By Tuong Nguyen, CHANGE/ Vietnam

In the effort to raise the public voice against fossil fuels and promote renewable energy, CHANGE/350 Vietnam organized the mural painting contest “City 2030: Climate Change and Clean Energy”, from June to early August, in collaboration with the Youth Union of Da Kao Ward of District 1 and Ward 10 of District 10 of Ho Chi Minh City. The contest attracted more than 30 young artists who submitted 34 entries. The top ten drawings were selected to be painted on public walls in District 1 and District 10.


The“City 2030” mural painting contest was designed to give street art lovers the opportunity to express their passion for a better future through arts. Through these artworks in public places, visible to hundreds of thousand city residents, messages on climate change causes and impacts and renewable energy as the ultimate solution for Vietnam are conveyed in such an inspirational way to the public. Viet Nam is considered one of the countries most affected by climate change. Its Mekong Delta is one of the world’s three most vulnerable deltas to sea level rise (together with the Nile Delta in Egypt and the Ganges Delta in Bangladesh). Nevertheless, the Vietnamese public’s awareness of climate change causes, impacts and mitigation is still very limited, especially knowledge about fossil fuel – the leading cause of climate change.

According to the revised Vietnam Power Development Plan 2011-2020, coal is projected to be the main source for electricity production of the country, accounting for 53% in 2030. According to a study by the Harvard University, Greenpeace, and the University of Colorado, titled “Burden of Disease from Rising Coal-Fired Power Plant Emissions in Southeast Asia”, by 2030 Vietnam will be the Southeast Asian country second most affected by coal pollution in terms of premature mortality due to coal pollution, with 19,220 excess deaths per year, an almost fivefold increase from the number in 2011 of 4,252 excess deaths.

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In April 2015, serious coal pollution caused by Vinh Tan Coal Power Plant in Binh Thuan Province led to the first ever environmental protest in the country, where thousands of local residents blocked the National Highway No. 1A for days, and clashed with the police. Recently, the proposed plan of Long An Coal Power Plant close to Ho Chi Minh City has been sparkling concern as it is projected to cause air and water pollution for about 13 million people. The petition to stop the Long An Coal Power Plant initiated by a group of Vietnamese environmental activists has gained 15,111 signatures.

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Located in the tropical climate zone, Vietnam is a country with huge potential for renewable energy development, particularly from solar, wind and biomass. These will provide great alternatives to coal as a key source of energy production and help mitigate climate change impacts in the country. Nevertheless, the market for renewable energy is still small and requires appropriate policies from the government to encourage investment. Awareness-raising campaigns and advocacy for sustainable energy policy development are key to winning the climate change battle in Vietnam. Through this exciting mural project, CHANGE/350 Vietnam hopes to get the Vietnamese public to be aware of the climate change and pollution threats they are facing, and from there speak up to demand the government to cancel new coal power plants and invest in community-based sustainable energy, for the benefits of the people and environment.