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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs  6 November 2010

Power plan needed to tackle warming

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Vietnam needs to consider its power sector strategy to cope with climate change, experts said yesterday in a press conference and meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai in Ha Noi.

Yvo de Boer, former Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change; and Dennis Tirpark, former coordinator of international climate change negotiations for the UN, said that the future construction of coal power plants would increase Vietnam's greenhouse gas emission.

"Gas emission would increase while the world is talking about a global commitment to 50 per cent reduction," said de Boer.

Coal remains a major source of energy in Vietnam, accounting for more than 20 per- cent of all sources of power.

The situation reflects a huge challenge to the country as Vietnam simultaneously tries to grow the economy and play a role in the international process to address climate change.

"Whether it is in rich countries or developing nations, the only way forward is the one that allows both economic growth and efforts to address climate change," de Boer said.

The expert advised the Vietnamese Government to use multiple sources of energy to meet the constantly increasing energy demands.

This coincides with the government's efforts to gradually shift its energy structure from traditional to alternative sources. Renewable energy is expected to account for 5 per cent of this structure in 2015 and 8 per cent in 2020.

Vietnam already had policies in place in favour of the development of projects using renewable energy, said Deputy Prime Minister Hai.

The use of coal for thermo power plants was, however, a "must" for Vietnam now, considering the current shortage of energy, he said. But, he added, the country had issued strict standards for these power plants in a bid to minimise their impacts on the environment.

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