture and heating to industry to reduce carbon emissions.

Environmentalists say Turkey has been late in signing on to the protocol. Commenting on the ratification, Greenpeace climate campaigner Hilal Atıcı said: "Turkey has always been too late in being part of international efforts to combat climate change. We are very glad that Turkey finally committed to being part of this international agreement and playing a responsible role in the architecture of the new protocol, which will be agreed upon in Copenhagen this year." However, she also noted that Kyoto's ratification is only the beginning.

Turkey announced in June 2007 its intention to sign the accord, which was first agreed upon by world governments in 1997. The government postponed signing it for more than a decade because of concerns about the cost to the economy. Parliament ratified the treaty on Thursday after intense pressure from both the European Union and international environmental organizations. Three voted against while 243 lawmakers voted in favor of the protocol.

Signing the Kyoto Protocol does not put an additional burden on Turkey until 2012. Turkey was not a party to the convention adopted in 1992, when the Kyoto Protocol was negotiated, and it is not currently included in the agreement's Annex B, which includes 39 countries that are obliged to reduce their greenhouse emissions to 1990 levels between 2008 and 2012.

Regional and Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe (REC) Turkey Director Sibel Sezer Eralp said the ratification gave Turkey the right to get involved in climate change decisions after 2012. She said Turkey had now become a partner in the "processes of constructing a global climate change regime" -- which it had missed in the 1990s.

Greenpeace's Atıcı underlined that Turkey should act before 2012. "If the Turkish government wants to protect its public from catastrophic climate change, it should be bold enough with its demands and commitments for lasting, meaningful change during the second commitment period, after 2012," she noted.

The Kyoto Protocol was opened for signatures in 1998 and entered into force in 2005 with the accession of Russia. More than 170 countries have signed the protocol. Governments around the world are trying to shape the next term by holding international meetings, with work to be concluded in 2009, analysts say.

Parliamentary Environment Commission head Haluk Özdalga yesterday said the Kyoto Protocol was an important opportunity for Turkey. He said Turkey would not have to compromise on its industrializing, adding that, to the contrary, it would have easier access to newer technology. Özdalga also said Kyoto was the most important legal tool in the global fight against climate change. "Turkey will now have the opportunity to occupy a stronger place in the international climate change fight," he said, admitting, though, that there would most certainly be some burdens introduced by Kyoto, but that its benefits outweigh them.

The cost of Kyoto

By signing the protocol, Turkey has undertaken the responsibility of passing the necessary legislation to lay the infrastructure for fighting climate change after 2012. The government estimates the cost of making the necessary changes by that year at 58 billion euros, according to Environment and Forestry Minister Veysel Eroğlu.

Eroğlu added that the changes will not put an extra burden on the 2009 budget. He also said 15 billion of the 58 billion euro investment will be made by the private sector.

Eroğlu said Turkey's aim was to become the world's fastest afforesting country. He said Turkey planned to afforest 2.3 billion hectares by 2012.

Turkey Industrialists and Businessmen's Association (TÜSİAD) released a statement yesterday referring to Kyoto's ratification as "an important step." The TÜSİAD statement said Turkey becoming a signatory of the protocol would give it an upper hand in the climate change fight negotiations to be held after 2012. "It is unavoidable for our country, on its way to becoming a European Union member in 2014, to not be a signatory of the Kyoto Protocol, whose locomotive force is the European Union. One of the ways to overcome the profound economic crisis that we are caught in is adopting a sustainable and new model of production. In this sense, innovation and clean technology are important for future reduction of carbon emissions."

Mustafa Öztürk, a former undersecretary of the Environment and Forestry Ministry who is currently a deputy from Hatay, told Today's Zaman that ratifying the protocol gives Turkey a major advantage.

Saying that Kyoto's ratification marks the start of a new era in 2012, he said: "Kyoto is not only about environment policy. It is also about development, energy and transportation policies," Öztürk said.

Turkey's Kyoto progress

Turkey, as an Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) member country, has been listed in Annex I of the Kyoto Protocol since the '90s; however, instead of ratifying the protocol, it sought to lobby to get out of Annex I. This did not happen.

Among all Annex I countries, Turkey has the highest rate of increase in emissions since 1990 (82 percent) and is the 23rd largest carbon emitting country in the world, according to information provided by Greenpeace. In sharp contrast with the recent decision to ratify Kyoto, 47 new coal power plants are currently being planned or are under construction. If these plans become a reality, Turkey's total emissions will increase by 50 percent in the coming few years.


9:52 PM  

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