Vietnam makes slow progress in shifting toward green economy: report

By Dang Khoa   January 28, 2021 | 09:00 pm PT
Vietnam makes slow progress in shifting toward green economy: report
Smog seen in Hanoi in the afternoon of December 7, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Pham Chieu.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Green Future Index listed Vietnam as a climate laggard economy for making low and uneven commitments toward a green future.

The index released by MIT Technology Review Insights this week measures 76 global economies on their progress and commitment toward building a low-carbon future.

Vietnam did best in the Green Society pillar, which measure how a country preserves its environment and adopts sustainable practices, to finish in 12th place. The index stated Vietnam made progress in nationwide reforestation efforts, including the over-logged Central Highlands.

The country came in 18th place in Clean Innovation (number of green patents, investment in cross-border clean energy, investment in food technology), 20th in Energy Transition (contribution of renewables to the overall energy mix and its recent historical rate of change), 52nd in Climate Policy (measuring the ambition and effectiveness of climate policy).

Vietnam performed poorest in the Carbon Emissions pillar, coming in 70th place, for having a high CO2 emissions growth rate.

Overall, the nation was ranked 49th and listed as one of 20 climate laggard countries and territories "that are making slow and uneven progress or commitments toward building a green future."

The index pointed out economies in this list "struggle to lessen their dependency on fossil fuels" counter to sustainable development. It noted Vietnam and countries like South Africa (47th) and Indonesia (57th) are all among the world's top 10 coal exporters.

According to previous reports, senior state officials said coal-fired power will remain a key energy source for Vietnam for several decades to come despite the boost in renewables.

Statistic from state-owned PetroVietnam showed Vietnam's coal imports for 2020 increased to a record high of 54.81 million tons, up 5.2 percent year-on-year, while domestic coal production increased 5.3 percent to 48.6 million tons.

"Vietnam has increased renewable energy contributions but plans just an 8 percent emissions reduction by 2030," the Green Future Index said.

The index stated Europe is the leader in green economy by accounting for 15 of the top 20 countries on the index.

Iceland (1st), Denmark and Norway finished as the top three future green leaders while Iran, Paraguay and Qatar (76th) rounded out the bottom.

The U.N. has estimated emissions need to be cut by 7.6 percent a year until 2030 if there is to be any hope of limiting heating to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Earth's surface has already warmed nearly 1.2 degrees Celsius on average, intensifying extreme weather and making it more deadly.

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