Author: Tayyab Shafique Mughal, July 26 2017 - Pakistan is a developing country and ranking 6th in terms of population size. Despite having incredible economic development and environmental opportunities, Pakistan has been facing frequent challenging issues including substructure, inadequate refined resources, infertile or obsolete factories, water and sanitation, poverty, climate change and energy crisis.  Pakistan’s dominant challenges are energy demand and climate change. Whereas it has been struggling to fulfil energy demand but it is also facing climate change catastrophe. Worldwide, Pakistan has little contribution to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and rank 135th among all the countries, in contrast, as reported by Germanwatch Climate Risk Index, 2017, it ranks 7th on vulnerability to climate change adverse impacts having 30.50 Climate Risk Index (CRI).

Moreover, these adverse impacts of climate change are not in the distant future but are imminent. Indeed, Pakistan already has started suffering climate-induced catastrophes of ever-increasing frequency and ferocity. As explained in the country’s Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (PAK-INDC) report, the last floods (2010-2015) have resulted in monetary losses of over US$ 18 billion with 38.12 million people affected, 3.45 million houses damaged and 10.63 million acres of crops destroyed. Likewise, over 1200 people lost their lives due to the unprecedented heat wave in Karachi in 2015.

Energy is vital in the industrial sector, transportation, infrastructure, information technology, agriculture, household uses and others. Any nation that wants to grow its economy and improve living standards must secure a robust energy supply. The main energy consumption sectors of the country include domestic, industrial, agricultural, transport, commercial, thermal power generation and other government services. Though, Pakistan is an energy-deficient country, it mainly depends upon Oil (Petroleum Products), Natural Gas, Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), Nuclear Energy and Renewable Energies such as Wind, Solar, Biomass / Waste-to-Energy are the main sources for producing energy.  

According to a study conducted in 2017 on "Energy Security and renewable energy policy analysis of Pakistan" (Tauseef Aized, et al, 2017) , the demand-supply gap of Pakistan's energy sector is increasing mainly due to high population growth rate which is currently estimated around 2%, the demand is increasing while supply has shown growth at snail's pace. Energy use increases with the rise of incomes. As more countries rise out of poverty and develop their economies, energy demand rises correspondingly. The energy is costlier. Due to volatility in prices, supplies are becoming less secure, even for several fast-growing countries. Therefore, lowest-cost energy has become important.   

Pakistan is a developing and an energy starved country which needs energy at a cheaper cost. The renewable energy sources like wind energy, solar energy, geothermal energy, ocean energy, biomass energy and fuel cell technology can be used to overcome energy shortage in Pakistan. Pakistan, being signatory of Paris agreement and part of the international climate policy regime is obligated to achieve stabilization of GHGs in the atmosphere. Pakistan is committed to the objectives of United Nations Framework Conventions on Climate Change (UNFCCC) for the global benefit. Therefore, Pakistan’s active assignation with the international community in development of responsive global climate governance is a positive approach.

Together with other Parties, Pakistan is responsible to promote and support low-carbon, climate resilient development. Being a Paris Agreement custodian, Pakistan must be proved itself to promote green and clean energy instead of other non-environmental friendly energies. Only clean energies can meet the environmental standards, regulations and compliance. Clean renewable energy technologies can meet much of the growing demand at prices lower than those usually forecast for conventional energy. Renewable energy technologies (i.e., Solar, Wind, Bio, and Hydro) are clean sources of energy that have a much lower environmental impact than conventional high-cost energy technologies. Furthermore, clean renewable energy could enable Pakistan to achieve sustainable development and to combat climate change as well as it provides necessary support to get rid of our over-dependence on oil, while strengthens our economy and defense capability.

Pakistan has an enormous potential for harnessing clean energy and its share in the low carbon emission. Opportunities are unlimited in renewable energy sector.  The area of renewable energy sources is expanding day by day and numerous innovations as well as applications are taking place rapidly. As discussed in Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, a research study conducted on "Renewable Energy Technologies in Pakistan: Prospects and Challenges" reveals that the decentralized renewable energy systems concept has been recognized as an answer to meeting the energy demands both in the household and in the agro-industrial environment. 

For a complete discussion of clean energy opportunities in Pakistan, please see Tayyab Shafique Mughal’s complete blog originally posted here:

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