John Kerry is plotting a renewable energy future … starting in Vietnam

Vietnam wants to build a massive number of coal plants. But a former United States secretary of state is offering the country a cleaner path forward.

John Kerry is working with the Vietnamese government on an alternative to its coal plan — one that could provide the same amount of electricity, but with hydroelectric dams and solar panels instead of fossil fuels. It’s a scheme that would save the country billions of dollars, prevent pollution-related deaths, and keep greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere.

Hints of this effort have surfaced in the Vietnamese press, but a representative for Kerry said he was not ready to speak about his efforts on the record. However, the former presidential candidate discussed his work last week at the Clean Energy Finance Forum held at Stanford University. While remarks made at the forum were initially off the record, Stanford’s Precourt Institute for Energy subsequently posted a video online of Kerry’s chat with Anne Finucane, a Bank of America vice chairman. (Update: Since Grist published this story, Stanford has taken down the video featuring Kerry and Finucane.)

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