Thailand’s overall climate performance is weak despite some good intentions. Thailand did not raise ambition with its updated NDC. Its old and new target does not reflect a fair share contribution. In addition, Thailand is not projected to reach its targets under current policies, but only with its planned policies, which are not yet implemented and due to be revised. The country must deliver more on its mitigation policies to reach its climate targets. Thailand’s current policies projections falling short of its climate commitments is a disappointing trend as the country had set an initially high BAU baseline, even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, for its NDC targets. The country’s recent shift in power sector planning, from a dependency on coal to natural gas over the next two decades, lowers overall emission pathways but nevertheless exacerbates fossil-fuel (gas) lock-in and delays meaningful decarbonisation efforts.
However, Thailand has shown a recent intent to get on track: the government is in the process of drafting a range of important climate-relevant documents, including its Climate Change Act, National Energy Plan (and subsumed energy documents), and Long-Term Low Greenhouse Gas Emissions Development Strategy (LT-LEDS), which will define the country’s climate planning for the foreseeable future.
Until the next wave of Thailand’s climate strategies and its accompanying mitigation policies are implemented and strengthened, the CAT rates Thailand’s climate targets and policies as “Critically Insufficient”.
The CAT rates Thailand’s overall rating as “Critically insufficient”, indicating that Thailand’s current climate policies and commitments reflect minimal action and are not at all consistent with the Paris Agreement.
Under Thailand’s current targets and policies, emissions will continue to rise and are consistent with more than 4°C warming. For Thailand to improve its rating, it needs to increase the targets in its first (unchanged) update of its NDC to reflect recent growing national ambition as well as innovation and economic trends in the energy sector.
Thailand also needs to establish the associated policies needed to curb its expected growth in emissions and plan for the long-term towards deep decarbonisation. As a first step, the country needs to not only solidify its energy and power sector policy plans but to revise and strengthen them to move away from decades of envisaged fossil fuel dependence. The submission of a well-designed and robust Long-Term Low Greenhouse Gas Emissions Development Strategy (LT-LEDS), due in 2021, can further improve Thailand’s rating as well as the continued positive trend in its LULUCF sector.
Thailand has announced several major policies aiming at increasing climate ambition and sustainable development in recent years but is off track in achieving its climate targets and shows little indication of implementation progress towards Paris-compatibility. We rate Thailand’s policies and action as “Critically insufficient”.
Thailand has plans to expand renewable energy generation, reduce energy intensity of energy sub-sectors, move towards 100% EV sales starting in 2035, and continue expansion of carbon sinks in the forestry sector. The government has also announced its preparation of a Climate Change Act, the drafting a long-term low-carbon strategy, which is expected to provide a low-carbon roadmap towards 2050, and a possible revision of its 20-year National Strategy and National Economic and Social Development Plan to reflect the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. It remains uncertain whether this will affect the country’s climate targets and underlying BAU trajectory.
However, Thailand’s current and planned policies fall significantly short of any criteria for Paris Agreement-compatibility, and result in an increase in domestic emissions towards 2030. The country’s recent shift in power sector planning from a dependency on coal to natural gas over the next two decades lowers overall emission pathways but nevertheless exacerbates fossil-fuel (gas) lock-in, and delays meaningful decarbonisation efforts. Institutional and system planning barriers for renewables remain high, leading to projections for insufficient development of clean energy technologies at too late a period according to the Paris Agreement.
We rate Thailand’s policies and action as “Critically insufficient”. The “Critically insufficient” rating indicates that Thailand’s policies and action in 2030 reflect minimal to no action and are not at all consistent with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C temperature limit.
The country’s emissions rise in both its current and planned policy projections and is significantly off track when compared with modelled pathways. If all countries were to follow Thailand’s approach, warming would exceed 4°C. The country needs to implement more stringent policies, for which it will also need additional support.
The full policies and action analysis can be found here.
We rate Thailand’s 2030 conditional and unconditional targets as “Critically insufficient”. The “Critically insufficient” rating indicates that Thailand’s internationally supported and fair share targets in 2030 reflects minimal mitigation action and is not at all consistent with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C temperature limit.
Thailand’s conditional and unconditional targets remain based on an inflated BAU that is significantly higher than its current and planned policy projections, even before the onset of COVID-19. Economic trends post-pandemic now lend even more weight to the possibility that the BAU is unrealistic and should be revised downward, with a corresponding strengthening of its emission reduction targets. If all countries were to follow Thailand’s current approach, warming would exceed 4°C.
Over the last 20 years, Thailand has had an average LULUCF sink that is more than 20% larger than all other emissions. Thailand should work toward maintaining this sink. For more information about forestry activities in Thailand, please see the policies & action section.
Thailand does not have a net zero target. However, the Thai government is currently elaborating a long-term Greenhouse Gas Emission Development Strategy to help Thailand reach carbon neutrality. The draft is expected to be presented at the COP26 in November 2021 and should contain a peak target, as well as annual emissions reduction targets.