Urban development must adapt, help combat climate change: experts hinh anh 1Illustrative image (Photo: VNA)
HCM City (VNS/VNA) - It is necessary to increase tree coverage to reduce the effect of heat-induced problems and increase the absorption of greenhouse gas emissions in urban areas in order to contribute to realising the target of net-zero emissions by 2050, according to Nguyen Tuan Quang from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MoNRE).

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, an increase of economic development activities, high traffic density and energy consumption, and is consequently a huge source of greenhouse gas emissions which is the cause of climate change.

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

Quang, deputy head of MoNRE’s Department of Climate Change, said coastal cities are often affected by storms, high tides, extreme rain, floods and rising sea-levels.

Cities near high mountains face risks of landslides and flash floods after heavy rains.

For urban areas combined with industrial parks and economic zones, the impact of climate change and natural disasters can disrupt the circulation of goods and materials, affecting the overall economy.

Sharing the same view, Ngo Minh Hung and Le Thi Kim Oanh from Van Lang University said the strong urbanisation process in developing countries has led to worsening environmental pollution, adding that the impact of climate change make urban governance more difficult.

Scarcity of water supply, heat, urban flooding and wastewater-related issues have been affecting lives and socio-economic conditions in urban areas.

The solution of a carbon-neutral urban model is a new trend to promote sustainable environmental development in the country, they said.

It is necessary to prioritise the implementation of a number of governance policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in urban areas, such as promoting the use of public transport and limiting the use of private vehicles, using land resources economically and efficiently, developing ecological parks, and creating more urban green spaces and landscapes.

Duong Thi Thuy Nga from the University of Science under Vietnam National University-HCM City said tall buildings that block wind, a large population, a high number of vehicles and carbon emissions are also contributing to the increase of the urban heat island effect in HCM City and other large cities in Vietnam.

They are causing heat waves with some of the highest recorded temperatures ever in the country, affecting public health.

Mai Quoc Buu from Van Lang University said green projects and buildings in urban areas not only have green trees on the roof, but also use eco-friendly construction materials.

“They must be designed in the direction of reducing energy and intensifying the adoption of clean and green energy,” he said.

Quang said that 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 produce energy from waste, while ensuring urban development associated with environmental protection and climate change adaptation.

Upgrading traffic works in areas vulnerable to climate change, constructing buildings and urban areas in accordance with green standards and close to nature, and applying energy efficiency standards in buildings are also needed, he added./.