Charting a path for Vietnam to achieve its net-zero goals

By harnessing opportunities across sectors—particularly in power—Vietnam could potentially accelerate decarbonization to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

Vietnam is more exposed to climate risk than nearly any other country in the world. By some estimates, it is one of the top five countries likely to be most affected by climate change.1 Barring adaptation and mitigation measures, the country could face severe social and economic consequences.

Stakeholders across the country understand this reality and have begun making pledges and announcing policies aimed at reducing greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions. At the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow (COP26) in 2021, Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh announced the country’s commitment to phase out coal power generation by the 2040s and achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Most recently, in its National Strategy on Climate Change, Vietnam announced a 43.5 percent emissions-reduction target by 2030, sector-specific emissions targets for 2030 and 2050, and qualitative suggestions for achieving these goals.2

While these are praiseworthy goals, they are unlikely to propel Vietnam to net-zero emissions by 2050 on their own. Carrying out that mission will require more detailed and specific actions. To sketch out one possible scenario for Vietnam to achieve its climate ambitions, we conducted a bottom-up analysis of the country’s key economic sectors and the required emissions trajectory. Carefully focused and aggressive actions to reduce emissions across sectors of the economy, especially in power, could put Vietnam on a path to potentially achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

This transition won’t be easy. Vietnam faces structural challenges, and the transition will require considerable investment—as well as significant mindset and operational changes. Nonetheless, by building on existing efforts and engaging across sectors, Vietnam could realize its commitments and help keep global warming below key thresholds.

Such actions would also improve health outcomes, provide access to new sustainable value pools, and grow GDP.

The net-zero imperative and progress to date

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Extreme Weather Is Brutalizing Asia

Floods, droughts, tropical storms, and heat waves are severely testing the resilience of a region with a lot of vulnerable people.

Two people on a makeshift raft during flooding in Pakistan

Two people on a makeshift raft during flooding in Pakistan. People make their way along a waterlogged street in a residential area after a heavy monsoon rainfall in Hyderabad, Pakistan, on Aug. 24. AKRAM SHAHID/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES

AUGUST 24, 2022, 5:07 PM

High temperatures, frequent droughts, torrential rains, and other extreme weather events this summer have throttled Asia, forced industries to shut down, slowed global business, disrupted food supplies, and upended the lives of ordinary people living in some of the world’s most populous countries and densely packed cities. 

For months, countries across the Asia-Pacific have been experiencing a mix of heavier rains and higher temperatures, creating unpredictable weather patterns. When the rains aren’t falling a lot—as in Pakistan, where eight monsoon cycles have left thousands of people homeless—they aren’t falling at all, causing energy shortages as droughts have seriously restricted access to hydroelectric power. Record-breaking temperatures in China, for example, have sparked intense wildfires in the country’s center and dried up rivers that cities bank on to power industries and homes.

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What The Ozone Layer Teaches Us About Climate Action

06 APR, 2021

when it comes to the Paris Agreement and climate action; namely that when individuals change their behaviour by consuming differently they can drive industries to change, as those industries are then caught between a ‘greening’ consumer demand and international and governmental policies focusing on climate action. 


Credit: NOAA / Unsplash

Back in the 1980s, everyone was talking about the hole in the ozone layer, so what happened, and what can the international agreement to ban CFCs teach us about the importance of multilateral cooperation when it comes to climate action?

What exactly is the ozone layer?

The ozone layer is the part of the Earth’s atmosphere that protects the planet from ultraviolet radiation. It’s found in the Stratosphere which is around 10-50km above the surface of the earth. Think of it as a layer of sunscreen that protects us from all manner of harmful rays. Without it, life on Earth would be extremely unpleasant.

So, I’m guessing a hole in it is not a good thing

Exactly right, in fact it’s a very bad thing.

So what caused it?

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Country Climate and Development Report for Vietnam

Vietnam CCDR Report

Vietnam is increasingly seeing its development affected by climate change and now faces critical questions about how to respond. The Vietnam Country Climate and Development Report proposes that Vietnam shift its development paradigm by incorporating two critical pathways – resilient pathway and decarbonizing pathway – that will help the country balance its development goals with increasing climate risks.

After more than two decades of steady growth, Vietnam has set an ambitious goal of reaching high-income status by 2045. It has been recognized in the 2021-2030 Socioeconomic Development Strategy that the country’s economic transformation will greatly depend on better management of natural capital – the extensive stocks of agricultural, forest, and mineral resources that have helped drive development.

Yet Vietnam, with over 3,200 km of coastline and many low-lying cities and river delta regions, is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to climate change. Climate change impacts  – mainly higher and more variable temperatures and sea level rise  – are already disrupting economic activity and undermining growth. Initial calculations suggest that Vietnam lost $10 billion in 2020, or 3.2 percent of GDP, to climate change impacts.

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6 Big Findings from the IPCC 2022 Report on Climate Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability

February 27, 2022 By Kelly LevinSophie Boehm and Rebecca Carter Cover Image by: Roop_Dey/iStock

The newest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) paints a troubling picture: Climate change is already impacting every corner of the world, and much more severe impacts are in store if we fail to halve greenhouse gas emissions this decade and immediately scale up adaptation.     

Following on the first installment of the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report, Working Group II’s contribution, released on February 28, 2022, draws from 34,000 studies and involved 270 authors from 67 countries. It provides one of the most comprehensive examinations of the intensifying impacts of climate change and future risks, particularly for resource-poor countries and marginalized communities. The 2022 IPCC report also details which climate adaptation approaches are most effective and feasible, as well as which groups of people and ecosystems are most vulnerable.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called the report “an atlas of human suffering and a damning indictment of failed climate leadership. 

Here are six takeaways from the report:

1. Climate impacts are already more widespread and severe than expected.

Climate change is already causing widespread disruption in every region in the world with just 1.1 degrees C (2 degrees F) of warming.

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State of Climate Action 2021: Systems Transformations Required to Limit Global Warming to 1.5°C

Transformations must occur across every sector at far faster pace than recent trends to keep the window open to achieve the Paris Agreement’s goal to limit global warming to 1.5°C, according to this Systems Change Lab report authored by the UN High-Level Climate Champions, Climate Action Tracker, ClimateWorks Foundation, Bezos Earth Fund and World Resources Institute.

Limiting global warming to 1.5°C requires far-reaching transformations across power generation, buildings, industry, transport, land use, coastal zone management, and agriculture, as well as the immediate scale-up of technological carbon removal and climate finance. This report translates these transitions into 40 targets for 2030 and 2050, with measurable indicators.

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Sixty years of climate change warnings: the signs that were missed (and ignored)

The effects of ‘weird weather’ were already being felt in the 1960s, but scientists linking fossil fuels with climate change were dismissed as prophets of doomby Alice BellMon 5 Jul 2021 06.00 BST

In August 1974, the CIA produced a study on “climatological research as it pertains to intelligence problems”. The diagnosis was dramatic. It warned of the emergence of a new era of weird weather, leading to political unrest and mass migration (which, in turn, would cause more unrest). The new era the agency imagined wasn’t necessarily one of hotter temperatures; the CIA had heard from scientists warning of global cooling as well as warming. But the direction in which the thermometer was travelling wasn’t their immediate concern; it was the political impact. They knew that the so-called “little ice age”, a series of cold snaps between, roughly, 1350 and 1850, had brought not only drought and famine, but also war – and so could these new climatic changes.

“The climate change began in 1960,” the report’s first page informs us, “but no one, including the climatologists, recognised it.” Crop failures in the Soviet Union and India in the early 1960s had been attributed to standard unlucky weather. The US shipped grain to India and the Soviets killed off livestock to eat, “and premier Nikita Khrushchev was quietly deposed”.

But, the report argued, the world ignored this warning, as the global population continued to grow and states made massive investments in energy, technology and medicine.

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How Vietnam came to embrace a new vision of the Mekong Delta’s future

Adopt Science-Based Climate Targets Or We’ll Divest, Says $6 Billion Fund

Bloomberg Quint

January 31 2020, 5:24 PM February 01 2020, 12:30 PM (Bloomberg) —

Liontrust Asset Management Plc is using its leverage as a shareholder to demand that companies set more ambitious targets for reducing their impact on the climate. The London-based firm, which has more than 5 billion pounds ($6.6 billion) in its sustainable investment funds, is telling the companies in those portfolios to adopt emissions targets in line with the Paris Agreement’s goals on limiting rising temperatures.

And it’s telling firms in fields from education to health care to work with organizations like the Science Based Targets initiative to lend rigor to their plans. Liontrust will use its weight in shareholder votes and the threat of divestment to persuade companies to reduce their carbon emissions to zero, according to a spokeswoman. “We are encouraging them to be bold and raise ambition, because we think that will ultimately make them more successful businesses in a low-carbon economy,” said Mike Appleby, an investment manager at Liontrust. Tiếp tục đọc “Adopt Science-Based Climate Targets Or We’ll Divest, Says $6 Billion Fund”

Gravest threat to Mekong delta today is sediment starvation not rising seas

Posted on 10 December 2019

New research shows that the increasing vulnerability of the Mekong delta to floods, salt intrusion and erosion is caused by insufficient sediment in the river not climate-induced rise in sea levels.

Published in the journal Nature Scientific Reports, the findings of the Rise and Fall Project at Utrecht University are clear: the growing threat to the Mekong Delta – and the communities, cities, rice fields and biodiversity that depend on it – posed by higher tides and salt intrusion is almost entirely due to the loss of river sediment because of upstream dams and sand mining in the delta.

Rising tides in the delta have major ramifications for flooding in subsiding and increasingly vulnerable cities, and river bank erosion. While sea level rise and climate change have received most attention in relation to the sinking and shrinking of the Mekong delta, the research shows that in the last 20 years, they have driven less than 5% of these trends.
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Vietnam – “Rise and Fall” toward a sustainable Mekong Delta

>> Bài liên quan: Biện pháp đo độ cao mới cho thấy biến đổi khí hậu có thể nhanh chóng nhấn chìm đồng bằng sông Cửu Long

Hanoi, 24 October 2019 – The Mekong Delta is one of the most vulnerable deltas to climate change, particularly sea level rise. However, the social and economic developments in the region also have a significant impact on the land. Urbanisation, land-use transformation, intensification of economic activities and human protection against natural disasters has led to the large-scale extraction of fresh groundwater, heavy loading of infrastructure, upstream dykes and dam construction as well as loss of habitat and biodiversity. These human activities have accelerated the sediment starvation, salinisation, land subsidence and erosion. The Rise and Fall research program, a cornerstone in the Vietnam – the Netherlands delta collaboration, addresses these challenges with the Dutch multi-disciplinary approach in delta management by following four lines of research: fresh groundwater reserves, saline intrusion to surface water, land subsidence and governance. This research program plays an important role in the development of strategies and policies for the sustainable development of Mekong Delta with the significant findings as follow.

Mekong delta is much lower than previously assumed

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(River of no return: Mekong faces grim future)

Luke Hunt – Bình Yên Đông lược dịch

UCANews – August 21, 2019

Hình chụp ngày 14 tháng 4 cho thấy một du khách đi ngang đụn cát hay “Toppathatsay” trên bờ sông Mekong đánh dấu năm mới ở Lào hay “Pi Mai” tổ chức ở Luang Prabang. [Ảnh: Manan Vatsyayana/AFP]

Một lần nữa, sông Mekong xuống thấp đến mức kỷ lục, đe dọa việc sản xuất hoa màu, ngư nghiệp và sinh kế của 70 triệu người giữa việc phát triển thái quá và những báo động tàn khốc.  Nhưng hạn hán năm nay, lần thứ hai trong vòng 3 năm, có thể đánh dấu một bước ngoặt và một tương lai đen tối.


New Elevation Measure Shows Climate Change Could Quickly Swamp the Mekong Delta

The surprise revelation means 12 million Vietnamese may need to retreat

New Elevation Measure Shows Climate Change Could Quickly Swamp the Mekong Delta
Ground truthing shows the vast Mekong Delta averages only 0.8 meter above sea level instead of the 2.6 meters officially quoted. Credit: Linh Pham Getty Images

A stunning 12 million people could be displaced by flooding in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta within half a century, according to new research led by Philip Minderhoud, a geographer at Utrecht University in the Netherlands. Minderhoud and his colleagues arrived at that surprising conclusion after analyzing ground-based measurements of the Mekong’s topography that the Vietnamese government shielded from Western scientists  for years. The results, published today in Nature Communications, show the Mekong’s elevation over sea level averages just 0.8 meter, which is almost two meters lower than commonly quoted estimates based on freely available satellite data.
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Cambodia, Viet Nam make plans for implementing MRC Council Study recommendations

Read and download Council Study >>

Illegal Fishing – Ben Tre

Cambodia, Viet Nam make plans for implementing Council Study recommendations

MRC Vientiane, Lao PDR, 31st Oct 2018

Vientiane, Lao PDR, 31 October 2018 – Cambodia and Viet Nam have recently held consultations to begin the process of considering and implementing recommendations from the Mekong River Commission (MRC) Council Study into national policies and programs, while these are forthcoming in Lao PDR and Thailand. They aim to take advantage of the suite of new processes, tools, and datasets provided by the study to improve decision making on future sustainable development in the lower Mekong basin. Tiếp tục đọc “Cambodia, Viet Nam make plans for implementing MRC Council Study recommendations”