Cambodia is focusing mainly on reducing greenhouse gas emissions to meet the country’s goal of reducing its emissions by 21 million tonnes per year in order to combat climate change, according to Ministry of Environment spokesman Neth Pheaktra.
The remarks came at a conference organised at the ministry on February 8 to give an update report on the progress of the Kingdom’s implementation of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
He said Cambodia is extremely vulnerable to climate change, so adaptation measures and greenhouse gas emission reduction measures are a priority issue. If there are no measures to combat climate change, it could adversely impact Cambodia’s economy.
“The task Cambodia is focused mainly on concerns reduction in greenhouse gas emissions through various programmes such as renewable energy initiatives like solar power,” he said.
Pheaktra said the government had set a goal of becoming a medium-upper income country by 2030 and a high-income country by 2050.
“Cambodia is a country that will be greatly impacted by climate change and if we don’t have an action plan to adapt to the changing circumstances, this vision cannot be achieved,” he said.
Environment ministry secretary of state Tin Ponlok said in order to ameliorate the effects of climate change, they must deal with two important issues – the first is adaptation to changes that are already here or can be considered inevitable at this point, and the second is reduction of emissions so as not to exacerbate the problem.
The process of adaptation is focused primarily on sectors such as agriculture, construction, public health, tourism and land use. Reduction efforts would focus primarily on the energy sector but also heavy industry, vehicles and waste management as well as agriculture and forestry.
“By 2030 we vow that Cambodia will achieve a 40 per cent reduction in our greenhouse gas emissions relative to the scale of our socio-economic development or the equivalent of about 65 million tonnes of green house gases,” he said.
Chuop Paris, director-general of the ministry’s General Department of Environmental Knowledge and Information, said the update report expresses Cambodia’s commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to a moderate level to prevent the worst case scenarios for climate change from occurring.
“According to the expected scenarios, if we don’t take action now then in the year 2100 temperatures globally will have risen by four to five degrees Celsius on average, which will cause more severe floods and storms and an unknown number of other catastrophes.
“So, we must do our part to reduce global emissions to a moderate level so that temperatures on Earth in 2100 will not have risen by more than 2C on average,” he said.
Paris added that Cambodia has to do its best to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 21 million tonnes a year. As part of that number, the agriculture and forestry sectors can help by reducing six to seven million tonnes a year possibly.
Van Monineath, secretary-general of the Secretariat of the National Council of Sustainable Development, said the goal for greenhouse gas emissions for Cambodia in 2030 is the equivalent of 79 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, but right now the total greenhouse gas emissions – including the forestry sector and other land use – is expected to rise to 155 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent that year.
“If we don’t do anything, in 2030 we might release 155 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions. But if we carry out these measures that reduce it and also help us adapt to climate change at the same time, we can lower that by up to 65 million tonnes,” he said.