Experts talk about Vietnam’s commitment at COP26

Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh speaks on November 1 at the COP26 Summit, Glasgow

Vietnam has attracted a lot of attention at the conference on climate change (COP26) when Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh made a commitment to achieve “zero” net emissions by 2050, joining the pledge to reduce methane emissions worldwide and the Glasgow Declaration of Leaders on Forests and Land Uses.

In his speech at COP26 on November 1, Mr. Pham Minh Chinh said: “For its part, although a developing country has only just begun the process of industrialization over the past three decades, Vietnam is a country having the advantage of renewable energy, will develop and implement measures to strongly reduce greenhouse gas emissions with its own resources, along with the cooperation and support of the international community, especially developed countries, both in terms of finance and technology transfer, including implementation of mechanisms under the Paris Agreement, to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.”

Vietnam’s Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Tran Hong Ha was quoted as saying that COP26 is an opportunity for Vietnam to “continue to change the economic development model, moving from unsustainable development based on resources to green growth, low carbon economy, and circular economy.”

At COP26, Prime Minister Boris Johnson of the UK, the host country of the conference, called on countries to agree to maintain the goal of limiting the increase in global temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times.

Claire Stockwell, the climate policy expert at Climate Analytics, told BBC News Vietnamese on November 13 that they were in the process of assessing Vietnam’s goal of net-zero emissions reduction by 2050.

Ms. Stockwell pointed out that Vietnam signed the Declaration on the transition from coal to clean electricity at COP26.

According to this Declaration, Vietnam and a number of countries commit to rapidly scale up technology and policies within this decade to achieve the transition from coal power generation by the 2030s (or as soon as possible) for major economies and in the 2040s (or as soon as possible) globally.

The agreement also says countries will stop issuing permits for coal-fired power generation projects without a financing agreement, stop new construction plans, and end new direct government support.

To limit the global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius of the Paris Agreement, coal must be phased out of the power sector by 2030 within the OECD group and globally by 2040,” said Claire Stockwell.

Vietnam’s ratification of the deal to phase out coal is a welcome development.”

What’s important, however, is that the transition from coal needs to shift to renewables, not to natural gas and that full phase-out needs to be achieved by 2040, not in the 2040s,” said Claire Stockwell.


Speaking to BBC News in Vietnamese, Ms. Christina Ameln, a sustainability consultant at Purple Ivy, Sweden, commented that Vietnam’s commitment is very positive.

We are delighted that Vietnam is moving towards its goal of phasing out coal-fired power and participating more in the Race to Net Zero Emissions.”

This is a testament to the leadership, especially in Southeast Asia, where coal has grown dramatically over the past decade due to increased energy demand.”

According to announced commitments, by 2030, with domestic resources, Vietnam commits to reduce total greenhouse gas emissions by 9% and increase by up to 27% with bilateral and multilateral international support.

The Vietnamese government also said it would rapidly increase the share of renewable energy to 20% of the total primary supply by 2030 and to 30% by 2045; the level of emissions over total GDP by 2030 will decrease by nearly 15% and methane emissions in agricultural production by up to 10%.

People question how the pledge will be enforced,” said Christina Ameln.

It’s not easy to switch to renewables and pull out of fossil fuel investments. It can’t happen overnight, but it has to happen quickly.”

However, in my experience, Vietnam realizes what is best for their country. There is a real opportunity to deal with climate change and welcome investors to consider green energy is the future,” commented Ms. Christina Ameln.

Answering BBC News Vietnamese on November 13, Dr. Do Nam Thang, an expert on the working environment at the Australian National University, said that Vietnam’s commitments at COP26 can be fulfilled.

Vietnam has significant renewable energy resources. Our recent research shows that Vietnam has the potential to have more than 90% share of solar and wind energy in the source structure, along with energy storage through stored hydroelectricity. Thus, Vietnam can have a variety of electricity sources at competitive costs.”

Mr. Do Nam Thang, who has done many types of research on renewable energy in Vietnam, said:

Offshore wind energy, in particular, has great potential to provide electricity and contribute to significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.”

Promoting renewable energy adoption could be, even more, building on Vietnam’s recent success in developing land-based solar and wind power, making it a leading country in Southeast Asia in this area.”

COP26 has encouraged developed countries to make new financial commitments.

The UK has committed £110 million to Southeast Asia through the ASEAN Green Catalyst Financing Fund in partnership with the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

In addition, the Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG), supported by the UK Department of Foreign Affairs and Development, will invest an additional £210 million in green projects in developing countries, including Vietnam.

The UK also announced a further £274 million in funding through the Climate Action for a Sustainable Asia, which aims to strengthen the resilience of vulnerable economies and communities to climate change, including Vietnam.

Dr. Do Nam Thang emphasized: “Key factors for Vietnam to fulfill its commitments will include close partnerships between the government, businesses and communities; and international support.”

Mekong Delta

The Mekong Delta is one of the regions most affected by climate change.

This region is in dire need of special assistance from developed countries, especially climate finance sources to respond to climate change.

I hope that the role of a big conference like COP 26 will be shown, and will help a lot for countries affected by climate change like Vietnam,” said journalist Dinh Tuyen, who has reported for many years from the Mekong Delta and attended COP 23 commented on BBC News Vietnamese’s program “Multi-dimensional, many ideas” on November 12.

Mr. Dinh Tuyen added that he has confidence in Vietnam’s commitment to eliminate deforestation by 2030, although implementing this commitment will be difficult.

Also in the program, Ms. Nguyen Minh Thuy, deputy director of the Institute of Oriental Applications, who has many years of experience working in climate change projects in Vietnam, said:

I hope that the leaders have more meetings, many policies to encourage research units, consulting organizations to be more involved when they consider the climate factor in making economic and social development policies for their localities.” (Translated)


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