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Current situation

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

Emissions profile

Viet Nam’s energy sector is dominated by fossil fuels, which contributes to more than half of its total emissions. Economic growth and the government’s goal to ensure affordable, universal electrification have led to rising energy demand, which is largely met by fossil fuels, in particular coal.3 Viet Nam became a net energy importer in 2014, which presents risks to energy security.4 However, Viet Nam has large, untapped potential for renewable energy, especially solar and offshore wind resources.3

Viet Nam’s main emitting sector is its energy sector, which includes transport and other end use sectors. It comprises 55% of emissions (excluding LULUCF). The industrial sector is responsible for 12% of total emissions (excluding LULUCF), and has grown by 140% over the past decade. Industrial process emissions are mainly from cement production, followed by steel, lime and ammonia production.6 These sectors are harder to abate, but need to peak emissions immediately and decline to follow a Paris Agreement compatible pathway. Decarbonisation efforts therefore need to prioritise industry and energy sectors.

Agriculture emissions cover 28% of emissions excluding LULUCF. Emissions are mainly from rice cultivation, livestock (enteric fermentation and manure management) and soil management.6 Waste accounts for 7% of total emissions. Half of waste emissions are the result of waste disposal sites and 30% from domestic wastewater treatment.6

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.

Viet Namʼs current GHG emissions

MtCO₂e/yr

Displayed values

By sector

  • Power
  • Industry (energy use)
  • Transport
  • Fugitive emissions
  • Buildings
  • Other
  • Agriculture
  • Industry (processes)
  • Waste
  • LULUCF
Energy (53%)⟵ LULUCF negative emissions

By gas

  • CO₂
  • CH₄
  • N₂O
  • Other
00

Sectors by gas

Energy
086%0
Agriculture
064%0
Industry (processes)
0100%0

Energy system

The energy sector is crucial to decarbonising the country’s economy, but carbon intensive development have to date outweighed the recent renewable energy installations in this sector. Coal and gas continue to play a large role in energy policy and the country is seeing the risk of shifting to LNG deployment through the Japanese power producer JERA deploying its activities in Viet Nam. The draft Power Development Plan 8 (PDP8) plans to cancel some coal fired power generation; however, the planned capacity remains substantial. At COP26, Viet Nam pledged to end investment in new coal power generation, increase renewables, and phase out coal by the 2040s with a just transition for workers.7,8 The draft PDP8 may be further revised in line with this commitment. The draft PDP 8 also plans to ramp up gas and oil-fired power, with over 27 GW of additional capacity planned for 2030.

Viet Nam has huge renewables potential, and could become a regional leader in solar and offshore wind.2 Our analysis suggests that renewable energy could grow to power 100% of the country’s electricity by 2040, and 100% of the total primary energy supply by 2050. In the process of updating Viet Nam’s NDC, bottom up energy scenarios focusing on a 100% RE deployment are being explored through the ‘Implementing NDC’s with 100% Renewable Energy (RE) for All’ project.

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 low or zero emissions transport. The industry sector requires substantial decarbonisation efforts as emissions have increased 140% over the past decade.

Targets and commitments

Economy-wide targets

Target type

Baseline scenario target

NDC target

Unconditional NDC Target:

  • 9% below business-as-usual by 2030 incl. LULUCF.
  • BAU by 2030: 927.9 MtCO₂e/yr.
  • 141% above 2015 excl. LULUCF.

Conditional NDC Target:

  • 27% below business-as-usual by 2030 incl. LULUCF.
  • 100% above 2015 excl. LULUCF.

Market mechanism

  • To be developed.

Long-term target

  • Net-zero emissions by 2050, with international support.9

Sector coverage

EnergyIndustryWasteAgricultureLULUCF

Greenhouse gas coverage

CO₂CH₄NF₃HFCsN₂OSF₆

Sectoral targets

Energy

  • Reduce emissions by 5.5% compared with BAU by 2030.10
  • Increase renewable energy in the total primary energy consumption to 31% in 2020, 32.3% in 2030, 44% in 2050 (Renewable Energy Development Strategy).11
  • Reduce greenhouse gases emission from energy activities by 15% by 2030, and 20% by 2045 from (an unspecified) BAU (Resolution 55).12
  • Energy savings of 7% by 2030 and up to 20% by 2045 in total energy consumption compared to BAU (Resolution 55).
  • Renewable energy to represent 15-20% of the total primary energy supply by 2030 and 25-30% by 2045 (Resolution 55).
  • Reduce the total final energy consumption by 5-7% in 2025 below BAU levels, and by 8-10% in 2030 (Viet Nam National Energy Efficiency Program 3).13

Power

  • Renewables to represent 7% in 2020 and 10% 2030, excluding large/medium/pumped storage hydro (Revised PDP 7).14
  • Phase out coal power generation by the 2040s.8

Agriculture

  • Reduce emissions by 0.7% compared with BAU by 2030 (Updated NDC).

Waste

  • Reduce emissions by 1% compared with BAU by 2030 (Updated NDC).

Industry

  • Reduce emissions by 0.8% compared with BAU by 2030 (Updated NDC).
  • Reduce cement industry emissions, 20 MtCO₂e by 2020 and 164 MtCO₂e by 2030 compared with unknown BAU levels.5
  • Further subsector energy efficiency targets for industry.13

LULUCF

  • Reduce emissions by 1% compared with BAU by 2030 (Updated NDC).
  • Halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030.15

Footnotes