Report Exposes World Bank Push for Vietnam Gas

New Report Exposes World Bank Support for Gas in Vietnam

WASHINGTON – Today Recourse, Friends of the Earth U.S. and Asian Peoples Movement for Debt and Development released a new report that reveals the World Bank’s role in pushing for new and expanded gas power and LNG import infrastructure in Vietnam. This push has been facilitated by funding and policy advice from the World Bank and its private sector arm, the International Finance Corporation, under the guise of supporting a transition to clean energy.

The report, “The Trouble with Gas in Vietnam,” details the harms and insecurity that gas expansion will bring to Vietnam’s energy transition. Vietnam’s proposed LNG buildout is premised on the misguided belief that fossil gas is a “bridge fuel,” despite analyses demonstrating that Vietnam can feasibly transition to clean energy without any new LNG development, with cost savings over the long term. Additionally, LNG infrastructure locks Vietnam into an energy system with high carbon greenhouse gas emissions, potential for environmental harms and diverts necessary public funding away from true renewable energy sources like wind and solar.

According to the report, LNG prices on the spot market are volatile and lead to high fuel prices, making it harder for Vietnam to achieve energy security.  Fossil gas production and infrastructure also carries a significant risk of leaking toxic chemicals into environment and water supply, in addition to the public safety risk of explosions at LNG facilities.

This new report comes after a September 28 letter from 27 groups pressuring board members to urge the IFC to drop negotiations over a new LNG-to-power plant in Vietnam. The letter also urges the IFC to use its leverage to call for the release of four Vietnamese environmental leaders imprisoned on charges of alleged tax violations and to ensure that individuals and organizations are able to engage safely in discussions about the nation’s just transition to a clean energy future.

Vietnam is one of five nations set to receive financing from the U.S., UK, Germany, France and the EU to transition away from coal, under a new Just Energy Transition Partnership.

The World Bank Group’s policies continue to drive the massive expansion of fossil gas in the form of imported LNG in Vietnam” said Fran Witt, Campaigns Lead at Recourse. “But Vietnam has abundant solar energy as well as offshore wind potential. So it’s time that the World Bank put its money where its mouth is to support Vietnam to leap-frog LNG and transition straight to a sustainable renewable, and energy secure future”.

“Pushing 30 more years of gas dependence and calling it a clean energy transition is a sham,” said Luísa Abbott Galvão, senior international policy campaigner with Friends of the Earth U.S. “The World Bank cannot continue to promote and enable risky fossil fuel expansion in Vietnam and around the world. Vietnam will not achieve energy security until financiers like the World Bank start directing financing and policy support towards a truly just transition to renewable energy.”

“The World Bank cannot deny what has long been established by science. Fossil gas and LNG emit harmful air pollutants even before they are burned and burning fossil gas produces greenhouse gases especially methane,” said Lidy Nacpil of the Asian Peoples Movement on Debt and Development. “Methane has more than 80 times the warming power of carbon dioxide over the first 20 years after it reaches the atmosphere. Promoting LNG as transition fuel is deceptive and dangerous. The World Bank should stop pushing LNG expansion in Vietnam and other countries in the Global South.”

Contact: Shaye Skiff, Friends of the Earth U.S., [email protected], 202-222-0723

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