Govt set to recommit to climate steps

Govt set to recommit to climate steps

Thailand readies to reconfirm position at COP27. By Apinya Wipatayotin

Phirun: Fighting climate change
Phirun: Fighting climate change

The two-week Conference of the Parties (COP), organised for the 27th time this year under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), opened in Egypt's Sharm El-Sheikh city on Nov 6, with more than 30,000 attendees including 100 heads of state.

The event also marks the 30th anniversary of global efforts to cool the earth, including the 2015 Paris Agreement intended to keep the global temperature rise below 1.5 degrees Celsius.

A new report from UN Climate Change last month says all countries are bending the curve of global greenhouse gas emissions downward but that these efforts remain insufficient to hit the target by the end of this century. The UN urged world leaders to use COP27 to show how they will put the Paris Agreement to work.

Phirun Saiyasitpanich, secretary-general of the Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning (ONEP), under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, said the country would reconfirm its position among UNFCCC members ready to work with the global community to fight climate change.

Last year at COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha committed Thailand to reaching carbon neutrality by 2050 and net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2065.

He also pledged the country will enhance a Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to reduce GHG emissions by 30%-40% in 2030 from the previous target of 20%-25%.

"We are the country that has produced fewer greenhouse gas emissions to the planet, but we are among the top 10 countries that will suffer most severely from climate change impacts. The global community has already made a commitment to save the world, and now it is time to take action," he said.

COP27 also highlights the issue of "loss and damage", the first time the topic has been put on the meeting agenda. Developing countries will take this opportunity to demand rich members fulfil financial assistance pledges of US$100 billion (about 3.65 trillion baht) by the year 2025.

He added the meeting will also pave the way for developing countries to access the fund so they can achieve adaptation and mitigation plans, which he regarded as a good sign of development. They would help strike a balance between economic growth and steps to fight climate change.

Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Varawut Silpa-archa will led the Thai team and will deliver the country's statement on Tuesday.

He will highlight the country's efforts in limiting greenhouse gas emissions and call for rich countries to provide more support to developing countries that need money to enhance their capacity for adaptation and mitigation.

The report on Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) also found an increase in global temperatures of 1.09C from 2011-2020.

It said there is at least a greater than 50% likelihood that global warming will reach or exceed 1.5C in the near term, or by the year 2040, even for the very low greenhouse gas emissions scenario.

The report found human-induced climate change, including more frequent and intense extreme events, causes widespread adverse impacts and losses, beyond natural climate variability. The rise in temperature and climate extremes leads to some irreversible impacts as natural and human systems are pushed beyond their ability to adapt.

It also found that biodiversity loss and degradation, damage and transformation of ecosystems are key risks for every region due to past global warming and will escalate with every increment of global warming.

It is estimated that 3%-14% of terrestrial species face a high risk of extinction due to a global temperature rise to 1.5C. That could rise to up to 18% if the rise in temperature reaches 2C or even 48% if the temperature keeps rising to 5C.

Tara Buakamsri, Country Director for Greenpeace Southeast Asia, said stakeholders should work together to help save the world.

He said governments should give more opportunities for local communities to participate at a policy level. "Thailand has already adjusted its NDC plan, but many other countries ignore it. We are a long way from reaching our destination," he said.

He also suggested the government should take stronger actions to "phase out", not "phase down" fossil power as it strives towards its goal of net zero greenhouse gas emissions.

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