A meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Climate Change was held on Monday. Senator Seemi Ezdi chaired the meeting that was attended by Senators Sherry Rehman, Khalida Ateeb, Abida Muhammad Azeem, Taj Haider and Umer Farooq. Minister of State for Climate Change, Ms Zartaj Gull was present at the meeting as well. Senior officers from the Ministry of Climate Change and the Ministry of Industries and Production also attended the meeting.
The meeting commenced with a briefing by the Ministry on the up-coming two-week COP-26 Conference due to be held from 31 October, 2021 to 12 November, 2021 which aims to secure global net zero emissions by mid-century and keep 1.5 degrees within reach, adapt to protect communities and natural habitats, mobilize finance and work together to deliver.
The Committee was informed that Pakistan adheres to the principles of Common but Differentiated Responsibilities (CBDR) as any binding commitment will restrict its development needs. Furthermore it was shared that the Prime Minister will address the Leaders’ Summit on 1st and 2nd November, 2021 and a pavilion to showcase Pakistan’s achievements is also being planned.
The Committee was informed that the Electronic Vehicle (EV) Policy was dealt by the Ministry of Climate Change at the Policy formulation level whereas the Ministry of Industries and Production was responsible for the execution side. The members were informed that Ministry of Industries and Production is working on creating a favourable tariff regime for EV to expand user base. The Committee was informed that by switching to EV Pakistan could save up to US $ 411 million worth of oil imports; saving US 2 billion by 2030. Carbon emissions would be reduced up-to 1.54 metric tons. The Committee was also informed that at present there are two EV motorcycle plants operating and three more are in the process of obtaining licenses. Moreover it was shared that private companies like Sapphire Group were considering introducing EV for their own cargo fleet. The members of the Committee highlighted the need to improve charging infrastructure by ensuring Pakistan State Oil to have charged batteries available to users of EV and utilizing its vast network of petrol stations across a wide geographic spread. Members also suggested that solar energy should be used to charge batteries to minimize cost.
The Committee was informed that Pakistan’s green-house gas (GHG) emissions for 2018 was 8.7 percent less than the projected and it was due to timely and effective policies including 10 billion tree tsunami project, ecosystem restoration initiative, recharge Pakistan, National Electronic Policy, Clean Green Pakistan Movement and Climate Smart Agriculture to name a few. Moreover the Committee was informed that agriculture sector had the largest share in Pakistan’s GHG emissions.
Members of the Committee highlighted the need to incentivize private sector to reduce carbon emissions. Moreover members also suggested that technical assistance should be sought from international experts to introduce carbon trading in Pakistan. Members also highlighted the need to shift government offices, Secretariats and Parliament Lodges on solar energy to reduce pressure on the national grid. Furthermore the issue of deforestation for firewood in Gilgit was also highlighted and it was suggested that gas from Turkmenistan through Tajikistan and Afghanistan may be procured as the distance is only 50 km and it was suggested that the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Power may provide assistance to expedite the matter.