To the surprise of many, Thailand announced at the recent COP26 climate summit in Glasgow that it would increase its long-term ambition on climate action — pledging to reach carbon neutrality by 2050 and to achieve an economy with net-zero GHG emissions by or before 2065.
While this was a welcome and serious declaration of climate ambition, these sorts of commitments are so far out in the future that they are hard to place in a tangible context. What do the plethora of recent commitments — by governments — to achieve net-zero emissions by mid-century mean for the average person in Thailand, or in any country?
When you dig into most of these mid-century commitments — whether by governments or corporations — there is often little, if any, detail presented on how the current ways in which we live and do daily business will change next year, or within five years, in order for the realisation of these promises to begin. And writers on this editorial page have recently criticised Thailand for avoiding any potentially painful commitments to joint international action at COP26 on deforestation, methane reduction, and coal phase-out. In this context then, what does the recent Thai pledge to reach carbon neutrality by 2050 mean for Thailand?
PETER DU PONT