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Vietnam plans to start using liquefied natural gas, or LNG, by the year 2020.

Although Vietnam has said it would be hurt by the effects of climate change, it plans to move forward with plans to import LNG.

The decision shows how difficult it is to balance energy costs with efforts to protect the environment.

Le Van Luc is with Vietnam’s Ministry of Industry and Trade. He said that as the economy grows, energy supplies have not kept up with demand.

He said that, for many years, his country was an energy exporter.

“However, in 2015, we became a net energy importer, especially of coal and natural gas,” he added.

Climate change concerns compete with energy needs

Vietnam is home to nearly 100 million people. It was among the nations that sent representatives to the recent climate change talks in Katowice, Poland. The United Nations gathering failed to set targets for the reduction of carbon gases linked to rising temperatures in Earth’s atmosphere.

Southeast Asian countries, such as Indonesia and Thailand, plan to burn more coal to meet their energy needs, yet they fear the effects of climate change.

Vietnam is turning to imports of liquefied natural gas partly because policymakers believe there are limits to renewable energy.

Luc notes that the country is reaching the upper limit of electricity production from dams. Wind and solar power are more costly than LNG.

The United States wants Vietnam to use LNG because U.S. companies could export it.

Last week, the U.S. government organized a conference on natural gas. At the event, the U.S. consul general in Ho Chi Minh City, Mary Tarnowka, warned of energy shortages in southern Vietnam. She said that the city has economic growth of 10 percent, but energy is needed to fuel that growth.

“All of this is creating a growing middle class, and a society and culture that is growing as quickly as their energy demands,” she said.

Tarnowka added that demand for energy is growing at nearly eight percent this year.

Natural gas has traditionally been transported through pipelines. But for longer distances, it can be cooled into a liquid, so that it can be shipped in containers. In this way, LNG could be transported across the Pacific Ocean from U.S. businesses.

Once it arrives, Vietnam needs technology to turn LNG back into gas so it can be used as fuel. U.S. companies and government agencies are advising on the necessary infrastructure and equipment.

Le Van Luc said, “The difficulty and challenge for Vietnam is that we have yet to have any experience in constructing or operating LNG infrastructure.”

Luc noted that Vietnam is investing in electricity from wind and the sun. But, he said fossil fuels, like natural gas, are still needed.

Le Viet Phuy is an environmental economist with Fulbright University Vietnam. He said the country needs a mixture of ways to produce energy. Le said the country will continue to use coal and increase natural gas while other energy also will be used more. But, he noted that renewable energy is costly.

“We have seen renewables picking up speed recently, but it will be years until we see some significant impact on the system,” he said.

I’m Mario Ritter Jr.



New data was released at the July 2018, International AIDS Conference demonstrating the HIV epidemic is coming under control in Namibia.

Results from the Namibia Population-based HIV Impact Assessment show that 77 percent of all HIV-positive adults have achieved viral load suppression, a widely used measure of effective HIV treatment in a population. This surpasses the UN’s target of 73 percent by 2020. Compared with the UNAIDS 2012 estimates, Namibia has reduced its adult HIV incidence rate by 50 percent in the past five years.

Namibia has made this tremendous progress through the expansion of HIV prevention and treatment services, with a focus on viral load suppression at the individual and community level, and the swift implementation of forward-leading HIV policies.

Women ages 15-24 still have a far higher HIV incidence rate than same-aged young men in Namibia. This highlights the continued need for expanded primary HIV prevention in young women and ensuring all HIV-infected men, particularly those ages 25-35, receive lifesaving treatment and are virally suppressed.

“These exciting new data demonstrate that a community-centered approach results in high community viral suppression, which decreases the rates of new HIV infections,” said Ambassador Deborah Birx, U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator and Special Representative for Global Health Diplomacy.

She said, “Several African countries are now on track to reach HIV epidemic control by 2020, accelerated progress that was only possible because of partner country political leadership and their rapid adoption of policies focusing primary prevention and treatment resources for maximum impact.”

Centers for Disease Control Director Robert Redfield said, “CDC continues to support Namibia’s efforts to control its HIV epidemic – and we remain committed to global efforts to change the course of the HIV pandemic and help save lives.”

The Population-based HIV Impact Assessments are funded by the U.S. government, through PEPFAR, and conducted by the CDC, ICAP at Columbia University, and local governmental and non-governmental partners. With PEPFAR support, four additional countries – Ethiopia, Haiti, Kenya, and Rwanda – will release HIV data on a rolling basis through 2019, providing an ability to chart and validate further progress toward reaching epidemic control by 2020.

“Together,” said Dr. Birx, “we are making the impossible possible, moving farther and faster toward ending AIDS as a public health threat by 2030.”

Composed & Edited by Lê Quốc An
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