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Cablegate: Monre Minister Details Vietnamese Climate Change Policy

VZCZCXRO6119
RR RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHCHI RUEHDA RUEHDF RUEHDT RUEHFK RUEHFL RUEHHM
RUEHIK RUEHKSO RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLN RUEHLZ RUEHMA RUEHNAG RUEHNH
RUEHPB RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHHI #2053/01 3410945
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 070945Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY HANOI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6853
INFO RUEHHM/AMCONSUL HO CHI MINH 4040
RUEHZU/ASIAN PACIFIC ECONOMIC COOPERATION
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0173
RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE
RUEHZN/ENVIRONMENT SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COLLECTIVE
RHMFIUU/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 HANOI 002053

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/MLS, EAP/EP, OES/EGC
STATE PASS TO USAID FOR ANE, G/ENV
STATE PASS TO EPA/OIA (DENNIS CUNNINGHAM AND MARK KASMAN)
STATE PASS TO NOAA/NOS/OIA (JONATHAN JUSTI)
BANGKOK PASS TO RDMA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SENV ENRG ECON KGHG VM
SUBJECT: MONRE MINISTER DETAILS VIETNAMESE CLIMATE CHANGE POLICY

Ref: A. State 159374 B. Hanoi 1867

HANOI 00002053 001.2 OF 002


1. (SBU) On December 7, Ambassador Michalak met with Vietnamese
Minister of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE) Nguyen Khoi
Pham to highlight U.S. efforts to combat climate change and our
desire to play a productive role in the ongoing UN Climate
Conference in Bali (ref A). Pham noted the likely severe impact of
climate change on Vietnam and detailed Vietnam's efforts to respond
and adapt to global warming. Vietnam intended to play an active
role in Bali and eagerly anticipated U.S. proposals. Vietnam sought
increased U.S. assistance for its efforts, though Pham noted
disappointment with U.S. aid to date. Pham confirmed that the GVN
will produce a national action plan on climate change by the end of
the year. End Summary.

Ambassador Michalak Stresses Global Effort
------------------------------------------

2. (SBU) Drawing from ref a, Ambassador Michalak noted the need for
global solutions to climate change and emphasized that the United
States intends to play an important role this international effort.
International climate change policy should be environmentally
effective and economically sustainable. As climate change impacts
all nations, all nations must participate in the effort to reduce
emissions, while taking into account differing national
circumstances. The United States currently contributes to several
regional efforts and Ambassador Michalak detailed bilateral
cooperation between the United States and Vietnam, particularly
USAID Eco-Asia programs to promote cleaner coal and compact
fluorescent bulbs.

Vietnamese Position at Bali
---------------------------

3. (SBU) MONRE Senior Vice-Minister Nguyen Cong Thanh will lead the
Vietnamese delegation to Bali, which will participate actively in
all Conference events, the Minister reported. Vietnam fully
supports the Kyoto Protocol, to which it was one of the first
signatories, as a strong instrument to address climate change
through 2012. Though Kyoto did not require Vietnam to cut
emissions, the Government of Vietnam (GVN) developed pro-active
policies and guidelines to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and
intended to present a MONRE-developed five point overview of
domestic efforts to the Conference, which includes: 1) GVN
legislation to implement the United Nations Framework Convention on
Climate Change; 2) expansion of public awareness, education and
capacity building; 3) improved research to evaluate economic impacts
of climate change; 4) development of a National Action Plan to
address the impacts of climate change; and 5) expanding
international cooperation with donors.

Vietnamese Expectations Regarding U.S. Bali Initiatives
-------------------------------------------

4. (SBU) Pham hoped that the United States would propose post-Kyoto
climate change initiatives and solutions that Vietnam could support.
At the same time, Pham urged the United States to increase
technical and financial support for Vietnamese efforts to reduce
greenhouse gas emissions and noted his disappointment with U.S.
assistance to date. In particular, Pham requested assistance to help
develop policies and legislation, increase education and build
capacity, improve awareness of the issue (especially among
Vietnamese policy-makers), and transfer modern emissions reduction
technology.

Vietnamese Response to Climate Change
-------------------------------------

5. (SBU) Pham remarked that international studies reported that
Vietnam would be one of the four nations most severely impacted by
climate change. As such, Vietnamese scientists are calculating
projected sea level increases and likely environmental and economic
effects. Pham noted that the GVN had already instituted
"step-by-step" policies to address climate change through command
and control measures, cleaner production incentives, and clean
development mechanism (CDM) implementation. The GVN has instructed
energy intensive sectors to become more efficient, while switching

HANOI 00002053 002.2 OF 002


from coal inputs to natural gas. (Note: At the same time, the GVN's
Energy Master Plan envisions doubling coal-fired energy capacity by
2025 through the construction of thirty new coal plants (ref B).)
The GVN also will discourage the development of heavy polluting
industries and joint ventures that rely upon backward technology.
Vietnam has begun instituting end-of-pipe measures to reduce
emissions at factories and power plants, through financial support
and tax incentives. In addition to these carrots, Pham noted, the
GVN also uses the stick, and has closed factories that do not comply
with emissions limits. (Note: Pham acknowledged that the GVN
subsequently allowed high-emitting factories to reopen due to
employment concerns, but claimed that the factories were required to
limit production.)

MONRE to Lead Efforts to Draft Climate Change Action Plan
--------------------------------------------- --

6. (SBU) Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung recently assigned Pham
responsibility to coordinate GVN efforts to draft the National
Action Plan to respond to climate change. The Action Plan will be
drafted by an interagency task force headed by Pham and will detail
Vietnamese strategies to adapt to global warming impacts on water
resources, agriculture, forestry, energy, transportation, coastal
zone management, human health, and aquaculture/fisheries.
Ambassador Michalak noted that at a donor-GVN consultative group
meeting earlier in the day, a group of donors had strongly
encouraged the Prime Minister to use his leadership to strengthen
Vietnamese efforts to control climate change and adapt to its
impacts. Pham stated that he hoped to have a draft Action Plan
completed by the end of the year at which time MONRE will provide
copies for donor review.

MICHALAK

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