What’s happening with the Paris climate agreement? - ERDAL TANAS KARAGÖL

What’s happening with the Paris climate agreement?

It seems the discussions on the Paris climate agreement are going to continue with U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the agreement that was signed by 195 countries in 2015.

 Because these discussions are also the beginning of a period that deeply effect the world economy, the consumption of fossil energy and renewable energy investments.

 So, what is the Paris climate agreement that is discussed so much? What is included in its contents?

 What is the Paris climate agreement?

 The Paris climate agreement aims to prevent global warming through the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. However, this is not the sole aim of the agreement. As greenhouse gas emission rates are reduced, economic development is also expected to take place. In other words, the agreement is based on both protecting our planet and realizing economic development and the theory that no preference is made between the two.

 The plan is, through this agreement, to keep the increase in global warming below 2 degrees Celsius as much as possible. However, for this to happen, the goal is to with time reduce the consumption of fossil fuels such as oil and coal and switch to renewable energy.

 During this period, many countries, primarily developing and less-developed countries, are going to reduce the amount of fossil fuel energy sources they use to decrease greenhouse gas emissions. Giving up fossil energy sources means a cost for the economies of these countries.

 Hence, developed economies need to first transfer technology to developing and less developed countries in a way that will meet rising costs and provide them the opportunities to develop capacity.

 Because, the biggest sacrifice will be made by less-developed and developing countries. Even though it has been stated in this road map that developed countries will provide $100 million annually to developing countries until 2020, it has yet to be clarified on the basis of what criteria these resources will be provided.

 What does the Paris climate agreement signify for Turkey?

 In 2016, Turkey signed the Paris climate agreement as a “developing country.” This is important, because the sacrifice made by Turkey as a result of the guarantees it has given for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions need to be met.

 Turkey has an unconditional declaration to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions until 2030. Hence, it is unable to take advantage of any climate fund in its reduction of greenhouse gases. As a result, a serious need for financing will arise for emission reduction and the need for financing will increase.

 Also, we are in a period in which efforts to decrease Turkey’s energy dependency on the outside and localize its energy sources have gained pace. Turkey’s reviewing its interest particularly in using fossil fuel – primarily coal – for power generation, means a major area of cost for the economy.

When all this is taken into consideration, the Paris climate agreement, leads to high costs for developing economies like Turkey, where energy consumption is high and economic consumption is directly effective in determining economic growth. In other words, while the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions limits the variety of energy to be used, it will also increase energy costs.

 Therefore, to prevent this process, which is a cost element for the Turkish economy, from working against us, it is important to allow Turkey to benefit from the climate funds or funds to be provided for this purpose.

 Additionally, developed countries should not be allowed to use the category Turkey is in to serve their own interests. While developed countries never considered Turkey as a developed country, their classification of Turkey as a “developed country,” showing Turkey’s OECD membership as their reason, to prevent it from benefitting from the funds, should not be accepted.

 It seems that the debates on the future of the Paris climate agreement will, with Trump’s withdrawal of the U.S.’s signature and many countries possessing fossil sources having hesitations in abiding by the agreement, gain more speed.

 

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