Vietnam set for agriculture reform to support Paris climate agreement: report

By VnExpress, Reuters   June 17, 2017 | 09:34 am GMT+7
Vietnam set for agriculture reform to support Paris climate agreement: report
Rice cultivation is a major source of greenhouse gas emission in Vietnam, officials said. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh

The sector is responsible for nearly 40 percent of the country’s carbon emissions.

Vietnam has pledged to reform its agricultural sector to cut greenhouse gas emission by up to 25 percent by 2030, but it will need financial support.

Officials and experts said at a recent meeting in Hanoi that the country is committed to Paris climate goals and to cutting down at least 8 percent of its emission by 2030, the Vietnam News Agency reported.

But it can reach the target of 25 percent with international support, it said.

To achieve the targets, they said, Vietnam will need about $30 billion from the state budget, international support as well as local and foreign enterprises by 2020.

According to the agriculture ministry, the sector, which employs 40 percent of the country’s workforce, is responsible for as much as 38.5 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions, half of which comes from rice cultivation.

The Vietnam News Agency report only focused on agricultural activities. But it should be noted that for years experts have also raised their concerns over Vietnam's outdated and energy intensive technology in power generation, industrial production and transport.

International development partners and donors late last year called on Vietnam to commit to bigger greenhouse gas emission reductions, warning that fueling growth with coal would hurt the country with high environmental costs later.

Vietnam is one of the countries most vulnerable to climate change. Under a high emission scenario, nearly 40 percent of the Mekong Delta could be wiped out by the end of the century, according to projections by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.

Officials said the country has witnessed increasingly severe impacts over the past 15 years.

Disasters such as prolonged and widespread floods have caused direct impact to 32.2 percent of total agricultural land.

The country was hit by 20 natural disasters last year, which killed 264 people and caused damage worth nearly VND40 trillion ($1.75 billion), nearly five times that of 2015, according to official data.
 

Paris pact

The European Parliament this week backed curbs on EU states' emissions to share the burden of the bloc's Paris climate goals and forge ahead despite President Donald Trump's decision to pull the United States out of the 195-nation pact.

Taking the floor ahead of the vote, EU politicians reiterated disappointment over Trump's decision and rejected his call to renegotiate what he called the "draconian" economic costs of a deal they pledged to implement without Washington.

"The refusal of the US to commit to the Paris agreement will push the rest of the world to be even more united against climate change," European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker told the parliament.

The EU, the world's third-largest emitter, has pledged to team up with China, world's largest polluter, to defend the Paris climate pact's goal of limit global warming to "well below" 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels.

But the bloc still faces hurdles implementing its climate goals that include truculent member states like pro-coal Poland and Britain's plans to exit from the bloc.

For the U.S., President Barack Obama's voluntary target under the Paris Agreement was to cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by at least 26 percent below 2005 levels by 2025, partly by restricting coal-fired power plants.

Trump's policies are likely to flatten U.S. emissions around current levels, about 11.5 percent below 2005 levels, according to a study last month by European researchers who compile a ClimateAction Tracker.