Bureaucratic hurdles and a lack of ‘political and administrative will’ were identified, by an expert, as the main reasons behind Pakistan’s failure to benefit from international initiatives like the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM).
The expert, Ahsan Kamran, was speaking at a seminar, Face of Climate Change, organised by the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) to mark Earth Day.
According to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) website, the mechanism “allows a country with an emission-reduction or emission-limitation commitment under the Kyoto Protocol to implement an emission-reduction project in developing countries.” The projects earn saleable certified emission reduction (CER) credits for the countries implementing the project. Each credit is equal to one tonne of carbon dioxide.
Kamran blamed, in particular, the environment ministry and the Ministries of Finance and Industries. He said that the CDM was pitched as an idea in Pakistan in 2002. The large number of wind power plants, hydro plants and industries that utilise natural gas not petroleum products that were set up across the country after that, said Kamran, could have been set up by making use of the CDM. In Pakistan, only five to six projects have been set up through the mechanism. He gave the example of Pak Arab project, for which equipment was acquired from Mitsubishi in Japan. In contrast, in China and India, he said, at least a hundred projects have been built via the mechanism.
He urged the Environment Protection Agencies in all provinces as well as the federal government to have experts who could spread awareness about such initiatives. “Unfortunately it is unlikely to happen. It requires very strong political and administrative will which the EPA lacks,” said Kamran. “I tried working with the federal environment department. Either the director general gets replaced or the secretary is transferred. The lower staff is usually on leave and the file never moves forward,” he said of his experience.
A member of the Punjab Environment Tribunal, AR Saleemi, talked about the basics of climate change. He has presented the same data at more than three other seminars arranged by the EPA.
Saleemi blamed “television and music” for the Pakistani youth’s materialism, which he said was exacerbating the growth of our ecological footprints of consumption (the amount of biologically productive land and sea area that a country requires to produce the resources it consumes and to absorb the waste it generates). In 2006, Pakistan’s ecological footprint of consumption was 0.7 global hectares per capita. According to global standards, it should not be more than 0.4 global hectares per capita.
Saleemi advised the audience to adopt healthy eating habits. He encouraged them to omit meat from their diet and consume more vegetables to reduce their carbon footprint. “We need to evaluate the footprint of our homes, food and transport in order to make a difference.”
The event was attended by Arif Ejaz, the environment minister, EPA DG Farooq Hameed Sheikh and Aroos Munir, an EPD assistant director (biodiversity). The event was attended by heads of environment consultancy firms, students and teachers from various universities.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 23rd, 2013.
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