Thailand on the way to more climate action

The energy transition is picking up speed. Photo: GIZ

Thailand is one of the 15 priority countries of the German Federal Environment Ministry (BMU) and therefore belongs to the countries in which the International Climate Initiative (IKI) shows a particularly strong commitment. 

At the COP26, Thailand has now signalised its intention to become climate neutral by 2050. The target declared by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha is part of the country’s new Long Term Low Emission Development Strategy, which integrates well into a growing climate policy programme that aims to accomplish Thailand’s transformation into a carbon-neutral and climate-resilient economy. Thailand is now using this as a basis to focus on speeding up the implementation of its climate objectives. 

Thailand is currently close to achieving two major milestones in its climate policy; a Climate Act, which is about to be officially passed, and a new national energy plan, which has ambitious targets for the expansion of renewable energies, aiming to accelerate the turnaround in energy policy. In addition, Thailand’s national economic development strategy focuses on “bio, circular and green development” and is considered a model for economic recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic in the region. 

Commitment of the International Climate Initiative 

Climate action has become increasingly important in Thailand in recent years, also nurtured by support from the cooperation between Germany and Thailand. The IKI is currently promoting 31 projects in the area of climate change mitigation and the conservation of biological diversity. These include two bilateral projects worth a combined EUR 26 million and 29 regional or global projects with Thailand as one of several implementing countries. Ten further projects are currently being planned, including two bilateral projects from the Thailand country call (2019) with a combined funding volume of 30 million euros.  

The focus of the IKI portfolio in Thailand is on actions aiming to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including low-emission rice cultivation, sustainable consumption and production chains, transformation to low-carbon buildings, and e-mobility, for instance. Furthermore, projects targeting adaptation to the impacts of climate change, forest protection and biodiversity are being promoted. 

Increase in ambition of nationally determined contributions

Thailand is receiving support from the Thai-German Climate Programme of the GIZ (German Society for International Cooperation), with the specific aim of further increasing the ambition of Thailand’s nationally determined contributions (NDCs). Since 2018, this IKI project has been supporting partners in the country with advice on sustainably anchoring reduction targets in the key sectors of climate policy, agriculture, energy, waste disposal and water management. The project, as a so-called IKI interface project, also promotes the cooperation of all IKI projects throughout Thailand. 

Adaptation to the impacts of climate change

As Thailand is one of the countries most affected by climate change, the relevance of adaptation to its impacts is also extremely high. Coastal towns and cities in Thailand are increasingly threatened by rising sea levels. The IKI will in future be funding nature-based solutions for the increased resilience of municipalities in a bilateral project emerging from the Thailand country call (2019) aiming to make urban areas in particular more resistant to potential flood situations. Apart from planning a green urban infrastructure, measures also include the renaturation of wetland areas and the planting of mangroves, for example, with the intention of strengthening natural CO2 sinks and improving flood protection.

The Thai climate initiative 

Another bilateral project from the Thailand country call (2019) will support the implementation of Thailand’s nationally determined contribution in the future, especially in the areas of energy and transport, comprising the establishment of a national ThaiCI (Thailand Climate Initiative), which is comparable to the German National Climate Initiative (NKI).

Thailand is a member of NACAG

Since 2019, Thailand has been a member of the Nitric Acid Climate Action Group (NACAG), initiated by the BMU, whose goal is a climate-friendly modification of nitric acid production. In the long term, it is estimated that 180,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalents in nitrous oxide emissions will be saved each year.