Viet Nam

Overall rating
Critically insufficient
Policies & action
Critically insufficient
4°C+ World
Internationally supported target
Critically insufficient
4°C+ World
Fair share target
Critically insufficient
4°C+ World
Climate finance
Not applicable
Net zero target

year

2050

Comprehensiveness rated as

Acceptable
Land use & forestry
Not significant

Target Overview

Viet Nam has unconditionally committed to reduce GHG emissions by 15.8% below business-as-usual levels (BAU) by 2030. Viet Nam is willing to reduce GHG emissions by 43.5% below BAU, conditional on international support. The conditional target is a cumulative one. GHG emissions reduction from international support alone are 28% from 2030 BAU emissions.

The new unconditional and conditional targets translate to 863 and 620 MtCO2e/yr, respectively, in terms of absolute emissions levels for 2030 or 12% and 37% below BAU, excluding the land use and forestry sector.

The updated NDC claims that new targets are aligned to fulfill Viet Nam’s commitments at COP26, yet it is not a true progression in scaling up climate action, as it is still aligned with 4°C of warming and requires no additional effort beyond current policies. Notably, at COP26, Viet Nam committed to reach net zero by 2050 along with additional pledges related to a coal phase out and methane emission reductions.

In the updated NDC, Viet Nam has transparently presented the financial requirements to achieve its unconditional and conditional targets.

The CAT rates Viet Nam’s targets as “Critically Insufficient”.

Viet Nam has pledged to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

VIET NAM - Main climate targets
2030 unconditional NDC target
Formulation of target in NDC 15.8% reduction below BAU in 2030
Absolute emissions level in 2030 excl. LULUCF 863 MtCO2e
[791% above 1990]
[212% above 2010]
Status Submitted in November 2022
2030 conditional NDC target
Formulation of target in NDC 43.5% reduction below BAU in 2030
Absolute emissions level in 2030 excl. LULUCF 620 MtCO2e
[540% above 1990]
[124% above 2010]
Status Submitted in November 2022
Net zero & other long-term targets
Formulation of target Net zero by 2050
Absolute emissions level in 2050 excl. LULUCF 185 MtCO2e
Status Enshrined in domestic law in July 2022

Viet Nam submitted its updated Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to the UNFCCC in November 2022 (Vietnam Government, 2022c). This is the second update provided by Viet Nam as it had also provided an update in 2020. Viet Nam is one of the few countries to have revisited its NDC targets in 2022, though these still need to be strengthened further.

In the updated NDC, Viet Nam increased its unconditional target to represent a 15.8% reduction below BAU in 2030, and a 43.5% reduction with international support.

While numerically stronger, the emissions targets are still “Critically insufficient” and will still be easily overachieved with its current policies and action, and will not drive further climate action. The CAT assessment therefore does not consider Viet Nam's NDC update to be stronger than its previous submission.

In line with its previous NDC, the updated NDC has transparently provided a sectoral breakdown of targets and policies. Viet Nam has also provided the detailed financial requirements to implement those policies to achieve the targets. Most of these measures are already laid out in the National Climate Change Strategy to 2050 (Vietnam Government, 2022b).

The updated NDC has also put forward a detailed implementation plan of the targets by improving policies and institutions, creating awareness and community engagement, capacity and technological development, financial mobility and enhanced international cooperation. A framework for monitoring and evaluation of the targets, which was presented in the previous NDC, is now part of revised Law on Environmental Protection 2020 through a new government regulation.

Though measures and implementation in the updated NDC improved on transparency and clarity but with only a minor improvement on ambition.

The BAU pathway in the updated NDC remains unchanged from previous 2020 NDC. The BAU scenario is developed based on “medium economic development” without clearly mentioning if it considers the dip in economic activities during pandemic.

While Viet Nam has made some improvements to the structure of its NDC, it continued with incomplete gas coverage. Emissions of F-gases are negligible in Viet Nam and the updated NDC does not include full greenhouse gas coverage, excluding NF3, PFCs and SF6. These were stated as included in the first NDC, however are not mentioned in the technical report that underlies the first NDC.

VIET NAM — History of NDC updates First NDC 2020 NDC update 2022 NDC update
1.5°C compatible


Stronger target N/A

Economy-wide coverage


Fixed/absolute target



VIET NAM First NDC (2016) 2020 NDC update 2022 NDC update
Formulation of target in NDC Unconditional target:
8% reduction below BAU in 2030 (excluding industrial process emissions)

Conditional target:
25% reduction below BAU in 2030 (excluding industrial process emissions)
Unconditional target:
9% reduction below BAU in 2030 (including industrial process emissions)

Conditional target:
27% reduction below BAU in 2030 (including industrial process emissions)
Unconditional target:
15.8% reduction below BAU in 2030 (including industrial process emissions)

Conditional target:
43.5% reduction below BAU in 2030 (including industrial process emissions)
Absolute emissions level in 2030 excl. LULUCF Unconditional target:
937 MtCO2e**

Conditional target:
845 MtCO2e**
Unconditional target:
903 MtCO2e

Conditional target:
748 MtCO2e
Unconditional target:
863 MtCO2e

Conditional target:
620 MtCO2e
Emissions compared to 1990 and 2010 excl. LULUCF Unconditional target:
867% above 1990 emissions
238% above 2010 emissions

Conditional target:
773% above 1990 emissions
205% above 2010 emissions
Unconditional target:
832% above 1990 emissions
226% above 2010 emissions

Conditional target:
672% above 1990 emissions
170% above 2010 emissions
Unconditional target:
791% above 1990 emissions
212% above 2010 emissions

Conditional target:
540% above 1990 emissions
124% above 2010 emissions
CAT rating Overall rating*:
Critically insufficient
Unconditional target against fair share:
Critically insufficient

Conditional target against modelled domestic pathways:
Critically insufficient
Unconditional target against fair share:
Critically insufficient

Conditional target against modelled domestic pathways:
Critically insufficient
Sector coverage Excluding industry Economy-wide Unchanged
Separate target for LULUCF Forest cover target as part of unconditional contribution Viet Nam does have specific LULUCF sequestration targets, but these are part of its overall NDC target Same approach, targets updated
Gas coverage Six greenhouse gases (CO2, CH4, N20, HFCs, PFCs, SF6) CO2, CH4, N20, HFCs Unchanged
Target type Emissions reduction from BAU Unchanged Unchanged
Explanation why the target is a fair contribution towards the global goal Yes, based on development status, vulnerability to climate change, per capita emissions level, and extent of climate action. Yes, based development status, per capita emissions level and extent of ambition, including update. Not provided
Followed guidance in Decision 4/CMA.1 on target transparency N/A Update follows guidance; however, Viet Nam has not presented the information in a tabular format. Update provides information on most elements in Annex I of Decision 4/CMA.1 but does not follow its structure.

* Before September 2021, all CAT ratings were based exclusively on fair share and only assessed a country’s target.
** We have updated these figures to include the latest 2030 BAU estimates to allow for comparability across estimates.

Analysis of earlier NDC developments:

The CAT rates NDC targets against what a fair contribution to achieving the Paris Agreement’s long-term temperature goal would be as well as against what needs to happen within a country’s own borders. Viet Nam will need support to achieve those needed reductions within its borders.

Viet Nam has put forward two targets in its NDC. One that it will achieving using its own resources (15.8% GHG emissions reduction from BAU) and one that requires international support (43.5% GHG emissions reduction from BAU). We rate the country’s unconditional target against its fair share contribution and its conditional target against the level of reductions needed within its borders defined by a modelled domestic pathway.

The starting year for the modelled domestic pathways, upon which our internationally supported target rating is based, is 2015. The modelled domestic emissions pathway for Viet Nam is downscaled from regional scenarios in the Asian region. Emissions in Viet Nam have been growing faster than the regional trends above the levels anticipated by the domestic pathways.

Internationally supported target:
Critically insufficient

We estimate that Viet Nam’s conditional target (‘internationally supported target’) would result in an emissions level of 620 MtCO2e (excluding LULUCF) in 2030, which we rate as “Critically insufficient”. This rating is based on Viet Nam’s modelled domestic pathway for a 1.5°C temperature limit.

The “Critically insufficient” rating indicates that Viet Nam’s conditional target reflects minimal to no action and is not at all consistent with limiting warming to 1.5°C. If all countries were to follow Viet Nam’s approach, warming would exceed 4°C.

With the NDC update, Viet Nam’s emission reductions under its conditional target have strengthened by 17% but are around three times higher than the 1.5°C modelled domestic pathway (210 MtCO2e) for 2030. Substantial improvement is needed in this target and Viet Nam will need international support to achieve it. It is important that Viet Nam sets a stronger target to plan faster emissions reductions, if there were sufficient international support available, and not lock itself into a high carbon future.

Fair share target:
Critically insufficient

We estimate that Viet Nam’s unconditional target (‘fair share target’) would result in an emissions level of 863 MtCO2e (excluding LULUCF) in 2030, which we rate as “Critically insufficient”. This rating is based on Viet Nam’s fair share contribution at a 1.5°C temperature limit.

The “Critically insufficient” rating indicates that Viet Nam’s unconditional target reflects minimal to no action and is not at all consistent with limiting warming to 1.5°C . Viet Nam’s target is not in line with any interpretation of a fairness. If all countries were to follow Viet Nam’s approach, warming would exceed 4°C.

With the NDC update Viet Nam’s emission reductions under its unconditional target have improved by only 4% and are around 2.5 times more than a 1.5˚C compatible faire share target (350 MtCO2e).

Further information on how the CAT rates countries (against modelled domestic pathways and fair share) can be found here.

Net zero and other long-term target(s)

Viet Nam announced a target to achieve net zero by 2050 target during the COP26 World Leaders' Summit in 2021. In July 2022, Viet Nam enshrined its net zero target into law. It has also developed a National Climate Change Strategy to guide its planning to achieve net zero by 2050. Viet Nam’s net zero target is conditional on international financial support.

The full net zero target analysis can be found here.

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