Not just coal-fired plants, here’s the true carbon threat of Vietnam

carbon threat, traffic, Vietnam
  • Vietnam is home to roughly 50 million motorbikes, five times as many as in Japan.
  • Motorbikes and other transportation for 99% of the city’s carbon dioxide emissions in Saigon.
  • These two-wheeled emitters of greenhouse gases are a more pressing issue than coal-fired plants.
  • Visit Vietnam Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Vietnam has drawn unwanted attention in recent months for controversial coal-fired power plant projects. But the country has another big source of carbon emissions: its ubiquitous motorbikes.

Vietnam is home to roughly 50 million motorbikes, according to the National Traffic Safety Committee — five times as many as in Japan. Sales fell 17% in 2020 amid the pandemic but still reached about 2.71 million units.

Economic growth has added to the problem, allowing some people to own two motorbikes: one for commuting and one for pleasure. Suited for navigating the multitude of narrow streets, they are the most popular means of transportation in the country.

Cars are expensive and incur high taxes, putting them out of reach for many. Only 400,000 or so four-wheeled vehicles were sold in 2020.

Vietnamese consumers have not acquired the habit of frequently upgrading their bikes to new models, meaning that the streets are full of exhaust-spewing two-wheelers. There is little room for environmentally friendly electrics or hybrids to cycle into the market.

Ho Quoc Bang, an environmental expert at Vietnam National University in Ho Chi Minh City, has blamed motorbikes and other transportation for 99% of the city’s carbon dioxide emissions. Bang is also concerned about air pollution from exhaust and tire dust.

Rail services within Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City could start operating as early as this year. But they are unlikely to prompt people to ditch motorbikes.

“If I have to walk hundreds of meters to a train station, then I’d rather choose a motorbike,” an office worker living in Hanoi said.

Motorbikes are woven into the fabric of daily life in Vietnam, and taking many of them off the road will be a challenge. Rolling out electric bikes or heavily taxing outdated models will be imperative. These two-wheeled emitters of greenhouse gases are a more pressing issue than coal-fired plants.

By ATSUSHI TOMIYAMA, Nikkei deputy editor

News Related


Another seven people killed, several wounded by Myanmar security forces

Myanmar security forces kill seven protesters, Chinese-owned factory set ablaze, according to Reuters. More than 580 people have been killed, according to an activist group, in the turmoil in Myanmar since a Feb.… Read more »

Consul General of Italy in Saigon bestows the Knighthood of the Order of Merit of the Star of Italy to President of Vietnam International Fashion Week

Madame Trang Le – President of Vietnam International Fashion week, is bestowed with the knighthood of the order of merit of the star of Italy by the consul general of Italy in Ho… Read more »

Finally, Vietnam is now allowing Boeing 737 MAX aircraft to fly in its airspace again

Vietnam has lifted ban on Boeing 737 MAX flights, the lifting of the ban only applies to flights that will transit Vietnamese airspace, rather than services that start or end in the country.… Read more »

Vietnam asks localities to quickly make lists of priority groups for free Covid-19 vaccinations as not much time left before the expiry date

The list must be submitted to the General Department of Preventive Medicine or regional Pasteur Institutes before April 15 as AstraZeneca vaccine has a shelf-life of just six months. Vietnam’s mass vaccination campaign… Read more »

Here’s what we know so far about Vietnam’s new Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh

Vietnam’s National Assembly confirmed Pham Minh Chinh, a career security official, as the south east Asian country’s next prime minister at an official ceremony on Monday. Chinh, 62, was the sole nominee put… Read more »

What are the key trends of Vietnam’s real estate market in 2021?

Vietnam’s real estate market has flourished in recent years, with continued economic growth leading to a surge in property prices. Vietnam’s real estate market continues record run, with both the industrial and residential… Read more »

Pham Minh Chinh becomes the Vietnam’s new prime minister

The resolution won over the support of 462 of the 466 legislators present at the sitting, equivalent to 96.25 percent of the total NA deputies, and took effect immediately after the adoption. Earlier,… Read more »

Here are the key challenges and reasons of retiring in Vietnam you may need to know

Later, in coastal Hoi An, I marveled at the well-preserved Ancient Town with its centuries-old buildings, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We ordered savory and unusual foods from the Night Market stands by… Read more »

Myanmar’s security forces have killed 46 children

Myanmar’s junta cracks down on online critics, death toll edges up to 550, reported Reuters. More than 12,000 villagers had fled from their homes because of the air strikes and it called for… Read more »

Why Fitch Ratings revises Vietnam’s outlook to Positive from Stable?

“The positive outlook reflects Vietnam’s growth and public finances’ resilience to the Covid-19 pandemic shock, and continued strengthening of external finances”, stated Fitch Ratings. Fitch expects FDI inflows to stay healthy as Vietnam… Read more »

Vietnam just received another 811,200 COVID-19 vaccine doses, how to get vaccinated?

Vietnam receives 1st shipment of 811,200 coronavirus vaccine doses supported by COVAX Facility. The Southeast Asian country has approved two vaccines, AstraZeneca and Russia’s Sputnik V, for emergency use. Visit Vietnam Insider’s homepage… Read more »

Breaking: A child was among four people shot and killed in California

The incident began at about 5.30pm local time on the upper floor of a small office building in the city of Orange, about 30 miles southeast of Los Angeles. Police did not release… Read more »

Vietnam Airlines flight attendant sentenced for spreading Covid-19

A Vietnam Airlines flight attendant in Ho Chi Minh City was handed a two-year suspended sentence Tuesday for spreading Covid-19 to three others. The damage he caused by spreading the disease in the… Read more »

Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc is nominated for state president

Tomorrow, the parliament will vote on the proposal in ballot, local media reported. Nguyen Xuan Phuc was born 20 July 1954, he is a Vietnamese politician currently serving as the Prime Minister of… Read more »

Macron orders COVID-19 lockdown across all of France and Covid in Brazil ‘completely out of control’

With the death toll nearing 100,000, Macron orders COVID-19 lockdown across all of France, closes schools. Covid in Brazil ‘completely out of control,’ says Sao Paulo-based reporter. Visit Vietnam Insider’s homepage for more… Read more »

The Recovery of Vietnam Is Made in America: WSJ

Vietnam’s economy is growing again, on the back of a strong rise in exports. The Southeast Asian nation looks to be one of the most clear-cut international beneficiaries of the U.S. stimulus package.… Read more »

Here’s what we know so far about new elected Chairman of Vietnam’s National Assembly

Speaking at the swearing-in ceremony, Hue pledged to stay loyal to the Fatherland, the people and the Constitution of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. He also promised to fulfill his duties assigned to… Read more »

Vietnam’s largest Covid-19 hotspot returns to new normal from tomorrow

Vietnam’s northern province of Hai Duong to return to new normal from April 1 Most of businesses in Hai Duong, home to many industrial parks and foreign-invested firms, have reestablished operation. Visit Vietnam… Read more »

The first chairwoman of Vietnam’s 70-year parliament history relieved from duty

Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan, the first chairwoman of Vietnam’s 70-year parliament history has relieved from her duty today, local media reported. On the same day, the National Assembly of Vietnam will vote for… Read more »

Vietnam is seeking for the supply of US Covid-19 vaccines amid thin global stock

Vietnam has been negotiating with some US producers but no results have shown yet, local media reported. Minister of Health was negotiating with Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, and Gamaleya for the purchase… Read more »

The U.S Former President Trump launches his new website for supporters

Our thought bubble, via Axios’ Sara Fischer: The website,, is part of Trump’s efforts to reconstruct his digital presence after essentially being de-platformed after January’s Capitol insurrection. Details: The site’s home page… Read more »

Egypt’s Suez Canal will reopen for shipping traffic after stranded ship refloated

Traffic in Suez Canal resumes after stranded ship refloated. “The time pressure to complete this operation was evident and unprecedented,” said Peter Berdowski, CEO of Smit Salvage. The Ever Given had become jammed… Read more »

Finally, EVER GIVEN ship has been UNSTUCK & Moving into Suez Canal after 6 Days!!

Ever Given, the massive ship blocking the Suez Canal for 6 days, has been partially freed. The massive cargo vessel caused a blockage in the Suez Canal, straining global trade. It’s still not… Read more »

Why Joe Biden nominates rapping Vietnam ambassador for top Asia envoy position?

The US President Joe Biden on Friday, March 26, announced his intent to nominate US Ambassador to Vietnam Daniel Kritenbrink to serve as Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs.… Read more »

Asian countries have not gathered the same level of strength to attract FDI as China has?

Make no mistake, China is still facing considerable pressure on how to attract more investment in the fields of high-end manufacturing and technology. However, on the whole, the growth momentum of FDI will… Read more »

Vietnam economy grows even without foreigner inflow, here’s how

Vietnam travel bubble with Japan loses fizz as execs shun tight rules, Nikkei reported. Hanoi maintains tight border controls in part due to a slow vaccine rollout there. Visit Vietnam Insider’s homepage for… Read more »

At least 114 civilians were killed across Myanmar in deadliest day

At least 114 killed in Myanmar in deadliest day since start of protests, CNN reported. State television had said on Friday that protesters risked being shot “in the head and back.” “The violence… Read more »

Five more people tested positive for Covid-19 in Vietnam

With these new infections, the number of Covid-19 patients in Vietnam has increased to 2,586. Total of 2,265 Covid-19 patients had recovered and been discharged from hospital. Visit Vietnam Insider’s homepage for more… Read more »

Are You Ready for a Vietnamese-made COVID-19 Vaccine?

Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam gets trial jabs of Vietnamese-made COVID-19 vaccine today. Nano Covax, developed by HCM City-based biopharmaceutical company Nanogen, was the first vaccine made by Vietnamese scientists to… Read more »

How AstraZeneca went from pandemic hero to villain

The Anglo-Swedish drugmaker mistakenly gave some volunteers a half dose of the vaccine during clinical trials, and it has been criticized for omitting crucial information from its public statements. US regulators have questioned… Read more »

The effective control of COVID-19 is Vietnam’s advantage to open the country for foreign tourists

Skies begin to open up for travel with vaccine passports. The vaccine passport is planned to be a digital document proving that an individual has been vaccinated against the coronavirus. This may help… Read more »

Donald Trump is returning to social media with his own platform

Jason Miller, a long-time adviser and spokesperson for Trump’s 2020 campaign told Howard Kurtz on Fox’s “MediaBuzz” that Trump will be “returning to social media in probably about two or three months.” He… Read more »

How Much Wealth You Will Need to Join the Richest 1% Globally?

Joining the ranks of the richest 1% is never easy, but it’s especially hard in Monaco, according to Bloomberg. You need to be worth almost $8 million to make the cut in the… Read more »

Volunteers offer protection and support after attacks on Asians in Oakland

People who need help will not always say so, she said. Study their faces — do they look lost or confused? Maybe a senior citizen carrying heavy groceries might appreciate you hovering nearby,… Read more »

Foreigners banned from Tokyo Olympic. Here’s why

Any tickets bought by overseas residents for the postponed Games, scheduled to begin on July 23, will be refunded. The decision was taken following a virtual meeting between the “Five Parties” — the… Read more »

Here’s how to “Stop Asian Hate” ?

Spa shootings could be first test of Georgia hate crimes law. In Georgia, the minimum sentence for murder is life in prison. Visit Vietnam Insider’s homepage for more stories. The murder case against… Read more »

Should Vietnamese fear the impact of automation on jobs?

Nearly half of Vietnamese fear job losses due to automation. The evolution of technology was also cause for optimism, with 90 percent saying it would improve their job prospects in future. Visit Vietnam… Read more »

The Netherlands’ halt of the AstraZeneca jabs follows a similar decision by other countries

Netherlands halts use of AstraZeneca vaccine. Canada has not received any AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines that were part of the batch under investigation for blood clots, Health Canada confirmed on Sunday. Global cases have… Read more »

Myanmar’s security forces killed at least 39 anti-coup protesters

At least 39 reported killed in Myanmar as Chinese factories burn. A junta spokesman did not answer calls requesting comment. Visit Vietnam Insider’s homepage for more stories. A further 16 protesters were killed… Read more »

Philippine records 5,000 new COVID-19 infections in a single day

This bringing total number of confirmed cases in this country to 616,611. The death toll of Philippine climbed to 12,766 after 72 more patients succumbed to the coronavirus disease. Visit Vietnam Insider’s homepage… Read more »

Why more and more countries suspend AstraZeneca vaccinations over blood clot fears?

Thailand on Friday became the first Asian country to halt the use of the jab over safety concerns, shortly after Denmark announced a two-week pause to its nationwide rollout after reports of blood… Read more »

More than 70 people have been killed in Myanmar

Within today, six killed in protests in Myanmar as U.S., allies vow to restore democracy. The security forces initially stopped the ambulance from reaching the injured people. Visit Vietnam Insider’s homepage for more… Read more »

When will construction of Saigon’s first metro line completed?

Construction site to be cleared in downtown HCMC as metro station nears completion, local media reported. Work on the much-delayed line, which began in 2012, is around 83 percent complete now. Visit Vietnam… Read more »

Patio chairs at center of Oprah’s Meghan and Harry interview – made by a ‘Brady Bunch’ actor – sell out online

Christopher Knight, the actor who portrayed the middle brother in “The Brady Bunch” television series, announced in a Facebook post on Wednesday that the wicker and acacia Burchett Outdoor Club Chairs sold by… Read more »

Vietnam protests China transgressions in the East sea, reasserts Paracel sovereignty

Vietnam reasserts Paracel sovereignty, slams China transgressions. Vietnam has full legal basis and historical evidence under international law to assert its sovereignty over both archipelagos. Visit Vietnam Insider’s homepage for more stories. Activities… Read more »

Fears of Myanmar military detention raised as another death of official from Aung San Suu Kyi’s party

One more official has died in custody following alleged torture. The deaths have raised concerns about the condition and treatment detainees are receiving in detention. Myanmar’s junta runs the security forces and can… Read more »

How Vietnam successful handles multiple waves of Covid-19 attack?

Vietnam has faced several waves of such diseases since 2003 and deftly contained them. Vietnam also shared its experience with other countries in the ASEAN. Visit Vietnam Insider’s homepage for more stories. One… Read more »

Why we celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8?

International Women’s Day is celebrated every year on March 8 as a chance to herald the impact that women make around the world. Aside from the International Women’s Day, Vietnam also celebrates its… Read more »

35 illegal entrants from China, S. Korea forced to quarantine in Vietnam

Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh city quarantines 35 illegal entrants from China, S Korea. The hotel, where they stayed has been disinfected and shut down temporarily. Visit Vietnam Insider’s homepage for more stories. HCMC… Read more »

Insider’s story: Filling a pandemic emptiness in Ba Vi

I am not sure if this account of my brief weekend visit in the countryside of Hanoi will entice you to visit in the future. However, I have to make it clear that… Read more »