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Turkey among low performing countries on climate change index

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Turkey has again been ranked as a low performing country on climate change, in 42nd place among 64 countries, in the Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI) for the year 2022 drafted by the German-based NGO Germanwatch and the NewClimate Institute.

Turkey had the same ranking in the 2021 index.

Germanwatch and the NewClimate Institute, which supports countries in designing, evaluating and implementing sustainable energy policies, publish the index yearly as a way to compare countries’ climate performance using common criteria. Scientists score nations based on CO2 emissions, the percentage of renewables in the energy mix, the pace of clean expansion and what lawmakers are doing to implement climate change policy.


Like in last year’s CCPI, Turkey received a low rating in the greenhouse gas emissions category and a high in renewable energy. In energy use, Turkey has dropped seven notches and is now a very low performer.

The Turkish Parliament finally ratified the Paris Agreement in October more than five years after signing the treaty. CCPI experts see this as a major improvement in Turkey’s overall climate policy. Consequently, the country’s ranking for the International Climate Policy indicator has increased considerably and pulls the country out of the very low performers in this area.

At the same time as the ratification, the Turkish government announced the target of reaching net zero emissions by 2053. The Turkish nationally determined contribution (NDC), from October 2021, is assessed as insufficient. This is because its implementation would allow an increase of greenhouse gas emissions until 2030. The climate experts therefore urge the Turkish government to communicate an updated NDC with more ambitious science-based targets.

So far 110 countries have updated their NDCs. The United Kingdom, the European Union and the United States have promised to decrease their greenhouse gas emissions by 68 percent, 55 percent and 43 percent, respectively, by 2030, compared to 1990. Turkey’s current NDC does not specify any absolute reduction target.

According to the index, Turkey’s high rating for renewable energy owes to the current level and trend; however, the current renewable energy level indicator and renewable energy 2030 target indicator find the country not in line with a well-below-2°C benchmark, and these need to be improved. Additionally, climate experts note the Turkish government is strongly pushing coal generation while limiting support of renewable energy; thus, the full potential of renewables is not yet being capitalized on.

The experts highlight persisting low ambition in national policy and the absence of long-term strategies. Accordingly, there is still no coal phase-out date (new coal plants are still planned), nor is there a date for ending coal subsidies.

In the index, Scandinavian countries lead the way in climate protection, together with Morocco and the United Kingdom, with Denmark, Sweden and Norway occupying ranks four through six while places one to three again remain vacant because no country’s measures thus far have been sufficient to achieve an overall “very high” rating – none are following a path necessary to keep global warming within the 1.5°C limit.

In the overall ranking, Australia, Kazakhstan, Russia, Saudi Arabia and South Korea are among the worst performers.

The CCPI was released at the climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland, on Tuesday. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who had been planning to attend the summit, decided to skip the meeting earlier this month, citing unmet security demands.

The 12-day meeting in Scotland, the biggest climate conference since landmark talks in Paris in 2015, is seen as a crucial step in setting worldwide emissions targets to slow global warming. The summit, which began on Oct. 31, will end on Nov. 12.

Turkey has felt the full force of climate change, with a rapid succession of floods and wildfires killing some 100 people in July and August.

Entire swathes of the country have also been suffering an extended drought.

The crises have increased political pressure on Erdoğan to tackle greenhouse emissions, blamed for global warming, which scientists say is contributing to increasingly extreme and more frequent adverse weather events.

Nearly 200,000 hectares (480,000 acres) of forest have been scorched in Turkey this year — more than five times the annual average for 2008-2020, data from the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS) show.

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