Academics, Activists Tackle Climate Change in Turkey

smokestack cloud sky pollution photo
. Industrial pollution is a significant contributor to Turkey's total CO2 emissions. Photo by rahims via Flickr.

Despite low per-capita emissions, Turkey's population size and polluting power plants and industrial facilities make it one of Europe's top emitters of carbon dioxide, two Turkish academics recently reported. The news will likely be a rallying point for environmentalists gathering this weekend and next in Istanbul to participate in a "Climate Change Activist School."

According to the new study, "Awareness and Making a Difference: CO2 Emissions in Turkey," Turkey has the second-lowest rate of CO2 emissions per capita, after Latvia, among the 32 European Union member states and countries that are in the accession process. But it ranks seventh when it comes to overall emissions.

Regional Differences In Emission Profiles
The report, prepared by associate professors Gürkan Kumbaralıoğlu and Yıldız Arıkan from Istanbul's Boğaziçi University and Sabancı University, with support from the Open Society Foundation, breaks the emissions down region-by-region to highlight different sources of pollution in different parts of the country.

Unsurprisingly, the poorly developed southeast creates the lowest amount of CO2 emissions due to privately owned vehicles, although the burning of coal is a significant source of pollution in that region. Household consumption accounts for 20 percent of the country's total emissions, with the largest figures in that category seen in central Anatolia, where temperatures fluctuate dramatically between summer and winter, and the lowest in the Mediterranean region, where the climate remains relatively mild throughout the year. The Aegean, Marmara, and Black Sea regions produced the most emissions due to vehicular transportation, with the researchers citing a lack of public-transit options in those areas.

Global Warming Workshops In Istanbul
Transportation and energy policies will both be on the agenda of the climate action workshops that the Turkish Green Party is holding in Istanbul's Beyoğlu neighborhood Sept. 5 to 6 and Sept. 12 to 13. Participants will watch films, including "The Story of Stuff"; get briefings on the scientific background to global warming, its effects in Turkey, the ethical dimensions of the problem, and EU and international policies to address climate change; and join in workshops on replying to global-warming skeptics and starting their own climate-change campaigns.

Participation is free, but enrollment is limited to 40 people. The news site Bianet has the full schedule in English; the Green Party site has it in Turkish.

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Academics, Activists Tackle Climate Change in Turkey
Despite low per-capita emissions, Turkey's population size and polluting power plants and industrial facilities make it one of Europe's top emitters of carbon dioxide.

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