Climate change report urges all sectors to take action

Climate change report urges all sectors to take action

The second Thailand's Assessment Report on Climate Change was released by the Thailand Research Fund on Wednesday with a series of recent studies on climate change's impact, mitigation and adaptation.

The report, Thailand's biggest collection of climate change research, is published once every five years. Its conclusion calls for every sector to take urgent action on climate mitigation and adaptation.

Speaking at the launch of the report in Bangkok, co-researcher Atsamon Limsakul, a researcher at the Department of Environmental Quality, pointed out that Thailand would inevitably be affected by climate change.

He referred to the report's finding that Thailand's average temperature has increased significantly in the past 40 years, especially in urban areas.

The highest, average and lowest temperatures rose by 0.96, 0.92 and 1.04 degrees Celsius respectively.

Accumulated rainfall has also increased in the past 60 years.

Moreover, since 1970, storms stronger than tropical depressions -- gusts over 61 kilometres per hour -- have been reported more frequently than the average of one every 10 years.

Drought periods are likely to last longer too, said Mr Atsamon.

A scientific model in one study on rising sea levels forecast rises of between 10 and 20 centimetres in the next 30 years. The western part of Bangkok, Samut Prakan and Chachoengsao are among the provinces that will be most affected by the rising water.

A series of research papers in the report showed that every sector will be affected by climate change, including agriculture, fisheries, tourism and healthcare.

One study showed that adverse weather will cause a decline in seasonal crops all over the country. Rice, sugar cane and cassava growing areas risk instability in production.

In one climate scenario map, by 2030, production of dry season rice will drop in some central and northeastern provinces including Maha Sarakham, Kalasin, Suphan Buri and Sing Buri.

Climate change will also affect sugar cane farms in Kalasin and cassava farms in northeastern and western provinces including Nong Khai, Udon Thani, Nakhon Ratchasima, Ratchaburi and Kanchanaburi.

Research on climate change's impact in Ubon Ratchathani found that rising global carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations in the atmosphere of between 540 and 720 parts per million (ppm) may help crops grow. But rises of more than 50% will leave farmers vulnerable to crop instability.

Last year global CO2 concentrations reached 400ppm, well above the safe level of 350ppm.

The report urges urgent mitigation, adaptation and sustainable development that reduces greenhouse gas emissions for a safe environment.

Last year Thailand signed the Paris Agreement with a promise to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 20-25% by 2030.

Chalotorn Kansuntisukmongkol, a co-researcher for the report and lecturer at Thammasat University's faculty of economics, cited the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, according to which Thailand was the world's 17th top greenhouse gas emitter in 2014 with 270 million tonnes of emissions.

The energy sector accounted for 75% of emissions. Its emissions are estimated to increase to 657 million tonnes by 2030 and 1,250 million tonnes in 2050, he said.

The government has implemented policies such as increasing renewable energy use to mitigate climate change's impact on Thailand and ensure sustainable economic growth.

Pongvipa Lohsomboon, deputy director of the Thailand Greenhouse Gas Management Organisation, said investing in a low-carbon future will help in reducing climate change's impact on the country.

"This is our opportunity to slash greenhouse gas emissions and create a new and sustainable economy," said Ms Pongvipa.

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