Greenhouse Gas Emissions of Pakistan

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions have accelerated to an unprecedented level despite global efforts to cut down emissions. Climate model projections indicate that during the21st century the global surface temperature is likely to rise 0.3°C to 1.7°C (0.5°F to 3.1°F) for their lowest emissions scenario using stringent mitigation, and 2.6°C to 4.8°C (4.7°F to 8.6°F)for business as usual carbon intense emissions.

Pakistan’s total GHG emissions was at 369 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e) in 2012with 45.9% share of energy, 44.8% share of agriculture and livestock sector, 3.9% share of industrial processes, and 2.6% share of land use change for forestry sectors. The energy and agriculture livestock sectors alone account for 90.7% of the total emissions pool and have thus far remained the biggest emitters of GHGs since 1994.

Pakistan ranks relatively low among countries on a per capita GHG emissions basis and ranked at 135th while 31st in total GHG emissions, due to its relatively low level of development and high population but is most vulnerable to climate change. GHG emissions of Pakistan increased a lot in last decades and is expected to increase more in coming decade.

This increase in GHG emissions is causing an increase in temperature. Pakistan’s average annual temperature increased by 0.57°C compared to 0.75°C for South Asia in last century, and average annual precipitation increased by 25%. The warmest year recorded was 2004.Heatwave days per year increased by 31 days in the period 1980 to 2007. Cold waves decreased in north eastern and southern parts, and increased in western and northwestern parts of the country.Sea level increased along the Karachi coast by 1.1 millimeters per year in the past century. Pakistan’s projected temperature increase is expected to be higher than the global average.The projected temperature increase in northern parts will be much higher than the southern parts of the country.The frequency of hot days and hot nights is expected to increase significantly. This will also effect the crop production and decreased per capita Water availability due to higher rates of evaporation caused by increased surface temperature.

In Paris Agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on ClimateChange, Pakistan intends to reduce up to 20% of its 2030 projected greenhouse gas emissions,subject to availability of international grants to meet the cumulative abatement costs amounting toapproximately $40 billion. The country’s adaptation needs have been identified to range between$7 billion to $14 billion per year. Stricter laws must be implemented to reduce emissions. All industries must be regulated to reduce their emissions.We have to plant more trees to reduce carbon emissions, as trees absorb CO2. We have to move towards energy conservations as more than 45% greenhouse emissions are associated with this sectors. We need to focus and work hard on agriculture to cut down our emissions. We can also use emissions from agriculture as energy source e.g. biogas etc. We have to cut down our greenhouse emissions to secure our future.

Bagasse as Alternate Energy Source in Pakistan

The energy demand of Pakistan is increasing rapidly; the country is finally exploring alternatives to expand its power production. Pakistan has to rely largely on fossils for their energy production since electricity generation from biomass is considered. Globally biomass is being used on large scale for energy production as an alternative to fossil fuels. Pakistan is among the world’s top-10 sugarcane producers. So, the potential for generating electricity from bagasse is huge (3000 MW).  Currently, there are around 83 sugar mills in Pakistan producing about 3.5 million metric tons of sugar per annum with total crushing capacity 597900 TCD, which can produce approximately 3000 MW during the crop season. Although it seems difficult at that moment, if the government starts to give more attention to sugar industry biomass rather than coal, Pakistan can fulfill its energy needs without negative repercussions or damage to the environment. However, by focusing on growing its alternate energy options such as bagasse-based cogeneration, the country will not only mitigate climate change but also tap the unharnessed energy potential of sugar industry biomass.

Almost all the sugar mills in Pakistan have in-house plants for cogeneration. But the problem is that there are some negative points that must be dealt with properly for effective working of bagasse based power plants. However, due to several reasons, mostly due to financing issues, the sugar mill owners were not able to set up such type of plants. Recently, after financial incentives have been offered and a tariff rate agreed upon between the government and mill owners, these projects are moving ahead. The sugar mill owners are more than willing to supply excess electricity generated from the in-house power plants to the national grid. It would also have saved precious foreign exchange which is spent on imported oil. Renewable energy projects are developed through Carbon Development Mechanism or carbon credit scheme for additional revenue.

Since bagasse is a clean fuel which emits very little carbon emissions it is being financed through the Clean Development Mechanism. High cogeneration power plants are difficult to implement because of higher costs. The payback period for the power plants is unknown which makes the investors reluctant to invest in the high cogeneration project. CDM financing can help improve the rate of return of the project. Bagasse power plants reduce carbon emission in two ways;

  • One by replacing electricity produced from fossil fuels.
  • Secondly if not used as a fuel, it would be otherwise disposed of in an unsafe manner and the methane emissions present in biomass would pollute the environment far more than CO2

However, some sugar mills are opting to use coal as a secondary fuel because the crushing period of sugarcane lasts only 4 months in Pakistan. The plants would have to be run on coal as the main fuel during the non-crushing season. The CDM effect is reduced with the use of coal. If a high cogeneration plant is using even 80% bagasse and 20% of coal, then the carbon credits are almost nullified. If more than 20% of coal is used, then the CDM potential is completely lost because the emissions are increased. However, some sugar mills are not moving ahead with coal as a secondary fuel because separate tariff rates have to be obtained for electricity generation if coal is being used in the mix which is not easily obtained.

The issue that remains to be addressed is that with such huge amounts of investment in these plants, how to use these plants efficiently during the non-crushing period when bagasse is not available. It seems almost counter-productive to use coal on plants which are supposed to be based on biofuels. The use of coal as a secondary fuel in cogeneration power plant is still debatable.


Municipal solid waste is generally a type of waste consisting of everyday items discarded by the public excluding agricultural waste, industrial waste, medicinal waste etc. MSW is known by different names in different regions e.g. in the United States it is known as “TRASH” and “GARBAGE” while known as “REFUSE” and “RUBBISH” in Great Britain.

Lahore is 2nd largest metropolitan of Pakistan, the provincial capital of Punjab with more than 11 million individuals over an area of 1772 km2. About 5000-6000 tons of waste is produced daily in Lahore and only 60-65% is collected, and reaming 35-40% is left unhandled.

Characterization of MSW is the first step towards integrated waste management. It helps by giving information about which type of waste is being discarded and in which proportion and It also helps policymakers to design newer and effective policies for better waste management. In waste characterization Generation Rate, Composition, Density, Moisture content, Loss of mass on ignition and Calorific value are mainly focused.

Composition of MSW changes from municipality to municipality and time to time. Globally, MSW contains 38.1% paper, 13.4%-yard waste, 10.4% plastics, 9.4% food waste, 7.7% metals, 5.9% wood, 5.2% glass and 9.9% other materials.In Lahore MSW contains 72.76% biodegradable waste, 5.58% nylon, 5.35% diapers, 4.71% textile, 3.83% combustible material, 3.42% non-combustible material, 2.34% paper & cardboard, 0.77% tetra packs, 0.45% plastics, 0.43% glass, 0.18% hazardous waste, 0.08% pet, 0.05% electronic waste and 0.04% metals.

Social and economic factors also influence the composition because of difference in lifestyle, waste production etc. Low-income areas mainly contain a higher proportion of biodegradable waste while higher income area contains a higher proportion of biodegradable waste, diapers, pet, packaging material etc.

In order to properly manage MSW, all stockholders must perform their duties in an effective manner. We must change our lifestyle. We must adopt 3R’s as best solution for effective management of MSW. We must use reusable bags instead of using single use plastic bags. We must avoid individually wrapped items at the store and promote recyclable materials. We must consider composting scraps and food waste rather than throwing it away. Zero waste policy is an effective approach to tackle solid waste problems and it must be implemented in educational institutions, industries, government and private office. Government and other institutions associated with waste management e.g. LWMC, Albayrak, Ozpak etc. must improve their strategy of waste collection by increasing institutional capacity, joining hands with NGO’s working on the ground, this will help is increasing ratio of collected waste. The government must focus on providing plastic bags for effective waste collection. Multimedia (electronic and press) ads and training seminars are effective approached to indulge targeted audience to aware people regarding proper waste management.

South Asia and Climate Change

Climate change is one of the greatest threats the world is facing today. There is a scientific consensus that the earth is warming up and climate change is happening everywhere. Although the issue is a global phenomenon, the impacts of it will not be felt in equal proportion across the world. It is irrefutable that the impacts are likely to differ in both magnitude and rate of changes in different continents, countries, and regions. South Asian countries are facing negative impacts of climate change on their lives and livelihoods. The fourth report of the intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC) and first assessment report of Indian network of climate change Assessment (INCCA) confirm that climate change is likely to increase the frequency and intensity of climate-related hazards and also the emergence of new catastrophes that could manifest in the form of sea level rise and new vulnerabilities with various spatial and socio-economic impacts on communities.

In South Asia, glaciers of the Himalayas have the largest storage of ice outside the polar region. Melting of this reserve is the source of some of the world’s biggest rivers. In the rainy seasons, these glacial melts, coupled with heavy rain, may cause flood which hampers the lives and livelihoods of the people of the region.

Even small climate-related hazard can cause irreversible damage to a large number of people. The region also suffers from a large number of natural disasters. Over the past forty years, South Asian countries faced as many as 1,333 disasters that killed 980,000 people, affected 2.4 billion lives and damaged assets worth US$105 billion. From 1990 to 2008, more than 750 million people were affected by natural disasters which caused the death of about 60,000 people and about US$ 45 billion in damages.


The low-lying areas of South Asia or large deltas and coastal areas of the region could be drowned by sea level rise. Climate change has affected the agriculture of Bangladesh that forced people to migrate from rural to urban areas. Cyclone ‘Aila’ hit Bangladesh in 2009 which forced 200,000 people of Southwestern part to migrate from homes and the damage totaled US$269.28 million. Under the current trends of climate change, per capita, water availability in 2025 will become 7,670 cubic meters against 12,162 cubic meters in 1991. Such reduction will affect the huge population of Bangladesh during the dry season while the current availability is already very low in the country.Such complex changes will have adverse impacts on the agricultural system and food production of the country.

  • INDIA:

India is also one of the major victims of climate change. By one estimate, climate change will cause a 30-40 percent drop in India’s agricultural output by 2080.It is projected that under the scenario of 2.5°c to 4.9°c temperature rise, rice yields will drop by 32-40 percent and wheat yields by 41-52 percent and this would cause Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to fall by 1.8-3.4 percent. A World Bank study reveals that about 700 million people of India will be forced to migrate from rural to urban areas due to the adverse impact of climate change on agriculture.Climate change may cause a rise of up to 4°c in surface air temperature by 2100 and a rising number of extreme weather events, such as droughts, floods, and cyclones in India.Furthermore, anomalies in global climate pattern pose a serious threat to the urban water supply of India. According to IPCC, by the year 2030, Himalayan glaciers will shrink from 500,000 km2 to 100,000 km2 affecting north Indian rivers where 50 percent of the water comes from snow melt.


Pakistan has an area of over 88 million hectares which includes a variety of landscape ranging from high mountain ranges to stark deserts. Climate change could make the country more vulnerable to natural disasters. Climate change in Pakistan is expected to increase glacial melt, sea level rise along its coast and increase periods without precipitation. Due to various climate related disasters in past 40 years, the total death toll exceeds 90,000 and total recorded losses from disaster amounted to US$20 billion, including the US$10 billion losses caused by the 2010 flood.According to a study, by 2020, the temperature in Pakistan is expected to increase by 0.9°c doubling to 1.8°c by 2050. Scenarios for sea level rise include 20 cm by 2020 and 30 cm by 2050. The Indus River and its tributaries dissect the country, providing a source of the world’s largest contiguous irrigation network.In Pakistan, potentially huge and rapid reductions in Indus’ flows, coupled with intensified droughts and sea level rise, will require major livelihood transitions and economic transformation with consequent risks of social upheaval.


Sri Lanka is also vulnerable to the effects of global climate change as major parts of the country will be submerged with rise in sea level. Climate change will bring dire consequences for the country for water, agriculture, health and coastal regions. As there are early signs of impacts, there are strong possibilities to reach serious proportions by 2025.Therefore, any adverse changes in already volatile weather patterns are likely to impact on the socio-economic activities of the country.In case of climate change, Sri Lanka might experience widespread effects, including climate variability and sea level rise, directly affecting the overall abundance and security of endemic species within the country.


Maldives is also at a high stake of global climatic change. The country consists of about 1,200 islands on the Indian Ocean. Asian Development Bank Economic Report for South Asia revealed that if the climate change would not be checked, Maldives would face losses of over 12 percent of its GDP by the end of this century and 1-meter sea level rise would inundate 66 percent of the archipelago’s land area which would affect tourism industry, the lifeline of the country’s economy.The natural beauty and tourism industry of Maldives is mainly centered on its beautiful sea beach, which represents 5 percent of the country’s total land area. It is to be noted that more than 97 percent inhabitants of islands reported beach erosion in 2004, of which 64 percent reported severe erosion and more than 45percent of the tourists have also reported about severe erosion.In the long run, climate change will threaten the entire country’s existence. The highest point of the country is 8 feet above sea level.Therefore; the country will be severely affected by global sea level rise. Along with rising sea levels, increased beach erosion, more powerful storms, higher storm surges and threats to biodiversity are among the major threats to the Maldives due to climate change over the coming decades.

  • NEPAL:

Nepal is a country of diverse climatic conditions, ranging from tropical in the south to alpine in the north. The country is facing problems like drought and flooding and there are possibilities that these will be magnified by climate change in future. In 1999, temperatures were increasing in Nepal and rainfall was becoming more variable. A decade later, in 2009, a modeling exercise conducted by a team of Nepali, American, British, Pakistani and Bangladeshi experts using the emissions scenarios in the IPCC’s special report (2007), found that the temperature would indeed increase in the mid-hills and the region was likely to grow more arid in non-monsoon seasons. It also suggested that precipitation was likely to be more uncertain and that storm intensity would increase.


Bhutan is part of the Eastern Himalayan region which contains part of three global biodiversity hotspots, 60 ecoregions, 330 bird areas, 53 important plant areas, a large number of wetlands and 29 Ramsar sites. Bhutan is a country of diverse array of flora and fauna including 5,603 species of vascular plants, 400 lichens, 200 mammals and about 700 birds.In future, climate change is likely to affect Bhutan in various ways e.g., changes in hydrological cycles may affect present level of drinking water of the country. As 80 percent of Bhutanese practice subsistence farming, climate change can cause changes in temperature which will increase the vulnerability of a large group of this population.In addition, climate change will affect forests, biodiversity as well as human health badly with increasing number of natural disasters.


Afghanistan is the last country to join SAARC in 2007. The country is mountainous and very dry which has an arid and semi-arid continental climate with cold winters and hot summers. Due to climate change, Afghanistan is currently suffering from droughts. Available data and trends from neighboring countries indicate that mean annual temperature has increased by 0.6 °c since 1960, at an average rate of around 0.13 °c per year.

According to the IPCC report, people living in developing countries in low altitudes, particularly those along the coast of Asia will suffer the most. Some small island states are expected to face very high impacts. Hence, countries like Bangladesh and Maldives have possibilities to become worst sufferers. The consequences of climate change will be drastic for the region as about 70 percent of South Asians lives in rural areas and account for about 75 percent of the poor, who are the most impacted segments by climate change.