Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Trần Hồng Hà talks to Vietnamplus online newspaper about the roadmap to implement Việt Nam's "green" commitments that were made by the Prime Minister at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26).
What are your assessments of the commitments and agreements that Việt Nam has made and joined at COP26?
Climate change has been and is taking place more and more seriously as announced in the 6th Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in August 2021. Without urgent action, human will push climate change to an irreversible point. The consequences would then be dire.
Việt Nam is considered one of the countries most affected by climate change and has a large total annual greenhouse gas emissions, currently ranking 21st in the world and 2nd in ASEAN.
Therefore, in order to contribute to the tackling of climate change, at the recent COP26 Conference in Glasgow (United Kingdom), a high-ranking delegation of Việt Nam participated a series of events and important meetings, such as the Climate Change Summit, which includes the implementation of mechanisms under the Paris Agreement to achieve zero net emissions by 2050, and the commitment to reduce global methane emission.
Việt Nam's active participation in the above events has demonstrated the very high strategic vision, determination and political commitment of the Party and State in accelerating economic transformation to contribute to solving the climate crisis.
In particular, the political statements of the Prime Minister at COP26 have shown Việt Nam's position and responsibility in solving serious global challenges and at the same time helping our country overcome serious challenges posed by climate change today.
Việt Nam has also participated in many important initiatives such as the commitment not to build new coal power; committing to forest protection and rational land use; joining the global climate change adaptation alliance; taking part in discussions with countries to achieve the adoption of the Glasgow Climate Agreement Package. These are very strong commitments of Việt Nam, in line with the common trend of mankind and strong action trend on low-emission development.
Việt Nam's commitments have been highly appreciated by the leaders of countries and large corporations in the world.
In order to effectively implement the above commitments, what specific tasks will Việt Nam implement?
To make the above commitment, right before the official time to attend COP26, Việt Nam has made a very careful preparation, including the inclusion of climate change response, Việt Nam's commitments to implement the Paris Agreement into the 2020 Law on Environmental Protection, the Decree on mitigating greenhouse gas emissions and protecting the ozone layer; developing regulations on implementation of climate change mitigation and adaptation to meet transparency requirements.
In fact, the issues of responding to climate change included in the Law and Decree were prepared on the basis of the Katowice Climate Agreement Package adopted in 2018 at COP24. Therefore, new points in this Glasgow Climate Agreement Package such as the carbon market mechanism will be further internalised to build Việt Nam's domestic carbon market to be completed by 2025, piloted and implemented from 2028.
The above regulations are also a legal basis to create a mobilisation of the entire population to respond to climate change.
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment has proposed the Prime Minister consider and direct the promulgation of a Decree on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and protecting the ozone layer; the list of sectors and establishments emitting greenhouse gases that must carry out an inventory of greenhouse gases; national monitoring and evaluation system of activities to adapt to climate change.
At the same time, ministries, branches and localities need to review and adjust relevant strategies and master plans in line with the goal of zero net emissions by 2050; actively and proactively enhance international cooperation to take advantage of financial and technological resources, strengthen capacity to implement the Paris Agreement and commitments declared by the Prime Minister at COP26.
For its part, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment has proposed to the Prime Minister to establish a Steering Committee to propose mechanisms, policies, laws, planning, and create a favourable environment to mobilise domestic and foreign resources for climate change infrastructure development and renewable energy development.
The committee will assume the prime responsibility for formulating a project on tasks and breakthrough solutions to implement the results of the COP26 Conference.
In addition, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment will also coordinate with the Ministry of National Defence and relevant ministries, branches and localities to conduct marine surveys to serve the offshore wind power development planning. We will work to implement carbon pricing tools, including carbon tax, and developing the domestic carbon market; providing information and raising awareness and capacity for organisations, businesses and individuals to participate in market and non-market mechanisms.
Can you share more about the difficulties, challenges as well as opportunities of Việt Nam when implementing the commitments that we have joined?
The Party and State leaders have had a strategic vision and timely grasped the trend on low-carbon development, reducing global greenhouse gas emissions, thereby sending a strong message to the international community about Việt Nam's development path in the coming period.
Actively and proactively participating in "green" initiatives at COP26 has helped Việt Nam to access the movement of global credit and investment capital flows and meet the change of new "rules of the game" in terms of global trade and economy.
However, in order to fulfill the above commitments, Việt Nam still has a lot of work to do. First of all, it is necessary to review the strategies, master plans and plans that have been and are being developed by the ministries, branches and localities to be adjusted in accordance with the roadmap to bring Việt Nam's net emissions to zero by 2050.
On the other hand, in order to grasp opportunities from the movement of capital flows, investment and development of the world, especially from financial institutions, credit institutions, multinational enterprises, Việt Nam needs to review and have breakthrough solutions in simplifying administrative procedures.
In particular, we need to create a favourable investment environment for projects on energy conversion and greenhouse gas emission reduction with developed countries with economic and technological potentials such as the US, EU, UK, G7 countries, Nordic countries.
In addition, we also need to strengthen the dissemination and communication so that people and businesses understand the opportunities and long-term benefits from participating in global initiatives on reducing greenhouse gas emissions as well as short-term challenges of energy transition, moving from fossil fuels to renewable energy. This is something that needs to be done with a suitable schedule. — VNS