Net-zero target 'can be accelerated'

Net-zero target 'can be accelerated'

Kingdom urged to sign pact at COP26

A demonstrator holds up a sign on Oct 1, 2021, as he attends a Fridays for Future climate strike in Milan, Italy, ahead of Glasgow's COP26 meeting. (Reuters photo)
A demonstrator holds up a sign on Oct 1, 2021, as he attends a Fridays for Future climate strike in Milan, Italy, ahead of Glasgow's COP26 meeting. (Reuters photo)

The UK government hopes Thailand will sign a key environmental compact during the upcoming COP26 climate talks in Glasgow, the British Embassy in Bangkok said on Wednesday.

At a press briefing held at the ambassador's residence, embassy staff said the 26th UN Climate Change Conference (COP26), which the UK is hosting in partnership with Italy from Oct 31 to Nov 12, has mapped out four major goals.

Although these are ambitious in scope, countries around the world will be asked to commit to reducing their emissions in line with the promises made at the Paris Agreement in 2015, said Andrew Beirne, the UK's economic and prosperity counsellor.

"This means, globally, trying to half the emissions by 2030," said Mr Beirne, who also serves as the UK permanent representative to the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia-Pacific.

"We understand the commitment will not be spread across the countries in the same way, but we are asking all countries to do more in [terms of] increasing their greenhouse gas emissions target," he said.

Thailand vowed in 2015 to reduce its emissions by 20%. Meanwhile, the cabinet announced a new national energy plan on Wednesday with the goal of going net zero by 2065-2070.

As this would put the kingdom 15-20 years behind the conference's goal of having zero greenhouse-gas emissions globally by 2050 -- the first objective of COP26 -- Mr Beirne said there was still room for Thailand to raise its immediate target of a 20% reduction from its 2015 level.

He gave the example of 30% as being realistically achievable.

The four key goals of COP26 are: going net zero by 2050 and controlling the Earth's temperature so it does not rise by more than 1.5 degrees Celsius; adapting the way we live to better protect the environment and creating a system to prevent natural disasters; raising US$100 million annually to fund environmental projects; having nation members work together to achieve the environmental goals that each countries has set.

Mr Beirne said the conference in Scotland next month, which is expecting 25,000 participants, will also see the signing of other environmental agreements on coal, vehicle emissions and the use of forestry land. He said Thailand was invited to sign these.

"We would like Thailand to play the leading role in Southeast Asia. It does not mean that Thailand has to be the world leader," he said.

"Thailand has more capability to play a really important role in the region and we believe if Thailand does, others would follow."

Some seminars and cultural events at the conference will be open to the public.

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