Connect with us

Thai Life

Keep it green: Implications of climate change



PHUKET: The world’s two most powerful countries, the United States and China, have just formally agreed to ratify the Paris climate change agreement. This landmark commitment, sealed last December after two weeks of intense negotiations, needs to be ratified by 55 countries, representing 55 per cent of global emissions, in order for it to come into effect. According to a Xinhua report, ratifying the agreement would “further advance China’s green, low-carbon development and safeguard environmental security”.

Not easy to fulfill. Under the terms of the Paris agreement, China, the worlds’ leading pollutant, would need to cut carbon emissions by 60-65 per cent per unit of GDP (gross domestic product) by 2030, and boost its use of non-fossil fuels so that they account for at least 20 per cent of its energy consumption.

The agreement is vital for the world’s most-at-risk nations. Significantly, small island states were the first 14 countries to ratify the agreement. Thus the Maldives, like Phuket, profoundly affected by global warming and pollution, and which has suffered from the bleaching of much of its coral, was one of the first signatories. Coral reefs are a key attraction for visitors to the Maldives and one of the key drivers of the local economy. The government had already expressed fear that people will stop coming if the reefs are in danger. Phuket must consistently adopt the same stance.

Australia, more powerful and more ecologically aware than Thailand, possesses the Great Barrier Reef, the largest colony of coral in the world. But even there, global events such as abnormally warm ocean temperatures are beyond its control. There have been three mass bleachings on the Australian reef – all since 1998. Things have been, to some extent, exacerbated in this part of the globe by El Nino, a pulse of warm water flowing around the Pacific Ocean. A national aerial survey had, by April, covered 991 individual reefs along the 2,300-km structure. Only 68 had escaped bleaching entirely and more than half had experienced severe damage. Divers are now in the process of confirming the findings.

If powerful nations such as Australia, the United States and China can do little in the short term to contain global climate change, then we in Phuket should be doing more to control things where we can. Thankfully, some key initiatives have been started in relation to the precious marine environment. On Koh Phi Phi, local officials have linked up with tour and dive operators to rope off a coral zone (Hat Nopparat Thara – Mu Koh) with 1.6km of rope and 800 floats. The aim is to block all boats – especially speedboats, the worst offenders – from entering environmentally important areas where reefs, as well as swimmers, are crying out for protection. In addition, several islands overrun with tourist-laden boats, have been closed entirely – notably Koh Yoong and Koh Ta Chai.

There are still major concerns. These steps should have been taken years ago. And protection orders should be applied to all coral reefs, both those hugging Phuket’s shoreline and those fringing the other islands in the Andaman Sea. These irreplaceable treasures are facing two enemies: rising sea temperatures and the calamitous impact of mass tourism and development. Once gone, these colonies will be lost forever. Maybe, just maybe, the tourists will go too.

If you have gardening or environmental concerns, contact Patrick at Many of his creative and academic publications can be found at his website: Green galoshes Wordpress.

— Patrick Campbell


Get more from The Thaiger

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Crime1 hour ago

Foreign parrotfisher in Krabi says he’s sorry

Chon Buri2 hours ago

17 year old the 18th victim of Mountain B fire, 27 still in hospital

Economy2 hours ago

After poor South Koreans die in flooded basement home, will there be change?

Sponsored2 days ago

BKFC THAILAND 3: Moment of truth set for September 3

Thailand3 hours ago

10 Unique Superstitions of Thai People

Weather3 hours ago

Tropical storm ‘Mulan’ makes a splash in the north of Thailand

Patong5 hours ago

Fire breaks out at Patong bar

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Politics7 hours ago

Exiled Sri Lanka President warned to stay in his hotel in Bangkok

World7 hours ago

UPDATE: Salman Rushdie on ventilator, details on stabber emerge

Thailand8 hours ago

Campaign to get international training for Thai teen declared record sprinter

Crime8 hours ago

Royal birthdays bring over 100,000 royal prison pardons

Video8 hours ago

The Voice Behind the World’s Top Brands ft. Krit Tone Sukawat | Thaiger Podcast Ep.2

Press Room9 hours ago

Thailand as your next destination for Motorcycle Adventure post-COVID

Crime9 hours ago

Singaporean and Thai swindler couple arrested in Malaysia

Crime19 hours ago

Author Salman Rushdie stabbed at New York lecture

Transport1 day ago

Daily trains begin between Malaysian border and Bangkok

Thailand11 months ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism1 year ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism1 year ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism1 year ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11