22 Apr 2021
April 22 is Earth Day, an annual event since 1970 held to show support for environmental protection through awareness activities around the world. It is often represented by the famous “earth marble” image taken by astronauts of Apollo 17.
The Paris Agreement was signed on Earth Day 2016 by 195 signatories including the US and China, which together represent almost 40% of global emissions. The main objective of the Paris Agreement was to “hold the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels, recognizing that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change”.
Just for the record, China, United States, the European Union and India are the top 4 contributors to greenhouse gas that account for 55% of the world’s total emissions. Yet only the EU has managed to relatively even out its graph of greenhouse gas emissions in the past decade.
Under the Paris Agreement, each country must determine, plan, and regularly report on the contribution that it undertakes to mitigate global warming. As per its commitment to the Paris Agreement, Thailand expects to reduce GHG emissions by 20 to 25 per cent in 2030. The organization responsible for directing this effort is the Thailand Greenhouse Gas Management Organisation (TGO), and it promotes the concept of “carbon credit” as one of the environmental management approaches.
The Paris Agreement suffered a major setback in 2017 when President Trump indicated that the US would withdraw from the agreement. The reason this was significant was that the Paris Agreement stipulated that it could only become effective if 55 countries that produce at least 55% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions ratify.
Just before the withdrawal became effective, the new US president Joe Biden signed an executive order on his first day in office to re-admit the US into the agreement. And on Earth Day, 22 April 2021 – the 5th anniversary of the Paris Agreement – the US government will convene a Leaders' Climate Summit to bring together up to 40 leaders of major economies.
What we hope to come out of the summit is that the US will demonstrate it is serious in tackling emissions and encourage all parties to make stronger commitments.
The world is now counting down to the year 2030. Let’s not just leave it up to the world leaders. We can all do our part to reduce our carbon footprint.