Book Review: Global Climate Change, Environment and Energy: Global Challenges and Opportunities to Global Stability

This book discusses global climate change by focusing on the interdependence between energy and the environment. According to the editor, the issue of global climate change needs an interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary approach. Therefore, this book aims to identify the challenges and the necessary policy recommendations to overcome these challenges.

The book analyzes environmental issues under three main chapters. The first chapter discusses the issues of global climate, environment and energy with respect to global challenges and opportunities for stability. The articles in this chapter focus on security to which global climate change can be seen as a contemporary threat (article 1 by Katman herself). The second article discusses the paradigm shift in Millennium Development Goals, where the consideration of science as a basic principle is suggested as the most important component, and the responsibilities of the public and private sectors should be balanced. It is also important to note that acceptance and awareness of environmental problems in society are key factors, and that bottom-up, not top-down management style is important to achieve environmental goals. For sustainable development and environment protection, the participation of local actors are crucial to making legal regulations more useful and successful.

Chapter two is composed of six articles devoted to analyses of the influence of Global Climate Change on the Environment. Here, ecocentrism –a new ethical approach– is suggested to guide decision makers and citizens in establishing a sustainable balance between environmental protection and economic development, and to approach the environment as a whole from individual perspectives to institutions, from state administration to international organizations. Moreover, Voluntary Carbon Markets are proposed to bring environmental concerns to the market level and to raise awareness across all social levels, companies, individuals, institutions and organizations. Tree fields are touted as important models for Turkey, which could provide a source of income for low income families while decreasing the amount of corbon emissions. It is argued that by spreading the responsibility for the environment throughout society and raising awareness at all levels of society, the long term transformation to a low carbon society could be achieved.

9781443866934This book plays an important role in drawing attention to areas of environmental concern, particularly the Black Sea region and the environmental degradation around it. It is unfortunate that when countries become more concerned about their economic development, the environment loses its importance until its degradation reaches a certain, critical level. The Black Sea region is a real victim of industrialization, one aspect of this being excessive tanker traffic in the Bosporus and Dardanelles, which creates big risks for Istanbul and other industrial cities in the region. It is worth mentioning that Turkey stands in the middle of energy producing and consuming countries, which poses big risks as well as opportunities to focus on reliable, diverse and cost-effective energy policies.

It is obvious that pipelines, tanker traffic through the Bosporus and nuclear power plants, all have their own negative impacts on both people and the environment. Renewable energy sources therefore become the best long-term solution if countries wish to continue to develop sustainably (p. 85). However, Turkey seems to lack the needed infrastructure to distribute the energy produced. This appears to be a big obstacle in front of Turkey, if renewable energy sources are to become the main energy sources in the future. One misfortune of the environment which is also mentioned in the book is that although all actors accept that sustainable development and environment is important to all, when it comes to the security of energy supplies, environmental protection is easily forgotten. The priority generally is first to continue with production processes, and when this process functions smoothly, then people start thinking about the environment.

One chapter in the book focuses on Turkey’s Industrial Zones and the awareness about the European Union Environmental Directives among the circles and enterprises in these Industrial Zones. Created as a necessity of planned development, industrial zones could be more useful when an Environmental Management System and waste minimization systems in them are built, as suggested by the authors.

Part three of the book focusses on the impact of global climate change on energy. To reduce greenhouse gas emissions, countries need to increase the share of renewable energy sources in their total energy supply. The same holds true for Turkey as well, which has a potential for hydro, biomass, wind, geothermal and solar energy sources. The authors analyze Turkey’s wind and biomass energy potential in detail; they propose that biomass energy is especially important for Turkey due to its immediate potential, and indicate that it could only be realized by good governance practices together with the participation of a wide range of stakeholders.

It is argued throughout the book that there is a need to develop a new approach to meet Millennium Development Goals and to achieve sustainable development, but a concrete step-by-step plan is missing. Information about the source of tables and figures is also missing in the book chapters, with only some exceptions. The reader expects a harmonized conclusion apart from a summary of all chapters included in the book, and related policy suggestions. Instead, the main contribution of the book is not clearly provided by the editor, leaving readers to find it for themselves. It would be beneficial to list the possible future research questions that are necessary to be examined. Overall, the book could be counted as a reference, showing the relationship between global climate change, and environmental and energy issues from a multidisciplinary perspective, and raising awareness among academics and policy makers about environmental issues.

Reviewed by Elif Nuroğlu

Insight Turkey, 19:3

To find out more about Global Climate Change, Environment and Energy: Global Challenges and Opportunities to Global Stability and to purchase a copy, click here.

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