Next week, the first major United Nations gathering on climate change since U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from the Paris climate accord will take place in Bonn, Germany. Despite the White House decision, climate action is continuing around the world as other nations keep to their pledges and sub-national entities double theirs. Progress toward decarbonization is being driven by the real economy, which is decisively turning away from fossil fuels.
A clear example of this can be found here in Vietnam, where leaders of the Asia Pacific will soon meet at the APEC summit in Danang. We used to think of Vietnam as a country that would continue to burn coal for decades. That is no longer the case. The political leadership in this country understands that coal is yesterday’s fuel — it is dirty, severely detrimental to public health and becoming more expensive than solar and wind power. Like other countries in the region, including China and India, Vietnam is on the cusp of a clean energy revolution.