By PRATCH RUJIVANAROM
At a seminar “Thailand Agenda and the Climate Change Crisis”, held by Banchak Petroleum Pcl and Krungthep Turakij yesterday, representatives from relevant agencies confirmed that Thailand can achieve the goal it pledged in the Paris Agreement of helping to keep rising world temperatures below 2 degrees Celsius.
Wijarn Simachaya, acting permanent-secretary of the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry and director general of the Pollution Control Department, said Thailand had great potential to reduce emissions and the 20-per-cent goal was not too difficult to achieve.
Since Thailand was one of the 186 countries to ratify the agreement at the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) in Paris last year, Wijarn said the country’s task is to cut emissions in energy and transportation sectors. However, he said, the Kingdom also has the ability to go further and cut emissions in other sectors such as forestry and waste management.
“According to the Energy Ministry, we can already cut emissions by 11 per cent just from the energy and transportation sectors,” he said.
“Right now, the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry is working hard to increase the country’s forests to 40 per cent and make waste management one of the national strategies. These efforts can certainly help reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the country by over 20 per cent.”
Buntoon Srethasirote, director of Good Governance for Social Development and the Environment Institute, said it would be easy for Thailand to achieve the 20-per-cent emission reduction goal, but the real task would be setting up a new progressive goal in 2025.
“According to the Paris Agreement, we will have to set a new greenhouse gas reduction goal in 2025, which would have to be even more ambitious,” Buntoon said.
“Our challenge is to change our mindset to better push forward the climate change mitigation effort. We can no longer live the way we used to, otherwise we will need four more planets to feed our demands.”
He pointed out that climate-change control was no longer just an environmental issue, but was now related to political and financial negotiations and sustainability development.
Wijarn also encouraged all sectors of society to participate in the climate-change mitigation mission and learn to adapt to rising temperatures, since the threat of global warning is at our front door.
Meanwhile, Greenpeace Thailand director Thara Buakamsri raised concerns over the expansion of coal-fired power plants under the Power Development Plan (PDP), as these will negatively affect Thailand’s efforts to lower greenhouse gas emissions.
“In my view, the 20-per-cent goal is possible, which is why the government made the pledge in the Paris Agreement. But I’m worried that our climate-change mitigation efforts will be jeopardised by fossil fuel energy development plans,” Thara said.
He pointed out that coal-fired power plants, such as the one in Mae Moh, can release up to 150 million tonnes of carbon dioxide over 20 to 25 years. Yet, he said, there are plans to develop seven more of these plants under PDP2015.