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US to help Vietnam meet key COP26 commitment: climate envoy

By Viet Anh   February 23, 2022 | 07:14 am PT
US to help Vietnam meet key COP26 commitment: climate envoy
John Kerry, U.S. special presidential envoy for climate, attends a meeting in Hanoi, February 23, 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh
The U.S. special presidential envoy for climate, John Kerry, has expressed high appreciation for Vietnam's COP26 commitments and reaffirmed his nation's pledge to assist with this effort.

Kerry's reaffirmation came in talks held with Vietnamese President Nguyen Xuan Phuc in Hanoi, a foreign ministry press release said Wednesday.

Kerry, who is paying a four-day (Feb. 22-25) visit to Vietnam, said the U.S. stood ready to assist Vietnam in reviewing, adjusting its strategy and planning towards the goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050, a key commitment announced by Vietnam's leaders at the COP26 meet in the U.K. last November.

Kerry said the U.S. will continue to work closely with Vietnam on specific and timely measures, especially in developing renewable energy and reducing emissions, formulating policies to phase out coal power and developing sustainable infrastructure.

He said the U.S. can help Vietnam in transitioning to a clean energy model, especially through solar energy.

He stressed the importance of this move, given that rising sea levels are likely to severely impact the Mekong Delta and other low-lying areas in Vietnam.

President Phuc said Vietnam considered climate change response an area of strategic cooperation between the two countries. He requested the U.S. to increase financial and technical support to help Vietnam fulfill commitments made at COP26 and to move towards establishing an equitable energy transition partnership with a number of partners, including the U.S.

In an event hosted by the USAID later, Kerry told the media that "President Biden is very committed to helping Vietnam in a big way to transition from coal to new technologies."

Government decisions should help move in that direction, he said.

Vietnam can have a very balanced power sector, combining hydropower, wind power and solar power, he said, adding it also has potential to develop its offshore capacity for wind power.

"Vietnam has a good story to tell about the future."

Kerry also attended a ceremony Wednesday where the Innovation Challenge Fund (ICF) was announced, saying it could play an important role in tackling climate change challenges.

The ICF is part of Vietnam Urban Energy Security, a four-year, $14 million USAID-funded project that aims at improving frameworks, mobilizing investment and increasing the adoption of innovative solutions for advanced, distributed energy in urban areas.

With a $2 million allocation, the ICF targets funding 20 pilot projects and/or demonstrations of new products, business models or financing models for advanced urban energy systems in Da Nang and/or HCMC. Successful applicants will receive funding of up to $100,000.

Kerry also emphasized the important role of the Vietnam Low Emission Energy Program project that the U.S. is funding to the tune of $36 million. Under this project, USAID will help Vietnam continue its transition to a clean, secure and market-based energy sector by increasing the deployment of advanced energy systems, improving energy sector performance, and increasing competition in the energy sector.

Both Vietnam and the U.S. will attend the COP27 meeting in Egypt this November.

 
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