Nguyen Van Tue, head of the Hydrometeorology and Climate Change Department under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, spoke with Ha Noi Moi (New Ha Noi) newspaper about the effects of climate change in Viet Nam.
Climate change is a big challenge and cause severe natural disasters for many countries, including Viet Nam. Is this true?
Yes. Climate change causes global warming, leading to changes in rainfall, melting ice and rising sea levels worldwide.
Observations show that in the past century, the average global temperature has increased by about 0.74 degrees Celsius, while in the last 50 years, the growth rate of temperatures nearly doubled compared to the past 50 years.
The year 2010 was the hottest year in history. Global warming lowers the amount of ice in both hemispheres, including in the Arctic Ocean, where the amount of ice has decreased by between 2.1 to 3.3 per cent per decade.
This is the reason why the average sea level rises 1.8mm per year.
The effect of climate change is clear in Viet Nam. The average temperature in the country has increased by 0.5 degrees Celsius per year over the past 50 years.
Particularly in 2015, due to the impact of the El Nino phenomenon, the country has had more hot days. The rainfall tends to decrease in the north and increase in the south. Storms and tropical depressions tend to retreat to the south of the country.
In particular, the occurrence of storms and hurricanes is becoming more frequent, and the rainy season will end later than past years. Drought and heat tends to rise unevenly between regions, particularly in the Central and South.
What is the effect of climate change on the sustainable development of Viet Nam?
According to a World Bank report, Viet Nam is one of five countries heavily affected by climate change. In particular, water resources, coastal areas and agricultural sectors are the areas that are most vulnerable.
From 2001 to 2010, natural disasters left 8,500 people dead and missing, causing economic losses of 1.5 per cent of GDP a year.
Predictions for climate change and rising sea levels indicate that the average temperature of Viet Nam will rise by 2 to 3 degrees Celsius by the end of the 21st century, leading to an increase of the sea level.
As a result, the Mekong River Delta will be flooded in 39 per cent of its area; HCM City will have 20 per cent flooding; coastal provinces in the Red River Delta will have 10 per cent flooding; and the central region will have 3 per cent flooding.
Consequently, 10 to 12 per cent of the Vietnamese population will be directly affected by climate change with economic losses of 10 per cent of GDP per year. These are alarming numbers. Therefore, it is vital for Viet Nam to respond to climate change.
What should the country do to lessen the effects of natural disaster and adapt to climate change?
Recognising the serious impact of climate change, the country has ratified the Framework Convention on Climate Change of the United Nations and worked with international communities to cope with climate change.
The Party Central Committee has issued a resolution on active response to climate change, enhancing resource management and environmental protection.
The government has also issued many policies to cope with climate change, such as the national target prog-ramme on climate change, the National Strategy on Green Growth and a project on greenhouse gas emission management. In addition, to adapt to climate change, Viet Nam has implemented flood-resistance housing, reinforced embankments and implemented technologies to turn salt water into fresh water.
It has focused on coastal mangrove afforestation and watershed protection, which together provide solutions and create jobs for residents.
For example, the central province of Quang Nam has carried out projects to upgrade traffic and irrigation works to prevent salt water intrusion and retain fresh water for irrigation and domestic use. The Mekong River Delta has installed disaster warning systems.
In addition, the country has focused on raising community awareness through environmental protection activities. — VNS