İmamoğlu: Populist Political Leaders Are Obstacles to Climate Action

İmamoğlu: Populist Political Leaders Are Obstacles to Climate Action
İmamoğlu: Populist Political Leaders Are Obstacles to Climate Action

IMM President Ekrem İmamoğlu, in the second panel he attended in Glasgow, to the question “When you think about the next 10 years, what would you say will be the biggest challenge when it comes to climate action at the local level”, he answered, “First of all, the most vital problem for the future of the whole world, represented by populist political leaders, is carbon emissions. I see the viewpoints of ignoring, trivializing or delaying the reduction target as a significant challenge”.

Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (IMM) President Ekrem İmamoğluparticipated in the panel titled “Earthquake Resilience” within the scope of the 26th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP26), held in Scotland. “To mobilize action at the city and district level on housing resilience. Sharing good practices and case studies on global housing resilience. To provide tangible tools and resources to strengthen housing resilience, the panel was moderated by Build Change CEO Dr. Elizabeth Hausler did. Other speakers of the panel were London Mayor Sadik Khan, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and Wales Deputy Minister for Climate Change Lee Waters.


İmamoğlu responded to the moderator Hausler's words, “As a city leader, we would like to hear your perspective on why urban action on climate issues can contribute to building a greener, more equitable future and to contribute now”:

“We have been experiencing the staggering effects of climate change both in our country and in Istanbul recently. In our youth, we couldn't go out in Istanbul in November without wearing sweaters and coats. Now we can almost walk around in t-shirts and shirts. Every year, we started to see sudden rains in the summer months. In August this year, we lost 82 of our citizens in the floods caused by the sudden rains in the Western Black Sea Region. During the summer months, dozens of forest fires broke out in all our Aegean and Mediterranean regions due to the increase in air temperature due to climate change. We couldn't put these fires out for weeks. We lost our people, our forests, other living things and our dwellings.”


Reminding that similar fires are seen in most of the Mediterranean countries at the same time, İmamoğlu said, “Drought and thirst are becoming more and more life-threatening in Istanbul and all over Turkey with each passing day. This year, for the first time, we experienced a very common mucilage problem in the Marmara Sea due to the warming of sea water and uncontrolled waste. This problem contains risks that will end life in Marmara. A transition from the climate type that has existed for thousands of years to the Mediterranean climate began to be observed in Istanbul. Depending on global warming; As the glaciers melt, the balance of the world is upset. Micro-organisms stuck between the glaciers, unknown and unfamiliar, are revealed. All these problems show us that local governments work much more responsibly in controlling global warming.”


Emphasizing that it is vital to make climate change-oriented urban action plans in all cities of the world, İmamoğlu said:

“Managing our cities with a greener, fairer and more equitable future perspective is more important and urgent than anything else. When we took office in 2019, we made a promise to 16 million Istanbulites. We said 'Istanbul will be a fairer, greener and more creative city'. From the first day, we have been taking important steps in line with this vision. We will keep throwing. We prepared our 'Green Solution' vision, which we accept as vital and will affect the future of Istanbul, with democratic participation and announced it last week. Our goal is very clear: to take all the steps to make Istanbul a carbon neutral and climate crisis resistant city by 2050. As Istanbul, we will realize projects that will inspire the world.”


İmamoğlu answered the question, "When you think about the next 10 years, what would be the biggest challenge when it comes to climate action at the local level?"

“In my view, there are several challenges at once in achieving global results on our way to the 'carbon neutral target'. But I think 3 major difficulties are more decisive than all the others: First of all, I see the perspectives of populist political leaders to ignore, trivialize or delay the goal of reducing carbon emissions, which is the most vital problem for the future of the whole world, as important difficulties. Secondly, I see the lack or weakness of the public will to enable established industrial institutions in developed or aggressive development policies of the world to take quick action for change. Third, I care about funding so that the transformation can be done. I accept it as a strategic value in global success that the funds defined by the EU for a greener, more digital and more resilient Europe, such as the long-term budget, are defined on a world scale and shared fairly with developing countries. The reality that we should all remember is this: Climate change and environmental degradation are an existential threat to the entire world. National borders only exist in our minds. However, we cannot draw borders to cities and countries in the physical and real world. Therefore, a fairer financial solidarity and comprehensive technical cooperation on the international level are essential for the solution.”

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