Though Thailand has made impressive progress on reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, it still faces many challenges and the large implementation gap on the global scale remains to be solved.
These facts have surfaced as Bangkok prepares to host the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) conference this week.
From tomorrow until Sunday, the conference will include sessions of the three UNFCCC subsidiaries – Subsidiary Body for Implementation, the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice and the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Paris Agreement. The conference, which convenes at the United Nations Conference Centre in Bangkok, aims to facilitate a timely completion of the work programme under the Paris Agreement.
Climate-change experts and related agencies in Thailand see the conference as an important forerunner to global leaders’ discussion of the issue of de-carbonisation and negotiations for more progressive GHG emission-reduction goals to stabilise global temperatures.
The Thailand Greenhouse Gas Management Organisation (TGO) revealed that over the past two years, the Kingdom has taken great steps in its GHG-reduction goals. Just last year, it went well beyond its goal of 25.5 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent (mt-CO2eq) by reducing over 40.14mt-CO2eq in the energy and logistics sectors.
As per its commitment to the Paris Agreement, Thailand expects to reduce GHG emissions by 20 to 25 per cent in 2030 or equivalent to 110 to 140mt-CO2-eq. This is based on the estimated GHG emission baseline on the Business as Usual (BAU) scenario.
TGO said judging by Thailand’s progress on its GHG emission reduction plan, it should have no problems achieving its Paris Agreement’s commitment by 2030. As per Thailand’s Nationally Determined Contribution Roadmap on Mitigation 2021–2030, its GHG emissions can be reduced up to 115 mt-CO2eq or 20 per cent without any additional assistance.
Data from the Energy Policy and Planning Office revealed that Thailand’s emission rate was rising at a slower pace over the past few years, and the annual GHG emission rate in 2017 had dropped from the year earlier for the first time since 1998.
However, TGO pointed out that there were still many challenges for Thailand to overcome before it can become a low-carbon society and achieve more progressive GHG emission reduction goals. The problems the country faces are limited engagement by all stakeholders, lack of comprehensive GHG emission information, and, most importantly, the lack of awareness and public understanding.
Meanwhile, Tara Buakamsri, country director for Greenpeace Southeast Asia, said another issue of concern was other countries’ commitment to the Paris Agreement. They only contribute to a third of the GHG emission reduction amount that can stabilise the rise of global temperature at around 1.5 degree Celsius compared to the pre-industrial era.
“There are 125 countries that have ratified the Paris Agreement and submitted their nationally determined contributions [NDCs] to reduce GHG emission, which is overall equivalent to 81.36 per cent of the total global GHG emission,” Tara said.
“But from the calculation of GHG reduction commitments in all NDCs of the Paris Agreement’s signatories, it can be found that there is still a large implementation gap to stop the global average temperature to not rise over 2 degrees Celsius.”
Therefore, he said the climate change conference in Bangkok will be an important step for the global community to work together on the mission to narrow down this implementation gap in Paris Agreement’s NDCs and push further to have more efficient de-carbonisation methods.
“This conference will be a forum for multilateral environmental agreement bodies to improve climate change mitigation tools and prepare the issues of the upcoming 24th Conference of the Parties or COP24 in Poland this December,” he said.
“Negotiations in COP24 will be the next turning point for the world to avoid a catastrophic outcome of extreme climate change, because unless the global community can come to an agreement to pursue more ambitious GHG reduction commitments, we have a small chance of stabilising global temperatures. We will put the future of the next generations and the world’s ecosystems in great danger.”This is the third report on the series “Change the Climate”