|Solar, hydro, and others are gradually replacing more common forms of energy, Photo: Thanh Tung |
In the first days of the Lunar New Year, Vietnam welcomed a delegation led by COP26 president Alok Sharma. During the visit, an amount of $130 billion leading to 2030 was committed from development partners such as the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, Climate Investment Fund, and the Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet for Vietnam to realise its climate targets.
At a meeting with the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) last week, Sharma confirmed the delegation is working closely with development partners to build packages for developing countries to implement and reach the targets set forth. “We are working with numerous partners, including development banks and developed countries to help Vietnam mobilise more funds for the energy transition,” Sharma said, adding that they are calling for trillions of US dollars from the private sector to support developing countries, including Vietnam. “We should combine bilateral and multilateral resources, private investment, and all relevant shareholders to develop green energy and reduce carbon emissions.”
Vietnam is a developing country with a lot of challenges in the way to reaching the target of net-zero. “Vietnam is restructuring all sectors and areas to integrate the reduction of carbon emissions, developing biomass and gas electricity, and planting more forests as well as adjusting the national green growth strategy to higher goals,” MPI Minister Nguyen Chi Dung said.
Low-emission development would be a key trend for Vietnam to continue to comprehensively change from a fossil energy and resources development model to a low-emissions model, Dung added. “However, the biggest challenge for us is modest domestic resources, while foreign resources are abundant but often difficult to access due to obstacles in administrative mechanisms and procedures,” he emphasised.
At present, coal is the most polluting fossil fuel, and phasing it out quickly is seen as crucial if the world is to meet the Paris Agreement’s target to limit global warming to 1.5oC and avert the most catastrophic impacts of climate change. In the master plan of Vietnam towards 2030, the scale of coal power is 38.8GW, an increase of 18GW compared to present.
Minister Dung noted his appreciation of the role of the COP26 president to strengthen the transition of global energy, as well as support Vietnam’s electricity businesses to approach partners and preferential finance from the UK and other countries, as well as invest in sectors such as green energy.
In addition to the capital of international organisations, Vietnam has just received huge capital from foreign banks. HSBC has marked a new step in Vietnam’s journey by arranging up to $12 billion of direct and indirect sustainable financing for the country and the corporate sector to support Vietnam’s goal of becoming a net-zero emissions economy by 2050.
Last week, HSBC Vietnam signed a letter of intent for evaluating and providing financing solutions with a focus on sustainability with Trung Nam Group, one of the leading renewable energy players in the country.
At COP26 in November, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh announced strong commitments to tackle climate change with its own resources along with cooperation and support from the international community.
To realise the commitments, Vietnam will issue a decree on mitigating greenhouse gas emissions and protecting the ozone layer, develop a project of tasks and breakthrough solutions to implement the results of COP26, set up a steering committee for proposing mechanisms, policies, and laws to promote administrative procedure reform, and create a favourable environment to mobilise domestic and foreign resources for climate-resilient infrastructure and renewable energy development.
Additionally, Vietnam will complete the National Strategy on Climate Change, develop an action plan to reduce methane emissions by 2030, and implement the National Strategy on Green Growth and carbon pricing tools. It will also actively enhance international cooperation to take advantage of financial and technological resources and strengthen the capacity to implement the Paris Agreement and commitments made at COP26.
Over the past 50 years, the average temperature in Vietnam has increased as much as 0.5-0.7°C, while sea levels have risen by about two centimetres.
“As one of the countries worst affected by climate change, Vietnam is making every effort to both respond to climate change and foster economic development to grow and ensure an ever-better life for its people, while contributing responsibly alongside the international community,” PM Chinh said. “We look forward to advancing cooperation with international partners through investment programmes and projects, and sustainable development.”
Dr. Tang The Cuong, director general of the Department of Climate Change under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, told VIR that in the coming time, climate change will continue to occur unpredictably, and adverse impacts will become more and more serious.
He cited a report published at the end of 2020 by the McKinsey Global Institute as saying that due to the impact of climate change, Southeast Asian countries will lose about 8-13 per cent of GDP each year until 2050.
“Climate change is neither a risk of distant future nor a single phenomenon. It has already become an existing reality with widespread impacts across the regions,” Cuong said. “The climate is becoming increasingly harsh and unpredictable. Natural disasters are increasing in both intensity and level. Floods, high tides, droughts, saltwater intrusion, water scarcity, and landslides partly caused by climate change also continuously occur in regions across the country and cause more damage every year.”