Net zero targets
We evaluate the net zero target as: Average
Thailand has submitted a revised LT-LEDS on 7 November 2022 at COP27, containing targets for carbon neutrality by 2050 and net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2065 (ONEP, 2022). The revised targets are an acceleration of Thailand’s first LT-LEDS submitted before COP26, where Thailand committed to a carbon neutrality target for 2065 (Thailand Government, 2021).
The targets have not yet been included in any policy document or law as of mid-November 2022 but will be included in Thailand’s first climate legislation, the Climate Change Act which is currently in review in the Cabinet. If the LT-LEDS targets are passed into law, the CAT’s rating for Thailand’s LTS would become “Advanced”.
Thailand’s carbon neutrality and net-zero targets in its LT-LEDS covers all sectors and many of the key elements constituting a transparent and comprehensive target. Thailand’s strategic goals to reduce emissions towards mid-century and beyond depend heavily on LULUCF sinks and large-scale carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies for the energy sector. Heavy reliance on CCS and LULUCF sinks should be considered a last resort for achieving Thailand’s carbon neutrality and net zero target, as implementation of CCS technologies for Thailand are uncertain and have insofar not proven to be fully effective or economically viable globally. Immediate emission reductions and build-up of clean energy technologies should remain a priority in the medium-term.
An oil and gas CCS project is being explored by the Thai PTT Exploration and Production Public Company Limited at the offshore Arthit field and will likely be designed to create carbon offset units for utilisation under Japan's Joint Crediting Mechanism (JCM) (Mitsui & Co., 2022). Japan is understood to wish to use this pursuant to Article 6.2 of the Paris agreement and is not supporting corresponding adjustments. Hence, there is a substantial risk of double counting of emission reductions. This would mean that emission reductions could be counted both in Thailand and Japan.
Thailand could further improve its carbon neutrality target to enhance transparency, target architecture, and scope. For example, the Thai government neither provides information on whether its targets cover international aviation and shipping nor explains why it considers the target a fair contribution to the global goal of limiting warming to 1.5˚C above pre-industrial levels.
Ten key elements
- Target year – Thailand aims to reach ‘carbon neutrality’ by 2050 and net-zero GHGs by 2065.
- Emissions coverage – The net zero target covers all sectors of the economy including energy, industry processes, agriculture, forestry and land use, and waste, though both targets include separate targets for carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases.
- International aviation and shipping – Thailand provides no information on its intention to cover international aviation and shipping.
- Reductions or removals outside of own borders – The LTS covers different national strategies to reduce or remove GHG emissions domestically. It does not mention any reductions or removals outside of Thailand’s borders.
- Legal status – Thailand included its ‘carbon neutrality’ target for 2050 in its revised Long-term Low Greenhouse Gas Emission Development Strategy, which the Thai government submitted to the UNFCCC in November 2022 (ONEP, 2022). Neither target has been included in any policy document or law as of November 2022, although it is slated to do so in 2023 following the finalisation of the National Energy Plan (being drafted) and the Climate Change Act (in Cabinet review). Once the law is passed, the CAT’s overall rating for Thailand’s LTS would be “advanced”.
- Separate reduction & removal targets – Thailand communicates separate emission reduction and removal targets. It expects to reach a level LULUCF removals of 120 MtCO2e by 2037, which will stabilise until the end of the century. Negative emission technologies, such as BECCS, direct air capture and storage, and enhanced carbon sequestration through afforestation and reforestation, are all noted to play a major role to achieve carbon neutrality and net-zero targets. The LT-LEDS notes that CCS/CCUS will be required to achieve up to 90% GHG emission reduction from the cement industry. Heavy reliance on CCS and LULUCF sinks should be considered a last resort for achieving Thailand’s carbon neutrality and net zero target, as implementation of CCS technologies for Thailand are uncertain and have insofar not proven to be fully effective or economically viable globally. Immediate emission reductions and build-up of clean energy technologies should remain a priority in the medium-term. An oil and gas CCS project is being explored by the Thai PTT at the Arthit field offshore and appears to be designed to create carbon offsets units for utilisation under Japan's Joint Crediting Mechanism (JCM) as a pursuant to Article 6.2 (Mitsui & Co., 2022). This poses substantial risk of double counting of emission reductions, meaning that emission reductions could be counted both in Thailand and in Japan.
- Review process – Thailand’s revised LT-LEDS does not explicitly detail its review cycle, although the first LT-LEDS established a review cycle every 5 years for its long-term strategy (Thailand Government, 2021).
- Carbon dioxide removal – Thailand provides transparent pathways and targets for LULUCF and separately for removals and storage as part of its LTS submitted to the UNFCCC (ONEP, 2022). The Thai government aims to achieve LULUCF sinks of approximately 120 MtCO2e annually by 2037 and assumes these sinks to remain stable through the end of this century. The Thai government provides no assumptions on other carbon dioxide removal and storage technologies.
- Comprehensive planning – In its LT-LEDS, Thailand shows a pathway for economy-wide emissions levels, sectoral emissions levels and LULUCF sinks until 2050 and 2065 (ONEP, 2022). The Thai government provides key mitigation actions and intermediate targets for various sectors, including:
- 50% share of renewable energy from new power plants by 2050,
- share of renewable electricity is estimated to be 68% of total electricity generation in 2040, and 74% in 2050
- market share of battery and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles to be 69% in 2035, with phase down of conventional vehicles
- clinker substitution and substitution of high GWP refrigerants in the industrial processes sector
- replace fossil-fuels partially or completely by renewables, such as biomass and solar, and green hydrogen in manufacturing
- improvement of cooling technologies such as air-conditioners and refrigeration, cooking technologies, electrical devices, and lighting technologies in buildings sector
- Clarity on fairness of target – Thailand makes no reference to fairness or equity in the context of its net zero target.
The Climate Action Tracker has defined the following good practice for all ten key elements of net zero targets. Countries can refer to this good practice to design or enhance their net zero targets.