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KARACHI: A new research study has revealed that Pakistan’s cement industry is the single largest source of carbon dioxide (CO2) emission – a highly hazardous gas – whereas various constituents of the country’s energy sector are responsible for 90% of the CO2 emission.

The study, prepared by an independent European environmental think-tank – Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) – also shows that CO2 emissions from consumption of fossil fuels such as oil, gas and coal in Pakistan have more than doubled in the last two decades.

These findings were shared in a virtual study-launch, organized jointly by CREA and Alliance for Climate Justice and Clean Energy (ACJCE) on Friday, addressed by local and international industry experts.

Speaking on the occasion, Lauri Myllyvirta, Lead Analyst at CREA and one of the authors of the study said that though Pakistan’s CO2 emissions per capita remain low, however, energy-related emissions have doubled over the past two decades. He said that the power sector is responsible for over one quarter of the total emissions, while fossil fuels are responsible for 2/3 of power generation.

He added that this share has remained constant over the past decade, which indicates that there is little progress in moving towards clean power generation. He said that the industrial sector – cement industries in particular – is the largest contributor of carbon emissions and is responsible for 1/3 increase over the past decade.

An independent analyst, Dawar Butt pointed out that Pakistan has committed to shift 30% to electric vehicles and produce 60% of power from renewables by 2030. He said fuel-use trends and government incentives portray a different picture. He was of the view that the cement industry, which is leading the construction industry and lobbying for lower taxes and amnesties, has so far not been studied in detail.

He further said that the current analysis so far limits itself to CO2 emissions, urging that a more detailed assessment needs to be done to account for the massive pollution costs that Pakistan is paying in terms of public health.

Zain Moulvi, Associate at Alternative Law Collective, stressed the need to bring strategies to manage the damaging environmental impacts caused by the ever-increasing carbon emissions. He said that these strategies must have an immediate upgrade of environmental quality standards and monitoring procedures, both of which are out of sync with best global practices.

Dr Sanval Nasim, Assistant Professor of Economics at Lahore University of Management Sciences, was of the view that air pollution is often conflated with climate change. He said that although these issues overlap to some extent, they differ enough to warrant separate policies.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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