Late, but not too late: Turk­ish ef­forts on cli­mate change promis­ing

Daily Sabah (Turkey) - - Front Page - MİRAÇ TAPAN - IS­TAN­BUL

Whether we like it or not, the signs of global cli­mate change have be­gun to show in the beau­ti­ful lands of Ana­to­lia; Turkey is one of the coun­tries in the world where cli­mate change has man­i­fested it­self most clearly. De­spite the gov­ern­ment tak­ing nec­es­sary pre­cau­tions, in­di­vid­u­als also have a re­spon­si­bil­ity and must take ac­tion for a bet­ter fu­ture and a healthy planet

CLI­MATE change is the new norm for ev­ery liv­ing thing across the world. It is a fact that we have to agree on and act to stop its con­se­quences as much as we can. Our planet is heat­ing up and de­spite ef­forts, it is im­pos­si­ble to re­verse what has been done to the world and its at­mos­phere.

The term “global warm­ing” was first used in a sci­en­tific ar­ti­cle by geo­chemist Wal­lace Broecker of Columbia Uni­ver­sity in 1975; how­ever, mankind started to im­pact the cli­mate long be­fore that. It was the In­dus­trial Rev­o­lu­tion that started the change in our at­mos­phere. The in­dus­trial ac­tiv­i­ties that our mod­ern civ­i­liza­tion de­pends upon have raised at­mo­spheric car­bon diox­ide lev­els from 280 parts per mil­lion to 400 parts per mil­lion in the last 150 years. Al­though sci­en­tists be­gan to con­sider that in­creas­ing tem­per­a­tures could cause ir­re­versible dam­age to our planet, it was not un­til 1992 that the U.N. Frame­work Con­ven­tion on Cli­mate Change was es­tab­lished and coun­tries around the world were mo­bi­lized to stop cli­mate change be­fore it was too late.

Lo­cated in Ana­to­lia, with its fer­tile land and mod­er­ate cli­mate, Turkey was one of the first coun­tries to re­spond to the global ef­fort as ef­fects of the phe­nom­e­non had be­gun to man­i­fest it­self in the coun­try af­ter 1990. Pre­vent­ing cli­mate change is cru­cial for Turkey be­cause its re­gion has ex­pe­ri­enced sig­nif­i­cantly more dras­tic ris­ing tem­per­a­tures when com­pared to the global scale. Aver­age sum­mer tem­per­a­tures in­creased by 1.5 de­grees be­tween the 1960s the the 2000s, and al­though spring and fall tem­per­a­tures also in­creased, the rise was not as much when com­pared to the sum­mer tem­per­a­tures.

How­ever, there are other fac­tors in ad­di­tion to in­creas­ing tem­per­a­tures that in­di­cate cli­mate change is tak­ing place in Turkey. For ex­am­ple, Turkey’s moun­tain glaciers have been re­treat­ing at a pace of about 10 me­ters per year. Like­wise, snow has be­gun to melt ear­lier in re­cent years, which raises the wa­ter lev­els of Turkey’s snow-fed rivers ear­lier. More­over, Turkey re­cently be­gan ex­pe­ri­enc­ing sud­den changes in tem­per­a­ture. Last year, prov­inces across Turkey’s Mar­mara and Black Sea re­gions were hit with floods and hail­storms in Septem­ber, while heavy flood­ing af­fected big cities through­out the year. Apart from the in­creased in­ci­dents of flood­ing, which may also lead to an in­crease in the fre­quency of epi­demics, Turkey also faces higher drought risks, hit­ting the coun­try from its west to east and threat­en­ing the sus­tain­abil­ity of Turkey’s agri­cul­ture.

Since the be­gin­ning of global mo­bi­liza­tion to stop cli­mate change and with the world get­ting warmer, Turkey has been a part of ev­ery ini­tia­tive taken, as it will be one of the first coun­tries that will be af- fected by the change. Turkey’s En­vi­ron­ment and Ur­ban­iza­tion Min­istry teamed up with the Euro­pean Union to ed­u­cate the pub­lic on cli­mate change and to come up with new projects to take ac­tion.

The goal of the En­hanc­ing Re­quired Joint Ef­forts on Cli­mate Ac­tion Project is to fos­ter the joint ef­forts in mit­i­gat­ing cli­mate change in Turkey by means of in­creas­ing pub­lic un­der­stand­ing and en­hanc­ing stake­holder ca­pac­ity, and grad­u­ally align­ing the coun­try with EU cli­mate poli­cies and leg­is­la­tion.

To reach this goal, the fo­cus is on in­creas­ing na­tional and lo­cal tech­ni­cal ca­pac­i­ties in the field of cli­mate change, rais­ing tar­get groups’ aware­ness on the topic and the need for im­me­di­ate joint ac­tion, and pro­vid­ing project im­ple­men­ta­tion sup­port to the grant ben­e­fi­cia­ries of the “Ca­pac­ity Build­ing in the Field of Cli­mate Change in Turkey Grant Scheme” for gen­er­at­ing so­lu­tions at a lo­cal level.

The 30-month project started last year and part­ners heav­ily with mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties to reach out to the pub­lic and uni­ver­si­ties to ed­u­cate young minds and raise aware­ness on the is­sue of cli­mate change.

The project con­sists of three compo- nents. The first step is to train all seg­ments of so­ci­ety, as even a lit­tle ef­fort can lead to huge changes that can lessen the ef­fects of global warm­ing. Apart from aca­demic train­ing, the mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties and the min­istry will or­ga­nize work­shops, panel ses­sions and TV pro­grams to raise aware­ness.

The sec­ond phase of the pro­gram is com­mu­ni­ca­tion fo­cus­ing on rais­ing aware­ness in the tar­get groups on cli­mate change and the im­me­di­acy of joint cli­mate ac­tion. In this con­text, cam­paign ac­tiv­i­ties will be planned, car­ry­ing dif­fer­ent mes­sages for dif­fer­ent tar­get groups, and ef­fec­tive com­mu­ni­ca­tion mea­sures will be taken due to dif­fer­ent aware­ness lev­els of these tar­get groups, their dif­fer­ent in­for­ma­tion needs and dif­fer­ences in me­dia us­age be­hav­iors.

The third com­po­nent of the project is the grants given by the project team. The man­age­ment and mon­i­tor­ing of the “Ca­pac­ity Build­ing in the Field of Cli­mate Change in Turkey Grant Scheme” is the most pow­er­ful com­po­nent in terms of stake­holder im­pact. The grant scheme un­der the project cov­ers 38 grant projects and in­volves var­i­ous stake­hold­ers such as mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties, uni­ver­si­ties and non­govern­men­tal or­ga­ni­za­tions.

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