Pakistan’s cement sector single largest source of CO2 emission, study reveals

  • Calendar Jul 30, 2021

KARACHI, LAHORE, ISLAMABAD, JULY 30, 2021 (FRIDAY): 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 elements of the country’s energy sector are responsible for 90% of the CO2 emissions.

The study titled ‘CO2 Emissions from Pakistan’s Energy Sector’, 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 disclosed in a virtual study launch organized jointly by CREA and Alliance for Climate Justice and Clean Energy (ACJCE) on Friday. Speakers for the virtual launch included local and international industry experts.

Speaking at the launch, Mr. Lauri Myllyvirta, Lead Analyst at CREA and one of the authors of the study, shared that 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. Mr. Myllyvirta further 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.

Independent Analyst Mr. Dawar Butt pointed out that Pakistan has committed to shift 30% to electric vehicles and produce 60% of power from renewables by 2030. However, he added, fuel use trends and government incentives portray a different picture. Mr. Butt was of the view that the cement industry, which is leading the construction industry 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 and urged 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.

Mr. Zain Moulvi, Associate at Alternative Law Collective, spoke in length about 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. Dr. Nasim added that in cities such as Lahore, vehicles emit PM2.5 — an egregious pollutant — in comparison to industries and power plants, however, power sector holds the largest share of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions — the source of climate change. “As climate change action takes a foothold, policymakers can consider incentive-based approaches such as emission charges and carbon emission trading as viable alternatives to mitigate GHGs”, Dr. Nasim said.

  • Carbon emissions
  • Cement industry
  • CO2
  • Coal
  • Coal Pakistan