Thailand

Overall rating
Critically insufficient
Policies & actions
Critically insufficient
4°C+ World
Internationally supported target
Insufficient
< 3°C World
Fair share target
Critically insufficient
4°C+ World
Climate finance
Not applicable
Net zero target

year

2065

Comprehensiveness rated as

Average
Land use & forestry

historically considered a

Sink

Historical emissions

To first establish historical emissions from 1990–2000, data excl. the LULUCF sector for 1994 and 2000 was obtained from Thailand’s Second Biennial Update Report (BUR2), with emissions interpolated in between (ONEP, 2017). Historical emissions from 1990 to 1994 were extrapolated backwards based on emission trends. The time series was harmonized to Thailand’s Third Biennial Update Report (BUR3), in AR4 GWPs, by applying emissions growth rates backwards from the BUR3’s earliest inventory year (2000) to the base year of 1990 (Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, 2020b). Historical emissions data from 2000–2016 were taken from the BUR3. From 2016 to 2021, all GHGs follow the growth rates of PRIMAP-hist national historical emissions time series (Gütschow and Pflüger, 2022).

NDC and other targets

Thailand’s 2020 NAMA targets, 7–20% under business-as-usual (BAU) (applying to the energy and transport sector) are quantified (Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, 2014). As there is no BAU published for 2020, we calculate the value in 2020 based on reports from BUR3 that the country had achieved a 15.76% GHG emission reduction from BAU as of 2018 (Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, 2020b). Based on our calculations, the BAU for 2020 was set at 469 MtCO2e/year excl. LULUCF, implying 2020 emission level targets of between 375 to 436 MtCO2e/year. According to our analysis, Thailand overachieved the range of its targets with emission levels at 342 MtCO2e/year in 2020, largely due to the economic down-turn caused by COVID-19. Prior to COVID-19, Thailand was on track to be safely within the range.

The Second NDC targets for 2030 consists of a 30% unconditional and 40% conditional target in emissions reduction under BAU (Government of the Kingdom of Thailand, 2022). The targets exclude emissions from LULUCF. As noted in Thailand’s NDC submission, the BAU for 2030 was set at 555 MtCO2e/year excluding LULUCF, implying unconditional and conditional targets of 389 and 333 MtCO2e/year respectively.

Thailand’s LT-LEDS (revised) we build the emissions pathway from 2030 to 2065 based on modelling results from ONEP and confirmed in the official document. Data points include CO2 and GHG emissions over five-year timesteps. The level of LULUCF sinks are also extracted from documents along the same time series, stabilising at -120 MtCO2/yr after 2037 (ONEP, 2022). As the CAT excludes LULUCF (see explanation), we calculate GHG emission levels at five year timesteps from 2030 to 2065 by subtracting LULUCF sinks from net GHGs. We linearly interpolate emission levels between the timesteps as data is not available on an annual resolution.

Policies and action projections

Thailand’s current policy projections (CPP) uses APEC Energy Outlook (2019) BAU scenario (includes current policies) to establish historical (from 2015) and projected data (to 2035) for electricity generation and final energy consumption by fuel as well as total economy-wide emissions (excl. LULUCF). Electricity generation shares by fuel for 2020 is adjusted to the latest updated statistics from BP (2020) and Ember (Ember, 2021) as APEC’s historical data is outdated. Final energy consumption is not adjusted to other sources, such as BP (2020) and official statistics from the Energy Policy and Planning Office (EPPO) and Electricity Generation Authority of Thailand (EGAT) due to large differences in inventory and accounting methods (EPPO, 2021). As a sensitivity check, 2020 values were cross-referenced with historical data from the Department of Alternative Energy Development and Efficiency (DEDE) from the Ministry of Energy (MoE), which are closely matched (e.g. Ministry of Energy, 2019b). Values were extrapolated with 5-year historical trends to 2037 to compare numbers with Thailand’s long-term energy planning horizon.

Electricity emission factors for fossil fuels use IEA’s World Energy Outlook for Southeast Asia (2019), given no better sources and EGAT’s historical statistics does not include technology breakdowns for Independent, Small, and Very Small power producers. Factors for 2020 are assumed to be the same as those for 2025 since Thailand’s emission intensity should be better than the regional average. Factors for 2037 are assumed to be the same as 2035.

Planned policy projections

Thailand’s planned policy projections (PPP) follow the Power Development Plan (PDP) and Alternative Energy Development Plan (AEDP), with the following share targets to be achieved in 2037 (Ministry of Energy, 2019c, 2019a):

  • Generation
  • Energy consumption

For generation, the PPP matches the CPP for all historical years until 2020 before specific fuel shares are expected to reach their targets linearly to 2037. Total generation from the power sector also matches CPP. Compared to the CPP, the PPP projects lower electricity generation for fossil fuel sources and also a larger reliance on gas compared to coal. For end-use sector consumption, historical data and projected total energy consumption data is also matched to the CPP, while we assume renewable energy share targets are reached linearly to 2037. The mix of fuel shares for fossil fuels are assumed to mirror the mix of the CPP over time. Overall, fossil fuel shares in energy consumption are lower than the CPP by 13% due to the large renewables target.

The PPP uses the same methodology for electricity emission factors as the CPP to quantify emissions. The policies used for the PPP are already in force; however, energy sector transformation has yet to be realised. In addition, new unconfirmed high-level strategies, such as the National Energy Plan, may come with a revision of the PDP and AEDP. The COVID-pandemic aftermath and global energy crisis are also affecting the speed of energy transition in recent years. Until there is more certainty on these policies, the PDP and AEDP 2018 will stay as Thailand’s PPP pathway instead of the CPP.

COVID-19 impact

We applied a novel method to estimate the COVID-19 related dip in greenhouse gas emissions until 2030. The uncertainty surrounding the severity and length of the pandemic creates a new level of uncertainty for current and future greenhouse gas emissions.

We take 2021 as the last historical data point and for emissions between 2022 and 2030, we first update the current and planned policy projections using the most recent projections, usually prepared before the pandemic. We then distil the emission intensity (GHG emissions/GDP) from this pre-pandemic scenario and apply to it most recent GDP projections that take into account the effect of the pandemic. To capture potential differentiated effects of COVID-19 on the economy, the lower bound of the current and planned projects capture the effects if COVID continues its impacts on the entire economy, while the upper bound captures the impacts of COVID-19 only on the energy and industry sectors (which consist of the significant majority of Thailand’s CO2 emissions), assuming the agriculture and waste sectors are unaffected. The GDP projections from Thailand’s NESDC (2022) of 2.7% for 2022 were used to create the lower bound of our policy projections while the Board of Investment’s (2022) projection of 3.3% was the most optimistic estimate, creating the upper bound. For 2023, the lower bound uses the Board of Investment’s 4.2% estimate while the upper bound uses the Asian Development Bank’s 4.5% (2022). The forecast going forward relies on IMF (2021) projections until 2027.

Global Warming Potentials values

The CAT uses Global Warming Potential (GWP) values from the IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) for all its figures and time series. Assessments completed prior to December 2018 (COP24) used GWP values from the Second Assessment Report (SAR).

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