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Cities hold vital role in climate change response: Expert

Cities hold vital role in climate change response: Expert

Cities play a vital role in efforts to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions and protect the environment, as they account for two thirds of the total energy consumption and 70% of greenhouse gas emissions.

Reports showed that Vietnam has more than 860 urban areas, and the urbanisation rate increased to nearly 40% in 2021. 

Urban areas are an important driving force for socio-economic development, speeding up economic restructuring towards industrialisation and modernisation. However, the rapid development of urban areas leads to overpopulation, increase of economic development activities, high traffic density and energy consumption, and are consequently a huge source of greenhouse gas emissions - the cause of climate change.

Dr. Nguyen Tuan Quang, Deputy Director of the Department of Climate Change under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, underlined that urban planning, construction, management and development must be consistent with the views, goals, tasks and solutions stated in the National Strategy on Climate Change until 2050, and the national plan on climate change adaptation for 2021-2030, with a vision to 2050. 

Sectors and localities should promote the efficient use of energy, apply renewable energy solutions in production, traffic and urban lighting, as well as recycling waste and wastewater in line with the circular model, and producing energy from waste, Quang said, while mentioning solutions to ensure urban development associated with environmental protection and climate change adaptation.

It is also necessary to upgrade transport infrastructure in areas vulnerable to climate change, construct buildings and urban areas in accordance with green standards, and apply energy efficiency standards in buildings, he added, noting the necessity to increase tree coverage to reduce the effect of heat-induced problems and increase the absorption of greenhouse gas emissions in urban areas, contributing to realising Vietnam’s goal of bringing net gas emissions to zero by 2050.

Sharing Quang’s view, architect Ngo Minh Hung and Assoc. Prof. Le Thi Kim Oanh from Van Lang University said the carbon-neutral urban model is a new trend aimed at promoting sustainable environmental development in Vietnam.

They stressed the need for measures to cut urban emissions, including investing in urban infrastructure facilities, improving effectiveness of land resources use, promoting the use of public transport and reducing private vehicles, and developing green urban areas and ecological residential areas./.