Leading Emission Reduction Challenges: (a) Rising consumer/ industrial energy sector demand.
Current Greenhouse Gas Emission Levels
As determined from the global carbon atlas, Thailand’s recent level of greenhouse gas emissions from the year 2014 has been approximately 337 MtCO2. In this regard, Thailand’s national greenhouse gas emissions were only 0.84% of global emissions in 2012, and in 2015 it was 0.64% of global emissions. From 1990-2012 Thailand’s share of cumulative emissions was 0.75%. Thailand’s per capita GHG emissions in 2012 were 5.63 tco2e and emissions per GDP (US$ million) were 409.54 tco2e which were lower than the world average. With respect to the emission profile, the Second National Communication indicates that 67% of Thailand’s total GHG emissions in 2000 were from the energy sector. In 2012, data obtained from CAIT determined around 73% were from the energy sector. Here, Thailand aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which are generated from the energy sector, which includes transport.
Emission Reduction Challenges
One of the major problems associated with Thailand’s reductions in greenhouse gas emissions is energy security. To tackle the issues of energy security, the Government of Thailand initiated a shift to natural gas in the power generation sector as early as the 1980s. This effort continued throughout the 1990s. In 2005, about 72% of electricity in Thailand was generated using natural gas. These early actions in the energy sector created major challenges as Thailand is left with less available choices and faced with higher marginal costs of further reducing GHG emission in the energy sector.
To make energy more efficient Thailand’s Ministry of Energy introduced the Power Development Plan, which sets a target for achieving a 20% share of power generation from renewable sources in 2036. The Ministry also introduced the Alternative Energy Development Plan (AEDP) and the Energy Efficiency Plan (EEP). The AEDP aims to achieve a 30% share of renewable energy in the total final energy consumption in 2036. The EEP plans to reduce Thailand’s energy intensity by 30% below the 2010 level by 2036.
Another problem, which hinders Thailand’s reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, is the high costs and capacity constraints in the energy sector. For instance, very high investment and operating costs, particularly costs of technologies and infrastructures, can serve as a significant barrier to investments in renewable energy. Since Thailand is a developing country, it lacks the high technical capacity and effective coordination, which are required to support energy efficiency reforms. To address this problem, Thailand has domestically launched support mechanisms like feed-in tariffs, tax incentives and access to investment grants and venture capital for promoting renewable energy expansion. However, Thailand still has a long way to go in terms of establishing effective energy measures. Finally, in terms of the Paris Agreement pledge, no concrete roadmap has been prepared by the Thai government thus resulting in delays in the ratification process.
—Submitted by Climate Scorecard Country Manager Neebir Banerjee