January 13th, 2021
By Rehan Piracha
The government should immediately increase the use of renewable energy and take measures to gradually end its reliance on fuel and natural gas for power generation in the country, said representatives of the Haqooq-e-Khalq Movement (HKM) in a press conference at the Lahore Press Club (LPC) on Wednesday, January 13.
Speaking alongside other members of the movement’s organizing committee, labour leader and activst Farooq Tariq said that the recent power blackout had caused a loss of billions of rupees and that it was time to ponder upon cleaner and renewable sources of energy instead of oil, gas and coal that make the bulk of the country’s electricity generation. “The use of fossil fuels is just causing economic loss and environmental degredation,” said Tariq, adding that his organisation was gearing for a campaign of climate justice in the country.
Zaigham Abbas, member of the organizing committee, said the country’s energy mix was flawed and there was over-dependence on oil, gas and coal. “The use of coal for electricity generation is said to treble to nine percent in the next 10 years from the present three percent,” he said adding that the whole world was switching to cleaner sources like wind, solar and hydro but unfortunately that was not the case in Pakistan. “Natural disasters are increasing due to the impact of climate change in the country but this is not being brought up by the government or the opposition,” he said.
Similarly, Ziyad Faisal, pointed out that the media has failed to link-local natural disasters with climate change which could have helped make people aware of the impact of environmental damage. Dr Aimen Rashid said the use of fossil fuels is a major cause of the increase in pollution which in turn leads to diseases in humans as well as threatens the existence of plants and animals.
“People need to be made aware that the use of energy resources like wind, and solar sources are free and do not cause any damage to the environment,” she said.
Aima Khosa said that the present government has not much to show in terms of action on climate change in the country, adding that it was unfortunate that the national environmental policy has not been updated since 2012.
The representatives of the movement said citizens have to take responsibility in their individual capacity to raise awareness about climate change as well as bring pressure upon the government to switch to cleaner sources of energy. Pakistan has vast resources of renewable energy in terms of wind, solar and hydropower, and the government should exploit them to cut reliance on imported fuels for the betterment of the environment as well as the economy, they said.