Varawut explains how Thailand can trim emissions by 40% in next 6 years
A plan will be devised to cut emissions in four key sectors so Thailand can achieve a 40% overall reduction by 2030, Natural Resources and Environment Minister Varawut Silpa-archa said.
The four sectors targeted are energy and transportation, industry, waste management and agriculture.
The minister was speaking at the “Climate Change: the Next Crisis” forum hosted on Saturday by Kasetsart University’s Engineering Students Alumni at Centara Grand Hotel.
In his speech, Varawut said that producing more sustainable energy and promoting the use of electric vehicles will help meet the goal of greenhouse gas reduction in the energy and transport sector.
The aim is to cut emissions by 216 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2eq) by 2025. CO2eq is a measure used to compare the potential warming impact of one greenhouse gas against the same amount of carbon dioxide (CO2).
He said emissions in the industrial sector can be cut by 2.25 MtCO2eq through the use of carbon capture, usage and storage (CCUS) technology in places like cement factories.
“With CCUS technology, Thailand can liquidise and store carbon dioxide underground. Initially, the plan was to collaborate with leading energy firm PTT to store up to 7 billion tonnes of the gas in the Arthit petrol field in the Gulf of Thailand,” he said.
The minister said cost cuts and tax benefits are required to encourage wider adoption of CCUS.
As for the waste-management sector, Varawut advised that the focus should be on water pollution caused by communities and factories. He believes doing this will cut emissions by 2.6 MtCO2eq.
He also advised rice farmers to opt for “alternate wetting and drying” (AWD) to save water and reduce emissions by 1 MtCO2eq.
“Instead of applying traditional methods, which involves flooding paddy fields with water and releasing huge amounts of methane due to a concentration of microorganisms, AWD can reduce the emissions by 70%,” he said.
“It can also cut the water usage by half and boost rice harvests to 900 kilograms from 700kg per field.”
The AWD method has already been piloted in six provinces, namely Suphanburi, Ang Thong, Chai Nat, Singburi, Ayutthaya and Pathum Thani.
Besides, he said, farmers nowadays are already familiar with sustainable farming practices, including trading in carbon credits.
Varawut also said that it was time for Thailand to employ green practices since both European Union and the United States will soon impose mechanisms blocking the import of non-eco-friendly products.
From next year, the US Clean Competition Act (CCA) will require targeted industries to pay additional tax on greenhouse gas emissions that exceed the average point. The rate has been set at US$55 (about 2,000 baht) per extra tonne of carbon.
The EU’s Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) mandates a carbon tariff of about 85 euros (3,155 baht) on carbon-intensive products imported. The CBAM goes into effect in 2026.
Varawut added that he also intends to establish a climate change department and propose a climate change act if he returns to government.
Thailand is No 9 on the 2021 Global Climate Risk Index of nations most affected by “extreme weather events” between 2010 and 2019.