Vietnam urged to take bolder actions to tackle climate change ahead of COP24
Updated at Thursday, 04 Oct 2018, 09:12
The Hanoitimes - Experts commented civil society organizations can make important contributions in this process, and called for NGOs to take active participation in discussion of Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC).
Experts have voiced that Vietnam needs to become an ambitious and demanding participant in international climate negotiations as the country is among the most vulnerable to climate change and is contributing modestly to climate change mitigation.
At the workshop titled “Opportunities and challenges on review and implementation of Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC)” ahead of the COP 24 in Poland in December, Hoang Viet, program coordinator of Water and Climate Change at WWF Vietnam, noted that Vietnam is among countries that is committed the least to the 2015 Paris Agreement.
A panel at the workshop. Photo: Minh Tuan
“Even though at high risk, Vietnam, even after the revised technical report, committed in a relatively modest way to reduce emissions till 2030. The global underestimation of climate change and the slow process of implementation of corresponding are putting additional risk on its national development,” said the Climate Change Working Group (CCWG) under the VUFO-NGO Resource Center Vietnam.
The upcoming COP24, Climate Vulnerable Forum and the ongoing NDC revision process until the first quarter of 2019 are important opportunities to change Vietnam’s current position, said CCWG.
Ministry grilled over “impractical” NDC
At end-August 2018, the Vietnamese Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE) presented key contents of the first draft of the Technical Report of the updated NDC, the Vietnamese government now commits to 8% reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction by domestic means by 2030 compared to the Business-as-Usual (BAU) scenario. The ratio could reach 25% with international assistance.
The BAU scenario for the revised NDC for Vietnam itself was raised from 787.4 million tons of CO2 to 888.8 million tons of CO2 by 2030, more than three times higher compared to the baseline (284 million tons of CO2), and the updated base year is 2014 (instead of 2010).
As major changes it contains adjustments of the base year, the emission reduction targets compared to the business-as-usual scenario and additionally includes a new mitigation sector called industrial processes next to the existing ones (energy, waste, land use, land use change, forestry (LULUCF) and agriculture.
“The big question is how Vietnam can increase its CO2 emission reduction target? Not just 8% of 888 million tons of CO2 in 2030?” said Hoang Viet, co-chair of CCWG.
Participants at the workshop also question the feasibility and practicality of Vietnam’s NDC.
Trinh Quang Dung, national consultant for Solar PV of UNDP Vietnam, said 8% or 10% are just figures made “within office” and they must be more specific and clear. He suggested that responsibilities of each ministry and sector should be detailed and law-abiding.
The percentage of renewable energy in Vietnam’s power development master plan, known as Plan VII, set for 12% by 2030 is too low compared to 70% in many other countries, while coal-sourced power will still play a dominant role, Dung comment.
Trinh Quang Dung, national consultant for Solar PV of UNDP Vietnam. Photo: Minh Tuan
“We should assert that reducing GHG is a way to save us from climate change. The role played by MONRE has been very dim and vague. Stronger and clearer measures should be taken to make those commitments law-abiding,” Dung said.
Echoing with Dung, Pham Phu Huynh, deputy director of the Institute of Natural Resources and Ecosystem under the University of Transport in Hanoi, said that Vietnam’s increased import of coal is worrisome and bucks the global trend. Therefore, MONROE needs to play a more decisive paper.
Chu Thanh Huong from the MONROE’s Climate Change Department, informed that the department has finished the second draft of the NDC for Vietnam and will send to ministries and agencies for comment in the coming month.
Pham Van Tan, deputy director general of the MONROE’s Climate Change Department, said the ministry will do its best with the second draft and get it prepared for the Vietnamese delegation to the COP24 conference to be held in Poland in December.
Pham Van Tan, deputy director general of the MONROE’s Climate Change Department. Photo: Minh Tuan
Vietnam’s NDC report will be updated by May 2019 with wider involvement of ministries and organizations at home and overseas, Tan said.
Stronger actions needed
Next to high human costs, the impacts of climate change globally are already costing an estimated US$1.6 trillion per year and the cost is expected to rise to over US$4 trillion by 2030.
Even if all NDCs of all countries under Paris Agreement commitment are achieved, the global surface temperature will still increase to 2.5 – 3.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, it means that we will face on more extreme weather phenomenon, climate hazards in coming time, Hoang Viet from CCWG warned.
The ongoing NDC revision process is an opportunity to channel investments into low emission development and climate change resilience in Vietnam and to create a coherent policy framework, according to CCWG.
Hoang Viet, co-chair of CCWG. Photo: Minh Tuan
Hoang Viet from CCWG called on Vietnam to become an ambitious and demanding participant in international climate negotiation. Climate change adaptation needs to be integrated in all national and provincial planning, and must be considered within every decision-making process.
Besides, Vietnam needs to ensure that all future infrastructure and foreign investments are climate change-ready and support resilient development.
“NDC revision needs to safeguard the rights of the most vulnerable, and share the burdens of climate change and the benefits of its resolution equitably and fairly,” he stressed, adding it’s necessary to more effectively integrate NGO mitigation models in the emission calculation process.
“The NDC revision process of Vietnam should have the support and strong commitment of all governmental bodies, from national to local level as well as businesses, communities to affirm the role of Vietnam in international negotiation process, to help Vietnam achieving the sustainable development with low carbon economy, with high resilience and adaptation capacity, to avoid unnecessary loss of life, income, and damage to major infrastructure assets,” Viet suggested.
In NDC revision and update process, MONRE has been very active to consult with related partners as well as NGOs via many consultation workshops at all levels, at different scales and delegates, he informed.
Ben Rawson, conservation and program development director at WWF Vietnam, commented that civil society organizations can make important contributions in this process, and called for NGOs to take active participation in discussion of NDC.