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Vietnam's true carbon threat: its kingdom of 50m motorbikes

CO2-spewing old two-wheelers an obstacle to decarbonization

Lacking public transportation options, Vietnamese have relied on motorbikes to get around. (Photo by Atsushi Tomiyama)

TOKYO -- 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.

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