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Vietnam can be leader in transition to clean energy: US climate envoy

By Minh Nga   February 25, 2022 | 08:00 pm PT
Vietnam can be leader in transition to clean energy: US climate envoy
A solar power farm in Ninh Thuan Province in south-central Vietnam in 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran
Vietnam can set an example for clean energy adoption thanks to its natural advantages, the U.S.'s special presidential envoy for climate, John Kerry, said.

"Greenhouse gases kill 10 million people per year around the world and we should not be willing to accept that," he told reporters in Ho Chi Minh City on Friday at the end of a four-day visit to Vietnam.

Effects of greenhouse gases include storms, flooding, desertification and air pollution.

"No one country can solve this problem by itself, we must have all countries come together. Vietnam can be one of the leaders that can set an example for how we make a transition to an energy base that does not burn coal."

At the 2021 U.N. Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Scotland last November Vietnam had promised to target net zero emissions by 2050.

Net zero emissions mean the amount of carbon dioxide removed from the atmosphere is the same as the amount emitted or more.

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh had said Vietnam would actively develop sustainable energy and work toward reducing coal-fired power in a video message to the Russian Energy Week International Forum last October.

The country would diversify its energy sources, focusing on clean and renewable energy from wind, the sun, biomass, and waste, and increase the share of clean energy to at least 20 percent by 2030 and 30 percent by 2045, he said.

To achieve the net-zero goal, Vietnam has to transition away from coal and change what the country has been doing to provide power as there are other alternatives that could be used for energy, Kerry said.

"We believe there are possibilities for huge transition here [Vietnam] that will create jobs [in the field of clean energy].

"Vietnam has great wind, incredible sun and hydropower. That mixture can help Vietnam have a great clean energy base."

Binh Thuan and Ninh Thuan provinces on the south-central coast could provide solar power, he said.

U.S.’s special presidential envoy for climate, John Kerry in Ho Chi Minh City, February 25, 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Minh Nga

U.S.’s special presidential envoy for climate, John Kerry, in Ho Chi Minh City, February 25, 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Minh Nga

Vietnam needs to put in place rules and regulations that help get the investments needed to make it happen as "the biggest challenge now is to do this fast enough.

"Science tells us in simple mathematics and physics that the world has to reduce emissions by 45 percent between now and 2030. If we don't do enough between 2020 and 2030, forget about 2050. It will not be achievable unless you do what you have to do now."

At COP26, Vietnam was among a 190 countries and organizations pledging to phase out coal-fueled power and stop building new plants.

Before traveling to HCMC Kerry had met with President Nguyen Xuan Phuc and promised that the U.S. stood ready to assist Vietnam in reviewing and adjusting its strategies and planning for the goal of achieving net-zero emissions.

 
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