German euros propping up Thai climate change
In 2008 Germany launched what it termed the International Climate Initiative (IKI), and among many countries to partner with the European economic giant was Thailand. At a recent two-day Thai-German dialogue to discuss the current series of bilateral agreements for which Thailand receives funding, Germany continued to pledge its support by pumping in an additional 843 million baht (20 million euros).
Even so, Karsten Sach, the deputy director-general for European and International Policy within the German Environment Ministry, stressed it was important for Thailand to continue to follow through on the projects it had begun with the German funding.
Mr Sach said Germany considered Thailand was heading in the right direction in the battle against climate change, having implemented green strategies and with a national committee on climate change being chaired by prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra.
The deputy director-general said the biggest challenge at present for Thailand was creating a series of regulations which would also lead to a greater incentive by business for investment in energy-efficient projects and renewable energy.
Germany has so far allocated more than 1.1 billion euros to kick start about 345 projects across 80 countries. The non-government sector of private business and philanthropists has supplied an additional 2.3 billion euros for what Germany considers an important series of initiatives across the planet.
The Thailand component at present consists of nine bilateral projects with IKI with a funding of 19.9 million euros. There are also a further 15 regional projects that have received 59 million euros.
There is one more bilateral project being prepared, which will receive around 2.8 million euros, and six more regional projects with a projected budget of 17.7 million euros are also in the pipeline.
The Thai-based projects are all overseen by the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry through its Natural Resources and Policy and Climate Change Coordination Offices.
All the projects being undertaken are designed to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the impact of climate change.
By aiming to put a potential economic long-term benefit into local projects, both the German and Thai governments believe this will provide the necessary incentive for locals to embrace any greenhouse/climate change projects. After all, if there is a profit to be made, then it is simply so much easier to convince ordinary people and business to make the necessary changes.
In Germany, green initiatives have created over 370,000 jobs and the use of renewable energy sources cut the equivalent of 146 million tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2012. More than US$20 billion was invested in renewable energy in Germany in 2012, so the economic potential alone has a major economic upside.