PM urges greenhouse gas cuts, as government plants coral

Enviro8All Thais must play a role in protecting the global environment, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said last week as he urged every citizen to cut greenhouse gas emissions, while a government agency led a team replanting live coral, which has been dying because of warmer sea temperatures, off the coast of Phuket.

“Each of us emit greenhouse gases – a smaller or larger amount of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere on a daily basis – be it by driving, turning on lights or appliances, or other activities,” Prime Minister Prayut said during a television address to the nation on Earth Day.

He stressed that people should not rely solely on governments to solve or address the problem of climate change, because every person is contributing to climate change with their actions and choices. Individuals, therefore, must also play a role in protecting the planet.

“If we don’t do anything, we will face more disasters with more frequency and more severity in less than 20 years,” Prayut said.

The United Nations has said that Thailand is among the countries already most affected by climate change, and the effects will only intensify unless the world takes significant and meaningful action to reverse the current trends.

The Prayut administration has set a goal of reducing Thailand’s use of fossil fuels for the country’s energy needs. The government has a target of sourcing 25 percent of the country’s energy from renewables by 2036. Thailand is already the leader in Southeast Asia in power generated from solar and wind sources, but the percentages at the moment are still relatively small.

Rising sea temperatures associated with climate change have been killing off coral reefs, most notably the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Australia. Thailand is no exception, and its coral reefs have been suffering.

But the government is taking action to try and protect and save Thailand’s coral. Last week the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources replanted 1,600 pieces of live natural coral on artificial reefs off the coasts of two islands near Phuket in the Andaman Sea.

“Overall, we aim to plant more than 24,000 pieces. We are happy to be able to report that our progress has been good so far,”said Suchat Rattanaruengsri, an official with the department.

Students from Prince of Songkhla University in the Deep South and trained divers were among the 30 people who took part in replanting the coral off the two islands.