Turkey ratifies Paris climate accord on condition it is listed as non-industrial country

Turkey ratifies Paris climate accord on condition it is listed as non-industrial country

Turkey has ratified the Paris climate accord weeks before the start of the Cop26 environmental summit in Glasgow.

Although Turkey was one of the first countries to sign the Paris accord in 2016, it delayed ratification while it lobbied to be reclassified as a developing rather than developed nation to avoid stricter emission reduction goals and to benefit from financial backing. 

Turkey suffered from floods and forest fires in July and August which left around 100 people dead. Much of the country is suffering from an extended drought and there has been increasing pressure on Turkish politicians to address the climate crisis.

Iran, Iraq, Eritrea, Libya and Yemen have not yet ratified the agreement. 

On Wednesday, 353 Turkish MPs unanimously ratified the deal.

Around 95 per cent of young Turks believe climate change poses a major threat to the country, according to a British Council report in September which was part of the organisation’s Global Youth Letter on Climate Action.

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change lists Turkey in the Annex I category, described as industrialised countries.

A statement approved by Turkey’s parliament said it was ratifying the deal as a developing country and would implement it while it did not “harm its right to economic and social development”. 

Turkey has sent a proposal to the UN to be removed from the Annex I list.

Non-Annex I countries benefit from investment, insurance and technology transfer under the climate accord.

The proposal is on the provisional agenda for the Cop26 conference to be held in Scotland’s largest city from October 31 to November 12.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told the United Nations General Assembly last month that countries with a “historical responsibility” for the climate crisis should make the most sacrifices. 

“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,” the populist president said, while declaring that Turkey would ratify the 197-nation agreement. 

The Paris agreement commits participants to keep global warming below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and, if possible, below 1.5°C. Each country is responsible for planning how to achieve the goals.


Turkey does not want to be defined as an industrialised country. Picture credit: Flickr

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