As the United Nation’s climate change talks in Doha enter their second day, Turkey has been called out on its irresponsible climate policies with the “Fossil of the Day” award. Although Turkey has kept a low profile in the negotiations so far, according to the Climate Action Network (CAN), it is “clearly their time to step onto the fossil stage,” according to the award announcement.
CAN awards the prize to countries that have done most to block progress on the UN climate negotiations.
Turkey has already announced it will not make any pledges for the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol. Turkey ratified the first commitment period of the Protocol three years ago but never had to honor the requirements since it wasn’t a member of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) when the protocol was first adopted.
In Turkish paper Hurriyet Daily News, a CAN representative lays out the other reasons why Turkey has won this very dubious honor:
We’ve given the award to Turkey because it is the fourth largest country in the world in terms of coal mines. What’s more, its Energy Ministry announced 2012 as ‘coal year.’ Turkey has still not announced a target reduction of greenhouse gases, as is determined in the Kyoto Protocol. So, the ‘Fossil of the Day’ award has been given to it.
Turkey also posted the largest relative increase in annual greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions between 1990 and 2010, according to CAN.
High potential, little impetus to reduce emissions
Even though Turkey was among the major carbon emitters who avoided binding reduction commitments at the UN’s Durban conference last year, the government has requested more funds in this year’s climate negotiations.
There’s plenty of potential for Turkey to reduce its carbon footprint — even more so than most developed countries. Its vast solar and wind energy resources are largely undeveloped, and have attracted substantial investment interest from inside and outside Turkey.
Turkey is already suffering from global climate change. A representative from a major Turkish export association recently declared that the country’s wheat exports this year would be 2.5 million tons less than they were in 2011. Earlier this year, three international financial research firms agreed that Turkey’s addiction to imported fossil fuels had contributed to its $86.6 billion current account deficit and was preventing the country from achieving its full economic growth potential.
Despite all this, the Turkish government remains committed to building more polluting power plants, as indicated by the World Resource Institute report on planned coal-fired power plants. Little surprise that CAN has chosen Turkey for a “Fossil of the Day” award.
Read more about energy policy in Turkey:
Turkey Avoiding Greenhouse Gas-Reduction Despite Rapid Increases in Emissions, New Report Finds
Turkey Ripe For Renewable Energy Boom – So Why The Delay?
Turkey’s Economic Growth Hampered By Oil Addiction, Analysts Say
Turkey’s Wheat Exports Decline Due To Climate Change, Says Industry Official
Image via Çin Günlüğü