Wednesday, January 09, 2008

First strategic plan to combat climate change nears approval


First strategic plan to combat climate change nears approval


The cabinet will endorse the country's first strategic plan to combat climate change later this month, Science and Technology Minister Yongyuth Yuthavong said yesterday. The five-year plan will cover six areas and include promoting public awareness of climate change, research and preventive measures to reduce its impact.

Mr Yongyuth, who oversees the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry, said the completed plan would be ready for the new government to implement, or change if need be.

''No government can afford to ignore the problem of climate change. It should urgently spell out effective measures to deal with it,'' Mr Yongyuth said.

Thailand, which was ranked 22nd among the world's top carbon dioxide emitters, was likely to soon face strong pressure from the global community to make a commitment on greenhouse gases reduction.

According to a UN report, the country's carbon dioxide emissions have risen rapidly, averaging 12.8% a year during the 1990-2004 period.

The United States is still the world's number one with 6,046 tonnes of emission a year, followed by China (5,007 tonnes), and Russia (1,524 tonnes). However, Thailand's per capita emission stands at 4.2 tonnes a year, higher than China (3.8 tonnes), Indonesia (1.7 tonnes) and India (1.2 tonnes).

''We are going to examine the environment law, to see whether it covers greenhouse gases emission.

''However, we have to handle the problem carefully to ensure that the amended law will not compromise our economic growth,'' said the minister, referring in particular to the concept of carbon emission tax.

Five ministries have jointly drafted the plan _ Natural Resources and Environment, Science and Technology, Agriculture and Cooperatives, Public Health, and Energy.

Under the plan, the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry would be responsible for areas directly affected by climate change, while Agriculture and Cooperatives would develop and conduct research on crops that can cope with the climate change.

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