Cabinet approves atmospheric study by Thai scientists

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BANGKOK, July 3 – The Thai cabinet on Tuesday approved in principal an atmospheric study by Thai scientists in the aftermath of the cancellation of the US space agency’s climate research plan.

Speaking to reporters after today’s Cabinet meeting, Science and Technology Minister Plodprasop Surasawadi said that the Thai government sees that the atmospheric study is beneficial and crucial for the country.

Local academics and scientists also agreed that the project should continue to observe the cloud, air pollution, forest fire pollution and industrial pollution, according to the minister.

Mr Plodprasob said the atmospheric study will help develop the skills of Thai scientists and will be preparations for the future international cooperation.

The minister added the study will start next year and the proposed Bt200 million budget is not finalised yet.

He said concerned agencies will be invited to further discuss the exact budget within this week before proposing the figure for Cabinet consideration.

The science ministry’s move came as the United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) called off its airborne science mission planned for Southeast Asia this year citing an “absence of necessary approvals by regional authorities in the timeframe necessary to support the mission.”

The US space agency earlier set a deadline for the Thai Cabinet to decide whether to grant permission to use U-Tapao naval base to conduct the atmospheric study by June 26, but the cabinet referred the matter to parliament when it reconvenes in ordinary session in August following criticism from the opposition Democrat party and others.