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Cablegate: Turkey Looks Seriously at Kyoto Protocol

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RR RUEHHM RUEHLN RUEHMA RUEHPB RUEHPOD
DE RUEHAK #1176/01 1361437
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 161437Z MAY 07
FM AMEMBASSY ANKARA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2128
INFO RUEHRC/USDA FAS WASHDC
RUEHZN/EST COLLECTIVE
RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC
RHEBAAA/DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY WASHDC
RUEHUNV/USMISSION UNVIE VIENNA 0147
RUEHDA/AMCONSUL ADANA 1948
RUEHIT/AMCONSUL ISTANBUL 2707

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ANKARA 001176

SIPDIS

USDOE FOR CHARLES WASHINGTON
USDOC FOR 4212/ITA/MAC/CPD/CRUSNAK

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958:N/A
TAGS: ENGR SENV EAGR TU
SUBJECT: TURKEY LOOKS SERIOUSLY AT KYOTO PROTOCOL

REF: ANKARA 639

ANKARA 00001176 001.2 OF 002


1. (SBU) SUMMARY: Turkey is a signatory to the UN Framework
Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), but has never signed the
Kyoto Protocol. Turkish officials are looking seriously at the
Kyoto Protocol, both because adopting it is a requirement of the
daunting environment chapter of the EU "acquis communautaires" and
because of increasing public awareness of the risks of climate
change. A drought in central Anatolia, including Ankara, and
perceptions of unseasonable and increasing temperatures are feeding
public concerns that Turkey would be especially hurt by climate
change. Officials believe that Turkey should be able to negotiate
special obligations given that Turkey is a "developing developed"
country. Last spring, Turkey created a special parliamentary
commission to investigate climate change and it will send a
significant delegation to the next framework convention meeting in
Bonn. End Summary.

------------------------------
Background - Turkey is Special
------------------------------

2. (U) When the UNFCCC (UN Framework Convention on Climate Change)
was adopted in 1992, Turkey, as an OECD member, was included among
the so-called Annex I and Annex II countries. Under the convention,
Annex I countries have to take steps to reduce emissions and Annex
II countries have to take steps to provide financial and technical
assistance to developing countries. However, in comparison to other
countries in these annexes, Turkey was at a relatively early stage
of industrialization and had a lower level of economic development
as well as a lower means of assisting developing countries. Turkey
was not given a quantified emissions reduction or limitation
objective in the Kyoto Protocol. Following a number of
negotiations, in 2001 Turkey was finally removed from the list of
Annex II countries but remained on the list of Annex I countries
with an accompanying footnote specifying that Turkey should enjoy
favorable conditions considering differentiated responsibilities.
This led to an official acceptance of the UNFCCC by the Turkish
Parliament in October 2003, followed by its enactment in May 2004.
Turkey has not, however, signed the Kyoto Protocol.

--------------------------------------------
Need to Engage in the Kyoto Protocol Process
--------------------------------------------

3. (SBU) According to MFA Environment Department Head Nursel
Berberoglu, Turkey is now seriously looking at the Kyoto Protocol,
noting that Turkey will send an ample multi-agency delegation
(Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Environment, Energy, and Industry)
of over twenty officials to the UNFCCC meeting in Bonn May 14-18.
As evidence of how Turkey is looking seriously at the issue, she
cited creation of a National Climate Change Coordination Group, a
Parliamentary commission on climate change last March, and a number
of studies by the State Planning Organization (SPO). Berberoglu
emphasized that -- as part of the EU accession process -- Turkey
would eventually have to accede to the Kyoto Protocol as one of the
key "acquis communautaire" in the difficult environment chapter.
Therefore, Turkey needs to quickly gain information and develop a
strategy for dealing with climate change and the Kyoto obligations,
for example positioning itself for potentially joining the post 2012
commitment period, perhaps in synchrony with EU accession. She
noted that post-2012 negotiations under Kyoto are to end in 2009, so
Turkey should quickly engage in the process. Moreover, Berberoglu
expected that Turkey should be able to negotiate special commitments
given Turkey's exception in the UNFCCC and in recognition that it is
a "developing developed" nation.

4. (SBU) Berberoglu complained that press coverage of a recently
completed SPO report was sensational, only high-lighting worst-case
scenarios of significant obligations that would allegedly reduce
Turkey's future GDP by 15% to 35%. In fact, she noted that the SPO
report was quite balanced and neutral, aiming to provide information
and alternatives to help policy makers make informed decisions on
the Kyoto Protocol. She stressed that Turkey was now committed to
dealing with climate change, emphasizing wide interest in relevant
ministries. MFA plays the coordinating role for Turkey's
participation in the relevant international processes and the
Ministry of Environment is the focal point within Turkey.

-------------------------
Need to Inform the Public
-------------------------

ANKARA 00001176 002.2 OF 002

5. (SBU) The Regional Environment Center Turkey (REC) has been
designated by the Ministry of Environment and Forestry as the
National Focal Point for the UNFCCC Article 6 on Education,
Training, and Public Awareness. REC Director Sibel Eralp and
Climate Change Project Manager Yunus Arikan emphasized their role in
informing the public and the government, rather than directly
advocating. They were pleased that key Ministries of Energy and
Industry, as well as SPO, had overcome initial reluctance and
resistance on climate change policy. Eralp stated that the recently
formed Parliamentary Commission, headed by a Parliamentarian who is
an environmental engineer, had taken a thorough and exhaustive
approach, listening to all stakeholders. They lamented press
coverage that continued to emphasize overly negative worst-case
scenarios and recognized that REC needed to redouble its efforts to
inform the public. Eralp and Arikan stated that the Istanbul
Municipality was advancing independent initiatives, like localities
in the United States.

6. (SBU) Over the past few years, Energy Ministry officials have
emphasized their commitment to reducing energy import dependency and
more efficient use of energy resources, including adoption of new
renewable energy and energy efficiency laws. Industry observers
view these developments as positive, but note that investment
incentives are often not clear in their length of term or
quantification. The Energy, Agriculture, and Environment Ministers
recently jointly expressed their commitment to devise a national
strategy for combating climate change in Turkey (ref).

7. (U) Turkey's Ministry of Environment recently published Turkey's
First National Communication on Climate Change, in cooperation with
the UNDP. The 265-page report aims to satisfy a UNFCCC requirement
to raise public awareness by providing extensive background and
explanation, an inventory of greenhouse gases, and possible
mitigation measures that could be employed. The report highlights
"Turkey's special circumstances" gained with respect to the UNFCCC
process. The Turkish Ministry of Environment has the lead in
formulating a national strategy for action on climate change,
including harmonization of policies with the general environmental
policies of the EU.

8. (SBU) Comment: The economic cost argument against Kyoto is
compelling in Turkey. However, the Turkish public is increasingly
concerned about a current drought threatening Ankara and central
Anatolia's water supply and the long-term threat of climate change
on drought-prone Turkey (ref). While Turkish officials and public
are increasingly skeptical about Turkey's prospects for EU
accession, there is a broad commitment within the government to
advance work on completion of specific chapters, such as
environment, recognized as one of the most difficult and expensive.
Our reading of the SPO study is that it was quite balanced and
recent press coverage of it was unfairly sensational. The
parliamentary commission on climate change is viewed as very
effective; however current political turmoil and the election
calendar will put serious efforts on climate change on hold.

Wilson

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