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Thailand Ambition gap

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

1.5°C compatible pathways

Thailand submitted an updated NDC in November 2022. It includes an unconditional target of reducing GHG emissions by 30% below business-as-usual (BAU) levels by 2030. If the country receives adequate international support for mitigation, the government will increase the target to 40%.18 The target excludes the country’s LULUCF sink.

Thailand’s NDC is equivalent to 389 MtCO₂e/yr (unconditional), and 333 MtCO₂e/yr (conditional), equating to 14% above and 2% below 2015 emission levels when excluding LULUCF.1 A 1.5°C compatible pathway would require domestic GHG emissions to peak immediately and reach 155–215 MtCO₂e/yr by 2030, or a 37–55% reduction below 2015 levels, excluding LULUCF.18

In 2015, Thailand published the Climate Policy Master Plan as a national framework for climate change adaptation and low carbon growth, developing mechanisms and tools to address climate change and provide government agencies with a framework for action plans and budgets.19 Thailand is in the process of updating the plan in line with the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals.8

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.

Long term pathway

In 2021, Thailand committed to reaching “carbon neutrality” by 2065 in its Long-term Low Emission Development Strategy (LTSLEDS) submitted to the UNFCCC.16 In 2022, Thailand submitted a revision of its LTS, brought forward the carbon neutrality year to 2050 and committed to achieving net zero GHG emissions by 2065.3

A 1.5°C compatible pathway would require Thailand to reduce its GHG emissions by 78–83% by 2050 below 2015 levels when excluding LULUCF, or 58–75 MtCO₂e/yr by 2050.38 On the road to net zero, the country will need to balance its remaining GHG emissions through the use of carbon dioxide removal (CDR) approaches such as land sinks.

All scenarios foresee some emissions to remain in all sectors by 2050, with the exception of one where the industrial process and energy sectors have negative emissions in the 2050s due to CDR technologies (BECCS – bioenergy with carbon capture and storage).

Decarbonising the energy sector will be key to reducing emissions, as it accounts for more than 70% of the country’s total GHG emissions (mainly CO₂).

1 Government of the Kingdom of Thailand. Thailand’s 2nd Updated Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC). (2022).

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

3 Government of Kingdom of Thailand. Long-Term Low Greenhouse Gas Emission Development Strategy (Revised Version). (2022).

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

5 IEA. Thailand. International Energy Agency (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 Thailand Government. Mid-century, Long-term Low Greenhouse Gas Emission Development Strategy Thailand. (2021).

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

10 Kahintapongs, S. Renewable Energy Policy Development in Thailand. International Journal of Multidisciplinary in Management and Tourism 4, 148–155 (2020).

11 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).

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

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

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

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

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

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

18 Government of the Kingdom of Thailand. Thailand’s 2nd Updated Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC). (2022).

19 Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment. Climate Change Master Plan of Thailand. (2015).

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

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

22 EGAT. EGAT Overview. (2020).

23 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).

24 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).

25 Smuthkalin, C., Murayama, T. & Nishikizawa, S. Evaluation of The Wind Energy Potential of Thailand considering its Environmental and Social Impacts using Geographic Information Systems. International Journal of Renewable Energy Research (IJRER) 8, 575–584 (2018).

26 Manomaiphiboon, K. et al. Wind energy potential analysis for Thailand: Uncertainty from wind maps and sensitivity to turbine technology. 14, 528–539 (2017).

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

28 Climate Action Tracker. Paris Agreement Compatible Sectoral Benchmarks: Elaborating the decarbonisation roadmap. Climate Action Tracker. (2020).

29 Thailand Government. Thailand’s Long Term Low Greenhouse Gas Emissions Development Strategy. (2022).

30 DEDE. Thailand Economy Update. (2020).

31 EGS-plan. Thailand’s Building Energy Code (BEC) enters into force as from 13th March 2021. (2021).

32 Gütschow, J., Günther, A. & Pflüger, M. The PRIMAP-hist national historical emissions time series v2.3 (1750-2019). Preprint at (2021).

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

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

35 Electrive. Thailand to only allow BEV sales from 2035 – Electrive. (2021).

36 Thailand Development Research Institute. Clean energy needs far clearer policy. (2022).

37 USDA Foreign Agricultural Service. Thailand: Updated Biofuel Situation in 2022. (2022).

38 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.


Thailandʼs total GHG emissions

excl. LULUCF MtCO₂e/yr

Displayed values
Reference year
Reference year
1.5°C emissions level
NDC (conditional)
NDC (unconditional)
Ambition gap
  • 1.5°C compatible pathways
  • Middle of the 1.5°C compatible range
  • Current policy projections
  • 1.5°C emissions range
  • Historical emissions
2030 emissions levels
Current policy projections
NDC (conditional)
1.5°C emissions level
Ref. year 2015

Energy system transformation

A transformation of the energy system away from fossil fuels is required to reduce Thailand’s emissions. Ramping up renewable energy in the power sector, coupled with the electrification of industry and transport would set Thailand on a path towards decarbonisation. In 2018, energy consumption was mainly from the transport (39%), industry (36%) and buildings (21%) sectors.4

Thailand has a number of energy policies in place: the Alternative Energy Development Plan (AEDP 2018), the Energy Efficiency Plan (EEP 2018) and the Power Development Plan (PDP 2018). The AEDP 2019–2037 aims to develop appropriate renewable energy production to benefit the social and environmental dimensions of the society. The EEP 2018 lays out core measures to improve energy efficiency in industrial facilities, energy-saving housing promotions, and efficiency improvements for electric appliances. The PDP 2018 focuses on energy security, long-term competitive power generation and reducing emissions by increasing the share of renewable energy.

Thailand is also currently in the process of developing its first-ever National Energy Plan (NEP).

Thailand’s move from coal to natural gas as outlined in its Power Development Plan still locks the country in fossil fuel consumption instead of seeking full decarbonisation with high renewable shares.


Thailandʼs primary energy mix

petajoule per year

SSP1 Low CDR reliance
20192030204020504 0006 0008 000
SSP1 High CDR reliance
20192030204020504 0006 0008 000
Low energy demand
20192030204020504 0006 0008 000
High energy demand - Low CDR reliance
20192030204020504 0006 0008 000
  • Negative emissions technologies via BECCS
  • Unabated fossil
  • Nuclear and/or fossil with CCS
  • Renewables incl. biomass

Thailandʼs total CO₂ emissions

excl. LULUCF MtCO₂/yr

  • 1.5°C compatible pathways
  • 1.5°C emissions range
  • Middle of the 1.5°C compatible range
  • Historical emissions

1.5°C compatible emissions benchmarks

Key emissions benchmarks of Paris compatible Pathways for Thailand. The 1.5°C compatible range is based on the Paris Agreement compatible pathways from the IPCC SR1.5 filtered with sustainability criteria. The median (50th percentile) to 5th percentile and middle of the range are provided here. Relative reductions are provided based on the reference year.

Reference year
Reference year
Year of net zero
incl. BECCS excl. LULUCF and novel CDR
Total GHG
Megatonnes CO₂ equivalent per year
155 to 215
87 to 107
58 to 75
Relative to reference year in %
−55 to −37%
−75 to −69%
−83 to −78%
Total CO₂
103 to 142
20 to 67
4 to 31
Relative to reference year in %
−57 to −41%
−92 to −72%
−99 to −87%