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         THERE ARE NOT SO MANY INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCES WHOSE AGENDAS HAVE AN IMPACT ON EACH AND EVERY HUMAN BEING.

         “The United Nations Climate Change Conference, often referred to as COP”, stands out as one of such as leaders of governments, organizations, agencies, and parties concerned from around the world gather yearly to tackle the pressing issues relating to the global warming. This is a subject resulting from excessive global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions arising from growing human activities. Extreme climate change has ensued more often, and natural disasters have grown in intensity.

         The rise in temperature affects crop production, threatens water resources, impacts the world’s food security, puts the Arctic sea ice in a precarious position, causes the migration of flora and fauna from their habitats and thus giving rise to the development of new diseases.

         Thailand’s share of GHG emissions stands at about 0.8% of the world’s total, and ranks 22nd in the global list that sees China and the United States being at the top with a combined share of 40%. Though its share is relatively small, the Kingdom has ratified the global agreement to stop the climate change as part a concerted effort to preserve the earth for the next generation.

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         STEMMING GHG ON GLOBAL STAGE

         The Conference of the Parties (COP) to the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change can be regarded as the world summit of its kind as leaders from nearly 200 countries around the world including Thailand taking part. The 23rd session of COP took place on November 6 - 17, 2017 in Bonn, Germany and hosted by Fiji.

         The focal point of the Bonn forum centered on the Paris Agreement, recognized as a turning point in charting the direction for limiting the global temperature increase.

         At the COP 21, held in Paris, France between November 30 and December 12, 2015, three main goals were endorsed. They are:

  • Keeping global temperature rises to below 2 degree Celsius or even 1.5 degree Celsius if possible by 2100 compared to the pre - industrial era
  • Raising the capability to adjust one - self to the negative impacts arising from the global warming and boosting immunity against climate change without affecting food production
  • Encouraging capital investment that leads to low - carbon development while calling for developing countries to set a target for emissions reduction or limitation, through the “Nationally determined contribution” or “NDC” voluntarily

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         The Paris Agreement and COP 22 have led to the creation in 2018 of the “Paris Rulebook,” which spells out requisites required for the successful implementation of GHG emissions reduction. At the COP 23 in 2017, member countries negotiated to find practical guidelines to measure and report GHG data along with processes of each individual country to work out to achieve the NDC. It is important that all negotiating parties understand the connections of factors laid down in the Paris Agreement and transparency in the implementation as well.

         The successful establishment of the Paris Rulebook in 2018 represents a stride forwards for the realization of the Paris Agreement.

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         THAILAND’S PARTICIPATION

         On December 9, 2014, General Dapong Ratanasuwan, the then Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, represented Thailand to present Thailand Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action, or Thailand NAMA, to the COP 20. The action plan detailed Thailand’s effort to reduce GHG in the energy and transportation sectors by 7-20% as compared to the “Business as Usual” (BAU) levels in 2029.

         At the subsequent COP 21, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha expressed Thailand’s intention to cut back its GHG emissions under the NDC goal in all economic sectors by 20-25%, or 111-139 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, in 2030.

         To ensure that Thailand’s GHG reduction is realized, the Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning, was entrusted to serve as a national focal point to prepare the master plan for dealing with the climate change in the period spanning from 2015 to 2050. The master plan creates a long - term framework for solving problems involved and in compliance with the commitments under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Furthermore, a roadmap to the GHG reduction during 2021 and 2030 will be drawn up in line with the national goals for all parties concerned to use as a reference.

         Essentially, such a roadmap will serve to fulfill Thailand’s target contained in the NDCs — reducing overall GHG emissions by 20.8%, or 115.6 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalents, by 2030. More specifically, the GHG emissions in the energy and transport sectors will be stemmed by 20.4% (113 million tons); waste management by 0.3% (2 million tons) and industrial process by 0.1% (0.6 million tons).

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         EGAT PLAYS ITS PART

         In response to Thailand NAMA commitments, the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) has included GHG management as a crucial part of its strategy that strives to achieve sustainable growth. A master plan for GHG management has been put in place at EGAT, with the initial 5-year phase rolled out in 2016, followed by a long - term roadmap that is due for implementation between 2018 and 2030 to fall in line with the goal to trim GHG emissions by 20 - 25% at the end of the period.

         In addition, EGAT has joined hands with Thailand Greenhouse Gas Management Organization (TGO) to come up with an evaluation of GHG emissions reduction under the Power Development Plan (PDP 2015). EGAT has reckoned the potential in reducing GHG emissions from its system by 4 million tons of CO2 equivalent in 2020. That would be achieved by means of boosting the profile of renewable energy; using clean technology power plants; undergoing energy efficiency improvement programs; and applying the energy efficient labelling.

         Vigorous implementation of these plans has enabled EGAT to cut back GHG emissions by 422,553 tons in 2013, 3.22 million tons in 2014 and 3.38 million tons in 2015 and 3.95 million tons in 2016.

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         EGAT took part at COP 23 as representative of Thailand’s power generation sector and a core organization driving GHG emissions in the most meaning way. Mr. Kotchayut Buribunjatuporn, Deputy Governor for Power Plant Development, led the EGAT delegation to the conference in pursuit of GHG emissions reduction commitments. Meanwhile, EGAT, in collaboration with TGO and the Office of Climate Change Management and Coordination, hosted a seminar entitled “Moving towards Energy 4.0 for Climate Change Resolution.”

         The forum presented a master plan to deal with the climate change while showcasing successful outcome of the action taken so far through a national pavilion.

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         GHG CUTBACK MUST BE WITHIN CAPABILITY

         Dr. Phirun Saiyasitpanich, Director of Climate Change Management and Coordination, said in an interview conducted at COP 23 in Germany that Thailand managed to reduce GHG emissions by 40 million tons in 2015, up from 37 million tons recorded in 2014. He said this was a result of cooperation by several parties including EGAT which rolled out two additional measures - the No. 5 energy saving labelling and measures to boost power generation from clean technology, as well as the greater role played by renewable energy. All of these are making a worthwhile contribution to turn the NDC goal for reducing the emissions by 111 million tons in 2030 to reality.

         For concerns that the development of power plants in Thailand, particularly coal fired ones, may contravene with the GHG emissions reduction, it should be noted that the Paris Agreement clearly states that any attempt to stem GHG needs to take into consideration the energy security of one country as well. That means the reduction must be carried out in parallel with no threat to the security of energy supplies of a country.

         “When it comes to achieve the GHG emissions cutback, we need to take a bird’s eye view with national interest being at the forefront.

         “We need to set a target that is achievable, realistic, challenging, and acceptable by the world,” he noted.

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