Istanbul heatwave shows need for urgent climate action – Greenpeace

Istanbul has had the hottest November in 40 years, and with average temperatures in Turkey rising the government must take urgent action to address climate change, the Cumhuriyet newspaper quoted a representative of environmental group Greenpeace as saying.

After weeks of unseasonably hot and sunny days, the average temperature in Istanbul this month has been 21.7 degrees Celsius, 10 degrees higher than the average for the month since 1981, Cumhuriyet said.

“The sunny days we’ve had in Istanbul are not natural. The abnormally high temperatures this November stem from climate change, which is made more severe by human activity,” Cumhuriyet quoted Greenpeace’s Climate and Energy Project head Onur Akgül as saying.

This follows a trend that has seen average temperatures across Turkey rise by 1.1 degrees Celsius over the last 20 years.

Almost every province in Turkey experienced a hotter than average October, leaving some parts of the country facing drought conditions, the newspaper said.

But Turkey has yet to ratify the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement despite being a signatory. The agreement seeks to limit the rise in global average temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

“Human activity has already caused a 1-degree Celsius rise in temperatures compared to pre-industrial levels. Turkey is in one of the areas that will be most deeply affected by climate change,” said Akgül.

To mitigate the drought conditions, abnormal weather patterns and other effects of the mounting climate crisis, Turkey’s parliament must ratify the Paris agreement and keep to its pledges, he said.

Turkey wishes to downgrade from its United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change status as a developed country to instead be classed as a developing country, since this will mean it is entitled to funding for infrastructure and projects to tackle climate change.

It was assigned its status as a developed country in 1992 due to its strategic importance during the Cold War and its founding membership of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.