Skip to content

What is Thailandʼs pathway to limit global warming to 1.5°C?

Last update: December 2021

Ambition gap

Thailandʼs total GHG emissions

excl. LULUCF MtCO₂e/yr

More information about this graph and itʼs underlying data
Download the data and graph as image
Displayed values
Reference year
−100%−50%0%50%19902010203020502070
Reference year
2015
1.5°C emissions level
−49%
NDC (conditional)
+22%
NDC (unconditional)
+30%
Ambition gap
−71%
  • 1.5°C compatible pathways
  • Middle of the 1.5°C compatible range
  • Current policy projections
  • 1.5°C emissions range
  • Historical emissions

*Net zero emissions excl LULUCF is achieved through deployment of BECCS; other novel CDR is not included in these pathways

Summary

In October 2020, Thailand resubmitted its previous NDC to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 20% below business-as-usual levels by 2030, which didn’t not represent an increase in ambition. With international support, this target is increased from 20% to 25%.1 Overall, the NDC is equivalent to 416 MtCO₂e/yr by 2030, conditional on international support.2

1 Government of the Kingdom of Thailand. Thailand’s Updated First Nationally Determined Contribution. (2020).

2 Climate Action Tracker. Thailand. Climate Action Tracker. (2021).

3 Thailand Government. Mid-century, Long-term Low Greenhouse Gas Emission Development Strategy Thailand. (2021).

4 Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment. Thailand Third Biennial Update Report. (2020).

5 International Energy Agency. Thailand – Countries & Regions – IEA. (2021).

6 Ministry of Energy. Power Development Plan Revision 1.(2018).

7 The Diplomat. Thailand’s Renewable Energy Transitions: A Pathway to Realize Thailand 4.0. (2019).

8 IEA. Thailand. International Energy Agency. (2021).

9 Kahintapongs, S. Renewable Energy Policy Development in Thailand. Int. J. Multidiscip. Manag. Tour. 4, 148–155 (2020).

10 Luangchosiri, N., Ogawa, T., Okumura, H. & Ishihara, K. N. Success Factors for the Implementation of Community Renewable Energy in Thailand. Energies 2021, Vol. 14, Page 4203 14, 4203 (2021).

11 Campbell, I. & Barlow, C. Hydropower Development and the Loss of Fisheries in the Mekong River Basin. Front. Environ. Sci. 8, 200 (2020).

12 Ministry of Energy. Alternative Energy Development Plan (AEDP) 2018. (2018).

13 IEA. Putting a price on carbon – an efficient way for Thailand to meet its bold emission target. International Energy Agency. (2020).

14 APERC. Compendium Of Energy Efficiency Policies in APEC Economies: Thailand. (2017).

15 Nama Facility. Thailand – Thai Rice NAMA. Nama Facility.

16 Electrive. Thailand to only allow BEV sales from 2035 – electrive.com. Electrive. (2021).

17 Wongsapai, W. Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Target. (2017).

18 EPPO. Energy Conservation Promotion Act. (2007).

19 Greenpeace. Southeast Asia Power Sector Scorecard. (2020).

20 Climate Action Tracker. Thailand. Climate Action Tracker. (2021).

21 EGAT. EGAT Overview. (2020).

22 EGAT. Why does EGAT plan to build more coal-fired power plants when other Asian countries like China and India suspend new ones? Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (2020).

23 Kusumadewi, T. V., Winyuchakrit, P., Misila, P. & Limmeechokchai, B. GHG Mitigation in Power Sector: Analyzes of Renewable Energy Potential for Thailand’s NDC Roadmap in 2030. Energy Procedia 138, 69–74 (2017).

24 Smuthkalin, C., Murayama, T. & Nishikizawa, S. Evaluation of The Wind Energy Potential of Thailand considering its Environmental and Social Impacts using Geographic Information Systems. Int. J. Renew. Energy Res. 8, 575–584 (2018).

25 Manomaiphiboon, K. et al. Wind energy potential analysis for Thailand: Uncertainty from wind maps and sensitivity to turbine technology. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15435075.2017.1305963 14, 528–539 (2017).

26 Kompor, W., Ekkawatpanit, C. & Kositgittiwong, D. Assessment of ocean wave energy resource potential in Thailand. Ocean Coast. Manag. 160, 64–74 (2018).

27 While global cost-effective pathways assessed by the IPCC Special Report 1.5°C provide useful guidance for an upper-limit of emissions trajectories for developed countries, they underestimate the feasible space for such countries to reach net zero earlier. The current generation of models tend to depend strongly on land-use sinks outside of currently developed countries and include fossil fuel use well beyond the time at which these could be phased out, compared to what is understood from bottom-up approaches. The scientific teams which provide these global pathways constantly improve the technologies represented in their models – and novel CDR technologies are now being included in new studies focused on deep mitigation scenarios meeting the Paris Agreement. A wide assessment database of these new scenarios is not yet available; thus, we rely on available scenarios which focus particularly on BECCS as a net-negative emission technology. Accordingly, we do not yet consider land-sector emissions (LULUCF) and other CDR approaches.

28 Assuming LULUCF levels of -91 MtCO₂e as reported for 2016 in Thailand’s Biennial Report 3.

29 Liberalisation of Thailand’s power sector will help it achieve the planned 50% total production capacity. Ideally, efforts that introduce enabling regulations and unbundle utilities, further supported by a competitive wholesale and retail market, could be an important trigger for much-needed investment that allows the country to adopt renewable energy technologies more rapidly and comprehensively. See article for further discussion.

A 1.5°C compatible domestic emissions pathway would require domestic GHG emissions to peak immediately and achieve a 42-55% reduction below 2015 levels, in other words, to reach emissions levels of 206-262 MtCO₂e/yr by 2030, excluding LULUCF.

Under the Paris Agreement, international support, including finance, technology transfer and capacity building will be needed for Thailand to close the emissions gap between its fair share and its domestic emissions pathway.

Thailand does not have a net zero emissions target, but outlines its ambition to move towards “net zero as early as possible within the second half of this century, and carbon neutrality by 2065,” as outlined in the Long-term Low Greenhouse Gas Emission Development Strategy (LT-LEDS).3

A 1.5°C compatible pathway would require Thailand to reduce its GHG emissions by 81-86% below 2015 levels by 2050, excluding LULUCF, or 66-85 MtCO₂e/yr by 2050.27 On the road to net zero, the country will need to balance its remaining GHG emissions through the use of carbon dioxide removal approaches such as land sinks.

Thailand could reach net zero GHGs, including LULUCF, by 2050 if it reduces emissions of all sectors and retains its LULUCF carbon sink as current levels.28 Decarbonising the energy sector will be key to driving down emissions – in 2017 the energy sector accounted for 75% of GHG emissions (mainly CO₂) excluding LULUCF.

Policy measures for energy sector decarbonisation includes displacing fossil fuels with renewable energy in power generation and sector coupling through the electrification of transport and industry.

Power

Key power sector benchmarks

Renewables shares and year of zero emissions power Including the use of BECCS

More information about this graph and itʼs underlying data
Download the data and graph as image
1.5°C aligned targets
Current targets

A 1.5°C pathway requires Thailand to accelerate renewable energy deployment from 14% of the power mix in 2017 to 48-62% in 2030, and near 100% in 2040.

Thailand is currently reliant on natural gas (66% of its power mix), which would need to be phased out by 2040 to be Paris Agreement compatible. Displacing gas and coal with renewable energy could improve Thailand’s energy security and reduce fuel cost uncertainty.

Thailand has a power emissions intensity of 350 gCO₂/kWh, which would need to be reduced to zero by 2032, in order to be 1.5°C compatible.

Footnotes