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Thursday, October 6, 2022

Measures for carbon neutrality tabled at UEH’s int’l conference

By Hong Ngan

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HCMC – Experts from Vietnam and abroad gathered to discuss various topics involving carbon emissions at an international scientific conference hosted by the University of Economics HCMC (UEH) last weekend.

With the theme “A pathway towards Carbon Neutrality in Asia”, this is the 11th annual conference of the Asian Association of Environmental and Resource Economics, being co-held by the Institute of Environmental Economics in Southeast Asia and the College of Economics, Law, and Government at UEH.

At the conference, the topic “Reconciling Economic Success with Climate Risks in Vietnam”, presented by Dr. Muthukumara Mani, lead economist in the Office of the Chief Economist of the World Bank’s South Asia Region, received much attention, sharing and discussion.

His analysis shed light on the contrast between Vietnam’s goal to achieve economic success by 2045 and the climate risks that could threaten its expectations.

Vietnam aspires to become a high-income economy by 2045, including the fastest growth rate of GDP per capita (5.5% per year on average), resulting in a three-and-a-half-fold increase in per capita income and the significant structural transformation, with the agricultural sector’s share in GDP falling from over 40% in the late 1980s to less than 20% in recent years.

According to the World Bank economist, to reach the high-income status, Vietnam will need to exceed its historical growth rates achieved during the 1990-2020 period. Meanwhile, Vietnam’s 100 million people are among the most vulnerable in the world to the ravages of climate change. Climate change has posed an increasingly severe threat to Vietnam’s agricultural, forestry, and fishery sectors. As such, building a recovery roadmap will not be cheap and will require additional reforms. The speaker proposed six priority policy packages to realize Vietnam’s economic and environmental goals successfully.

Further, the event devoted an in-depth discussion session for leaders of universities to share strategies and action programs towards carbon neutrality, building and developing a network of sustainable universities, including the leading role of UEH.

Prof. Paul Ekins from the University College London (UCL) presented the topic “Getting to carbon neutrality: Challenges and implications for Vietnam” and outlined the specific directions that UCL had been taking in its carbon-neutral roadmap with the goal of reducing campus carbon emissions by 2024 by using green energy sources, and by 2030 producing green energy at UCL and using new energy sources instead of fossil energies.

The UCL professor added that the world has been facing extreme climate change. Besides, there will be dangers that many countries are taking various measures to prevent. The reduction of carbon emissions in the short term has limitations such as reduced GDP, increased investment costs for carbon emissions reduction, but in the long run, it brings many new opportunities for economic growth thanks to the development of renewable energy technologies.

To move towards the carbon neutral roadmap, it is necessary to involve the governments of countries with policies to promote sustainable development, and mitigate climate change, thereby reducing potential costs. “Radical policy interventions are required to bring about the low-carbon technological revolution. Changing this political reality is the necessary condition for the adequate mitigation of climate change, and promoting environmental sustainability more generally, which will alone avoid the potentially enormous, but still very uncertain, costs of massive global change”, he concluded.

Speaking at the event, Prof. Su Dinh Thanh, president of UEH, said, “With a strong restructuring process towards multi-industry and sustainability, UEH has enough capacity to promote multidisciplinary research and collaborate with partners to solve regional problems. The event has promoted its role as an effective launch platform, connecting scientists and policymakers, together in in-depth discussions to find possible solutions for a sustainable future roadmap”.

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