- A drop in agricultural productivity and a rise in food prices
- Rising energy prices for those who can’t afford them
- Decline in welfare and living standards of low-income communities
Climate change will affect different people and places unevenly and is likely to lead to inequalities within and across nations, and between current and future generations. Climate extremities generally hit hardest the most disadvantaged and poor communities who in fact are least accountable for the climate change. The historical responsibility for climate change can be attributed to wealthy and powerful nations and/or people, yet the poorest and the most vulnerable are impacted the most. This fact is not only global but is valid within each country particularly the countries with significant social inequalities.
The Gross National Product (GNP) per capita in Turkey has been coming down from 10.000 USD to 7.000 USD levels. In addition to this decline, the distribution of the wealth inequality is also increasing.
Turkey has traditionally been an agricultural country. Although the share of agriculture is decreasing in the GNP, it is still one of the important elements of the economy. Climate change has a significant adverse effect on Turkey’s agricultural sector. Turkey has been going through a dry patch in the last decade causing a sharp decrease in the production of agro products including livestock. Currently almost half of the population of 84 million economically depends on agriculture. The significant drop in the production of agro products is not only affecting the income of farmers, but it also has resulted in increased market prices affecting the budgets of middle- and low-income consumers. Turkey used to be one of the few self-sufficient countries in the world, but basic agro products are being imported now. The duty tariff is lowered from time to time on certain essential food products to monitor the market and to provide support to vulnerable communities.
Turkey is not an energy self-sufficient country, and must rely on imports to meet its energy needs. Electricity and natural gas prices have surged unprecedently as a result of a highly devaluated Turkish Lira and a global increase in energy commodity prices. Therefore, energy used for basic human needs, such as heating, is becoming more expensive, especially for disadvantaged groups. This impact has been exacerbated by extreme cold weather conditions this past winter, and efforts of the central Government and local municipalities to provide support with subsidized energy prices have not been effective.
2021 has been a year of natural disasters in Turkey, with wide spread forest fires and floods that swept away important infrastructure effecting the welfare and living standards of the people in the region. The inhabitants of the villages in high mountain areas, who make their living on forest bi-products and producing honey, lost all what they had. Similarly, the floods affected many of those living in substandard housing in flood-swept areas. NGOs like Red Crescent and government agencies mobilized their facilities to try and help those who were affected.
Turkey has been facing a major economic since the beginning of 2021. Climate related disasters combined with the economic crisis and increasing unemployment, have been affecting underprivileged groups significantly. Unfortunately, no real solution is available for the moment.
This Post was submitted by Climate Scorecard Turkey Country Manager Dr Semih Ergur