Greenhouse Gas Emission In Pakistan

Greenhouse gas emissions are a result of greenhouse gases which absorb heat and re-radiate it back to the earth’s surface. The main gases contributing to this effect in the atmosphere are carbon dioxide, methane, water vapour, ozone and man-made fluorinated gases. All these gases within normal ranges contribute to keeping the earth at its current temperature ranges, however due to human activities since the 18th century concentration of these gases have increased drastically contributing to climate changes and global warming. In Pakistan, greenhouse gas emissions accounted for 342 million metric tons in 2012, with the energy and agricultural sector being the main contributors accounting for 87%. Even though Pakistan only contributes 0.72% of total world emissions, it is among those most effected by climate change with average temperatures predicted to rise by 4 c by 2100.

The causes of gas emissions in Pakistan can mainly be attributed to rising carbon emissions which have grown by 123% since 1994, and with the given emphasis on economic growth is predicted to rise 4 times in the next 15 years. In the energy sector, the main contributors were electricity and transportation, whereas in the agricultural sector production of synthetc fertilisers and increased livestock can explain raised emissions. Other sectors such as land-use changes and forestry, industrial process and waste; account for 11% of total emissions. The ecological consequences of these greenhouse gas emissions have been seen all over Pakistan, with temperatures rising to the highest ever recorded globally at 50.40 c in Nawabshah in 2018. Flooding affecting 20 million people since 2010 and droughts in regions such as Tharparkar and Balochistan, have become an increasingly common feature. Due to fast melting glaciers, rivers are suffering permanent water level drops and coastal areas are threatened by disasters such as cyclones. The socio-economic effect of these climatic changes has been widespread, with unreliable monsoons creating difficulties for Pakistan’s food industry and river-flow volatility making use of hydro-power as an energy alternative tough. The rising heat in 2015 caused approximately 1200 people to die, with 65,000 being treated for heat related illnesses. As a result of heat severity in numerous areas, extensive migration has ensued into urbanized cities such as Karachi, Lahore and many others.

The solution to counteract these greenhouse gas emissions are mainly to reduce the number of vehicles, which given Pakistan’s projected population rise to nearly 100 million in 2050, requires emphasis on developing alternative moods of transport. Other methods are recycling and reducing waste; which can decrease carbon dioxide emissions by 2,400 pounds annually, increasing use of energy efficient products; particularly inhibiting the use of products containing hydrofluorocarbons like air-conditioning or refrigerants and also to use less hot water. In Pakistan, the government has developed an action plan where initiatives like promoting hydro-electricity, emphasising on natural gas imports over coal and oil, vehicle emission standards and curbing of illegal deforestation are helping in reducing emissions. Planting trees in order to absorb carbon dioxide is also essential to reducing emissions, one which Pakistan has emphasised on heavily by undertaking a massive reforestation program by adding 350,000 hectares of trees hitting its target of a billion trees in August 2017.

In Pakistan, government initiatives include a plan to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 20% of that expected in 2030 and particularly reduce carbon emissions through enhancing renewable energy and more effective use of water in agriculture diminishing the need for diesel-powered pumping. Pakistan’s forests are ideal in reducing emissions with the potential of cutting the carbon footprint by 40% through a 25% increase in forest cover by 2030 and is being seen to be implemented by Imran Khan’s initiatives of plantation drives. Pakistan has also made an agreement with United Nations to meet the 17 sustainable development goals by 2030, which will combat major environmental issues faced by Pakistan making it much more sustainable. Initiatives taken by Singapore, of imposing high tax policies on cars have encouraged individuals to focus on public transport, taking them a step further to their goal of a pollution free state. Pakistan, although much larger in size, can follow this initiative in major cities which according to the World Bank will become the hotspots of emissions by 2030 and may become intolerable to live in if measures are not taken. Lastly, Pakistan should also aim to adopt nuclear power as an alternative source of energy reducing dependence on fossil fuels and try to develop carbon capture and storage.

In conclusion, Pakistan is in dire need of focusing and implementing programs to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Being one of the 10 countries most effected by climatic change and by witnessing the overall negative effect on Pakistan’s socio-economic conditions, awareness needs to be created for the population. Together, by understanding the threat to the environment and livelihood, Pakistan can overcome these difficult environmental conditions and secure a sustainable future.

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