Paris Agreement poses challenges, opportunities to cut CO2 emissions

VietNamNet Bridge – Pham Van Tan, deputy head of the Meteorology, Hydrology and Climate Change Department and deputy head of the Vietnamese delegation of the COP21 talked to Viet Nam News reporter Nguyen Hang about the historic Paris Agreement.

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The Paris Agreement on climate change is newly adopted in Paris and it is called a "historical turning point" in the fight against climate change. What are the opportunities and challenges for Viet Nam – one of five countries in the world suffering the most from climate change, after the adoption?

Actually, we have seen opportunities hidden under challenges and vice versa. The biggest opportunity for Viet Nam is a chance to replace old manufacturing technologies with advanced manufacturing technologies, towards the low-carbon economy, and a chance to have a healthy environment without worries of natural disasters triggered by climate change, which are predicted to affect up to 44 per cent of the total area of Viet Nam by 2100 if the sea level rises about 1 metre compared to the current situation.

However, challenges are also waiting ahead. Viet Nam has committed to reducing 8 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, equal to 787.4 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, in the Nationally Determined Contribution. It requires about US$3 billion to do this. In the short term, the nation must focus on investments in applying advanced manufacturing technologies to fulfill the target to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Therefore, the problem is how to balance our nation's limited budget to cope with climate change. If we spend more money in improving advanced manufacturing technologies, it means that we have to spend less money for climate-change adaptation activities.

Under the commitment, all our businesses will have to change into advanced manufacturing technologies to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. And having the financial resources to do this is believed to be one of the challenge. As you know, developed countries have promised to mobilise US$100 billion a year by 2020 to support developing countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. [The budget is said to be not enough and more donations have been called for].The businesses will receive financial support from the budget if they prove their technologies will make a reduction on greenhouse gas emissions.

In the Nationally Determined Contribution, 8 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions will be cut by 2030 in the country. Which sectors have to reduce greenhouse gas emissions the most? How does it affect them?

We will concentrate on cutting greenhouse gas emissions in three major sectors including energy, agriculture and waste under the nationally determined contribution.

For example, the electricity industry has to cut down their usage of coal to generate electricity. They should replace coal with other fuel categories having low-carbon emissions. Reducing the usage of coal brings two benefits. First, it will save coal when our national coal reserves are declining. Second, when an enterprise uses clean fuel with low-carbon emissions, it is easy to lure investments from both the domestic and international community.

How will international aid for climate-change adaptation change for Viet Nam after the Paris agreement?

After the adoption of the Paris agreement, all international development agencies and international aid organisations are required to review and report to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change's secretary committee about their aid to developing countries to help them cope with climate change. It aims to ensure the aid is on the right track and could reach the target of greenhouse gas reductions. After its own assessments, the secretary committee will order adjustments if necessary.

Could you tell us about the road-map for Viet Nam to sign the agreement?

Following the adoption of the Paris Agreement by the COP 21, it will be deposited at the United Nations in New York and be opened for one year for signing from April 22, 2016. Viet Nam will finish all administrative procedures soon for signing.

The agreement will enter into force after 55 countries that account for at least 55 per cent of global emissions have deposited their instruments of ratification.


The Paris Agreement on climate change for the first time brings 195 nations world-wide into a common cause based on their historic, current and future responsibilities.

The 31-page-and-29-article agreement will replace the Kyoto Protocol from 2020.

The agreement will come into effect in 2020, empowering all countries to act to prevent average global temperatures rising above 2 degrees Celsius and to reap the many opportunities that arise from a necessary global transformation to clean and sustainable development.


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