Arif Cem Gundogan

My blog on Climate Change, Development, Disasters, Environmental Humanities, Political Ecology, Degrowth (English & Turkish)

Our New Article On-line at WIREs Climate Change

“Beyond special circumstances: climate change policy in Turkey 1992–2015”

Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change
Edited By: Mike Hulme
Impact Factor: 3.415
ISI Journal Citation Reports © Ranking: 2014: 4/100 (Environmental Studies); 12/77 (Meteorology & Atmospheric Sciences)
Online ISSN: 1757-7799

by Ethemcan Turhan, Semra Cerit Mazlum, Ümit Şahin, Alevgül H. Şorman and Arif Cem Gündoğan

Article first published online: 7 MAR 2016

DOI: 10.1002/wcc.390

The contours of Turkey’s climate policy have remained almost intact over the past two decades. Being an Annex I party without any mitigation commitments, Turkey maintains a peculiar position under UNFCCC. Subsequent to 12 years of delay in signing both the Framework Convention and the Kyoto Protocol, Turkey had the highest rate of increase in greenhouse gas emissions among the Annex I countries with 110.4% upsurge in the period 1990 and 2013. Yet with the new climate regime now in place, the country’s mitigation pledges fall short of expectations both in terms of realistic projections and its ambition to step up in the post-2020 period. Climate policies in Turkey, an EU candidate and OECD founding member with a growing economy, remain under-investigated. Although the country has a wide range of policies and institutions in place, it shows limited progress in addressing climate change. Based on evidence from the literature, we observe that climate policies operationalize in Turkey insofar as they do not directly confront developmental ambitions, leaving policy diffusion with limited success. To provide a historic overview, we focus on climate policy development, actors, processes, and contemporary trends. Evidence shows that these are highly ridden with the politics of special circumstances: a notion that Turkey employs to refrain from bindings commitments. In order to go beyond special circumstances discourse, we argue the need for a bold policy shift in Turkey, a country subject to adverse impacts of climate change and high-carbon lock-in risk due to development policy preferences.



On Cities & Paris Agreement

This article of mine was recently published at the Chamber of Architects of Turkey’s magazine “Mimarlik” (Issue 387). I suggest that energy democracy, self-governance and participation should be at the very heart of the discussion if cities are to offer any suggestion to the anthropogenic climate change problem. The article is in Turkish.

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UNFCCC Outreach Magazine: “Fiddling while the roof burns?”

Our article has been published at the Outreach Magazine* during COP21 Paris. We argued that Turkey needs to take bold decisions on its alternative development pathways if it is to go beyond special circumstances discourse in the new climate regime.

(*Outreach is a multi-stakeholder publication on climate change and sustainable development produced by Stakeholder Forum for a Sustainable Future and has been produced at various international meetings on the environment.)

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Press Conference: Launching of “Break Free From Fossil Fuels” escalated mobilisations in 2016

In 2016, the climate justice movement is preparing to escalate the global energy transformation. We need to keep carbon in the ground and accelerate the just transition to 100% renewable energy. Governments and industry are not acting fast enough. It’s in our hands to close the ambition gap – it’s up to us to break free from fossil fuels and accelerate the shift to renewable energy.

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Featured Article: Turkey and climate change talks on the eve of the Paris Agreement

Turkey Representation of the Heinrich Böll Stiftung started to publish the quarterly, “Alternatif – Political Analysis and Commentary from Turkey”, in both Turkish and English. With their own words “this quarterly periodical strives to be a source of reference for civil society, decision makers, opinion leaders in- and outside of Turkey”. Their first issue features our article on the eve of COP21. Below you will find Turkish version but if you click this link you can also read the English one. Enjoy.

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Climate Action Tracker (CAT) Assessment of Turkey’s INDC

Climate Action Tracker published the analysis of Turkey’s INDC as of 22 October 2015. I think this is a critical document for Turkish side and would be very useful for self evaluation. So, I decided to translate it into Turkish. Here it is, available for wider audience in Turkey. 

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And that’s all folks! Geo-engineering won’t save us.

Thanks to a colleague, I saw & read Kevin Anderson’s (Tyndall Centre) recently published commentary (Duality in Climate Science) on Nature Geoscience.

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While I strongly recommend you to read it before COP21, I think it is timely to share my review (in Turkish) of some key articles on geo-engineering (aka climate engineering). I find this valuable to discuss in advance of the climate summit as CSS or other techniques have been advertised as effective options for GHG mitigation. Well, science says no, we can’t escape from the fact that we must do radical emission cuts although this seems “politically disturbing”. Please read more in Turkish:

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Emission Trading System: The Only Option for Turkey?

ekoiq56_2I wrote a short article for the 56th issue of EKO IQ (Turkey’s foremost green business magazine) and argued that emission trading system is not the only policy option Turkey has. Priority should be given to regulatory mechanisms rather than market based ones if Turkey is to be progressive about its transition to a low carbon economy.  Please continue to read more (in Turkish).

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Turkey, INDC & Disappointment


Turkey’s delayed INDC raised questions and caused disappointment among the Turkish environmental NGOs & climate scientists. Me and Dr. Ethemcan Turhan analysed the document and wrote a piece (in Turkish) for the prominent on-line news portal We hope to publish an English version soon.

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Turkey submits its INDC

For those who follow UNFCCC updates closely, you are all aware of the fact that INDCs submitted after 1 October 2015 will not be included in the UNFCCC synthesis report to COP21 (aka most critical climate summit of history). Till this moment 133 party submitted their climate action plans (INDC) ahead of the summit.

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