Plans for green growth hitting the right notes

November 03, 2021 | 11:00
Large corporations and forward-thinking localities in Vietnam are taking ambitious climate action, thus positioning the country for long-term growth and reducing human vulnerability to climate change.
Plans for green growth hitting the right notes
The Ministry of Planning and Investment is at the helm of the country’s green growth strategy

The country is ramping up efforts to develop a sustainable, inclusive, and resilient green transition across the entire economy, as highlighted at last week’s conference on the National Green Growth Strategy for 2021-2030, with a vision to 2050, compiled by the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI).

A rapidly growing number of businesses and localities have committed to rapid decarbonisation and investing further into sustainable technologies. Vietnam’s state-owned oil and gas group PetroVietnam has identified that the implementation of green growth should be based on greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction, energy efficiency, and energy transition, noted its representative at last week’s conference, held by the MPI.

PetroVietnam issued a climate change action plan with clear targets in accordance with the business of the group. Do Thi Thu Phuong, deputy director of PetroVietnam’s Department for Safety, Technology and Environment, said that by 2025 the group will lower CO2 limits by 15.55 million tonnes compared to 2010, equivalent to 2.86 per cent compared to the business as usual scenario. By 2030 it wants that figure to reach 23.53 million tonnes of CO2.

“PetroVietnam is interested in adjusting, improving, and optimising technology at oil and gas processing plants; investing in and operating solar energy systems and waste heat recovery systems at oil and gas projects; and efficiently operating CO2 recovery projects at oil and gas processing plants,” Phuong said, emphasising the development of a national emission coefficient for the oil and gas industry, especially for sub-sectors with high uncertainty according to global United Nations’ standards suitable to Vietnam’s conditions.

Technological solutions have been applied to mitigate climate change for each of PetroVietnam’s core business, such as reducing flare gas and cold discharge at oil and gas projects; utilising, recovering, and effectively using associated gas at oil and gas exploitation sites; and saving energy in buildings, factories, and technological systems at oil and gas projects.

In PetroVietnam’s plan, between 2018 and 2025 the group estimates to spend around $56.5 million reducing by 11.46 million tonnes of CO2 from 146 projects in such areas as oil and gas exploitation, power generation, petrochemicals, fertiliser production, and scientific research related to climate change. For the remainder of the decade, it will require $4.2 million to lower CO2 by eight million tonnes from 137 projects.

Previous actions taken by localities in the country point to what could be achieved with the new strategy. The northern port city of Haiphong was the first in the country to develop, promulgate, and implement the Green Growth Action Plan for 2014-2020 with the purpose of building and developing the city in a sustainable way, and is to build on this through the new strategy.

According to Le Khac Nam, Deputy Chairman of Haiphong People’s Committee, the city’s green growth action plan contributed significantly in it reaching a number of environmental targets last year, such as a very high proportion of households now using standard clean water; treated urban wastewater and medical facilities meeting technical standards; and many more. Some 30 out of 46 tasks under the action plan to respond to climate change were eventually implemented.

“The plans have also helped carry out economic restructuring focusing on high-tech and environmentally-friendly projects as well as incorporating green growth indicators into socioeconomic targets,” Nam said.

To implement the new Green Growth Strategy for this decade, Nam outlined the key tasks to ensure Haiphong continues to be a fine example for other localities. These include applying digital tech, deploying green economic development models, and promoting a green transition in social fields such as labour, employment, healthcare, and tourism.

To facilitate this and more, Nam recommended that the MPI conducts research, development, and issuance of a national action plan on green growth, a database, a statistical indicator system on green growth, and a “Composite Green Growth Index”, so that cities and provinces have a basis for constructing and evaluating implementation of green growth plan at a local level. “We need support on techniques and human resources to develop and collect input data for a number of targets for 2021-2025 in terms of GHG emission reductions, energy consumption rates per unit of GDP, use of public transport, air quality, and much more,” said Nam.

In a global context, a report published by Boston Consulting Group and HSBC last week revealed that as much as $25-50 trillion may be needed by small- and medium-sized enterprises globally, adding additional layers of complexity to the climate challenge, with these enterprises typically having less in-house climate expertise and limited access to capital to fund climate transformation.

Global supply chains – which according to the analysis account for as much as 80 per cent of the world’s total carbon emissions – will need to decarbonise to deliver net zero outcomes.

“Organisations will need to start to rapidly address not only their direct emissions, but also their indirect emissions – that is, the emissions arising from their suppliers, as well as the usage and disposal of their products,” said the report.

By Song Huong

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