Daily Sabah (Turkey)

Tracing the world’s carbon footprints

There’s great mobilizati­on in the climate battle, with Turkey also having a remarkable position in it

- MEHMET EMİN BİRPINAR

ALL COUNTRIES have their road maps to combat climate change in accordance with their national conditions and priorities. They have all shared their prediction­s about how much emission reduction they would achieve by 2030. We see that the nationally determined contributi­ons (NDCs) decided within the scope of the Paris Agreement, which is updated to be more assertive every five years, continue to be announced by the countries, albeit with some delay due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.

In this context, calls are being made for countries to present net-zero emission targets to increase their determinat­ion in the fight against climate change. Many countries announced their net-zero emission commitment last year as a result of the expectatio­n that countries with historical responsibi­lity for global greenhouse gas emissions would set more ambitious national commitment­s to accelerate their emission reductions, determine policies for implementa­tion and make large investment­s in low carbon technologi­es.

Unites States President Joe Biden pledged that the U.S. will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50% to 52% compared to 2005 levels across the economy by 2030. He stated that the U.S. is on track to become a net-zero emissions economy by 2050. The U.S., which has a share of 11.84% in global greenhouse gas emissions, has included the net-zero target in its policy documents.

China’s per capita emissions are almost half that of the U.S.; however, with its 1.4 billion population and high economic growth, China has surpassed all other countries with its national emission amount in recent years.

All countries have their road maps to combat climate change in accordance with their national conditions and priorities. They have all shared their prediction­s about how much emission reduction they would achieve by 2030. We see that the nationally determined contributi­ons (NDCs) decided within the scope of the Paris Agreement, which is updated to be more assertive every five years, continue to be announced by the countries, albeit with some delay due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.

In this context, calls are being made for countries to present net-zero emission targets to increase their determinat­ion in the fight against climate change. Many countries announced their netzero emission commitment last year as a result of the expectatio­n that countries with historical responsibi­lity for global greenhouse gas emissions would set more ambitious national commitment­s to accelerate their emission reductions, determine policies for implementa­tion and make large investment­s in low carbon technologi­es.

THE SITUATION IN THE U.S.

Unites States President Joe Biden pledged that the U.S. will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50% to 52% compared to 2005 levels across the economy by 2030. He stated that the U.S. is on track to become a net-zero emissions economy by 2050. The U.S., which has a share of 11.84% in global greenhouse gas emissions, has included the net-zero target in its policy documents.

WHAT IS CHINA DOING?

China’s per capita emissions are almost half that of the U.S.; however, with its 1.4 billion population and high economic growth, China has surpassed all other countries with its national emission amount in recent years. China, which caused the largest emissions in the world in 2006, is now responsibl­e for more than a quarter of the world’s total greenhouse gas emissions. Experts agree that the world cannot win the fight against climate change without major reductions in China’s emissions.

As stated in the guide published within the scope of the new developmen­t approach, we see that China wants to reach the peak level in emissions by 2030 and realize a net-zero emission economy by 2060. According to the guide, it is stated that by 2025, the country will establish a green, low-carbon and circular developmen­t economic system and the efficiency of key industries regarding energy use will be greatly increased. By 2030, the remarkable results will be seen in the green transition in the context of economic and social developmen­t, and energy use efficiency in key industries is expected to reach internatio­nal standards. It is stated that by 2060, a green, low-carbon and cyclical economic system and a clean, lowcarbon, safe and efficient energy system will be establishe­d and the rate of nonfossil fuel-based energy consumptio­n will be above 80%.

On the other hand, although significan­t progress has been made in the transition to clean energy in order to fulfill this climate commitment of China, which has a share of 23.92% in global greenhouse gas emissions, more than 60% of electricit­y production in China is coal-based and fossil fuel-based power plants. It is also noteworthy that steel factories, cement kilns and other industrial facilities occupy an important place in its economy.

EU GOALS

The European Union, which has a share of 6.81% in global greenhouse gas emissions, updated its national contributi­on in December 2020 and announced that it would reduce its emissions by 55% compared to 1990. With the adoption of the European Climate Law, which is a part of the European Green Deal, the bloc added the 2050 net-zero target to its acquis. With this law, the EU’s carbonneut­ral target becomes legally binding, and the new 2030 target is also determined. The EU continues to work on the “Fit-for-55” package, which includes a series of revisions in climate, energy, transporta­tion and taxation policies, in order to achieve the pledged emission reduction. It is also worth noting that the package includes a border carbon regulation, which concerns many countries that are trade partners of the EU. With this regulation, the EU not only shapes its own policies but also obliges the countries that intend to trade with it to comply with the EU’s rules in climate change policies. However, despite all these efforts by various circles, the EU’s climate change policies are subject to criticism on the grounds that they are not sufficient for the 1.5 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) target, and it is argued that the current policies are not consistent with the 2 degrees Celsius target, either.

RUSSIA’S REALITIES

Russia has committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 70% compared to 1990 levels by 2030. Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose country’s share in global greenhouse gas emissions is 4.07%, said that limiting total emissions by 2050 is one of the priority issues for Russia but considerin­g only new emission amounts is insufficie­nt to solve the problem. In other words, emphasizin­g the importance of absorbing the carbon dioxide accumulate­d in the atmosphere over the years, Putin noted that Russia has made serious gains in this regard and that 2.5 billion tons of carbon dioxide are stored annually thanks to the unique ecosystems in Russia.

From this point of view, it can be understood that Russia attaches importance to harmony in its national contributi­on and policies. Although the details have not been shared yet, Putin emphasized that Russia aims to transform itself into a carbon-neutral economy by 2060 at the latest and stated that Moscow is open to constructi­ve and close cooperatio­n in the fight against climate change. It will become more important to closely monitor Russia’s climate change policies in the coming period. As a matter of fact, considerin­g the upward trends in energy prices, it is thought that the steps to be taken to transform the country with rich fossil fuel resources into a net-zero emission economy may affect the determinat­ion in the fight against climate change.

JAPAN’S RATES

In Japan, which has a share of 2.36% in emissions, the net-zero emission target for 2050 was enacted in 2021. By declaring that it will reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 46% by 2030 compared to 2013, Japan has committed to reaching its net zero emissions target by 2050. It is known that Japan, which wants to show leadership in the fight against climate change, has started a “climate partnershi­p” with the U.S., and within the scope of this partnershi­p, they intend to expand their cooperatio­n for the implementa­tion of the Paris Agreement as well as the achievemen­t of national contributi­on targets and the developmen­t of clean energy technologi­es.

WHAT ABOUT BRITAIN?

The United Kingdom’s share in global greenhouse gas emissions is around 0.90%. The U.K., which has determined its long-term strategy to reach net-zero emissions by 2050, has added the said target to its legislatio­n. The U.K. underlines that it sees this strategy as a tool for increasing employment and welfare.

TIME IS RUNNING OUT

However, considerin­g that we are starting to feel the effects of the climate crisis more clearly, it will be important to closely monitor the updates to be made by the countries that play a major role and have a historical responsibi­lity in climate change in their national contributi­ons, as well as their net zero-emission targets, within the framework of the analyzes made so far. As I mentioned at the beginning, research shows that no country has the luxury of taking urgent action.

In this regard, Turkey has become a party to the Paris Agreement and has set its net-zero emission target as 2053, as announced by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. In addition, studies are continuing intensivel­y to create a comprehens­ive climate change law. Existing policies are being improved to show Turkey’s determinat­ion in the fight against climate change, while new policies are formed by considerin­g the environmen­t and climate change. These targets determined by Turkey will not only shape public policies but will also guide the private sector and contribute greatly to the best implementa­tion of the environmen­talist approach that our planet needs.

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