Cambodia is set to make seven commitments to combat climate change at the 28th United Nation’s COP28 climate conference, where tens of thousands of officials, entrepreneurs and activists started meeting this week.
Environment Minister Eang Sophalleth, who is representing Cambodia at the conference, told VOA via Telegram that he and other delegates from Phnom Penh would disseminate the country’s commitment widely during the two-week climate summit.
The minister said he would outline some of the steps during a speech on Dec. 9 or 10, but that some carried over from past conferences. “We just continue on with our commitments,” he added in the Dec. 1 message.
The seven commitments include:
- Closing a 700-megawatt coal-fired power generation project and replacing it with liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) factories.
- Promote clean energy generation through the construction of dams to generate 1,000 megawatts of energy before 2028.
- Increase the use of clean and renewable energy, such as energy from solar panels, hydropower and wind by 70 percent by 2030.
- Implement components of the Clean Cambodia strategy by gradually reducing the use of plastic bags and organizing solid and liquid waste properly.
- Implement Green Cambodia strategy by planting at least 1 million trees per year with the goal of expanding forest cover to 60 percent by 2050.
- Ban the construction of coal-fired power plants in Cambodia and hydropower dam construction across the Mekong river.
The message added that the mission of the Cambodian delegates at COP28 is to show the country’s commitment to combating climate change, in turn attracting tourists and investors, while moving toward carbon neutral development by 2050.
Heng Kimhong, head of research and advocacy at the Cambodian Youth Network Association, applauded Cambodia's commitment to the seven points towards climate change mitigation. But he said action toward meeting those commitments would be the real test.
"Commitment alone is not enough until there are implementation and protection mechanisms, legal measures, professional civil servants and prevention of corruption in the energy sector and the protection of natural resources,” he added.
“Only after that there is a real direction to effectively carry out the state's policies and commitments."
COP28 will run from November 30 to December 12. The conference offers an annual opportunity for countries around the world to take stock of global progress toward cutting climate emissions, and reach new agreements aimed at accelerating that progress.
Among the overarching goals reached at past conferences are limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius and achieving zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Yet the world is still warming faster than any other point in recorded history, leaving much work to be done.
Wealthy countries, which are largely responsible for climate change, have also pledged billions of dollars to help poorer countries adapt, though much of that funding has not been realized.
More than 90,000 participants have registered and are taking part in the conference, including business leaders, youth, climate scientists and journalists. More than 100 of them are from Cambodia, according to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
This article is produced as part of the 2023 climate change media partnership, a reporting scholarship organized by the Internews Earth Journalism Network and the Stanley Center for Peace and Security.