New policies for climate change
Walking into a freezing five-star hotel where the temperature is normally kept below 23 degrees Celsius, for "guests' comfort", one can't but feel there should be a way to ensure the comfort of those same guests while reducing energy consumption at the same time.
A thermostat may be an answer: set for individual demands - like the chilling room where the temperature must be lower, or to rooms where levels need to be at a range of warm or cool. Large hotels may be able to finance the investment, but what about small hotels?
That was the question raised among attendees at a climate-related workshop in a Bangkok hotel. All the guests complained about the low temperatures, but the hotel was unable to do anything, though it knew a low inside temperature against the 35 degrees outside, meant higher energy consumption.
"We should suggest a researcher completes a study on this: how much thermostats can help save the hotel industry's electricity bills? This could fit the NAMA criteria and entitle the researcher to a fund," one said.
What is NAMA? Acronym for Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action, it refers to a set of policies and actions that countries undertake as part of a commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The term recognises that different countries may take different nationally appropriate action on the basis of equity and in accordance with common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities. It also emphasises financial assistance from developed countries to developing countries to reduce emissions.
According to Woranuch Emmanoch, a climate change expert at the Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) late last year opened for the submission of NAMA projects. Unlike its predecessor, the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) which is project-based, NAMA is open for all proposals - covering climate-change mitigation plans, policies or strategies.
"The important thing is that you can seek funding under the NAMA scheme, if you have measures in place to assure the measurement of greenhouse gas emissions, reporting and verification," she said at a workshop hosted by GIZ to kick off an Asean sustainable transport project.
Stefan Bakker of GIZ noted that NAMA is meant to blend international support with domestic finance.
"The international finance can be a grant or loan, and can be based on the additional cost of the policy compared to the business as usual standard," he said.
NAMA can be based on national targets, sectoral targets, sectoral programmes, local programmes/policies, low-carbon development strategies, and capacity building programmes. To Bakker, training for employees could also be identified as a nationally appropriate mitigation action, as it means employees can help in reducing emission.
Several transport policies are also qualified for the funding format, given that sustainable policies need financial support aside from the need to overcome other barriers that include lack of technology transfer as well as political drivers.
On UNFCCC's website, 44 countries have shown their non-binding commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emission under the NAMA concept. For example, Indonesia will reduce the emission by 26 per cent by 2020 through the following actions: sustainable peat land management, reduction in rate of deforestation and land degradation, development of carbon sequestration projects in forestry and agriculture, promotion of energy efficiency, development of alternative and renewable energy sources, reduction in solid and liquid waste, and shifting to low-emission transportation mode.
In principle, developing countries will effectively implement national action depending on the effective implementation of the commitments by developed countries in provision of financial resources and transfer of technology.
Thailand is not among the nations, though, probably because the national emission-reduction plan is not yet ready.
At the workshop, the Energy Ministry and the Transport Ministry presented their emission-reduction plans, but other ministries are also required to devise their own plans, guided by the 11th National Economic and Social Development Plan which is written on the "green growth" concept. Under the concept, all ministries will have their own climate change coordinators, who will streamline figure forecasts by each unit under the ministries. Data from different ministries also differ due to different standards employed.
According to Chaiwat Muncharoen, deputy executive director of the Thailand Greenhouse Gas Management Organisa-tion, there is no standard mechanism for emission measurements. "We still face problems in measurement, as some projects may not effectively reduce emission. We still need new measures and new research," he said.