Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha is heading overseas to present Thailand’s Net-Zero Climate goals at the COP 26 Summit in Glasgow, Scotland.
This being his first outing since COVID 19 presented itself, the Prime Minister with offer Thailand’s climate stance to the world at the UN Climate Change Conference, which takes place from October 31 to November 12. There he will will formally announce Thailand’s new pledge to achieve carbon neutrality by 2065, 15 years later than majority of the developed countries who are mostly offering 2050 as their net-zero target.
The Bangkok Post reported that Natural Resources and Environment Minister Varawut Silpa-archa said Thailand’s delegates to the COP26 conference, led by PM Prayut, will submit the kingdom’s long-term development strategies to lower greenhouse gas emissions to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). This is effectively a roadmap for how Thailand plans to go net zero within 44 years.
The UK has recently encouraged Thailand to be more ambitious with its goals, suggesting that 2065 and 2070 puts it 15 to 20 years behind the COP deadline, and that a 2050 deadline is what Thailand should be striving for.
Environment Minister Varawut Silpa-archa stated that “The government regards climate change to be one of the most concerning issues, as studies have warned that international climate change mitigation efforts have not been strong enough to stabilise the global climate.” In regards to Thailand joining the world summit, he offered, “Thailand as one of the Paris Agreement’s parties, is determined to step up efforts to achieve the Paris Agreement goals,”
Carbon neutrality means having a balance between emitting carbon and absorbing carbon from the atmosphere in carbon sinks. Removing carbon oxide from the atmosphere and then storing it is known as carbon sequestration. In order to achieve net zero emissions, all worldwide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions will have to be counterbalanced by carbon sequestration.
Amongst it’s ASEAN countries, Thailand follows Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar and Singapore who have already made Net-Zero pledges.
The Thai Enquirer reported that “Thailand is ranked third in the ASEAN bloc – contributing 275,065 kilotons or 15.8% of total ASEAN emissions – and yet it has one of the least ambitious climate targets across the region. “ Keeping in mind that amongst its neighbours, Thailand is considered wealthy as represented by having the second highest GDP, yet is presenting perhaps the least ambitious goals when compared to it less wealthy ASEAN neighbours.
However Thailand’s leadership believes there remains an opportunity to progress further, with Environment Minister Varawut Silpa-archa saying that “”We are also ready to work with all stakeholders to further the work on climate change mitigation and adaption, such as promoting clean energy transition, phasing out coal, or planting more trees to absorb carbon,”
The UN Climate Change Conference is a formal meeting of the UNFCCC parties (Conference of the Parties, COP) to assess progress in dealing with climate change, and beginning in the mid-1990s, to negotiate the Kyoto Protocol to establish legally binding obligations for developed countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.