Transition to Clean Energy Economy to Help Combat Climate Change

By Muhammad Mudassar

ISLAMABAD, May 16 (INP-WealthPK): Pakistan is one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change impacts, which has a negative effect on the economy. Global warming, change in weather patterns, droughts, extinction of species, glaciers melting, and food insecurity have been attributed to climate change in Pakistan.

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 6th Assessment Report (AR6) 2022, climate change has adversely affected human physical and mental health. It can be mediated through a number of natural and human systems, including economic and social systems.

In April 2022, the country experienced its hottest month in 61 years. On April 30, 2022, the maximum temperature recorded in Jacobabad was 49°C, according to the Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD). Both urban and rural populations are affected by climate change. Due to plenty of emissions from industries and the shortage of trees, the urban population faces heat strokes. Furthermore, due to the lack of proper infrastructure, the urban areas were flooded as a result of heavy rains. Climate change has reduced soil fertility, which results in a reduction in agricultural output.

Greenhouse gasses (GHGs) are the major cause of climate change. GHGs are primarily carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrogen dioxide. All aspects of the economy contribute to the emission of greenhouse gases, including energy, industrial processes and product use (IPPU), agriculture, forestry, and other land use and waste. According to the World Bank, carbon dioxide emissions are around 0.98 metric tons per capita which is higher than Bangladesh (0.5 MT per capita).

The energy sector is one of the major contributors to greenhouse gas emissions. In accordance with the World Resources Institute’s Climate Analysis Indicator Tool (WRI CAIT), energy accounts for 46% of Pakistan’s total annual GHG emissions, 26% of which is attributed to electricity consumption, 25% to manufacturing, 23% to transportation, and the remaining 26% to other energy-related activities.

Pakistan has massive potential for solar, wind, and hydroelectric power, and recent policies and initiatives have strongly advocated the need for a transition towards clean energy resources. Pakistan has committed to the international community that under the Alternative Renewable Energy (ARE) Policy, it aims to achieve 30% share of renewables (currently standing at 4%) in the energy mix till 2030.

Pakistan has established the “Eco-System Restoration Fund”, which will be used to support nature-based solutions to climate change and facilitate the transition to environmentally resilient initiatives, such as afforestation and biodiversity conservation.