Vietnam’s low-level green growth

10:13 | 30/05/2015 Industry

(VEN) - Vietnam has recorded a meagre green growth rate and should focus on developing new energy efficient sectors rather than on resolving energy problems with its existing industries.

Vietnam’s  low-level green growth

Vietnam has been less successful in its energy-efficient policies and use of different tools to encourage domestic green growth

According to Nguyen Thi Tue Anh, the Deputy Director of the Central Institute of Economic Management (CIEM) under the Ministry of Planning and Investment, green growth can be interpreted in different ways, but always focuses on lowering CO2 and greenhouse gas emissions and making production processes more ecologically sound.

While some countries have developed energy efficient sectors, rather than resolving energy problems with their current industries, Vietnam has been less than successful in its energy-efficient policies and use of different tools to encourage domestic green growth. Despite issuing preferential credit lines for clean development and eco-labeling projects, Vietnam has recorded unimpressive results and a low-level of green growth.

From an energy point-of-view, for example, Vietnam’s power consumption rate has doubled since 2009 compared to its green growth rate. That means that Vietnam remains a large energy consumer, especially in terms of lighting, which accounts for about 35 percent of total national power consumption compared to the international average of about 16 percent.

In addition, the elasticity coefficients between the rates of electricity consumption growth to gross domestic product (GDP) growth last year ranged from 1.94-1.96, which, at about the same as last year, means that national green growth has basically remained stagnant.

Nguyen Thi Tue Anh linked this fact with local low public awareness of green growth. Currently, Vietnam’s GDP growth is largely based on the development of energy and natural resource consuming sectors; meanwhile, green growth requires a focus on the development of energy or renewable energy efficient sectors. This is, however, a long way for Vietnam to go while facing difficulties in raising local energy saving awareness, acquiring related technologies, and training necessary staff. As such, Vietnam needs to develop a cohesive strategy for green growth, one that involves close coordination between ministries, agencies, and organizations.

Nguyen Ngoc Kien from the Department of Science and Technology for Economic Technical Branches under the Ministry of Science and Technology agreed with Nguyen Thi Tue Anh’s viewpoint, adding that Vietnam had only made baby steps towards green growth and might need a revolution for it. However, the government should get involved in boosting green growth via related policies and laws./.

According to a recent national energy use report, industries consume the most with 45.7 percent, followed by the transport sector making up 31.7 percent, the civil sector at 14.9 percent, trade and services at 3.9 percent, the non-energy sector 2 percent, and the agricultural sector with 1.8 percent. Meanwhile, the World Bank says Vietnam has large energy saving potential. For example, the cement industry can save energy by 50 percent, the ceramic industry by 35 percent, and the garment and textile sector by 30 percent.

By Nguyen Hanh