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What is Viet Namʼs pathway to limit global warming to 1.5°C?

Last update: December 2021

Ambition gap

Viet Namʼs total GHG emissions

excl. LULUCF MtCO₂e/yr

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Displayed values
Reference year
−100%−50%0%50%100%150%19902010203020502070
Reference year
2015
1.5°C emissions level
−41%
NDC (conditional)
+127%
NDC (unconditional)
+174%
Ambition gap
−168%
  • 1.5°C compatible pathways
  • Middle of the 1.5°C compatible range
  • Current policy projections
  • 1.5°C emissions range
  • Historical emissions

*Net zero emissions excl LULUCF is achieved through deployment of BECCS; other novel CDR is not included in these pathways

Summary

Viet Nam updated its NDC in September 2020, pledging a 9% (unconditional) to 27% (conditional) reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions below business-as-usual (BAU) levels by 2030. Viet Nam’s conditional target is equivalent to around 748 MtCO₂e/yr excluding LULUCF, or a 100% increase above 2015 emission levels – higher than Viet Nam’s current policy pathway. The country aims to update its NDC ahead of COP27.

1 Global Gas Plant Tracker. Global Gas Plant Tracker – Global Energy Monitor. (2021).

2 Climate Action Tracker. Viet Nam. CAT November 2020 Update. (2020).

3 Chapman, A., Urmee, T., Shem, C. & Fuentes, U. Energy transition to renewable energies. Opportunities for Australian cooperation with Vietnam. (2019).

4 IEA. Data & Statistics. International energy Agency, (2020).

5 MNRE. National Communication of Vietnam, The Third. (2019).

6 Viet Nam Government. Viet Nam Third Biennial Updated Report. (2020).

7 Phan Anh. Vietnam pledges to phase out coal power. VnExpress International, (2021).

8 UN Climate Change Conference (COP26). Global Coal to Clean Power Transition Statement. (2021).

9 Phạm Minh Chính. Viet Nam will take stronger measures to reduce greenhouse gas emission: PM . Viet Nam News. (2021).

10 Viet Nam Government. Updated Nationally Determined Contribution. (2020).

11 Viet Nam Government. Approving the Viet Nam’s Renewable Energy Development Strategy up to 2030 with an outlook to 2050.(2015).

12 Vietnam Government. Resolution 55-NQ/TW – On Orientations of the Viet Nam’s National Energy Development Strategy to 2030 and outlook to 2045. (2020).

13 MOIT. Vietnam National Energy Efficiency Program 2019-2030. (2019).

14 Viet Nam Government. Approval of the Revised National Power Development Master Plan for the 2011-2020 Period with the Vision to 2030 (translated by GIZ). (2016).

15 UN Climate Change Conference 2021. Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forests and Land Use – UN Climate Change Conference (COP26). (2021).

16 Climate Action Tracker. Viet Nam can easily achieve its new target, but it does now cover whole economy and is clearer . Climate Action Tracker. (2020).

17 IEA. Vietnam . International Energy Agency. (2021).

18 MDI. Vietnam Energy Update Report 2020. (2020).

19 Allens. Renewables in Vietnam, Opportunities for Investment. (2020).

20 Vu, T. Vietnam’s extraordinary rooftop solar success deals another blow to the remaining coal pipeline. IEEFA. (2021).

21 Viet Nam Government. Decision on mechanisms to promote the development of solar power projects in Viet Nam. (2020).

22 Baker McKenzie. Vietnam: October 2021 updates to the Draft PDP8. (2021).

23 Viet Nam Government. Draft Power Development Plan 8 (third draft, February 2021). (2021).

24 IEA. Viet Nam. International Energy Agency. (2021).

25 Energy Voice. Enterprize eyes green hydrogen’s potential to ‘supercharge’ Vietnam. Energy Voice. (2021).

26 Phi Nhat. Support policies for EVs mapped out to encourage Vietnamese private sector’s participation. Hanoi Times. (2021).

27 VietnamNet. Vietnam expects new wave of electric vehicles in 2022. VietnamNet. (2022).

28 While global cost-effective pathways assessed by the IPCC Special Report 1.5°C provide useful guidance for an upper-limit of emissions trajectories for developed countries, they underestimate the feasible space for such countries to reach net zero earlier. The current generation of models tend to depend strongly on land-use sinks outside of currently developed countries and include fossil fuel use well beyond the time at which these could be phased out, compared to what is understood from bottom-up approaches. The scientific teams which provide these global pathways constantly improve the technologies represented in their models – and novel CDR technologies are now being included in new studies focused on deep mitigation scenarios meeting the Paris Agreement. A wide assessment database of these new scenarios is not yet available; thus, we rely on available scenarios which focus particularly on BECCS as a net-negative emission technology. Accordingly, we do not yet consider land-sector emissions (LULUCF) and other CDR approaches.

29 October 2021 draft Power Development Plan 8.

A 1.5°C compatible pathway would see emissions immediately peak and decline to 171-227 MtCO₂e/yr in 2030, 31-48% below 2015 levels.

Under the Paris Agreement, international support, including finance, technology transfer and capacity building will be needed for Viet Nam to close the emissions gap between its fair share and its domestic emissions pathway.

Viet Nam committed to net zero emissions by 2050 at COP26 and is in the process of developing its long-term climate strategy. Our projections show it could reduce around 92% of its CO₂ emissions from 2015 levels by 2050, and 73-79% of its total GHG emissions, excluding the land sector (LULUCF).28 On the road to net zero GHG, Viet Nam will need to balance its remaining emissions through LULUCF sinks, expanding its carbon sink.

The largest share of emissions reductions will take place in the energy sector, as this sector is responsible for the majority of emissions. Decarbonisation efforts are required in the power, buildings, industry and transport sectors as described below.

Under all 1.5°C compatible pathways, emissions in the agriculture and waste sectors will decline but cannot be fully eliminated. Ambitious mitigation policies will be required in these sectors, in addition to carbon dioxide removal (CDR) approaches in other sectors, to offset the remaining emissions and ensure net zero GHGs can be reached.

Power

Key power sector benchmarks

Renewables shares and year of zero emissions power Including the use of BECCS

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1.5°C aligned targets
Current targets

Our analysis of 1.5°C compatible pathways indicates that the carbon intensity of power will need to be reduced by 88-93% by 2030, compared to 2017 levels. The power sector needs to be fully decarbonised by 2036 at the latest. The decarbonisation would primarily be driven by a high uptake of renewable energy, rising from 45% in 2017 to 93-95% in 2030.

At COP26, Viet Nam pledged to phase out coal by the 2040s. 1.5°C compatibility would require phasing out coal and gas from the power sector by around 2030 and 2034 respectively.

Despite draft plans to cancel some coal fired power generation, Viet Nam has a large coal pipeline in its draft 8th Power Development Plan, that will increase Viet Nam’s reliance on imported coal.29 Initiatives such as the COP26 pledge may eliminate these plans.

Viet Nam also plans to ramp up natural gas with a pipeline of around 26 GW additional capacity between 2021-2026, which would lock in a carbon intensive energy system and risk expensive stranded assets.1

Viet Nam has huge renewables potential, and could become a regional leader in solar power (especially when deployed in the agriculture sector) and offshore wind.2 Our analysis suggests that renewable energy could provide 100% of Viet Nam’s electricity by 2040.

Buildings

Key buildings sector benchmarks

Shares of electricity, hydrogen and biofuels in final energy demand in the buildings sector.

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All 1.5°C scenarios show an immediate decline in building sector emissions and the sector could achieve a 1.5°C compatible pathway if deploying 90% power share by 2030, and 96% by 2050, when in tandem with a high renewable energy percentage of the power mix.

The emissions from Viet Nam’s buildings sector could reach net zero by 2037-2049. Full decarbonisation of this sector could be achieved rapidly following a low energy demand scenario.

Viet Nam would need to phase out fossil fuels and replace wood and coal stoves and heating/cooling appliances with energy efficient electric appliances while scaling up renewable energy in the grid.

Transport

Key transport sector benchmarks

Shares of electricity, hydrogen and biofuels in final energy demand in the transport sector.

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To be in line with a 1.5°C compatible pathways, transport emissions need to peak by 2025 or sooner and decrease by 50% in 2030 compared to 2019 levels to reach zero emissions by 2050.

1.5°C scenarios show that no or low-emissions fuels (electricity, hydrogen and biofuels) could take up to 21% share of transport energy demand by 2030 and 71-100% by 2050, decarbonising the sector if produced from renewable energy.

The government has recently developed plans to encourage electric vehicle uptake such as a reduction of the excise tax and registration fees for battery powered electric cars.

Viet Nam would need to implement further policies to reduce emissions from the transport sector to reduce dependence on oil and transition to electric vehicles, as well as support a modal switch to zero emissions transport.

Industry

Key industry sector benchmarks

Shares of electricity, hydrogen and biomass in final energy demand in the industry sector. Year of reaching net zero emissions Including the use of BECCS.

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The industry sector requires substantial decarbonisation efforts as emissions from industrial processes have increased 140% over the past decade. The rise is mainly attributable to steel and ammonia production. Low/zero carbon ammonia and steel can be produced using green hydrogen which is made using renewable energy sources.

Almost all 1.5°C scenarios show direct CO₂ emissions from the industry sector’s energy demand declining pretty much immediately.

In 2017, electricity (25%) and biomass (26%) represented 51% share of the industry sector energy mix. Electricity, hydrogen and biomass see an increase to 64-65% in 2030 in the industry energy mix and 76-95% in 2050.

Footnotes