Environment in danger.

THERE is no doubt that Prime Minister Imran Khan has elevated the debate on climate change and accorded it the status of a national issue by continuing to talk about it on regional and international forums. Several initiatives taken by the government such as the 10-Billion Tree Tsunami and the Ecosystem Restoration Fund have gained international recognition. Today, on June 5, Pakistan is the global host for World Environment Day and is launching the UN's Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. Other initiatives of the government include the launch of the Green Eurobond worth $500m. In April, the government also pledged to transition to 60pc clean energy and convert 30pc of its vehicular fleet to electric by 2030. Soon after the announcement, it shelved imported coal projects intended to produce 2,600MW of energy in favour of hydroelectric projects that will generate 3,700MW. However, for these measures to have an impact, the government must have an integrated policy, infrastructure development, power production and agriculture framework that shuns a carbon-intensive approach.

At the moment, the bigger picture tells a story that is at variance with the government's stated intentions. Between 1994 and 2015, Pakistan's carbon emissions had increased by 123pc. Around 46pc of the country's total greenhouse gas emissions come from fossil fuels, followed by 43pc from agriculture. Ironically, more than 95pc of our coal-based power projects were commissioned in the past four years and are at different stages of development. Meanwhile, last year a long-term plan opted for fossil fuels for energy production, ignoring the...

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