FEATURE: Low Carbon Scenario Analysis: an essential building block for Pakistan
Peter Wooders, energy specialist at International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) presents new CDKN-supported research on ‘Low Carbon Scenario Analysis for Pakistan’ and how it ties in with Pakistan‘s broader climate compatible development strategies.
Although a relatively low global greenhouse gas emitter at present, Pakistan’s carbon footprint is expected to grow exponentially with increasing economic development and rapid population expansion. Appropriate low-carbon interventions taken now can help to ensure that Pakistan remains a low emitter as the country develops, without hampering growth. To determine what this future could look like, there is an urgent need to improve the evidence base surrounding greenhouse gas emissions and mitigation options in Pakistan.
Pakistan, in common with countries across the world, is on an ongoing journey to assess and select options which could be taken up to lower GHG emissions across the sectors of the economy. This process – which includes quantifying reductions and investment needs and assessing options against national development criteria – is the building block for low carbon development strategy. Implementation may be partly realised through international support, for example through NAMAs or other carbon credit mechanisms.
Previous CDKN support for Pakistan has helped establish the priority sectors where emissions could be reduced – Energy (including Transport) represents around 50% of national emissions and Agriculture a further 40% – identified priority actions for climate compatible development and generic and specific opportunities in key technologies such as renewable energy and key areas such as small and medium enterprises (see for example the ongoing CDKN project supporting renewable energy within SMEs ).
To further develop a low-carbon outlook for Pakistan, a good understanding of the current situation in Pakistan and how this could be expected to change under business-as-usual (BAU) growth is needed. This requires an updated reliable greenhouse gas emissions inventory – the last complete emissions inventory for Pakistan was completed for the year 1993-94 – as well as reliable projections of emissions for each sector without intervention; a so-called reference case. This reference case is the starting point for the options analysis; assessing different technologies/options and their contribution to both mitigating climate change and Pakistan’s broader development priorities.
In conjunction with Pakistani partners the Centre for Climate Research and Development (CCRD) at COMSATS and PITCO, the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) and the Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN) are establishing sector baselines and low carbon scenarios for Pakistan, for each of the six sectors under UNFCCC inventories i.e. energy, transport, industry, agriculture, forestry and waste. Starting in February 2015 and taking place over a 15 month period, the CDKN supported initiative has developed draft baselines for the energy and transport sectors and an initial list of mitigation options for the energy sector.
While greenhouse gas emissions from energy will almost certainly grow significantly as Pakistan continues to develop strongly, the benefits that low carbon solutions provide – notably in terms of reduced local air pollution and reduced exposure to international fuel markets – mean there is significant potential for lower carbon development.
Pakistan’s “Vision 2025” gives a target for the low carbon development journey. The next port of call is the INDC, which Pakistan will submit prior to this year’s UNFCCC COP21 in Paris. Low Carbon Scenario Analysis represents an essential building block for Pakistan’s INDC, andprovides a way for information to be collected and for the debate on the low carbon future to be strengthened. But the INDC is just a first step – again in common with countries around the world, Pakistan will be broadening and implementing its low carbon development strategy and implementing options to 2025 and beyond.
A separate CDKN-arranged assistance to Pakistan, which also began in February 2015 and is being delivered by a similar team, has delivered a roadmap for the development of Pakistan’s INDC for consideration by the Ministry of Climate Change, and will support the development of an INDC for the Energy sector and at least one other sector, likely to be mitigation from Agriculture. That said however, Pakistan is not a large emitter, and its vulnerability to floods and disasters mean a large part of its INDC will focus on climate change adaptation.
Image Courtesy: Air pollution World Bank