06 Nov 2017 | Kerstine Appunn

COP23 - German negotiator will try to keep Turkey on side

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German-Turkish relations might be at a low-point in many respects but when it comes to climate politics, Germany will try to keep the country on side during the COP23 summit in Bonn.

German climate negotiator Jochen Flasbarth will moderate the conflict between Turkey and the United Nations climate regime at the COP in Bonn on behalf of the Fiji presidency, the Clean Energy Wire has learned from the ministry of environment.

State Secretary Flasbarth who is the head of the German delegation at the climate summit will be in charge of the talks with Turkey about its status under the UNFCCC and particularly its eligibility to climate finance.

Since the United States has announced its withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, no other country has officially wavered in its commitment to the new climate regime – apart from, maybe, Turkey. While the EU and other large emitters like China have closed their ranks, confirming their pledges to climate change mitigation and finance, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan threatened that his country would not ratify the agreement unless it became eligible for funding just after he was one of nineteen G20 members who called the Paris Climate Agreement “irreversible” at their meeting in Hamburg this summer.

In Paris 2015, the country could only be persuaded to agree to the treaty when the French presidency promised that the COP would recognise its “special circumstances” and need for climate finance in the future. Turkey was classified as an Annex I/II country under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 1992 because of its OECD membership, meaning that it is obliged to take up measures combating climate change and shall provide financial resources to support developing countries. The country has been fighting this situation for years, arguing that it was not a fully industrialised state and should be receiving climate finance instead of having to pay.

The Turkish economy is similar to those of emerging nations such as Brazil or China, but unlike Turkey they are not Annex I countries.

Even though Turkey hasn’t been able to have itself removed from the list of Annex I/II countries, it has had some diplomatic success at recent COPs. Although party to the Kyoto Protocol, Turkey didn’t have an emission reduction obligation and since 2010 the country has been able to receive funding from the Global Environmental Facility (GEF). Now the country is requesting to be eligible for financial support also from the Green Climate Fund, the financing mechanism under the Paris Agreement – an undertaking that has so far not been successful.

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