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Turkey ratifies Paris climate change agreement

October 6, 2021

The Turkish parliament has ratified the Paris Agreement on climate change more than five years after Ankara first signed the deal. The move comes in time for next month's UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow.

Volunteers rest on the ground as smoke rises in the distance in Mugla province, Turkey
Wildfires fueled by climate change devastated parts of Turkey this summerImage: Umit Bektas/REUTERS

Turkey's parliamentarians on Wednesday unanimously approved the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change, which aims to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) compared to pre-industrial levels.

Although one of the first countries to sign the agreement in April 2016, Turkey had held off ratifying it until now while seeking to be reclassified as a developing, rather than developed country. That would mean it would not face such harsh emission reduction targets and would benefit from financial support.

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) currently lists Turkey in the Annex I group, described as industrialized countries. However, Turkey has sent a request to the secretariat of the UNFCCC to have its name removed from that list.

The proposal is to be discussed at the upcoming COP26 Climate Change Conference to be held in Glasgow from October 31 to November 12.

Climate change victim 

Turkey has itself felt the brunt of climate change, including in the guise of floods and wildfires in July and August in which roughly 100 people died. Much of the country is also suffering an extended drought.

Following these disasters, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has come under pressure to reduce Turkey's contribution to the greenhouse gas emissions blamed for global warming. 

Some 95% of young people in Turkey believe that climate change poses a major threat to the country, according to a report last month by the British Council as part of its Global Youth Letter on Climate Action.

tj/jsi (AFP, Reuters, AP)