Projected influence of Climate Change Mitigation in Pakistan

Pakistan’s Green House Gas (GHG) emissions are low compared to international standards. In 2008 Pakistan’s total GHG emissions were 310 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent. These comprised: CO2 54%; Methane (CH4) 36%; Nitrous Oxide (N2O) 9%; Carbon Monoxide (CO) 0.7%; and Non-Methane Volatile Organic Compounds 0.3%. (Source: Draft National GHG inventory 2008).

Energy sector is the single largest source of GHG emission in Pakistan; it contributes nearly 51% of these emissions and  is  followed by the Agriculture sector (39%), Industrial processes (6%), Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (3%) and wastes (1%) (Source: Draft National GHG inventory 2008). As such, the most important targets for mitigation effort involving reduction of GHG emission are the Energy and the Agriculture sectors. In the energy sector, integration of climate change and energy policy objectives is particularly important as today’s investment will “lock in” the infrastructure, fuel and technologies to be used for decades to come. Similarly, the building and transport infrastructure put in place today should meet the design needs of tomorrow. Therefore, greater attention must be paid to the energy efficiency requirements in building codes and long term transport planning.


Pakistan’s energy sector has, besides furnace oil, high reliance on natural gas (the fossil fuel with the lowest Carbon intensity), and very low reliance on coal (the fossil fuel with the highest Carbon intensity) in utter contrast to the patterns of primary energy consumption and electricity generation worldwide. It is largely for this reason that the CO2 emissions per unit of energy consumption in Pakistan are among the lowest in the world.

With this consumption pattern, Pakistan’s natural gas reserves have depleted to such an extent that it will be difficult to maintain even the present level of production for long. Similarly the local oil resources are also dismally low. The only sizable fossil fuel resource available in Pakistan is coal with an estimated resource base of 185 billion tones. To meet an increasingly large fraction of its future energy needs, Pakistan has no alternative but to seek meeting an increasingly large  fraction  of  its  future  energy  needs  through  the  use  of  its practically unutilized vast coal resources. As such, clean coal technologies are expected to be part of the energy mix for the medium term future.

To find solutions to the present energy needs and future energy requirements, a

Creative and sustainable energy policy framework is necessary that may help in reducing the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The change in energy mix, the development of renewable energy resources and the increase of nuclear and hydroelectric share provides an opportunity to reduce carbon emissions in the energy sector in Pakistan. The Government of Pakistan shall take the following policy measures for mitigating its GHG emissions:

Policy Measures

  1. a. Give preferential  status  to  development  and  promotion  of  hydropower generation;
  2. b. Ensure that the negative impacts of hydro-power projects on the environment as well as on the local communities are properly assessed and addressed;
  3. c. Promote development of renewable energy resources and technologies such as solar, wind, geothermal and bio-fuel energy;
  4. d. Promote futuristic  buildings   design   with   solar   panels   for   energy   self-sufficiency, especially in public sector buildings;
  5. e. Plan the necessary expansion of nuclear power for Pakistan’s energy security while ensuring the highest safety standards;
  6. Explore the possibility of obtaining technological know-how and its transfer for installing the clean coal technologies like Pressurized-Fluidized-Bed- Combustion (PFBC), Near-Zero Emission Technology (NZET) for vast coal reserves in south of Pakistan and their inclusion in future pulverized coal Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) systems;
  7. Ensure that new coal-fired power stations perform at high-efficiency level and

Are designed in such a way that they can be easily retro-fitted for Carbon dioxide Capture and Storage (CCS);

  1. h. Install plants to generate power from municipal waste;
  2. Consider introducing carbon  tax  on  the  use  of  GHG  intensive  energy generation from fossil fuels;
  3. Promote and provide incentives for activities required for shift in energy-mix and fuel-switching program to low-carbon fossil fuels, and develop indigenous technology for CO2 Capture and Storage (CCS); Waste Heat Recovery, Co- generation; Coal Bed Methane Capture; and Combined Cycle Power Generation;
  4. Give preference to import of natural gas, Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) over import of oil and coal except for meeting specific fuel requirements e.g. liquid fuel for transportation, coking coal for steel industry etc.

Energy Efficiency and Energy Conservation

To  ensure  ample  energy  supply  to  achieve the  economic development goal, energy efficiency improvement, energy conservation and demand reduction provides  excellent  and  cost  effective  ways  to  reduce  carbon  emissions  and achieve the climate change mitigation goals. The Government of Pakistan shall, therefore, take on the following policy measures:

Policy Measures

  1. a. Strive to conserve energy and improve energy efficiency in all energy using devices and processes;
  2. b. Examine the  gradual  introduction  of  “Green  Fiscal  Reforms”  in  different sectors of economy, including energy, water, waste/sewage e to achieve carbon emission reductions objective;
  3. c. Enact and enforce energy conservation legislation and audit standards;
  4. d. Ensure quality management of energy production and supply, including reduction in transmission and distribution losses;
  5. e. Improve  energy   efficiency   in   building   by   standardizing   building   and construction codes and legislating/creating incentives for retrofitting, maximum use of natural light, better insulation and use of energy efficient lights, boilers, appliances and ground water pumping units;
  6. Promote and gradually make it mandatory to specify the energy efficiency/

fuel consumption rates of energy using equipment and devices of common use.



Transport sector has shown the highest emission growth rate of all sectors and accounts for about quarter of carbon dioxide emissions in Pakistan (source: Draft National GHG Inventory, 2008). Thus managing emissions in transport sector is crucial for tackling climate change. What makes the task of reducing emissions in transport too difficult is to tackle the fact that the scope for technical improvement is limited, at least, in the short run and that transport volumes are closely linked to economic growth. Similarly, the emissions from aviation sector are also a matter of concern. In fact emissions of aircraft which are injected directly into upper atmosphere are much more harmful than similar emissions at surface because of their longer residence time in upper troposphere. However, despite difficulties, some policy instruments are available to reduce emissions in road and air transport, therefore, the Government of Pakistan shall take the following policy measures:

Policy Measures

Road Transport


  1. a. Sensitize public to the importance of proper vehicle maintenance for fuel efficiency enhancement and reduction of emissions;
  2. b. Ensure the  provision  of  efficient  public  transport  (Busses)  system  in  the


  1. c. Set up and strictly enforce vehicle emission standards;
  2. d. Examine and implement actions required for the use of bio-fuel for local transport;
  3. e. Plan and develop mass transit system in metropolitan cities;
  4. Support the  private  transport sector  by  providing  incentives for  reducing emissions and environmental friendly transport services, e.g. electric/ hybrid vehicle for urban use;
  5. Promote the    development    and    adoption    of    environmental-friendly

Transportation technologies and efficient management technique;

  1. h. Promote greater use of CNG in transportation sector to the extent consistent with the availability of CNG in the market;
  2. Secure  financing  for  technology  innovations  for  urban  planning  and  the

transportation sector, specifically to address the mitigation issues;

  1. Promote the development of new pipelines for efficient transportation of oil in the country;
  2. Develop and promote in-land waterways transportation.



  1. a. Encourage national airline to give due consideration to the fuel efficient new technology aircrafts causing minimum carbon emissions, while planning new fleet;
  2. b. Support International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO’s) initiatives for

carbon emission reduction through improved air traffic management, which include  improved  weather  services  and  free  flight  air  routes  instead  of defined routes that hold the potential for reduced flight time and thus fuel consumption;

  1. c. Participate actively in ICAO’s activities and initiatives and ensure that new strategies and policies of ICAO may not hurt the economic interests of developing countries’ aviation industry.


  1. a. Ensure the provision of efficient railway system in the country;
  2. b. Upgrade and expand the railway network in the country as the advantages of railway over road travel in terms of carbon emissions are well recognized.

Town Planning

Climate change presents a range of socio-economic implications for town planning on two counts: First, town planning is a process by which adaptation to climate change impacts is possible in the urban areas. Second, town planning influences the level of emissions produced by human settlements by changing fuel and energy consumption patterns. To adapt to the impacts and to achieve the objectives of climate change mitigation, there is a need to introduce changes to town planning and building systems. The Government of Pakistan, in this regard, shall take the following measures:

Policy Measures

  1. a. Make installations of wastewater treatment plants an integral part of all sewerage schemes;
  2. b. Ensure separate collection, disposal and re-use of recyclable, composite and biodegradable waste preferably at source;
  3. c. Update town planning design principles for lower carbon foot prints;
  4. d. Ensure checking of rural-to-urban migration and develop infrastructure and support facilities in smaller agro-based towns and periphery urban areas;
  5. e. Ensure Proper “Land Use Planning” and  encourage  vertical  instead  of

Horizontal expansion of urban housing projects;

  1. Undertake hazard mapping and zoning of areas before construction;
  2. Ensure that rural housing particularly the flood damaged reconstruction is climate resilient;
  3. h. Ensure that in large urban areas the industries are located in the designated


  1. Make installation of solar water heaters mandatory in commercial and public buildings where water heating is necessary.


The major industries in Pakistan include textile, fertilizer, sugar factories, cement, steel and large petro-chemical plants. These industries, among others, contribute about 6% to the total GHG emissions of the country due to the industrial processes in use, in addition to being responsible for more than a quarter of the emissions attributed to the energy sector. The Government of Pakistan,   shall take the following measures to play its role in reducing these emissions in the long term:

           Policy Measures

  1. a. Incorporate economic incentives to promote emission-reduction by upgrading the industrial processes and technologies;
  2. b. Prepare voluntary “Corporate Social Responsibility”(CSR) guidelines and encourage corporate sector to create  CSR-fund to  cover  carbon emission reductions efforts in industrial sector;
  3. c. Promote the integrated “Cleaner Production” strategy in the Industrial sector by making more efficient use of inputs such as energy, water, raw material etc;
  4. d. Promote the use of energy efficient motors in the industries sector;
  5. e. Encourage the industrial sector to have periodical “Energy Efficiency Audit”;
  6. Develop capacity to monitor and estimate emissions locally for each industry;
  7. Ensure that technology transfer is accelerated for the industries like cement manufacturing to control emissions without hampering the production process.

                Carbon Sequestration and Forestry

Mitigation of climate change is a global responsibility. Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Uses (AFOLU) provide, in principle, a significant potential for GHG mitigation through CO2 sequestration. As outlined in the TFCC report, Pakistan’s Land Use and Forestry sector contributes only 3% to the total GHG emissions of the  country,  which  is  quite  low  if  judged  against  the  emissions  from  other sectors.  Considerable mitigation  potential,  however,  exists  in  Land  Use  and Forestry sector to sequester carbon via afforestation and reforestation measures as well as avoiding deforestation in Pakistan.

The Government of Pakistan, in collaboration with national entities and support from multilateral agencies, shall take on the following measures in forestry sector to sequester the atmospheric carbon, playing its role in mitigating the climate change.

           Policy Measures

  1. a. Set and implement annual afforestation and reforestation targets to increase the country’s forest cover;
  2. b. Strictly prohibit illegal forest cutting and conversion of forest land to non- forest uses;
  3. c. Use vast mass of cultivable wasteland as carbon sink and to build up soil organic matter;
  4. d. Provide incentives and alternative fuel and livelihood options to the forest dependent communities for avoiding deforestation;
  5. e. Promote farm  forestry  practices  by  planting  multipurpose  fast  growing species to meet the needs for timber, fuel wood and fodder for livestock;
  6. Encourage  and   support   forestry   personnel   in   carbon   forestry   project development;
  7. Establish linkages with regulated and voluntary carbon markets to promote and encourage forestry mitigation projects in Pakistan;
  8. h. Secure financial assistance from World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) and UN-REDD program as well as from other international sources to formulate national program for avoiding deforestation and forest restoration;
  9. Prepare framework for national REDD strategy on priority basis and ensure its implementation in accordance with the international conventions/ processes;
  10. Develop legal and institutional framework for improved forest management, investment and clearly specifying who has the right to REDD+ credits;
  11. Ensure to restore and establish the blue carbon sequestration capacity ofmangroves, sea-grasses and tidal marshes.

          Awareness Raising

Public education and outreach are vitally important to create broad awareness of climate change issues and its impacts. As such the importance of communicating with the general public and engaging stakeholders in  climate change related issues is fully recognized by Pakistan. The Government, both in collaboration with the private sector and independently, is already working actively to raise awareness regarding the issue. The scale of the change required, however, and the  vast  number  of  people  and  interests  that  must  be  influenced,  call  for outreach   activities of much greater magnitude. Therefore, the Government of Pakistan in collaboration with the relevant entities shall take the following measures:

          Policy Measures

  1. a. Conduct nationwide surveys to gauge the opinions and capabilities of key stakeholders and other potential partners;
  2. b. Develop a    national    climate    change    awareness    program    involving Communities, various ministries and departments;
  1. c. Ensure advocacy and mass awareness regarding importance of water and energy conservation impacts of climate change on various sectors including forest ecosystem, biodiversity etc using mass media, public-private partnership, students and community mobilization; and  incorporate these issues into formal education systems at all levels;
  2. d. Arrange climate change sensitization workshops for policy makers at national and provincial levels;
  3. e. Create awareness of CDM facility among the relevant stakeholders through training workshops.

        International & Regional Cooperation

Climate change is a global concern and its adverse impacts are likely to affect most of the developing countries. Pakistan is committed to engaging vigorously with the international community to find solutions and help the world toward a new era of global cooperation on climate change.

Furthermore, developing countries face  the dual  challenge of  addressing the negative impacts of climate change and pursuing socio-economic development, hence, it is essential that they work together to face these challenges. South Asia is particularly prone to climate change and related disasters making the need for a regional response to meet the challenge of climate change more urgent and compelling. In order to achieve this international and regional cooperation, the Government of Pakistan shall take the following measures:

Policy Measures

  1. a. Ensure continued attendance at the UNFCCC Conference of Parties and other related meetings;
  2. b. Support exchange of meteorological data including that obtained from highaltitude monitoring stations;
  3. c. Facilitate exchange of real time hydrological data in the region for improved flood forecasting and warning services;
  4. d. Work with Nepal, Bhutan and Kyrgyzstan and other mountainous countries to take initiatives on mountain ecosystems, particularly glaciers and their contribution to sustainable development and livelihoods and to show case the region’s vulnerability to climate change;
  5. e. Encourage exchange of results from simulation modeling experiments for inter-annual and decadal climatic projections, seasonal forecasts, and predictions of climate extremes in the region;
  6. Help establish institutional linkages among national institutions in the SouthAsian region  to  facilitate  sharing  of  knowledge, information and  capacity building programs in climate change related areas;
  7. Support the establishment of SAARC Climate Change Research Centre, preferably in Pakistan in close proximity to the Global Change Impact Study Centre (GCISC);
  8. h. Seek establishment of a regional Inter-governmental Expert Group on ClimateChange  to   develop   clear   policy   direction   and   guidance   for   regional cooperation as envisaged in the SAARC Plan of Action on Climate Change;
  9. Encourage relevant  SAARC  centers  to  undertake  studies  on  the  evolving pattern of monsoons to assess vulnerability due to climate change and integrate  Climate  Change  Adaptation  (CCA)  with  Disaster  Risk  education (DRR);
  10. Undertake   together   with   other   South   Asian   countries   advocacy   and awareness programs on climate change, among others, to promote the use of green technology and best practices for transition to low-carbon sustainable and inclusive development of the region;
  11. Promote student exchange programs among SAARC universities particularly inthe climate change discipline.


Author: Ali Hassan Shabbir

MSc (Hons) Agricultural Economics, Institute of Agricultural and Resource Economics,

University of Agricultural Faisalabad, Pakistan.

Email: [email protected]   


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