From Research to Policy and Implementation
Not only the platform of knowledge-sharing but also the ability to make things happen both need a driving body. From research to policy, as mentioned in many scientific forums, it is not enough to unlock carbon intensity development. Figure 10.8 shows the linkage of research to policy and to implementation by the driving body in each component for clearer understanding. Usually, universities, research institutes and even non-governmental organizations that work on research are the main bodies to initiate knowledge, information and technology while the policy makers are the government itself or the ministry. Connections of the bodies
Fig. 10.8 Institutional body in the context of research, policy and implementation
of research to policy are established in some Asian countries such as Thailand where the Division of Science, Technology and Innovation Office of Planning and Policy (STI) and the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation initiate the MOU system with some universities and work together on how to launch the policy under the science and research support. The implementation of policy needs implementers. Local government, the private sector and communities are the different players in each role according to the policy formulation.
Institutional arrangements to cover the full loop of research to policy and to implementation can chain the different actions of the organizations mentioned above to implement low-carbon activity effectively. Any committee appointed to tackle low-carbon development should comprise the three figures of research, policy and implementation to push all action into full implementation.
Level of Low-Carbon Society Implementation
In order to show a good practice of capacity development that has shown potential for the leapfrog to a low-carbon society, some example of this scheme at different levels of implementation are shown below.
Community Level Ban Pred Nai Community on Environmental Protection and Energy Dependence
Ban Pred Nai is a small community located in the coastal area of the Trang Province in the eastern part of Thailand. This community, led by the Venerable Phra Subin Praneeto, who has preached the concept of truthful words which create “trust”, has not only successfully preserved the local mangrove forest, but has also used improvisation from forest products and nature to generate both income and better wellbeing for the community. It is a unique knowledge transfer of the 'Sufficiency Economy Philosophy' (SEP) wisdom from this venerable monk to the community where rules and activities to protect the mangroves and energy independence have happened.
The SEP concept was introduced to the village by the Venerable Phra Subin Paneeto who endorsed the implementation of coexistence with nature to the community. In order to have an environmental management plan, the micro-credit saving fund called ' Sajja group' was operated and the revenue from this activity was raised to help community members replant mangrove trees while setting up local regulation to sustainably allow members of the community to have protection while living positively with the mangroves. The saving fund in terms of cooperation business was now operating with more than 700 million baht per year. By protecting the mangrove forest, it was shown that the Ban Pred Nai community could reclaim 2000 ha of forest back from the year 2001 onward after implementing the concept of coexisting with nature, which is one of the SEP concepts. In addition, after the mangroves had been restored, the local sea crab business was reactivated again, introducing big incomes to the community. In terms of climate change mitigation, it was found that through communal management, the mangrove forest in Ban Pred Nai absorbs 1.85 tonnes of carbon dioxide per person per year, when compared to the non-communal forest absorption rate of 0.91 ton per person per year. The reforestation activity in Ban Pred Nai creates a CO2 sink of 2.0 tonnes of CO2 per capita per year (Towprayoon et.al. 2011).
Not only environmental management but also implementation of SEP can help protect the environment. Being aware of the erosion of the coastal shoreline causing a loss of the mangrove area, sea water invasion and a reduced biological food chain, the Ban Pred Nai community initiated the local technology to prevent coastal erosion. A blockade made from used tires in a cubic shape has been placed along the mangrove shoreline since 1992. It was found later that this activity can protect against erosion of the shoreline, while the area of non-blockade placement failed to be maintained and collapse of mangrove trees and loss of shoreline occurred. In addition, the placement of the blockade became the routine work of the community. This indicated good understanding of self-sufficient living with self-development of the people in Ban Pred Nai. It was also a good demonstration of how the community can adapt themselves to the dimension of climate change and showed the coping capacity to deal with it.
The issue of climate change is not only related to adaptation but also to greenhouse gas mitigation. The reduction of carbon dioxide is not the major concern in SEP but to live sufficiently using fuel that can be accessed within the village is the key. Farmers in Ban Prai Nai earn their living with a mixed fruit tree orchard including rambutan, loongkang, jackfruit and durian. During the off season, farmers have to clear their excess tree branches which become wood residue. In order to avoid residue burning, several locally designed charcoal kilns have been constructed throughout the village to produce in-house use of charcoal and wood vinegar. This activity helps to produce more than 16 tonnes per year of charcoal from 53.7 tonnes per year of wood residue. This can replace around 10 tonnes of LPG, avoiding an LPG cost of approximately 200,000 baht per year. It should be noted that the community in Ban Prai Nai is only 650 people and this avoid costs of approximately 2 % of their incomes.
Subnational Level Low-Carbon City at Muang Klang Municipality
The activities of the low-carbon city in the Muang Klang Municipality in the Rayong province of Thailand are a good example of knowledge transfer from research to policy and to implementation. The Muang Klang Municipality is a member of the ICLEI but the actions of the low-carbon activities were themselves in the spotlight after a researcher from the Thailand Greenhouse Gas Organization of Thailand and the Joint Graduate School of Energy and Environment, King Mongkut's University of Technology Thonburi, set up the program with the Mayor to estimate the municipality greenhouse gas inventory from four major sectors and set up the target of reduction including energy efficiency in building, transportation, agriculture and the waste sector. The nine-steps approach to estimate GHG was initiated by JGSEE and implemented for the first time in this municipality, as seen in Fig. 10.9. The nine steps take into account the action plan where all stakeholders from the governmental office, industry and education join together and identify activities together in order to reach the target set by the study (The Joint Graduate School of Energy and Environment (2011)). Below are some action plans that have been implemented.
Mitigation Actions in the Waste Sector in the Muang Klang Municipality
– Install a municipal waste separation belt to sort organic waste and recyclables from general waste prior to landfill disposal.
– Collect fat and oil food waste from restaurants and markets to produce solid fuel used in the municipality's own slaughter house.
– Collaborate with the Ministry of Energy to install anaerobic digestion in order to produce methane gas used for heat production.
Mitigation Actions in the Agricultural Sector
– Convert unused land areas to rice fields and construct a municipal rice mill for local processing and consumption to reduce emissions from transporting rice from elsewhere.
The direct and indirect benefits from mitigation actions in the Muang Klang Municipality are shown in Table 10.2.
Regional Level Climate Change International Technical and Training Center (CITC)
Fig. 10.9 Nine-steps approach to a low-carbon city by JGSEE
Table 10.2 GHG reduction and co-benefits
There is a proposal by the Thailand Greenhouse Gas Management Organization (TGO), which is the responsible agency in Thailand for GHG mitigation activities, to establish a Climate Change International Technical and Training Center (CITC), which is aimed to be a “one-stop technical training center” and networking platform on mitigation and adaptation for ASEAN countries and other developing countries (Thailand Greenhouse Gas Management Organization 2015).
The main activities of the CITC are to provide a training service in the area of climate change mitigation and adaptation, establish a networking platform for ASEAN countries, disseminate knowledge on climate change mitigation and adaptation, and be a learning resource center on climate change mitigation and adaptation. The target groups of the CITC are governmental agencies, academic institutions, private companies related to mitigation and adaptation, and the general public. The center currently has four major courses including GHG inventory management, a mitigation mechanism, low-carbon society development and sustainable GHG management. The course are offered at different levels to include practitioners, executives and those who are interested. The CITC is supported by JICA and other international agencies including the Thai Government. It is expected that capacity building through this center will raise the standard of knowledgeable people in ASEAN.