The towering symbols of progress – skyscrapers – are actually symbolic of a steadily worsening quality of life. We breathe polluted air and lose time we can never regain.
Ngo Chi Tung
I wake my children up at 5:30 every weekday for our 12.5 km commute from Cau Dien Ward in Nam Tu Liem District to the city center. It takes us 1-1.5 hours.
Winter days are the worst. Dawn doesn’t break by 6 a.m., and seeing my third grader daughter shiver as she sits inside the school guard’s booth to wait for the school to open breaks my heart, each time.
It gets even worse in the afternoon. The journey home has always been long, but by 5 p.m. it is almost like a pilgrimage that would demoralize even the most devout believers. I’ve now become used to being stuck on the road for hours, while my daughter has learned to frequent the school guard’s booth, like many of her classmates, as they wait for their parents to show up.
Last year, the agricultural sector had 16 projects on processing and preserving agricultural, forestry, and aquatic products with a total investment of about VND17.3 trillion. Generally, in the past four years, 67 factories had been put into operation. The agricultural sector strives to make processed agricultural products account for 30 percent of the total export value of the industry by 2030, and gradually turn Vietnam into one of the countries where processed agricultural products account for a large proportion.
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From Zero to hero, the various case of Vietnam’s renewable energy
In January, a humble “S-shaped” country in South East Asia became the talk of the town. Having been “chasing the sun”, Vietnam saw a boom in rooftop solar installations at the end of 2020. It beat all forecasts, even that of Bloomberg, who made an entire podcast episode featuring Vietnam’s race to green energy.
Before we get to the real meat of what happened, let us first take a step back to look at the whole relationship between energy and climate, and why moving to green energy matters.
All living things on the planet contain carbon [insert Sir. David Attenborough‘s voiceover here]. When organisms died hundreds of millions of years ago, their remains got buried deep under layers of sediment and rock. Under high heat and pressure, they were slow-cooked into carbon-rich deposits we now call fossil fuels, i.e. coal, oil and natural gas.
Fast forward to the 18th century. The Industrial Revolution unlocked the huge potential of fossil fuels as an abundant source of energy. Since then, fossil fuels have rapidly established themselves as the major source of power, supplying about 84% of global energy in 2019.
The answer is no…if 1) we move away from fossil fuels and into low-carbon, renewable energy (RE) and 2) we reduce energy consumption and increase energy efficiency. In this issue, we’ll zoom in on the first solution.
From 1965 to 2019, the share of renewables (e.g. solar, wind, hydropower) in the energy mix almost doubled from 6% to 11%. This seems…puny compared to that of fossil fuels. On the bright side, the recent net-zero emission targets set by the world’s major economies as well as big corporates in an effort to slow climate change are expected to accelerate renewables’ growth.
Vietnam is also encouraging a shift from fossil fuel to renewables, in order to meet its CO2 emission mitigation target.