NOTE: We have updated this assessment to reflect Viet Nam's announcement at the COP26 World Leaders Summit of a net zero by 2050 target.
Viet Nam lacks policies for a transition to a low-carbon economy, and has not focused efforts on emissions reductions. While renewable energy policy has seen some positive developments, they don’t outweigh plans for continuing the expansion of fossil fuels.
Solar capacity has increased despite the pandemic and global supply chain disruptions. Viet Nam has the potential to become a regional leader for solar and has a large untapped potential for offshore wind, yet its coal and gas pipelines are still expansive: Viet Nam has the third largest coal power plant pipeline globally, behind China and India. The CAT rates Viet Nam as “Critically Insufficient”.
Viet Nam updated its Paris Agreement NDC target in 2020 without driving more ambitious action. The update resulted in a slightly lower emissions level than the previous target, and is still well above projected emissions under current policies and action.
Viet Nam’s overall climate performance is rated “Critically Insufficient”, indicating that its climate policies and actions, and its targets reflect minimal to no action nor any ambition to decarbonise. Viet Nam is further off track when compared with modelled domestic pathways and the extent of reductions that need to be taking place inside its borders with international support. Viet Nam’s current power plan (revised PDP7) sets out a fossil fuel intensive pathway. Of the total 129.5 GW capacity plan for 2030, only 21% will be from renewables (excluding large hydro), whereas 43% will be from coal and 15% from natural gas.
The country is poised to release a new power development plan (PDP8). The most recent draft (October 2021) is an improvement on the last in terms of renewable energy. However, plans for increasing the capacity for coal and gas are at odds with the global decarbonisation trend. Overall, Viet Nam needs to implement additional policies with its own resources to meet its fair share of emissions reductions, and additionally will need international support to meet emissions levels that are in line with modelled domestic pathways.
Viet Nam updated its Paris Agreement NDC target in 2020 without driving more ambitious action. The update resulted in a slightly lower emissions level that is still well above the current policies and action emissions pathway. Viet Nam needs to set a more ambitious target for emissions reductions and establish associated policies to get a better rating. A Paris Agreement fair share target of 350 MtCO2e by 2030 (excluding the land use and forestry sector) would ensure real progress in climate action.
The CAT rates Viet Nam’s climate targets and policies as “Critically insufficient” when compared to its fair-share contribution. Emissions under policies and action will reach around 528 MtCO2e (excluding LULUCF) in 2030, whereas a 1.5°C fair share pathway is 350 MtCO2e in 2030 indicating further action is required for Viet Nam to align with the Paris Agreement. Viet Nam is on the border of the “Critically Insufficient” and “Highly Insufficient” rating. It could easily improve its rating by one category with further policy actions. This would likely tip the balance of Viet Nam’s overall rating to “Highly Insufficient.’ Yet, under Viet Nam’s current policies and action, emissions will continue to rise and are consistent with more than 4°C warming.
Viet Nam is currently developing its power development plan 8 (PDP8). The energy sector represents over 60% of emissions, with the largest share from the power sector. Phasing out coal and gas and ramping up renewable energy would decrease national emissions levels considerably.
The recent (October) draft PDP8 would lower the level of installed coal electricity generation capacity by nearly 15 GW compared to the current plan for 2030. Still, the draft doubles the current coal capacity to around 40 GW by 2030. The draft also foresees an additional 10 GW of coal electricity capacity added by 2045. Globally, coal needs to phase out by, at latest, 2040. The coal pipeline is clearly incompatible with the Paris Agreement temperature limit and risks significant stranded assets. Natural gas poses similar stranded asset risks: the recent draft increases installed natural gas electricity generation capacity from 19 GW in 2030 in the current plan to over 27 GW.
In January 2022, a new Law on Environmental Protection will take effect. The law introduces a domestic carbon market and allows for a carbon tax which will impact the industry sector. Details of the carbon market are still under development. The effectiveness of the carbon market depends various factors, including on the carbon price, and the cap on emissions.
The full policies and action analysis can be found here.
We rate Viet Nam’s 2030 internationally supported target against the 1.5°C domestic pathway. Viet Nam’s conditional target equates to 748 MtCO2e by 2030 (excluding LULUCF) whereas the current policies and action set the country on course to reach 528 MtCO2e by 2030. With the help of international support, Viet Nam would need to reduce the emissions level of the current policies and actions trajectory to 223 MtCO2e by 2030, a 58% reduction, to be in line with 1.5°C. The CAT rates Viet Nam’s international supported target as ‘Critically Insufficient’. It will meet the target without any effort.
The fair share target rating is based on the unconditional target equivalent to 903 MtCO2e (excluding LULUCF). Yet, the current policies and action pathway will continue on an upward trajectory to 2030 (528 MtCO2e) but still far below the unconditional target level by 2030. Viet Nam would need to reduce the current policies and action pathway by 34% (to 350 MtCO2e) to be in line with a 1.5°C pathway.
Viet Nam updated its Paris Agreement target in September 2020. The target was 17 MtCO2e (excluding LULUCF) stronger than the previous NDC, and the transparency and sectoral coverage has improved. Yet the target does not drive real climate action as it will be easily overachieved with current policies and action. Viet Nam’s targets are consistent with a warming of over 4°C: if all countries were to follow Viet Nam’s approach, warming would exceed 4°C.