The Hanoitimes - As one of the first countries to ratify the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Government of Vietnam has also long displayed commitment to doing its part to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
Vietnam was also one of the first countries to ratify the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, building on the Governments repeated support for an international climate agreement that aims to contain global warming to 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels. Vietnam’s Nationally Determined Contribution to the Paris Agreement aims for 8% reduction in GHG emissions by 2030 relying solely on domestic resources, and targets 25% reduction if sufficient international support is provided.
Vietnam has developed rapidly over the past decades. However, the development of Vietnam’s renewable energy supply (mainly hydro and biomass) has not kept pace with the needs of its economy, which has grown to rely on higher carbon energy. In 1990, over 60% of electricity was produced from hydropower and more than 70% of total energy consumption was low-carbon. By 2010, this situation had reversed with only 30% of electricity produced from hydroelectric power and over 70% of total energy consumption from fossil fuels.
Vietnam was also one of the first countries to ratify the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
Under a growing economy, emissions are poised to increase rapidly. As such, Vietnam’s economy could expand by almost 14 times in real terms over the 4 decades between 2010 and 2050 under the 7% annual economic growth targeted by the Government of Vietnam. Vietnam’s population may grow from 85 million to over 105 million, and lifestyles will change from mainly rural to predominantly urban. Gross domestic product (GDP) per capita over this period could increase over 10 times, with the greatest growth in urban areas. As a result of this growth and an increasingly carbon-intensive energy mix, energy-associated emissions may also have a 10-fold increase between 2010 and 2050.
To achieve rapid economic growth that is sustainable, a change of course in the energy sector is needed. The Government is aware of these challenges. The approvals of Vietnam’s National Climate Change Strategy in 2011 and the Vietnam Green Growth Strategy (VGGS) in 2012, and the submission of a Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to the Paris Agreement underscore the Government’s commitment to low-carbon development.
The modeled low-carbon pathway exhibits a mitigation of 7% in 2020, compared with a VGGS target of 10%. In 2030, the modeled pathway exhibits a mitigation of 18% compared with a VGGS target of 20% and, in 2050, a mitigation of 54% compared with a VGGS target of 50%. Compared with the NDC, it has nearly the same relative reduction as the contribution under international support (25% reduction), and represents a lower level of 2030 emissions, due to a lower reference emission level. This suggests that national mitigation targets are achievable.
Power generation changes contribute more than 70% of the total mitigation potential over 2010–2050. This sector has lower GHG emissions in the low-carbon scenario than in the reference scenario because of supply-side measures and reduced demand resulting from energy-efficiency measures. End-user energy-efficiency measures contribute 15% of this reduction, while the remainder is brought about by changes in electricity generation. This study evaluates 12 supply-side measures to reduce GHG emissions, increasing generation from biomass, solar, onshore wind, and micro hydro. Together, these generate a total mitigation of nearly 3,000 MtCO2e at a negative weighted average marginal abatement cost. Under the low-carbon scenario, the direct cost of electricity generation is reduced in the future, while energy security is enhanced.