In December 2015, when almost 200 countries signed an agreement to fight global warming, the only common cry was “we have to save our world”. However, there was an even bigger voice for “how do we do it?” The answer to this question lies in how we use our resources, how we develop our plans and how we spend our lives. The world is consumed with figuring out how we balance our growing needs with scarce energy sources. However this is not an impossible feat to accomplish. In fact many countries around the world are beginning to develop and succeed in implementing sustainable measures.Taking advantage of the ample sunlight it receives Morocco inaugurated the largest concentrated solar plant on earth recently. Chine, the world’s largest carbon emitter, became the world leader in renewable energy. The Chinese achieved their targets of installing the most wind energy capacitors and also installed the second most solar panels in the world. China has also committed to phasing out coal and cleaning up its polluted air. Similarly, Kenya has cut the import of costly electricity from neighbors by 51 percent, by focusing on geothermal energy and setting up Africa’s largest wind farm. Moreover the world is now researching other sources of renewable energy such as tidal waves and second generation biofuels. After exploring the first generation of biofuels such as ethanol, biodiesel, green diesel etc- scientists realized that the wide scale production of these energy types could hamper food production for human beings. They are now putting their resources into finding new sources in the form of second generation biofuels e.g. methanol and bio-hydrogen etc.While the trend to transition to renewable energy sources is rapidly gaining momentum- where even the least developed countries are strategizing towards sustainability- Pakistan is promoting the use of coal to generate electricity. New units are being established by the private sector and new plans are in the process for approval to initiate new schemes under public-private partnership. While the trend to transition to renewable energy sources is rapidly gaining momentum- where even the least developed countries are strategizing towards sustainability- Pakistan is promoting the use of coal to generate electricityWhile it is true that the rich coal reserves at Thar will generate more electricity than we need at a lower cost; it is also a fact that the burning of these fossils will emit carbon, damaging our already fragile climate. It is the right time to ask ourselves some difficult questions? For example, why should our coming generations suffer because of environmental neglect? Are we ready to take the responsibility for destroying our planet?Historically speaking- Pakistan has done little in practice apart from signing international treaties regarding climate change. Moreover the Ministry of Water & Power created the Alternative Energy Development Board (AEDB) in 2003, to develop national strategies, policies and plans for the utilization of alternative and renewable energy resources. The AEDB was provided a legal basis by the Presidential Ordinances in 2005 and 2007. In 2010, the Parliament of Pakistan provided legislative foundations to AEDB through the AEDB Act. The AEDB provided a forum to prepare and approve Pakistan’s first short term Alternate & Renewable Energy (ARE) Policy in 2006, which was upgraded as the Mid-Term Policy in 2011. The ARE policies aim to harmonise the efforts of various government bodies; to increase ARE deployment; introduce incentives to attract investment; increase ARE relevant institutional and technical capacities; and develop local ARE manufacturing base. Not only this, the Government of Pakistan introduced a scheme for Financing Renewable Projects in 2009 to provide concessional financing for large and small scale renewable energy projects including solar, wind, hydro, biogas, bio-fuels, bagasse cogeneration and geothermal. However, once the coal reserves in Thar were discovered, all these wonderful initatives were sidelined- as we developed a new craze for fossil fuels. While the above mentioned policies and schemes are technically still in force, government patronage is needed to transform our out-dated fossil fuels model into a modern renewable energy one.Pakistan has much to do to fulfill its domestic energy needs, and it’s perhaps the right time to make wise decisions and re-gain our momentum towards transitioning. It is encouraging that our existing power generation is based upon traditional hydro sources, which is still considered a renewable source. Although slow and steady; we have made some progress towards harnessing solar and wind energies. According to the estimates of the International Energy Agency, the wind energy generated in Pakistan during 2015 stood at 840 GWh. However, we need to recognize that our energy needs are far more than the rate of production, and we will not be able to close this gap with hydroelectric power generation alone.The answer to our problems could be in thermal, solar and wind energy but we need to explore these avenues in greater depth in order to deal with our future challenges. We need to strengthen our institutions for identifying ways and means to use all the available sources of biofuels whether in the form of solid, liquid, or gas. The questions, to answer, are many: How far can we convert the municipal and industrial waste produced in our country into source for thermal energy? Can we divert the 1.4 million Terajoules of energy produced from burning of primary solid biofuels e.g. wood, sawdust, leaves, dung etc. towards power generation for industrial sector? Currently 90 percent of this energy is used in the residential units and only 10 percent in industries.We need to make well informed choices regarded our energy sources- which can only be done through large investments in research and development. Our R&D institutions must be strengthened, if we want any hope for prosperity. Most fundamentally however is the need to make a strong political commitment towards ridding Pakistan off fossil fuels and switching to renewable sources of energy.The author is a freelance contributor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.orgPublished in Daily Times, August 25th 2018.