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Calls for unity to fight 'climate catastrophe'

Jul 05. 2015
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CALLS have been made for collaboration within Asean and beyond to try to limit the rise of world temperatures to 2 degrees Celsius - to avoid catastrophic impacts from climate change.
The calls were made at a regional forum on climate change in Bangkok by the Asian Institute of Technology, French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development, the Asean Secretariat and the European Union.
The forum is a lead-up event to the 21st Conference of Parties (COP) – also known as the 2015 Paris Climate Conference – in early December.
The director for the Cross-sectoral Corporation Directorate, Larry Maramis, said Asean countries had the ability to follow low carbon development. 
He also stressed that a shift to lower carbon use was urgently needed to minimise the rise in world temperatures so it does not exceed 2C degrees.
“Asean needs to work together to carry on low carbon development in the region and also develop disaster and climate change preparations as well,” Maramis said.
Prasert Sirinapaporn, Climate Change Management and Coordination Division director, said Thailand was taking a leading role in efforts to reduce global warming within the region. It was on the third rank in Asean behind Malaysia and Singapore in terms of cutting greenhouse gas emissions.
“We are working closely with other nations in the Asean Working Group on Climate Change and also Asean is cooperating with the European Union, Japan and China to minimise global warming,” Prasert said.
“Thailand has already set a goal to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by seven to 20 per cent by 2020, by concentrating on renewable energy and cutting carbon emissions from the transport sector. We are also planning even more reductions in greenhouse gases beyond 2020,” he said.
However, he was aware that some government policies were inconsistent with the goal to reduce greenhouse gases – such as plans for new coal power plants, which needed to be discussed further.
The stakes are high as the effort of keep the rise in world temperatures below 2C degrees could be a turning point for humanity, said Daniel Price, a British environmental scientist, who is riding a bicycle from Antarctica to Paris on a “Pole to Paris” campaign. 
“The evidence from scientific research over the last 10 years told us that [climate change] is now critical, so I am riding a bicycle from the South Pole to Paris to raise public awareness about the climate change crisis,” Price said.
Rangsit University’s Centre on Climate Change and Disaster director Seree Supratid supported this claim, noting the current drought in Thailand, which scientists say results from climate change.
Suree also said that if the situation did not improve soon, Bangkok could be submerged under water as the sea level is rising by 3 millimetres every year – and land subsided by a centimetre per year. 
“We need to be more ambitious to reach the goal of limiting global warming to below 2C degree Celsius,” Price said.

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