In the face of extreme weather changes, depleting water supplies and rising temperatures that have threatened the livelihood of 200 million people, Pakistan seems to be ground zero when it comes to global warming consequences. However, by achieving the UN Climate Action Sustainable Development Goal a decade ahead of the 2030 deadline, the country is ardently fighting back. The government has recently disclosed its plans to develop an electric vehicle (EV) and has launched the first-ever charging station in Islamabad as they try to move away from fossil-fuel based energy.
The national EV policy — which aims to introduce half a million electric motorcycles and rickshaws, along with 100,000 electric cars, buses and trucks over the next five years — shows much promise in helping Pakistan achieve a cleaner and greener future. The government’s foresightedness can be seen from their proposition of assigning the overall supervision of the project to the climate change ministry, acknowledging that this is a small but significant aspect of the much bigger picture of climate change and global warming. However, in order to successfully implement this project, they must develop a nationwide charging system and significantly reduce the price of electric vehicle. Replacing conventional fuel-based vehicles with electric ones can considerably help in reducing air pollution since electric vehicles produce zero direct carbon emission, which can help decrease the overall carbon footprint of the country. Furthermore, EVs can be a beneficial investment for citizens as, apart from being energy efficient, they are cheaper to run and maintain.
While the zero-emission property of EVs are widely commended, there is much controversy around the use of electric batteries which contain harmful metals such as cobalt. The disposal of these batteries after their degeneration can be one of the major problems that the government may need to tackle in the future. Regardless, it is important to for them to continue experimenting, particularly in the domain of solar energy.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 1st, 2020.