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04/22/2009

Bangkok Residents Emit as Much CO2 as New Yorkers

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Bangkok Residents Emit as Much CO2 as New Yorkers

People and Assets Vulnerable to Risks Unless Action Taken, Report Says

Bangkok, 22 April 2009 Bangkok residents produced as much carbon dioxide (CO2) as New Yorkers and surpassed Londoners in their emissions. The city’s per capita and total emissions, which accounts of a bulk of the Thailand’s emissions, puts it among the ranks of major emitters of CO2, according to the Bangkok Assessment Report on Climate Change 2009, released today.  

Both Bangkok and New York emitted 7.1 tons per capita in 2007. Bangkok’s emissions were considerably higher than that of London’s residents, at 5.9 tons per capita. In 2005, Bangkok’s total emissions almost equaled London in 2005 and surpassed Toronto (44m tons and 24m tons, respectively). 

The likely consequences on the city, already prone to flooding and land subsistence, will be severe. Bangkok and its suburbs are already experiencing more severe and frequent flooding and more days with temperatures beyond 35 ํC. Bangkok’s dominance as Thailand’s economic hub suggests that there will be economic repercussions for the country as well.

Transportation, electricity generation and solid and waste water constitute the bulk of emissions in the city (90%). The transport sector, responsible for almost 38% of CO2 yearly, is the largest contributor. Passenger vehicles, which have seen a 7-fold increase from 1980 to 1999, are a major contributor.

“We hope that this report will raise awareness of the issues and stimulate actions that need to be taken by residents, the private and public sectors to reduce those impacts, and for the city to adapt. This will help safeguard the city’s economy and its inhabitants to the extent possible,” said Park Young-Woo, Regional Director of the UNEP Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific.
Infrastructure, water, health and food production are some of the areas highlighted by the report that will be impacted. Land subsidence, when combined with a rising sea level could leave Bangkok under 50-100cm of water by 2025. Rising temperatures could also affect the flow of waters in the Chao Phraya and Mae Klong rivers, from which most of Bangkok’s water supply is drawn. Increased heat-related diseases and incidences and spread of diseases like malaria and dengue fever are also mentioned. All of these will extract a high economic toll, the report said.
The report calls for a coordinated approach to addressing climate change and its impacts ‘as a matter of urgency’.
“We strongly believe that the cooperation of every sector of society is required to reduce the impacts of climate change. Our communal action in combating climate change and making adjustments in the way we live will bring about benefits not only now but also to future generations of people at home and abroad,” said Dr. Pongsak Semson, Permanent Secretary for Bangkok Metropolitan Authority. 
The report sets out a number of adaptation options for climate-proofing the city. These include improving the local public health infrastructure and disease surveillance and prevention programmes; creating early warning systems for extreme weather events; and implementing stricter zoning and building codes to minimize damage from storms and sea level rise.

The Bangkok Assessment Report on Climate Change 2009 is produced by the Bangkok Metropolitan Authority (BMA) and the Bangkok-based Green Leaf Foundation with support from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). It aims at raising awareness of actions that residents, the public and private sectors and the city can take to alleviate the impacts and adapt to future climate changes. The report is the first UNEP-supported climate change city report in Asia and the first in a series of such reports.

For More Information:

Satwant Kaur, Regional Information Officer, UNEP Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, E-mail: kaur@un.org, Tel: +662 2882127, Mobile: +6683 9086000

Ms. Chalika Noonin, Sanitary Officer, Department of Environment, Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA); Tel: 02 2460687. E-mail: environmentbma@gmail.com

NOTES TO EDITORS

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA)
The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration is responsible for the management of the city of Bangkok. It is the sole organization at the local authority level responsible for the well-being of Bangkok residents with some financial support from the central government.  The Governor, Mr. Apirak Kosayodhin, is the chief of the city administration, elected by popular vote for a four-year term.  The BMA Council comprises of elected members, the number of members depending on the number of the Bangkok population; currently there are 60 councilors.
www.bangkok.go.th

GREEN LEAF  FOUNDATION
GLF Organize  training programme (methodology, human resources, materials) by develop from successful Green Leaf Programme focusing on environmental conservation and energy saving. This result increase awareness in the tourism sector with good examples established and disseminated via practical implementation of environmental conservation and energy saving activities among hotels in the subregion.

UNITED NATIONS ENVIRONMENT PROGRAMME (UNEP)
UNEP is the United Nations system’s designated entity for addressing environmental issues at the global and regional level. Its mandate is to coordinate the development of environmental policy consensus by keeping the global environment under review and bringing emerging issues to the attention of governments and the international community for action.