Climate change: Pakistan urged to explore funds for adaptation projects

A review of power generation options available today shows that coal is the most feasible

Amel Ghani October 14, 2015


A review of various energy generation options available in the country tells that coal is the most feasible, Mohammad Jehanzeb Khan, the additional chief secretary for energy, said on Tuesday.

He was speaking at the inaugural session at the Pakistan sey Paris conference. The conference has been organised jointly by the French Embassy, the United Nations and the provincial government. Non-governmental organistions like the Wolrdwide Fund for Nature (WWF) Pakistan, the Leadership for Environment and Development (LEAD) Pakistan, the Sustainable Development Policy Institute and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) are among the participants.

Khan said the options reviewed by the provincial government included fossil fuels, nuclear power and coal.

He said hydro, solar and wind power generation were environment friendly options. However, he said that because flows of water in the major rivers of the country and solar and wind energy levels were varied throughout the year, these options were not feasible compared to coal.

Meanwhile, he said the government intended to avoid dependence on a single source.

He said the government was considering development of solutions to prevent the waste of energy. These included production of energy efficient fans, traffic lights and broilers. He said the government was working developing its capacity to perform energy audits of private-sector organisations.

Other speakers who discussed energy solutions for the country included IUCN global vice president Malik Amin Aslam. He said the Quaid-e-Azam Solar Power Plant was an important project. He praised Khyber-Pukhtunkhwa government’s efforts to control deforestation. He said the government had taken action against people associated with the timber mafia. A drive was underway in the province to plant 250 million saplings by April next year. He said the KPK accounted for 40 percent of Pakistan’s forest cover. He

LEAD chief executive officer Ali Tauqeer Sheikh said Pakistan had yet to submit its Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) report to the United Nations. The Article 2 of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) requires all member states to submit an INDC report, outlining their efforts to curb the emission of greenhouse gases. “Pakistan has developed its INDCs. However, it has still not submitted the report,” he said. He said the deadline was in September.

Sheikh said measures documented in INDC reports generally covered around 70 per cent of carbon emissions in a country.

Panelists also spoke about change of weather patterns in the country. “The winters Pakistan have become colder and shorter. The pre-monsoon season has become hotter,” Dr Fahim Khokar, a National University of Science and Technology (NUST) assistant professor, said. He said his study of climate data showed that average temperatures in the country had increased by 0.07 degree Celsius between 1996 and 2010. He said solar energy was the ideal solution for the country power generation needs. On average, there are around 300 days without cloud cover in the country, he said.

Danial Hashmi, Glacial Monitoring Research Centre project director, said two climate change studies conducted by his organisation showed that flow of water in western rivers had declined over time. Other speakers urged the need to explore opportunities to gain funding for implementation of climate change adaptation projects.  Talking to The Express Tribune, French Ambassador to Pakistan Martine Dorance said the conference had given a unique opportunity to various environmental organisations working within pockets to collect at one platform. She was hopeful it would help all stakeholders within the country to collaborate and present a consolidated case for the country at the COP 21 in Paris. In her address at the session, Dorance said the best part of the upcoming conference in France was the involvement of non-state actors. She said as the host country France wanted to listen to concerns of diverse parties.

The Ambassador Designate of the European Union also addressed the session.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 14th, 2015.

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