Thailand Subsidies

Q 16 Thailand–$.438 billion spent on fossil fuel subsidies in 2016

Increased awareness by the government about the revenue drain caused by fossil fuel subsidies has helped spark a decline since 2011 in subsidy spending. A 2014 news report by the Asian Correspondent revealed Thailand’s fossil fuel subsidy allocations. To reflect upon the annual subsidy allocations for 2011, 2012 and 2013; former Energy Minister of Thailand Piyasvasti Amranand argues, “Thailand’s junta should remove fuel subsidies that have cost $15.6 billion over the past three years to free up funds for crucial infrastructure projects.” Piyasvasti Amranand also emphasized the increased government spending on fossil fuel subsidies like diesel and LPG. With respect to the annual spending trends for diesel subsidies, Amranand suggests, “Diesel subsidies have led to a loss of over 100 billion baht in annual revenue. Data from OECD and other sources highlights that in 2013, oil subsidies were around USD $2160.7 billion, electricity subsidies were USD 326.1 billion, Natural Gas subsidies were USD 627.9 billion, coal subsidies were USD 160.8 billion and total subsidies were USD 3275.5 billion. In 2014, fossil fuel subsidies were on a decline as oil subsidies were USD 1601.7 billon, natural gas subsidies were USD 363.4 billion, coal subsidies were USD 77.7 billion and total subsidies were USD 2042.8 billion. In 2015, fossil fuel subsidies decreased even further as oil subsidies were USD 708.3 billion, natural gas subsidies were USD 188.0 billion and total subsidies were USD 896.3 billion.

The decrease in fossil fuel subsidies from 2013 to 2015 is the result of policy reforms. One such reform was established on December 3, 2014, when the Energy Policy Administration Committee of Thailand approved the removal of a seven-year LPG subsidy. Another key reform the Thailand government implemented was the removal of Certified Natural Gas (CNG) subsidies as CNG was heavily subsidized. During 2014 and 2015, the government raised the price of CNG by around 4% to 10% and eventually floated the price in 2016. As an outcome, the CNG price is at par with the market price, which fell to around 12.55 baht or USD 0.36 in January 2017. Finally, to reduce Natural Gas for Vehicles (NGV) subsidies, NGV prices were raised in October 2014, which increased from 1 baht per kg to around 11.5 baht per kg.

From the above paragraphs, it is evident that in recent years Thailand is moving towards the right direction in terms of reducing fossil fuel subsidies. However, long-term policies for phasing-out fossil fuel subsidies are yet to be adopted.

Learn More

To learn more about the expenditures for fossil fuel subsidies in 2014 please visit:
https://asiancorrespondent.com/2014/07/not-all-are-energy-subsidies-are-equal/#4AUdpjipBzLKqb7F.97

To learn more about the 2017 IEA and OECD Data about annual fossil fuel subsidies in Thailand from 2013, 2014 and 2015 please visit:
https://www.iea.org/media/statistics/Subsidies20132015.xlsx

To learn more about the removal of the 7-year subsidy on LPG and CNG subsidy removal please visit:
https://www.iea.org/publications/insights/insightpublications/TrackingFossilFuelSubsidiesinAPECEconomies.pdf

To learn more about fossil fuel subsidy reforms in Thailand please visit the report by Asian Development Bank at: https://www.adb.org/sites/default/files/publication/175455/fossil-fuel-subsidies-thailand.pdf

Thailand Survey

Climate change related disaster risk reduction traits differs considerably by gender. For instance, women have a greater likelihood of collecting emergency supplies, formulating a family emergency plan and are more than likely to out-migrate from tsunami-vulnerable areas.

A research paper by Nopphol Witvorapong, Raya Muttarak and Wirapom Pothisiri looks in-depth into both the 2004 and 2012 tsunami events in Thailand, which are the end-result of climate change processes. The linkage between climate change processes and the tsunami events were addressed in a 2009 article by Reuters. The article highlights a statement made by Professor Bill McGuire from University College London. Professor Bill McGuire told Reuters during an interview that “When the ice is lost, the earth’s crust bounces back up again and that triggers earthquakes, which trigger submarine landslides, which cause tsunamis,”. The survey presented in the research paper stresses that climate induced natural disasters like tsunamis might be more intensified in the near-future, which in turn might increase the level of disaster risks and vulnerability levels in Thailand amongst poorer/marginalized sections of the society, elderly people, children, women and livestock populations.

Phang Nga province in Thailand was selected as an appropriate study site for the survey because the province was one of the hardest-hit areas among the six tsunami-affected provinces in Thailand during the 2004 tsunami. In the Phang Nga province, there were widespread losses of human lives along with massive economic losses resulting from damages to buildings and infrastructures. On April 11, 2012, an earthquake of magnitude 8.6 occurred under the Indian Ocean floor, which happened in northern Sumatra just 434 kilometres southwest of the Banda Aceh province in Indonesia. Following the earthquake there was another major shock of magnitude 8.2 followed by a series of aftershocks. As a result, there was a tsunami alert generated in the countries situated along the Indian Ocean, which also included Phang Nga province and the provinces situated in the western coastlines of southern Thailand. In 2012, a major tsunami event did not occur similar to the one in 2004 as the plate moved horizontally rather than vertically. Similarly, in April 16, 2012 an earthquake of magnitude 4.3 occurred and the epicenter was in Thalang district, situated just 22 kilometres from the Phang Nga province in Thailand. The earthquake was followed by around 26 aftershocks between 16 and 22 April 2012.

After the 2012 earthquakes in the Indian Ocean, the research paper by Witvorapong et.al 2015 conducted a survey of 640 households in total from which 563 households were successfully interviewed, which gave the total response rate of 88%. The 563 households surveyed were living in tsunami-prone areas in Phang Nga, Thailand. The survey took place from 17 April 2012 to May 13 2012 and the survey data types typically included both individual and community-level data. For the survey, the participants included were the head of a household, the spouse or a household member aged 15 years or older. The core objective of the survey was to assess the tsunami-preparedness levels and extent of vulnerability amongst the 563 households surveyed. One of the main findings of the survey is that tsunami preparedness levels along with the likelihood of undertaking risk reduction actions is highly correlated with social participation whereas the extent of vulnerability decreases as social participation increases. For instance, individuals who are associated with increased involvement in community activities will have greater likelihood of following disaster-related news very closely, having adequate emergency supplies and having a well-developed family emergency plan.

Another key finding of the survey, considers the suitable individual, household and community-level variables, which are associated with disaster risk reduction traits. It has been identified that an adverse effect from the 2004 tsunami is a driving force leading to preventive actions, which include behaviors like following disaster-related news closely and having a plan to migrate. In addition, the survey results find that, having experienced a tsunami event is not highly correlated with the likelihood of preparing emergency supplies and having a well-developed family emergency plan. Here, the survey findings indicate that while previous experience in a tsunami event might be positively associated with increasing the preparedness level in general. However, having experienced a tsunami event does not always strengthen the preparedness measures. Furthermore, the survey findings highlight that individuals having tertiary education are more than likely to collect/gather supplies and implement a family emergency plan whereas having prior tsunami experience does not lead such actions.

Finally, the findings point out that disaster risk reduction traits differs considerably by gender. For instance, women have a greater likelihood of collecting emergency supplies, formulating a family emergency plan and are more than likely to out-migrate from tsunami-vulnerable areas. The findings also highlight from the community level perspective that a community possessing greater proportion of highly educated women will have a greater tsunami preparedness level as education increases the access to socio-economic resources and disaster-related information. The survey findings address the crucial role that educated women play, which in turn decreases the extent of vulnerability amongst the community by reducing malaria risk amongst children, decreasing disaster-related deaths, and further strengthening their adaptive capacity. A community with more educated women will be able to effectively adapt and cope with a tsunami event.

Therefore, the core findings of the research survey, is both on the linkage between individual and community-level perspectives. From the individual level perspective, the surveys indicates how an individual’s involvement in community-based activities leads to greater disaster preparedness and intention to out migrate from disaster prone areas thus increasing the extent of social participation within a community-level. Finally, the enhancement of social participation within a community, is recognized as an imperative for decreasing vulnerability levels and disaster risks.

Learn More

To learn more about the research survey that was conducted in Phang Nga province Thailand please visit https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4495990/
To learn more about the article by Reuters, which provides the linkage between climate change processes and tsunami events, please see http://www.reuters.com/article/us-climate-geology/global-warming-may-bring-tsunami-and-quakes-scientists-idUSTRE58F62I20090916

Thailand Strategies

Thailand: (1) Do more to implement current Paris Agreement pledge by demonstrating how plans in different sectors will help achieve Paris goals; (2) Strengthen implementation of the National Master Plan on Climate Change and the Low Carbon City Initiative

Thailand’s INDC emission reduction pledge has an unconditional target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 20% and a conditional target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 25% from the Business-As-Usual level (BAU) by 2030.

Thailand has very well formulated national plans for reducing emissions, which are included in their INDC. However, there is one area where I feel the INDC can be strengthened: by suggesting how the proposed Plans will actually achieve the INDC pledge. The adaptation plan strategies and national plans are presented in a generalized manner. For instance, they lack specific details about how the INDC pledge of 20% in 2030 from BAU level will be achieved by proposed Plans in place. Furthermore, the NDC does not mention any details about whether the adaptation plan strategies and national plans will be successful in the long-run. This creates a sense of uncertainty about the adaptation plan strategies and national plans in place; and questions thus arise about whether these plans will be able to successfully meet the given INDC pledge. Therefore, for strengthening the INDC’s pledge, the policymakers need to consider two key components. First, they need to recognize how the plans will make the INDC pledge achievable. To do so, the policymakers need to incorporate the national and adaptation plans with the INDC’s 2030 emission reduction targets. This will ensure that the plans are in line with Thailand’s INDC pledge and objectives. The second consideration should address the question whether the plans in place for the INDC will be successful in the long-run. By addressing this question, new strategies and policies for the NDC, which will be successful in the long-term, can be implemented by the policymakers. Addressing these two components will be imperative for developing an INDC that is specific and well-formulated.

One way for Thailand to further reduce its greenhouse gas emissions is through the strengthening of an existing national level policy known as the National Master Plan on Climate Change (2011-2050). This policy was developed by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment. The policy’s core objectives are to build capacity for resilient socio-economic development, restructuring economic development towards a low-carbon society, and facilitating sustainable development activities as per the Thai context. This policy, if effectively applied, has great potential for curbing greenhouse gas emissions. For this policy to be effective, it needs to be strengthened further. For instance, the policy only mentions its objectives and does not clearly provide implementation strategies.

Thailand has also formulated a “Low Carbon City” initiative for further decreasing its level of greenhouse gas emissions. The “Low Carbon City” initiative is defined as “a province, city, municipality, or community that pursues a systematic process to achieve GHG emission reductions”. For the “Low Carbon City” initiative, nine step strategies were developed by the Thailand Greenhouse Gas Management Organization (TGO) in collaboration with the Joint Graduate School of Energy and Environment at King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thornburi. The city of Muangklang has adopted the steps required to become a low carbon city. Now other cities need to do the same.

Learn More

To learn more about Thailand’s INDC Pledge, the adaptation plan strategies and national plan, which are in place please visit https://cop21-japanpavilion.iges.jp/program/151203/1515-1645/pdf/cop21-jp-151203-1515-1645-presentation-05.pdf and also visit http://www4.unfccc.int/ndcregistry/PublishedDocuments/Thailand%20First/Thailand_INDC.pdf

To learn more about the Thailand’s steps for decreasing greenhouse gas emissions such as the policy on National Master Plan on Climate Change (2011-2050) and Low Carbon City Initiative, please visit https://cdkn.org/2013/03/feature-thailands-low-carbon-city-initiative/?loclang=en_gb

Thailand Renewable Energy

No 2050 100% renewable energy; 30-40% renewable energy by the year 2030

At present, Thailand does not have a clear commitment to reach 100% renewable energy by 2050 as the country is still dependent on energy sources generated from fossil fuels. In the year 2050 Thailand will still be dependent upon energy generation from fossil fuels at-least to some extent. However, Thailand holds a very promising future in the short and long-term with respect to energy generation from the renewable energy sources. The reason for the expansion of power generation through renewable energy sources at present, is because of rapid foreign investments in renewable energy projects; and joint collaborations between Thailand and energy exporting private companies in countries like Japan. These relationships are proving to be beneficial in terms of providing the country with advanced technological infrastructures for increasing its power generation capacity from renewable energy sources.

To address strategies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, stakeholders and policymakers on behalf of the Thai government jointly collaborated for implementing the low carbon green growth policy. The low carbon green growth policy suggests about pursuing economic activities, which are environmentally friendly. generates less carbon or carbon-free and are energy efficient. This policy places a growing emphasis upon using renewable energy sources like solar power, biomass/biofuels, hydroelectric and wind power.

Thailand also has a long-term renewable energy strategy in place, which was established in 2015 with the Alternative Energy Development Plan (2015-2036). The plan has the target of having 30-40% of Thailand’s energy based renewable energy. The Alternative Energy Development Plan (AEDP) will significantly help in the boosting power generation from renewable energy. Achieving the country’s 30-40% renewable energy target by 2036, will require the country to have total renewable power-generating capacity of around 40,000 MW. Achieving the target 40,000 MW within 2036 will require increased investments and facilitation of new renewable energy projects by private companies’ vis-à-vis solar power and wind energy. Private companies at present are showing an increased interest in joining the renewable energy market, however they are unwilling to commit unless the Thai government sets standards and regulates the industry. To elaborate upon the amount of investments required for achieving the 40,000 MW, Cherdsak Wattanavijitkul, managing director of TPC Power Holding argues, “Since the capacity is due to double through [the government’s] policy, it should have appropriate regulations to govern the sector, as massive investment is about to be poured into it. The government should be ready for it or even set up a special committee to govern the industry”.

Learn More

http://thaiembdc.org/2017/07/03/thailand-raises-renewable-energy-target/
http://www.oxfordbusinessgroup.com/news/thailand-sharpens-focus-alternative-energy
http://www.unescap.org/sites/default/files/MoE%20_%20AE%20policies.pdf
http://www.un.org/esa/agenda21/natlinfo/countr/thai/energy.pdf
https://www.rvo.nl/sites/default/files/2017/03/FACTSHEET%20BIOENERGY%20IN%20THAILAND.pdf
http://www.unescap.org/news/un-seminar-policy-approaches-sustainable-and-low-carbon-economic-growth-thailand

Thailand Success Project

Thailand—The EcoTipping Point Strategy

One success story in Thailand is about the EcoTipping Point, a term used for describing the combined use of sensible environmental technology and the social organization in place to put these technologies in use. The EcoTipping Point was established by a Thai farmer named Thanawm Chuwaingan and was practiced in the Thai village of Khao Din situated in the Nakhon Sawan province about 225 km north of Bangkok. In the year 1954, Thanawm Chuwaingan migrated to Khao Din village from the Khorat Plateau of Northeast Thailand that was impoverished and lacked natural resources. In the early years after Thanawm Chuwaingan settled in the village, life was going well as the village had abundant natural resources and ample livelihood opportunities for villagers. However, during the period of the 1960s and 1970s, the Khao Din village underwent a rapid transformation. The transformation occurred because the Thai government decided to pursue the Western growth model policy with export-led development as the core objective.

This policy placed a key emphasis on utilizing forests and agricultural production as resources for foreign exchange revenue in order to generate investments in the emerging manufacturing sector. As an outcome, half of the forests, fisheries and agricultural areas were geared towards the international markets. This had an adverse impact upon small-scale marginalized farmers like Thanawm Chuwaingan. In turn, the government wanted such small-scale farmers to modernize and grow cash crops like maize, rice, jute and cassava for export to foreign countries. Similarly, the forests were also divided for the purpose of selling the timber and expanding farmland areas. To do so, the government provided farmers with loans, which were intended for enhancing agricultural productivity like hybrid seeds, chemical fertilizers, pesticides and farm equipment. The farmers also utilized the government loans to purchase radios, motorcycles and other tools. Eventually, the crop prices decreased because farmers were mostly growing the same crops. When the drought season came, crops grown by farmers often failed, which resulted in huge losses of agricultural revenues and increasing debts among farmers. As a result, the livelihoods of small farmers like Thanawm Chuwaingan were filled with hunger, poverty and social marginalization.

From here on, the crisis increased even more as villagers thought they had no choice but to cut down the entire forests to expand the agricultural areas. To describe this crisis, Thanawm Chuwaingan stated, “By that time, there were virtually no trees left on hillsides. It became hotter and drier”. There was also large-scale soil erosion, which degraded the soil fertility and reduced crop productivity because of the rapid rainwater runoff along with increased chemical fertilizer application. Because of the crisis, the villagers had no option but to migrate to cities for livelihood opportunities thus resulting in massive out-migration. To emphasize the out-migration that took place, Thanawm Chuwaingan argued, “Unlike in the past when people really cared for one another, everyone was now worried about their own fields and their own family’s problems. For the first time ever, we began to have psychological and social problems. There was little trust and less cooperation”. During the onslaught of out-migration, the village communities became completely disintegrated and only the young and elderly remained; and juvenile delinquency became a common feature in the village.

Some hope re-emerged in the Khao Din village during the year 1986 when a team from Save the Children U.S. was sent by the Thai government to visit the Khao Din village. Save the Children helped the villagers develop appropriate strategies to tackle the crisis. At the beginning, the villagers felt suspicious and did not trust the group. The joint discussions and regular meeting sessions between the group and the villagers for developing appropriate strategies increased the level of trust among the villagers and provided them with a sense of hope. Eventually, the villagers came to realize that the root cause of the crisis was the villagers themselves and it was their shared responsibility to respond appropriately to tackle the crisis.

Save the Children served an integral role in developing an ecologically viable strategy for the Khao Din village. The villagers began using a new ecologically diversified agroforestry system in which mixtures of trees and crops were planted. The agroforestry system was used in a manner that resembled the structure of the natural forest. For restoring the damages caused to the forest, the villagers facilitated local community protection and management approaches. Using the agroforestry system thus provided numerous benefits for the villagers like reducing household food costs, decreasing agricultural input costs, increasing the ecological stability of the land, and strengthening year-round food security. Due to the diverse benefits, the use of the agroforestry system became increasingly prominent, not only in Khao Din village but in other villages across the country as well. For instance, around twenty-five villages in Nakhon Sawan province have applied a variety of locally designed forms of agroforestry and sustainable agricultural practices on large plots of lands. Such practices have proved to be beneficial in the long run for preventing soil erosion and degradation generated from the overuse of chemical fertilizers. In recent times, due to the practice of agroforestry systems, the regeneration of natural forests has been massive. This has led to the repair of damaged watersheds, the reemergence of extinct species, and the rapid decrease in out-migration.

This example is replicable in Thailand as well as in other countries worldwide. The reason for this is because the story offers some valuable lessons for all of us. The story proves that human activities are the root cause of environmental damage and it is human beings who have to collectively bare the consequences from environmental degradation. It also highlights that degradation caused to the environment can be recognized if there is a sense of awareness among humans that they are responsible for the wellbeing of the natural environment. From this story, we can also learn that generating awareness among humans towards the environment is an imperative for developing a strong human-environment bond; and for gaining increased community support toward environmental protection initiatives. The example is also scalable to the broader international community as countries worldwide can employ similar environmental practices with respect to the EcoTipping Point method and the agroforestry system approach for preventing environmental degradation. Finally, the story places an emphasis on sustainable resource use that is one of the core principles of Thailand’s INDC pledge to the Paris Agreement.

Learn More

To learn more about Thailand’s success story about EcoTipping method please visit http://www.eastwestcenter.org/news-center/east-west-wire/a-thai-villages-ecological-success-story-offers-important-lessons

Thailand Checkup

Thailand—Falling Behind

Thailand signed the Paris Agreement on April 22, 2016 and ratified the Paris Agreement on September 21, 2016. Even before the Paris Agreement ratification, Thailand became a member of the Kyoto Protocol, which was developed in 1997 and came into force in February 16, 2005. Thailand as a member of non-annex party (group of developing countries) ratified the Kyoto Protocol on August 28, 2002 and made the pledge to reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions from 2008 to 2012 by at least 5 percent below 1990 levels. Thailand also made a commitment under the “Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol”, which is from January 1, 2013 to December 31, 2020 and it aims at meeting an overall emissions reduction target of at least 18 percent below the 1990 levels.

Within the given time period from January 1, 2013 to December 31, 2020; non-annex countries such as Thailand have the option of establishing Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects. From the timeframe 2005 to 2020, as an Annex 1 Party’s commitment for the Kyoto Protocol, Thailand was involved in the facilitation of Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects (Saiyasitpanich, 2017). The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) mentioned in Article 12 of the Kyoto Protocol will allow developed Annex B countries with an emission reduction or emission limitation commitment to implement an emission-reduction project in developing countries like Thailand. Examples of CDM activities, which are already in-place in Thailand along with other developing countries typically include rural electrification projects using solar panels and the installation of more energy efficient boilers.
Thailand’s pledge in the Kyoto Protocol compliments the pledge made in the Paris Agreement. This is because both the pledges are still active. The facilitation of CDM projects and at least 5 to 18% emissions reductions under the Kyoto Protocol will significantly help in successfully achieving the emissions reduction target of 20% for the Paris Agreement.

Thailand’s Paris Agreement INDC pledge was drafted by The Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning (ONEP) as part of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The implementation of Thailand’s INDC is regularly monitored by the Thai Government and the UNFCCC. Either group can suggest changes to their INDC, which are then made and finalized by ONEP. The government of Thailand is also responsible for formulating plans in the INDC.  For instance, the government intends to make necessary changes to its INDC plans so that the plans adhere to the sustainable development principle. The sustainable development principle is defined as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. The government will play a lead-role towards actual implementation and evaluation of the INDC plans (Saiyasitpanich, 2017). Finally, for establishing the INDC, Thailand has proposed to remain consistent with the Sufficient Economy Philosophy  (Saiyasitpanich, 2017).
Expert analysts suggest that Thailand facing numerous obstacles and still has a long way to go in terms of successfully complying with its Paris Agreement pledge. A clear-cut roadmap to successfully achieving its INDC’s emissions reduction objectives is lacking. This creates a sense of uncertainty about the emission reduction strategies in place to successfully comply with the Paris Agreement. There are other obstacles that might hinder Thailand’s long-term success in complying with the Paris Agreement. For instance, the ineffectiveness of existing climate change policies due to high budgets and the halting of renewable energy infrastructures is resulting in widespread criticism. There are proposed plans about increasing coal usage from 10% to around 25%, which will prevent Thailand from meeting the INDC targets. Other proposed developmental projects are in place under Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, which will likely increase the amount of greenhouse gas emissions in the near future. The “Get Back Forest Policy” has received enormous criticisms by political opponents as well as strong resentment on behalf of indigenous communities as their land rights are being violated where the lands of indigenous communities in forests are being taken away to increase the forest area up to 40% of state territory. Finally, the Government policies with respect to the Paris Agreement have led to large-scale anger on behalf of small-scale marginalized farmers as they feel that they are being neglected. Therefore, in order for Thailand to comply with the Paris Agreement the government’s policies need to be more transparent, inclusive, holistic and bottom-up. The top-down approach, which is currently in place, excludes the voices of different sectors of the society. Only with these change will the government’s policies will be able to gain stronger support from all sectors of society. This in turn will help with the successful implementation of policies that will meet Thailand’s Paris Agreement pledge.

Learn More

To learn more about the presentation by Dr. Phirun Saiyasitpanich; and to know more about Thailand’s steps to comply with the Paris Agreement in 2015 please visit http://www4.unfccc.int/submissions/INDC/Published%20Documents/Thailand/1/Thailand_INDC.pdf
To learn more about the Clean Development Project please visit http://unfccc.int/kyoto_protocol/mechanisms/clean_development_mechanism/items/2718.php
To learn more about the National Appropriate Mitigation Action (NAMA) please visit http://unfccc.int/focus/mitigation/items/7172.php
To learn more about Thailand’s pledge in the Kyoto Protocol please visit http://www.tgo.or.th/2015/english/content.php?s1=31&s2=73&sub3=sub3
To learn more about Thailand’s INDC please visit http://www4.unfccc.int/ndcregistry/PublishedDocuments/Thailand%20First/Thailand_INDC.pdf
To learn more about the obstacles which might hinder Thailand’s long-term success to comply with the Paris Agreement please visit http://earthjournalism.net/stories/thailand-will-have-a-lot-to-do-following-adoption-of-the-new-paris-climate-agreement-on-saturday-while-looking-forward-to-collaborate-in-the-next-year-climate-talk-as-a-chair-of-g77
To learn more about the Sufficient Economy Philosophy please visit https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/partnership/?p=2126 and to learn about the Sufficient Economy in Thailand’s context please visit https://www.oxfordbusinessgroup.com/overview/middle-way-applying-king%E2%80%99s-philosophy-sufficiency-economy-long-term-sustainable-development
To learn more about Thailand’s 11th National Economic and Social Development Plan please visit http://www.asialeds.org/resource/eleventh-national-economic-and-social-development-plan-2012-2016-thailand/

Thailand Emission Reduction Policy

Low-Carbon Green Growth Policies  

Low carbon green growth policies are currently in use in various Thai government programs. Thailand will be able to achieve significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions if the government can scale-up the use of these policies. There are several ways in which green low-carbon growth policies are significant for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. First, low-carbon green growth policies help in the facilitation of infrastructures that are carbon-free. This ensures sustainable economic development in the long-run. Second, the low-carbon green growth policies, if scaled-up, can be an appropriate solution in terms of improving the country’s energy efficiency and providing viable technologies that will help to curb vast amounts of greenhouse gas emissions. Similarly, the transportation sector in Thailand generates a major proportion of greenhouse gas emissions in urban areas including in cities like Bangkok. If a scaled-up and low-carbon green growth policies are in place, around 25% of greenhouse gas emissions will be reduced in Bangkok with respect to Bangkok’s 2020 baseline. This can be achieved by: increasing fuel efficiency to meet future European Union fuel economy standards; fuel tax and road pricing policies can be implemented through increased vehicle registration fees, congestion charges and parking fees; and developing energy-efficient public transport infrastructures. Finally, the scaling-up of low-carbon green growth policies can also decrease Thailand’s large-scale greenhouse gas emissions by offering effective power generation sources that use low-carbon technologies and clean renewable energy.

Thai Government’s policymaking process includes three major steps that outlines the proposed plans for scaling-up low-carbon green growth policy. The first step is the setting up of an Inter-Ministerial Committee on green growth, which is chaired by the Prime Minister. In this step, the green growth action plans in place under the national economic and social development plan led by the NESDB should be integrated with the National Strategy for Climate Change Management led by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment. This will help in mainstreaming the green low-carbon growth policy with the 11th Five Year Plan, which has been implemented by NESDB. The second step is for the national green growth policy and strategy to take a holistic approach, which looks into the most cost-effective interventions and sectors. Such a holistic approach will be required to successfully fulfill the scaling-up of low-carbon green growth policy objectives. The third step is that urban transport and it’s roles and responsibilities should be listed as a priority green growth investment sector by central and local governments. This step will ensure that both central and local governments in Thailand address urban transport issues from a green growth perspective.

Learn More
http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/576401468120848097/pdf/662200WP0p12440e0Clean0Energy0all07.pdf

Thailand Extreme Weather Event

Extreme Rainfall and Flooding

A recent example of climate change related extreme weather in Thailand happened in December 2016. Twelve of Thailand’s 14 southern provinces experienced heavy rainfall that lasted for several days. The excessive rainfall led to massive flooding and devastation in these provinces and other regions including central Thailand, areas of the Malay Peninsula, and northern Indonesia. Narathiwat, the southernmost province in Thailand experienced around 226 mm (almost 9 inches) of rainfall in the first two days of December. This flooding event led to significant disruption in rail services in the surrounding area. It damaged around 2,400 hectares of farmlands and more than 360,000 people were severely affected, and approximately 14 deaths occurred. In response to the widespread flooding, the Governor of Thailand’s Surat Thani province identified 16 of the province’s 19 disaster areas; and small boats and vessels were warned not to venture to sea. Heavy rainfall still continued for several days, which increased the risks of landslides and flash floods.

Government policy-makers have expressed an urgent need for the implementation of disaster management policies, which incorporates flood management. However, residents from flood-prone communities have strongly opposed the manner through which these flood management measures has been proposed by the Thai government. One such flood management measure is the construction of flood protection walls, which is associated with growing debates from both sides. To address the necessity of constructing the flood protection walls, Pattanan Thongsawad, a demonstrator and local resident of Thailand’s flood prone village Yucharoen, argued, “We want more concrete walls all the way around our community. That is the only way I’ll feel secure. There will be more rain and more floods and we cannot rely on the government to deal with them”. In contrast, Gernot Laganda, a climate specialist at the United Nations Development Program Office in Bangkok highlighted the cons of building a flood protection wall by arguing, “It will be more important to build strong monitoring systems and to start building climate flexible systems. Instead of building high walls and river defenses today, it will make more sense to strengthen the foundations of existing structures so they can be raised as and when risks become more apparent.” Similarly, Surajit Chirawate, who sits on the senate environmental committee, argues about the cons of constructing a flood protection wall by saying, “People should not fight with the water. They should let it through. That is how we dealt with floods in the past. That is why Bangkok has so many canals. But now rich city dwellers are too distant from nature. What they are doing with their flood protection walls is actually increasing the level of the water”. Such debates are leading to increased uncertainties about the effectiveness of policies in place with respect to flood management measures. Therefore, Thailand still has a long road ahead for implementing an effective natural disaster management and flood control policy that will be successful in the long-run. Developing such policies will require a more transparent process, which can be achieved through joint collaboration between the residents from vulnerable flood-prone communities, citizens, Thai Government, policymakers, environmental planners and concerned stakeholders.

Learn More

To learn more about the recent flooding event in Thailand, which occurred in December 2016, please visit http://www.air-worldwide.com/Blog/Floods-in-Thailand-Are-Regular-Natural-Disasters/

To learn more about the 2011 flooding in Thailand, the flood management measures proposed by the government post-2011 flooding and the growing debates associated with these measures, please visit http://www.climatecentral.org/news/partner-news/thailand-seeks-flood-prevention-plan-as-bangkok-clean-up-operation-con

Thailand Subnational Best Practices

Cities

Bangkok—Bangkok is one of the leading cities in Thailand and it is taking steps for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. In this regard, the BKK Action Plan on Global Warming from 2007 to 2012 was implemented for the city of Bangkok. The objective of this Action Plan is voluntary and it aims to reduce Greenhouse Gas emissions (GHG) below the 2012 emission level by 15% or around 10 mil tCO2e/year. Bangkok recently received US $300 million from the Clean Technology Fund (CTF) around which US $70 million will be used to support the Urban Transformation for Bangkok. To achieve this, the key emphasis for the city of Bangkok will be on efficient and clean Urban Transport (i.e. Bus Rapid Transit System) along with the improvement of Building Energy Efficiency.

Contact
For more information regarding the urban transformation which is taking place in Bangkok in the context of reducing GHG emissions, Chanin Manopiniwes
Address: World Bank Office, 30th Floor, Siam Tower, 989 Rama 1 Road, Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330
Telephone: 66 (0) 2686 8300 and fax at 66 (0) 2686 8301
Email: cmanopiniwes@worldbank.org

Muangklang—In the Rayong Province in Thailand, Muangklang is a small-sized municipality. The Muangklang municipality is taking effective steps for reducing GHG emissions. To achieve this, Muangklang, which is under the leadership of a local government supportive of sustainability principles, partnered with the Thailand Greenhouse Gas Management Organization (TGO) to implement the Low Carbon City approach. The main objectives of the Low Carbon City approach are to enhance the city’s good practices and create a model that other small cities in Thailand can replicate and follow.

Contact
For more information regarding the Low Carbon City approach in Thailand’s Rayong Province, contact CDKN Asia
Address: Pakistan’s LEAD House F 7, Markaz, Islamabad 44000
Telephone: +92-51-2651511
Email: asia@cdkn.org

Nakhon Sawan—Another city in Thailand that is taking active initiatives to decrease GHG emissions is the central Thai city of Nakhon Sawan. This city is situated at the origin of the Chao Phraya River. It will soon become a flagship “green city” and will be a role model for other cities in Thailand.  Nakhon Sawan received an award of the second ASEAN Certificate of Recognition in the category of Clean Water for Small Cities in 2014 because of the city’s efficient wastewater system. In terms of addressing climate change induced threats like water scarcity, this city has policies in place regarding efficient supply of water, and the systematic use and management of water resources. These policies include access to good water quality for consumers; protection of water resources; wastewater treatment before discharge; construction and operation of a water supply system to cover the city’s area; and acquisition of raw water resources to feed the water supply that fulfills Thailand and World Health Organization standards. There also are plans for developing a low-carbon strategy in Nakhon Sawan city. To stress upon the facilitation of low-carbon strategy, Tanapat Saengkiettiyuth who is the Head of Water Quality Management Subdivision of Nakhon Sawan says he wants the city to become a “city of trees” at a ratio of at least five square meters of greenery or park per resident. Recycled water from the wastewater plant would be used for the irrigation of these parks. Similarly, this city has a plan in place to address waste generation concerns. The aim of this plan is to reduce solid waste by at least 10% through the switch from plastic bags to paper bags and to facilitate sustainable consumption by using non-toxic vegetable farming.

Contact
For more information regarding initiatives that Nakhon Sawan is taking for GHG emissions reduction contact the Environment Division of the ASEAN Secreteriat
Telephone: +62-21 7243372, +62-21 7262991
Email: public@asean.org

Associations

Asian Cities Climate Resilience Network—A leading network that works in the field of climate change in Thailand is Asian Cities Climate Change Resilience Network (ACCCRN). ACCCRN has had projects in Thai cities like Hat Yai and Chiang Rai from 2009 to 2016 that have been funded by The Rockefeller Foundation. ACCCRN’s main objective is related to sharing success stories along with encouraging cities in different parts of the world to take effective measures and initiatives in terms of mitigating, coping or adapting with climate change.

Contact
Website: https://www.acccrn.net/country/thailand

Thailand Greenhouse Gas Management Organization—Another influential association that is undertaking national-level project activities in Thailand is the Thailand Greenhouse Gas Management Organization (TGO). The key vision of TGO is to develop effective greenhouse gas management strategies for the purpose of benefitting the economy, saving the environment and protecting the society at large. The activities of TGO include facilitating development projects, as well as adopting strategies for marketing and trading greenhouse gas emissions; providing the public with information about the operation of greenhouse gas; giving advice to the respective government departments and the private sector about how to manage greenhouse gas emissions.

Contact
Website: http://www.tgo.or.th

Learn More

1)    To know more about climate change initiatives Bangkok is taking:
http://siteresources.worldbank.org/INTCARBONFINANCE/Resources/Chanin_Manopiniwes_Nat_Pinnoi_Bangkok_Urban_Transformation.pdf

2)    To know more about climate change initiatives in Muangklang Municipality:
http://cdkn.org/2013/03/feature-thailands-low-carbon-city-initiative/?loclang=en_gb

3)    To know more about climate change initiatives in Nakhon Sawan:
http://investvine.com/thai-city-excels-in-environmental-strategy/

4)    To know more about the awards received by cities in Thailand for their climate change best practices:
http://environment.asean.org/asean-working-group-on-environmentally-sustainable-cities/

5)    To know more about the city of Songkhla going green and the Green City Action Plans (GCAP):
https://www.adb.org/sites/default/files/related/41570/imt-gt-green-cities-initiative-brochure-2016.pdf

6)    To know more about the climate change initiatives of Thai cities like Phuket and Phitsanulok:
http://environment.asean.org/recipients-of-asean-esc-award-2011/

7)    To know more about the Climate Change Master Plan 2013-2023 for Bangkok and the Green Growth Project for Bangkok:
http://resilientcities2016.iclei.org/fileadmin/sites/resilient-cities/files/Resilient_Cities_2016/PPTs/H2_combined_presentations_Part4.pdf

8)    To know more about the Green City Action Plan specifically for Songkhla and Hat Yai municipalities:
https://www.adb.org/sites/default/files/related/41572/imt-gt-green-city-action-plan-songkhla-hat-yai-municipalities-march-2015.pdf

9)    To know more about strategies related to Climate Change Best Practices in Bangkok and Samui Island:
https://enviroscope.iges.or.jp/contents/APEIS/RISPO/p_report_2nd/14_3_4_1_development_of_environmentally_sustainable.pdf

10)    To know more about the city of Chiang Mai in Thailand and its steps for reducing greenhouse gas emissions:
http://www.citiesforcleanair.org/documents/Chiang%20Mai%20Vision%20for%20Clean%20Air.pdf

11)    To know more about the measures Bangkok, Chiang Rai and Hat Yai are taking to tackle climate change:
http://cleanairasia.org/wpcontent/uploads/portal/files/documents/Climate_Change_Plans_and_Infrastructure_in_Asian_Cities_-_Low_Res.pdf

12)    To know more about the low-carbon strategies developed in Samui Island:
http://aperc.ieej.or.jp/publications/reports/lcmt/Policy_Review_for_Koh_Samui_Thailand.pdf

13)    To know more about the development of solar power in Nakhon Sawan province, Thailand:
http://renewables.seenews.com/news/energy-absolute-to-install-570-mw-of-renewables-by-2017-report-435525

14)    To know more about the climate change initiatives in Chiang Rai, Thailand:
http://citistates.com/award-urban-innovation-2013/

Thailand Leaders and Opponents

Government Official
General Surasak Karnjanarat
Minister of Natural Resources and Environment of Thailand

On April 23, 2016, in an international conference, General Surasak Karnjanarat represented the “Group of 77” developing countries in which Thailand was an integral part along with China. Here, General Karnjanarat stressed the need to implement the Paris Agreement through action on adaptation in developing countries. In order to enhance the Paris Agreement objectives and the ratification process, General Karnjanarat stated the need for lowering global carbon emissions and pursuing efforts to decrease global temperatures. General Karnjanarat further addressed the conference with respect to the Paris Agreement pledge that “the Group of 77 had been the most affected by climate change, and yet, was already undertaking ambitious measures to prevent harm and move towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”. In this regard, General Karnjanarat stated that “Developed countries had a responsibility to support their developing counterparts in their endeavors by emphasizing that in the fight against climate change, the Group of 77 stood ready and willing to play its part and to make a commitment to the present, as well as future generations to come”. During this conference, General Karnjanarat suggested that the most effective way for the Paris Agreement to come into force would be for developed and developing countries to jointly assist and help each other in their efforts for climate change reduction.

Contact: webmaster@mnre.mail.go.th

Climate Program Advocate
Penchom Saetang
Director of Ecological Alert and Recovery Thailand (EARTH)

Penchom Saetang’s work is influential with respect to the Paris Agreement as she proposed community-based climate change awareness strategies that focused on a wide range of areas. These areas include enhancement of neighborhood capacity to collect pollutant data; support of environmental litigation; and advocacy for a national policy to guarantee the public the “right to know” of released pollutants. In order to ensure that citizen concerns are represented in the latest negotiations by industries and the government on climate change, Penchom designed a national campaign for “climate justice”. This campaign raised awareness about climate change issues during the lead up to the Paris Agreement. In this campaign, she works with a wide range of citizen networks across Thailand to see that measurable changes are made for creating a socially and environmentally responsible industry in developing countries.

Contact: penchom.earth@gmail.com   Address: Nonthaburi , 12. Thailand

Climate Program Opponent
Kittisak Rattanakrajangsri
General Secretary of the Indigenous Peoples’ Foundation for Education and Environment (IPF) based in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Kittisak Rattanakrajangsri attended the Paris Climate Conference in 2015 and raised concerns on behalf of the indigenous people of Thailand about the negative implications of the Paris Agreement in 2015. For instance, one of the concerns about the Paris Agreement that was raised by indigenous people representatives like Kittisak was that in such climate agreements there is a lack of a human rights perspective that leaves marginal groups of people in the society behind.

Another concern addressed by the indigenous representatives is that human rights and indigenous peoples’ rights are not recognized in article two of the Paris Agreement’s text, which refers to the implementation of the Agreement for holding global temperature rise. As an outcome, Thailand’s Government implemented policies like the reclaiming of forests that violated the rights of indigenous people and discriminated against them. They were arrested and placed in jail for holding small amount of forest wood for repairing their houses. The representatives highlighted that in most areas indigenous people in Thailand were charged and accused for causing global warming whereas most illegal commercial loggers are not arrested and remain unaccountable. In addtion, Kittisak addressed two flaws of the Thai Government’s policies in relation to the Paris Agreement. One is that “The government has implemented a top-down policy to curb deforestation and climate change.” Another flaw that Kittisak highlighted is that “Indigenous people have already experienced the impact of climate change in the past years. We are trying to adapt our way of life to cope with the changes. But community-based approaches don’t get enough attention at the policy level.” By highlighting these concerns and flaws of the Paris Agreement and the policies of the Thai Government, Kittisak Rattanakrajangsri reveals that unless the rights of indigenous people are equally recognized and given equal consideration, such Climate Agreements will remain ineffective.

Contact: kittisak.rattanakrajangsri@gmail.com

Learn More

To learn more about Penchom Saetang and her work related to climate change visit https://www.ashoka.org/en/fellow/penchom-saetang#intro

To know more about leading Government Official General Surasak Karnjanarat and the Ministry Natural Resources and Environment of Thailand visit http://webeng.mnre.go.th/main.php?filename=contact

To learn more about the speech General Surasak Karnjanarat gave on April 23, 2016 about the Paris Agreement on behalf of the “Group of 77” countries and China visit: http://reliefweb.int/report/world/secretary-general-hails-history-making-ceremony-world-leaders-175-countries-sign-paris

To learn more about the concerns and flaws of the Paris Agreement raised by indigenous peoples’ representatives like Kittisak Rattanakrajangsri visit: http://www.earthjournalism.net/stories/thailand-will-have-a-lot-to-do-following-adoption-of-the-new-paris-climate-agreement-on-saturday-while-looking-forward-to-collaborate-in-the-next-year-climate-talk-as-a-chair-of-g77