Climate change governance and (il)liberalism in Thailand: activism, justice, and the state

Adam Simpson, M. Smits

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review


This chapter focuses on the tensions between state-driven climate change governance and civil society activism in Thailand and the resultant impact on climate justice. For almost a century, governance in Thailand has oscillated between illiberal military rule and more liberal elected governments. The coup in May 2014 resulted in the latest military regime, which, through constitutional and legal means, largely retained power after the 2019 national elections. This chapter engages with the literature on environmental authoritarianism to analyse the mixed image of stability and change in climate policy, and associated energy policy, over the last two decades. Since 2014, the military government has primarily focused on fossil fuel development, although there is evidence of recent shifts towards renewable energy. Nevertheless, these shifts are occurring through a bypassing of the traditional bureaucratic channels, which is likely to further entrench the military within society, both politically and economically, at the expense of equity, efficiency, and justice. Thai environmental activists have often been at the forefront in Southeast Asia when it comes to climate and energy justice, but since the 2014 coup, a range of factors has resulted in the dissipation of this activity, epitomized by the Thai Climate Justice Network. This chapter analyses the factors that influence (il)liberalism in climate and energy governance and justice and assesses the risks and likely outcomes of recent developments in Thailand.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGoverning Climate Change in Southeast Asia
EditorsJens Marquardt, Laurence L. Delina, Mattijs Smits
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9780429324680
ISBN (Print)9780367342555
Publication statusPublished - 8 Dec 2021


Dive into the research topics of 'Climate change governance and (il)liberalism in Thailand: activism, justice, and the state'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this