Turkey has become the last G20 country to ratify the Paris climate agreement, after holding off for years over perceptions of injustices in its responsibilities as part of the agreement.
Although Turkey has been a signatory to the Paris agreement since April 2016, it had not ratified the deal saying it should not be considered a developed country since that gives it more responsibility. Historically, Turkey is responsible for a very small share of carbon emissions.
“Whoever made the most damage to nature, our air, our water, our soil, the earth; whoever savagely exploited natural resources needs to make the largest contribution to the fight against climate change,” said Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan in reference to countries that have a “historical responsibility” for climate change.
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) currently lists Turkey in the Annex I group, described as industrialized countries.
In a statement, the Turkish parliament said, Turkey was ratifying the deal as a developing country and would implement it as long as it did not “harm its right to economic and social development.”
Ankara has also sent a proposal to UNFCCC Secretariat in Bonn, Germany, to have its name removed from the Annex I list. If Turkey is removed from the Annex I list of countries, it would be able to benefit from investment, insurance and technology transfer that can be provided as part of the agreement.
While speaking in parliament, Turkey’s Republican People’s Party (CHP) parliamentarian Jale Nur Sullu said, it was unclear what the result of ratifying the deal as a developing country would be without the status change being approved at the climate conference.
The Paris agreement aims to limit the global average temperature rise to “well below” 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and “make efforts” to limit it to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Sera Kadigil Sutlu, member of the Workers’ Party of Turkey, questioned whether the government would abandon industrial projects criticised as harmful to the environment after the agreement is ratified.
“Will you ban metallic mining in the Black Sea (region), for example? Will you turn back on ridiculous projects like Kanal Istanbul?… I know you won’t,” said Sera Kadigil Sutlu.