Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Pakistan's Response to Climate Change

Pakistan has made only a small contribution to climate change through carbon emissions.  And yet, it counts among the dozen or so nations considered most vulnerable to its damaging effects. These include rising temperatures, recurring cycles of floods and droughts and resulting disruption in food production. What can Pakistan do to minimize these impacts?



Pakistan is working with both sources and sinks of carbon. Among the sources, the nation is focusing on increasing production of clean, renewable energy that does not produce carbon emissions. At the same time, there is a reforestation effort underway in Khyber Pukhtunkhwa province to plant a billion trees to remove carbon from the atmosphere.

Reforestation:

Reforestation project in Khyber Pukhtunkhwa province is part of the Green Growth Initiative launched in February 2014 in Peshawar by Pakistan Tehrik e Insaf (PTI) leader Imran Khan whose party governs the province.

The initiative aims to boost local economic development in a way that uses natural resources sustainably, with a focus on increasing clean energy uptake and forest cover, according to a report in Christian Science Monitor.

The KP government has turned forest restoration into a business model by outsourcing nurseries to the private sector, including widows, poor women, and young people, according to the paper. It reports  that the government buys saplings to plant while providing green jobs for the community. "At the same time, illegal logging has been almost eliminated in the province following strict disciplinary action against some officials who were involved. Other measures include hiring local people to guard forests and banning wood transportation", the Christian Science Monitor reports.

Renewable Energy:

Pakistan has installed about 300 megawatts of wind-energy capacity through six projects working in the Sindh province, according to a Bloomberg report. That may grow to 800 MW by year-end as eight projects in the same region get commissioned, says Alternative Energy Board chief Syed Aqeel Husain Jafri. The Quaid e Azam solar park in Punjab province will add another 300 megawatts of capacity to the existing 100 megawatts by March or April, he said. Chinese firm Zonergy Co Ltd. will set up 900 megawatts in this 1-gigawatt solar park.



In addition, there are multiple hydroelectric projects and nuclear energy power plants under-construction to add tens of thousand megawatts of clean energy to the national grid over the next several years. The biggest of these projects are Neelum-Jhelum, Diamer-Bhasha, Dasu, K2 and K3.

Liquified Natural Gas:

Some of the oil-fired power plants are planned to be switched to imported liquified natural gas (LNG) to produce 3600 MW of electricity.  LNG burns cleaner and produces lower carbon emissions than oil or coal. LNG imports will also support CNG for running vehicles. In addition, the government needs to plan to make gas cylinders available for cooking in rural areas to help reduce wood burning which contributes to deforestation and carbon emission and particulate pollution.

Summary:

Pakistan faces a significant threat from global warming in terms of rising temperatures, recurring cycles of floods and droughts and potential disruption in crop production. The nation is just beginning to take appropriate actions such as renewable energy and reforestation projects to deal with this threat. Greater thought and more focus is needed to execute the plans to reduce carbon emissions as a priority.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Climate Change Worsens Poverty in India

India's Rising Population and Depleting Resources

Recurring Droughts and Flooding in Pakistan

An Indian Farmer Commits Suicide Every 30 Minutes 

Growing Water Scarcity in Pakistan

Pakistan's Energy Crisis

Culture of Tax Evasion and Aid Dependence

Climate Change in South Asia

US Senate Report on Avoiding Water Wars in Central and South Asia

16 comments:

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan entrepreneur to bring #solar power to millions of off-grid homes. #renewableenergy #climatechange @Acumen https://medium.com/acumen-ideas/risky-business-3116c40826a1#.wgmurmbco …

... in 2011, a request came in from the UNDP Pakistan. Over the years, the family had provided tents to the United Nations, American Red Cross and other aid organizations, but this request was for hundreds of solar lanterns. On these occasions, Usman would usually fly to China for sourcing, but he started to think about how to build a solar business within Pakistan. ..

Usman managed to get his parents on board, and they fronted him $300,000 to get Nizam Energy up and running in 2012. Nine months passed, however, and he hadn’t made a sale. “Every day, my family would ask me ‘Did you sell anything?’” he said. “It was probably the most humiliating experience of my life and definitely a big attack on my ego. I was starting to think I was invincible. The hospitality and recycling business had become so big so fast; I figured I’d have the same luck. I was wrong.”
Still, Usman stuck to his guns, relentless in his belief that solar was a viable solution to Pakistan’s energy problems. Of the country’s 181 million people, more than 30 percent lack access to energy, many of whom live in remote villages far from the reach of the grid. Even those with access are left to pay a hefty price for scanty, unreliable service, creating a financial burden for its citizens. Pakistan has long relied on expensive imported fuels, but energy companies have struggled to keep up with demand, falling deeper and deeper into debt. With the country’s exceptional sunshine, solar has the potential to become an affordable, long-term alternative to the grid and bring millions out of the dark while powering the country’s economy.

-----


Usman was at a loss, but then an idea came to him. It was a gamble but, with only two months’ worth of operations left in the bank, the company had nothing to lose. Usman decided Nizam Energy would use the little money they had left and open up three stores in Lahore, Islamabad and Faisalabad. “We figured if we were going down, we might as well go out with a blast,” he said. “We put every last cent into building these outlets and then prayed for magic.”
That summer, Lahore suffered some of the worst blackouts in its history. For 10, sometimes 12, hours a day, the electricity would go out throughout the city. Everywhere, that is, except Nizam’s solar-powered outlet. There was no marketing needed. The power of solar had sold itself. In that first month, Nizam made $100,000 and sales only continued to explode. In a matter of three months, the company brought in nearly $1 million. Usman’s bet had paid off.

----


Soon enough, Usman and his team became Pakistan’s go-to guys for solar energy. Lahore’s University of Engineering and Technology hired Nizam to install a 36-kilowatt solar system, and Pakistan’s biggest banks enlisted the company to power dozens of branches across the country. Nizam even captured the attention of the Chief Minister of Punjab, who called on Usman to propose a solar policy for the province. Usman’s luck had returned. Nizam brought in $6 million in its second year and $10 million the following year.
--------
In 2015, Usman and his team began to take what they had learned on the grid to develop a low-cost suite of products, ranging from 10 to 100 watts, for Pakistan’s remote, underserved communities. Usman and his team sought out local sales agents to hire and partnered with nonprofits and microfinance organizations to tackle issues of distribution and provide last-mile customers with direct sales to offer them easy, affordable payment options. Nizam’s goal is to provide clean, reliable energy to one million people in the next five years. It’s ambitious but, in Usman’s mind, totally achievable.

Riaz Haq said...

Marshall Islands sue #Britain, #India and #Pakistan over #nuclear weapons. http://gu.com/p/4g9km/stw

The tiny Marshall Islands will seek to persuade the UN’s highest court to take up a lawsuit against India, Pakistan and Britain, which it accuses of failing to halt the nuclear arms race.

The international court of justice – founded in 1945 to rule on legal disputes between nations – announced late on Friday dates for separate hearings for the three cases between March 7 and March 16.

In the cases brought against India and Pakistan, the court will examine whether the tribunal based in The Hague is competent to hear the lawsuits.

The hearing involving Britain will be devoted to “preliminary objections” raised by London.

A decision will be made at a later date as to whether the cases can proceed.

In 2014, the Marshall Islands – a Pacific Ocean territory with 55,000 people – accused nine countries of “not fulfilling their obligations with respect to the cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament”.

They included China, Britain, France, India, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia and the United States.

The government, based in the Marshall Islands capital of Majuro, said by not stopping the nuclear arms race, the countries continued to breach their obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) – even if the treaty has not been signed by countries such as India and Pakistan.

The Marshall Islands had decided to sue the world’s nuclear heavyweights as “it has a particular awareness of the dire consequences of nuclear weapons”, it said.

Between 1946 and 1958 the United States conducted repeated nuclear tests in the Marshall Islands, Majuro’s representatives said in papers filed in court.


In March 2014 the Marshall Islands marked 60 years since the devastating hydrogen bomb test at Bikini Atoll that laid waste the island and exposed thousands in the surrounding area to radioactive fallout.


Building the atom bomb: the full story of the Nevada Test Site
Read more
The 15-megatonne test on 1 March, 1954 was part of the intense cold war nuclear arms race and 1,000 times more powerful than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima.

Bikini Islanders have lived in exile since they were moved for the first weapons tests in 1946.

When US government scientists declared Bikini safe for resettlement some residents were allowed to return in the early 1970s. But they were removed again in 1978 after ingesting high levels of radiation from eating local foods grown on the former test site.

The Marshall Islands nuclear claims tribunal had awarded more than US$2bn in personal injury and land damage claims arising form the nuclear tests, but stopped paying after a US$150m US compensation fund was exhausted.

Eight of the nine countries originally targeted in the lawsuits have officially admitted to possessing a nuclear weapon. Israel has never acknowledged having one, though observers believe it is the sole nuclear-armed nation in the Middle East.

Leon P said...

"Climate Change" is the new mantra but more important for developing countries with limited resources is to look at Energy Efficiency or specifically GDP vs Energy use. In other words total energy consumption per unit GDP. According to, Global Energy Statistics Yearbook 26 July 2015, the world average Energy Intensity is 212.9 TOE/1 Million GDP. A lower number = higher efficiency. Bangladesh is most efficient in South Asia at 97.9, India at 189.5 and Pakistan at 236.1. China is 231.3 and the US is 221.7 for reference.

Riaz Haq said...

Leon P: ""Climate Change" is the new mantra but more important for developing countries with limited resources is to look at Energy Efficiency or specifically GDP vs Energy use. In other words total energy consumption per unit GDP. According to, Global Energy Statistics Yearbook 26 July 2015, the world average Energy Intensity is 212.9 TOE/1 Million GDP. A lower number = higher efficiency. Bangladesh is most efficient in South Asia at 97.9, India at 189.5 and Pakistan at 236.1. China is 231.3 and the US is 221.7 for reference."


The World Bank data in terms of GDP per unit of energy use (constant 2011 PPP $ per kg of oil equivalent) shows as follows:

Bangladesh $12.7 per Kg of oil

China 5.1

France 9.7

Germany 11.1

India 7.6

Pakistan 9.1

United Kingdom 12.2

United States 7.4

http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/EG.GDP.PUSE.KO.PP.KD

Riaz Haq said...

#Russia to Spend Billions on #Gas Pipeline in #Pakistan. #Putin http://learningenglish.voanews.com/content/russia-to-spend-billions-on-gas-pipeline-in-pakistan/3193228.html …


Russian President Vladimir Putin is expected to visit Pakistan in the next few months to begin a gas pipeline project.

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif asked Putin to visit.

Mobin Saulat heads Inter State Gas Systems, the Pakistani company that would build the pipeline. He says Putin may visit Pakistan before June.

He says Russia is interested in the project because 200 million people live in Pakistan, and investing in the country could help Russia gain influence in other South Asian nations.

When Pakistani officials and energy experts visited Moscow recently, they met with the heads of three large Russian energy companies for the first time in more than 20 years. He says that shows Russia’s interest in Pakistani energy issues.

Saulat says he believes the pipeline is the first of many investments Russia will make in Pakistan.

Experts say both countries may have strategic and political reasons to work together on the gas pipeline project.

Pakistan has tried to form new partnerships to reduce its dependence on the United States and China.

Russia will spend about two to $2.5 billion dollars on the project. That is almost 85 percent of the cost.

The 1,100-kilometer-long pipeline will be able to transport 34 million cubic meters of gas per day throughout Pakistan from Karachi to Lahore. The first part of the project is expected to be finished in two years. The last two parts are set to be completed in 2019.

Riaz Haq said...

#Tarbela 4th and 5th extension projects to add 2820 MW to system: #Pakistan Minister - #renewables #cleanenergy http://dunyanews.tv/index.php/en/SpecialReport/322877-Tarbela-4th-and-5th-extension-projects-to-add-2820#.VslI0rLSEZc.twitter …

Minister of State for Water and Power Chaudhry Abid Sher Ali has stated that Tarbela 4th and 5th extension power projects will add 2820 Mega Watt (MW) low cost hydel electricity to the national grid system.

Addressing the APP in Islamabad, the minister expressed that both projects in Tarbela would improve the current generation capacity of 3478 MW to 6298 MW. At the same time, 49 per cent work on Tarbela 4th generation extension project has been completed and the project would begin supplying 1410 MW to the national grid system in July 2017.

Furthermore, the 5th extension power project would also add another 1410 MW to the system, the minister added.
With regard to the 4th extension power project, the minister expressed that the project was expected to complete in 2018, but on the direct orders of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, the project will be operational by June 2017.

The World Bank has offered financial assistance to the total cost of the project which is $ 929 million.
On the other hand, the layout and design plan for the 5th extension power project had already been completed at a cost of $ 2.9 million. “It will complete in a 39-month period once work starts on it. The project would be commissioned in March 2020,” he added.

“By the end of December 2017, the remaining three units having capacity to generate 242 MW each would start supplying electricity to national grid,” Abid Sher Ali added.
In Pakistan, there has been an enormous increase in the demand of energy as a result of industrial development and population growth, compared to the enhancements in energy production. Therefore the supply of energy is falling behind the actual demand.

For years, the matter of balancing Pakistan’s supply against the demand for electricity has remained a largely unresolved matter. The country faces big challenges in altering its networks that are responsible for the supply of electricity. Electricity generation in Pakistan has shrunk by up to 50% in the recent years, primarily because Pakistan’s energy infrastructure is not well developed; rather, it is considered to be under- developed and poorly managed.

Pakistan needs around 15,000 to 20,000 MW electricity per day, however, currently it is able to produce only 11,500 MW per day hence there is a shortfall of about 4000 to 9000 MW per day.
Over the years, there is a greater need of energy because there is a notable increase in population. According to the economic survey of Pakistan 2010-11, the total population of Pakistan is 177.1 million against the 173.5 million in last year. Population growth rate is 2.1 % and in the list of most populous countries, Pakistan is at 6th number. At the same time, Pakistan has higher-than-average population growth rate n South Asia.

Energy crisis has, more or less, plagued all sectors of Pakistan’s machinery ranging from economy to industry, agriculture to social life, inflation to poverty and it is hampering national progress in a drastic manner. Nonetheless, menace of energy crisis can be overwhelmed by government working towards effective policies and its implementation. Simultaneously, it is also the responsibility of the people to utilize the available energy wisely to play our role for the progress of our nation.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan has recently negotiated a good bargain with Qatar for importing $16 billion worth of liquified natural gas (LNG).

Pakistan will import as much as 20 million tons of the super-chilled gas annually from various sources including Qatar, enough to fuel about two-thirds of Pakistan’s power plants. Gas shortage has idled half the nation’s generators. A 75 percent drop in LNG prices since 2014 has dramatically reduced the cost of the South Asian country’s energy needs, according to a Bloomberg report.

LNG arriving in Pakistan from Qatar will fetch 13.37% of the preceding three-month average price of a Brent barrel (considering the present Brent price as a proxy, that would equate to $167.5 per 1000 cubic meters), according to a report in Azerbaijan's Trend News. It translates to $4.50 per million BTUs.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan saves trees, cuts risk by micro hydro electrcity for northern villages. #climatechange http://www.trust.org/item/20160314070911-3jowc/?source=shtw … via @TR_Foundation

In this picturesque village, perched above the gushing turquoise waters of the Hunza river, and with a view of the 8,000-metre Rakaposhi mountain, in Pakistan's Karakoram range, women once had to walk for miles to collect firewood each day.

For the last eight years, however, hydropower has supplied the village's energy needs, and life has gotten much easier, said Mehreen, who has an electric stove, electric oven and electric lights, fitted with energy-saving bulbs.

"With the availability of electricity we have been relieved of such burdensome work," she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. "The initiative holds great meaning in our lives."

The village's community-run micro hydropower station - built in 2008 by the Aga Khan Rural Support Programme with backing from the United States Department of Agriculture and the Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund - produces about 190 kilowatts of electricity an hour.

That's enough to supply power to 144 homes in Ahmedabad and nearly 110 in the nearby villages of Sultanabad and Faizabad.

Such small-scale hydropower plants are proving a key way to provide power in remote, off-grid areas of power-short Pakistan, while at the same time helping protect the environment.

MORE TREES, LESS RISK

Besides making life easier for people in the villages, in Pakistan's Gilgit-Baltistan province, hydropower has slowed deforestation - rampant in many mountain areas of Pakistan - and cut landslide risks as more trees are left standing to hold the soil, local people say.

"Now no one chops down trees to harvest fuelwood," said Ghulam Raza, an environmentalist who works in the area with a range of non-governmental organisations. As a result, natural forests in the mountains nearby "are coming back to life," he said.

Social development activist Ghulam Sarwar, who works for the Aga Khan Rural Support Programme, said hydropower has changed Ahmedabad from a village that "lived in darkness" to one where children can now study by electric light at night, and no longer miss school to help their families collect firewood.

"Now our children don't skip school. They find enough time at home to study and finish their schoolwork even after sunset," said Ali Gohar, a member of the community committee that maintains the hydropower plant.

Community leaders say if they can find the funding, they intend to expand the project and provide electricity to an additional 1,400 households in nearby Karimabad and Altit villages.

Shahana Khan, a development projects manager for the Aga Khan Rural Support Programme, said small-scale hydropower is a natural for mountain villages with access to rivers, and is a good way of ensuring access to clean energy.

A key, she said, is that such facilities "are owned, run and maintained by the communities."

Pakistan could generate around 100,000 megawatts of hydroelectricity, through both large and small hydropower projects, according to a 2006 report by the Pakistan Alternative Energy Development Board.

Sixty percent of that could come at spots identified in the river-rich, mountainous northwest of the country, it said.

Riaz Haq said...

Three Gorges Corp (TGC), #China's leading #hydropower company, to invest in #Pakistan http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/?p=500670 via @ePakistanToday

A consortium, led by China’s Three Gorges Corp, the world’s largest hydropower producer, plans to invest in Pakistan, building both state-owned and private hydropower stations.

” We want to take an active part in the expected auction of the state-owned hydropower stations in the brotherly country,” said Wang Shaofeng, executive vice-president of China Three Gorges International Corporation, the Beijing-based unit of CTG.

There are several large hydropower projects in Pakistan with a total installed capacity of about 3,000 MW, Wang said in an interview with China Daily.

“These could be our top choices for acquisition, but we will also consider acquiring small and newly built private hydropower projects,” said the senior executive, who has previously worked in Pakistan for more than a decade.

The projects that the group has in Pakistan are worth $9 billion. It has signed an agreement with Pakistan for a series of projects that can increase the figure to $50 billion.

The Chinese company chose Pakistan as the first stop of its overseas investment due to close ties between China and Pakistan, a country that faces great challenges in meeting its energy demand. Wang said the 1,100-MW Kohala hydropower station, the group’s biggest project in Pakistan at the moment, is expected to start construction this year and will be completed in six years.

The Chinese company also plans to set up a facility jointly with Dongfang Electric Corporation in Pakistan to support the local market as well as other neighbouring countries.

The company is also preparing to bid for a contract to build and operate an 8,000-MW power station in Brazil.

When bidding opens for the hydropower dam on the Tapajos River, the Chinese consortium will be a strong contender. Wang said his group’s participation in the project would involve capital investment.

The Tapajos dam will become one of the world’s 10 largest hydropower projects after completion, he said.

The builder of the world’s largest dam has also set up a Hong Kong-based company named Hydro Global Investment Ltd with the Portuguese power company EDP – Energias de Portugal – as a platform to explore business opportunities of small and medium-sized hydropower projects in the region.

“When we are doing global projects, we are looking at the long-term development and investment, so we are very careful in selecting the projects and conducting them,” Wang said.

The executive said the biggest challenge the company faces right now is to deal with the exchange rate fluctuations to prevent risk and increase profit in overseas countries.

China itself has embarked on an ambitious plan of dam building to combat air pollution. The Three Gorges Power Plant, the world’s largest hydropower project, has generated more than 800 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity since its first turbine was connected to the grid in 2003.

The world’s largest energy consumer possesses more than half the large-scale hydroelectric plants on earth – that is more than all the plants in Brazil, the United States and Canada combined.

Riaz Haq said...

Overreacting to #Terrorism? #BrusselsAttacks #Obama #Trump #Cruz2016 #Islamophobia http://nyti.ms/1XPfJOn

Are terrorists more of a threat than slippery bathtubs?

President Obama, er, slipped into hot water when The Atlantic reportedthat he frequently suggests to his staff that fear of terrorism is overblown, with Americans more likely to die from falls in tubs than from attacks by terrorists.

The timing was awkward, coming right before the Brussels bombings, but Obama is roughly right on his facts: 464 people drowned in America in tubs, sometimes after falls, in 2013, while 17 were killed here by terrorists in 2014 (the most recent years for which I could get figures). Of course, that’s not an argument for relaxing vigilance, for at some point terrorists will graduate from explosives to nuclear, chemical or biological weapons that could be far more devastating than even 9/11. But it is an argument for addressing global challenges a little more rationally.

The basic problem is this: The human brain evolved so that we systematically misjudge risks and how to respond to them.

Our visceral fear of terrorism has repeatedly led us to adopt policies that are expensive and counterproductive, such as the invasion of Iraq. We have ramped up the intelligence community so much that there are now seven times as many Americans with security clearances (4.5 million) as live in Washington, D.C. Meanwhile, Donald Trump responded to the Brussels attacks with crowd-pleasing calls for torture or barring Muslims that even Republican security experts agree are preposterous.

On the same day as the attacks, a paper by James E. Hansen and other climate experts was released arguing that carbon emissions are transforming our world far more quickly than expected, in ways that may inundate coastal cities and cause storms more horrendous than any in modern history. The response? A yawn.

Hansen is an eminent former NASA scientist, but he’s also an outlier in his timing forecasts, and I’m not qualified to judge whether he’s correct. Yet whatever the disagreement about the timeline, there is scientific consensus that emissions on our watch are transforming our globe for 10,000 years to come. As an important analysis in Nature Climate Change put it, “The next few decades offer a brief window of opportunity to minimize large-scale and potentially catastrophic climate change that will extend longer than the entire history of human civilization thus far.”

To put it another way, this year’s election choices may shape coastlines 10,000 years from now. Donald Trump and Ted Cruz have both mocked the idea of human-caused climate change, with Trump suggesting that it is a hoax invented by China to harm the American economy (he now says that last point was a joke).

The upshot is that Brussels survived this week’s terrorist attacks, but it may not survive climate change (much of the city is less than 100 feet above sea level).

Doesn’t it seem prudent to invest in efforts to avert not only shoe bombers but also the drowning of the world’s low-lying countries?

----

Daniel Gilbert, a professor of psychology at Harvard, says that the kind of threats that we evolved to deal with are those that are imminent rather than gradual, and those that involve a deliberate bad actor, especially one transgressing our moral code. Explaining our lack of concern for global warming, he noted,“Climate change is caused by the burning of fossil fuels, not flags.”

In short, our brains are perfectly evolved for the Pleistocene, but are not as well suited for the risks we face today. If only climate change caused sharp increases in snake populations, then we’d be on top of the problem!

Yet even if our brains sometimes mislead us, they also crown us with the capacity to recognize our flaws and rectify mistakes. So maybe we can adjust for our weaknesses in risk assessment — so that we confront the possible destruction of our planet as if it were every bit as ominous and urgent a threat as, say, a passing garter snake.

Riaz Haq said...

Global #renewableenergy Boom: From 2009 to 2015, #solar panels costs dropped 61%, #windturbines price down 14% http://nyti.ms/1pYYAqz

Last year, for the first time, renewables accounted for a majority of new electricity-generating capacity added around the world, according to a recent United Nations report. More than half the $286 billion invested in wind, solar and other renewables occurred in emerging markets like China, India and Brazil — also for the first time. Excluding large hydroelectric plants, 10.3 percent of all electricity generated globally in 2015 came from renewables, roughly double the amount in 2007, according to the report.

The average global cost of generating electricity from solar panels fell 61 percent between 2009 and 2015 and 14 percent for land-based wind turbines. In sunny parts of the world like India and Dubai, developers of solar farms have recently offered to sell electricity for less than half the global average price. In November, the accounting firm KPMG predicted that by 2020 solar energy in India could be 10 percent cheaper than electricity generated by burning coal.

These are all hopeful signs. They suggest that reductions in carbon emissions can be achieved more quickly and more cheaply than widely believed. And they provide hope that nations will be able to achieve the ambitious goals they set for themselves at last December’s climate summit meeting in Paris — to keep warming below the threshold beyond which the world will be locked into a future of devastating consequences, including rising sea levels, severe droughts and flooding, widespread food and water shortages and more destructive storms.

Replacing coal-fired plants or avoiding new ones will have major health benefits as well, especially in heavily polluted cities in China and India where ground-level pollutants like soot and smog make the simple act of breathing a major undertaking. Those benefits will be even greater as gasoline-powered cars are replaced with electric vehicles that draw power from wind and solar farms.

Riaz Haq said...

Poo-powered biogas pumps help #Pakistan farmers grow richer, greener. #renewables http://reut.rs/1OuV42D via @ReutersIndia

For farmer Mujahid Abbasi, switching the power source for his irrigation pump from diesel to biogas has brought economic and health gains.

The 43-year-old from Fateh Jhang village, some 26 miles (42 km) from Pakistan’s capital city Islamabad, has benefited from a pilot project led by the Punjab provincial government to provide biogas equipment at a subsidised rate.

Abbasi uses dung from his 30 buffalo to produce nearly 40 cubic metres of gas per day, which powers his irrigation pump for six hours and his family’s cooking stove.

The father of five says cutting out diesel has saved him around $10-$12 daily over the past 13 months.

He has used the money to plant seasonal vegetables on five additional hectares that had lain fallow for several years due to a lack of funds.

Turning a lever to start his groundwater pump, Abbasi recalls how the 20-horse power engine used to consume around 13 litres of diesel each day. But he has not bought diesel since he installed the biogas-run pump in March 2015.

“This is a brilliant saving,” he said. “This means additional income of $1,150 for me annually. It has helped improve our family’s economic well-being.”

Close to 20 other farmers in his area have followed suit and are also running their irrigation pumps on biogas, thanks to the government-backed project.

Vegetable farmer Naeem Raza Shah uses slurry left over from the biogas production process to fertilise his 19 hectares, cutting out chemical fertiliser which previously cost him around $850 per year.

“The organic fertiliser from the biogas plant is an economic blessing for me,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

SUBSIDIES FOR SMALL FARMERS

Abbasi and Raza are among nearly 17,000 beneficiaries of the $67 million programme that aims to convert 100,000 irrigation pumps from diesel to biogas by the end of 2017 across Punjab province.

According to Punjab Agriculture Minister Farrukh Javed, the initiative aims to reduce dependence on diesel and boost farm productivity by improving access to irrigation water and promoting the use of bio-fertiliser, while fighting groundwater contamination from chemical inputs.

The government is paying half of the conversion cost for diesel-powered pumps, which ranges from 200,000 to 400,000 rupees ($1,912-$3,824) per tube well.

The subsidies are weighted in favour of farmers with less land, who usually have lower incomes and would struggle to afford the pump conversion without additional financial support.

The programme is expected to avoid the use of 288 million litres of diesel, worth 30 billion rupees each year.

It will help cut the diesel import bill and boost farmers’ profits, while reducing environmental pollution. It is expected to shrink the sector’s carbon footprint by more than 5 percent.

Agriculture accounts for nearly 39 percent of Pakistan’s annual carbon emissions, which are increasing at a rate of 6 percent per year.

According to a 2010 census by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, farmers operate 1.1 million irrigation pumps across the country to exploit groundwater, more than 70 percent of them in Punjab. Of these, 900,000 are run on diesel.

Meanwhile, in Punjab alone, there are 32 million cattle and buffalo, which produce 117 million tonnes of dung annually - enough to produce around 6 billion cubic metres of biogas.

“The government should encourage the private sector to join its efforts to capitalise on the untapped opportunity the biogas sector offers in view of the millions of tonnes of unused dung from 180 million head of cattle across the country,” said Arif Allauddin, former head of Pakistan's Alternative Energy Development Board.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan's plan for tackling deforestation: Plant a billion trees. #ClimateChange

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2016/05/18/pakistans-plan-for-tackling-deforestation-a-billion-trees/


It's a rough life in Pakistan, even for a tree.

The country's hills were once home to endless stretches of pine and fir, but these days Pakistan's forest cover is somewhere below 2 percent. In the United States, that number is roughly 33 percent and in India 23 percent.

In an ambitious plan to counter this deforestation, which ecologists say is a major cause of deadly landslides, the government of a province along Pakistan's restive border with Afghanistan says it is a quarter of the way to a goal announced last year: planting 1 billion saplings. The so-called Billion Tree Tsunami campaign was recognized by the Bonn Challenge, a global partnership of forestry ministries to regain green cover.

Landslides killed 140 this April alone and destroyed hundreds of villages in northern Pakistan. Trees' roots help to keep soil in its place. Without them, hillsides more easily erode, and heavy mountain rain can bring whole slopes down — trees, boulders and all.

“The KP government has committed to not only reversing the high rate of deforestation but also shifting the current philosophy of treating forests as ‘revenue’ machines towards preserving them as valued ‘natural capital,’” Malik Amin, an environmentalist who advises the government of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, explained to thethirdpole.net.

"Timber mafias," as well as Afghan refugees and local themselves, have chopped down immense swaths of forest. Many in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (once known as Northwest Frontier Province) don't have electricity, or don't get it regularly, and use wood fires for lighting, cooking and warmth. The so-called mafia refers to those who cut trees without a permit, and allegations that politicians engage in that business are common in Pakistan.

Riaz Haq said...

Biogas Brings Heat, Light to #Pakistani Village. Saves Trees. Cuts Air #Pollution. Improves Health http://www.ipsnews.net/2016/06/biogas-brings-heat-and-light-to-pakistans-rural-poor/ … via @sharethis

Nabela Zainab no longer chokes and coughs when she cooks a meal, thanks to the new biogas-fueled two-burner stove in her kitchen.

Zainab, 38, from Faisalabad, a town 360 kilometers from the Pakistani capital of Islamabad, is among the beneficiaries of a flagship pilot biogas project to free poor households and farmers of their dependence on wood, cattle dung and diesel fuel for cooking needs and running irrigation pumps.

She got the biogas unit, worth 400 dollars, at a 50 percent subsidised rate from the NGO Rural Support Programme Network under the latter’s five-year Pakistan Domestic Biogas Programme (PDBP).

In the past, Zainab had to collect wood from a distant forest three times a week and carry it home balanced on her head.

“Getting rid of that routine is a life-changing experience,” she told IPS.

The four-cubic-meter biogas plant requires the dung of three buffalos every day to meet the energy needs of a four-member family, including cooking, heating, washing and bathing for 24 hours.

It saves nearly 160 kg of fuelwood a day, worth 20 to 25 dollars every month for a four-member family.

The wife of a smallholder vegetable farmer, Zainab says she has suffered from a cough and sore eyes for the last 20 years. “We have no access to piped natural gas in our village. The rising cost of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) was not feasible either for us poor. However, we had no choice but to continue burning buffalo dung cakes or fuelwood,” she said.

Last January, cattle farmer Amir Nawaz installed a biogas plant of eight-cubic-meter capacity at a cost of 700 dollars under the PDBP. He got subsidy of nearly 300 dollars.

“I am now saving nearly 60 dollars a month that I used to spend on LPG,” he told IPS.

His plant is fueled by the dung of his six buffalos — enough to meet household gas needs for cooking and heating.

Nawaz also uses biogas to power wall-mounted lamps in his house at night, saving another 15 dollars a month.

“Above all, this has helped our children do schoolwork and for me to finish up the household chores in the evening hours,” Nawaz’s wife, Shaista Bano, said with a smile.

As many as 5,360 biogas plants of varying sizes have been installed in 12 districts of Punjab province over five years (2009-2015), ridding nearly 43,000 people of exposure to smoke from wood and kerosene.

Nearby, 500 large biogas plants of the 25-cubic-meter capacity each have also been introduced in all 12 districts of Punjab province under the PBDP, namely: Faisalabad, Sargodha, Khushab, Jhang, Chniot, Toba Tek Singh, Shekhapura, Gujranwala, Sahiwal, Pakpatan, Nankana Sahib and Okara.

Such plants provide gas for a family of 10 for cooking, heating and running irrigation pumps for six hours daily.

Rab Nawaz bought one of these large plants for 1,700 dollars. PBDP provided him a subsidy of 400 dollars as part of its biogas promotion in the area.

“I use the dung of 18 buffalos to produce nearly 40 cubic meters of gas every day to run my diesel-turned-biogas-run irrigation pump for six hours and cooking stove for three times a day,” he told IPS, while shoveling out his cattle pen in Sargodha.

The father of three says that after eliminating diesel — which is damaging to the environment and health, as well as expensive — he saves 10-12 dollars daily.

As a part of sustainability of the biogas programme, 50 local biogas construction companies have been set up. International technical experts trained nearly 450 people in construction, maintenance and repair of the biogas units.

Initiated in 2009 by the non-governmental organization National Rural Support Programme – Pakistan (NRSP-Pakistan), PBDP was financed by the Netherlands Embassy in Pakistan and technical support was extended by Winrock International and SNV (Netherlands-based nongovernmental development organisations).

Riaz Haq said...

BBC News - #India climate: What do drowning rhinos and drought tell us? #Pakistan #climatechange
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-36989173

A river, swollen by raging monsoon floodwaters, had torn down a bridge on the main road between Mumbai and Goa.
More than 30 people are thought to have died when the great stone structure crashed into the torrent, taking with it two buses and a number of cars.
Some of the bodies were swept more than 60 miles downriver in two days.
Rescue workers search the flooded River Savitri after an old bridge collapsed in Mahad, western Maharashtra state, India, Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2016.

In the heart-wrenchingly brutal calculus of the newsroom, this isn't a major story. But zoom out, and you begin to see the outlines of a much bigger and more worrying picture.
India, indeed the whole South Asia region, has been riding a rollercoaster of extreme weather.
The summer monsoon is the most productive rain system in the world, and this year the region is experiencing a strong one. The floods it caused have affected more than 8.5 million people; more than a million are living in temporary shelters; some 300 people have been killed.
Though what really caught people's interest was the three baby rhinos rescued from the waters in the north Indian state of Assam.


The fact that 17 adult rhinos drowned got rather less attention.
But the important point is that the region is awash with water. Just a few months ago, it was a very different story. The previous two monsoons were unusually weak. The result was a terrible drought in northern India, and parts of Pakistan and Bangladesh.
And it was exacerbated by another extreme weather event - record heat.
India experienced its highest temperature ever this summer, a blistering 51C.
Rivers ran dry; water holes evaporated; reservoirs became dusty plains. And, once again, the statistics were staggering.
More than 300 million people were affected by water shortages - the equivalent of the entire population of the US. A city of half a million people was left completely dry. It had to rely on supplies brought in by train.

As if that weren't bad enough, in spite of the drought, the country was hit by a series of unseasonal rain and hailstorms. They caused such terrible damage to crops that some farmers were driven to suicide.
All these examples of extreme weather were widely reported, rightly so. What tended not to be discussed was the underlying cause.
We are all interested in weather; few of us want to be told - once again - that our lifestyles are disrupting the global climate. Yet the truth is that many climatologists believe the monsoon, always fickle, is becoming even more erratic as a result of global warming.
The picture in the last couple of years is complicated by the fact that the world has been experiencing a particularly strong El Nino, the periodic weather variation caused by warming of the sea in the Pacific.
But a series of long-term studies have shown the number of extreme rainfall events in South Asia increasing while low-to-moderate events are decreasing. And increasingly erratic and extreme weather is precisely what scientists expect climate change will bring.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has predicted "rainfall patterns in peninsular India will become more and more erratic, with a possible decrease in overall rainfall, but an increase in extreme weather events".
Indian pedestrians and a cyclist wade through a flooded street after heavy monsoon rain showers in Mumbai on June 21, 2016

Riaz Haq said...

#USAID, #Pakistan banks partner for $88 million small-scale #renewable energy projects financing https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/153912-USAID-banks-partner-for-88mln-energy-sectors-financing …

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) on Friday partnered with five banks to lend an estimated $88 million for the development of clean energy sector in Pakistan.

The US Consul General Karachi Grace Shelton presided over the signing of a partnership agreement between the USAID and Habib Bank Limited, MCB Bank Limited, Faysal Bank Limited, Meezan Bank Limited and JS Bank Limited.

Under the 15-year partnership, the U.S. government agency agreed to settle half of the total bad loans. Approximately, $88 million in financing will be available to support the development of the clean energy sector.

Partner banks will be able to provide debt financing to small-scale clean energy projects undertaken by developers, companies or households. The loan is for purchasing energy equipment.

"The U.S. Government is excited to partner with some of Pakistan's leading private commercial banks and support the banks' efforts in promoting clean energy," said William Hammink, USAID Assistant to the Administrator for Afghanistan-Pakistan Affairs. "Under the program, small scale clean energy projects will be able to access long-term, Pakistani rupee financing.”

Hammink said the facility is expected to significantly improve access to financing for the smaller scale projects and encourage private investment in clean energy.

-----

Working with other US agencies, as well as donors and international development partners, USAID has focused its program over the last year on five areas essential to Pakistan’s stability and long-term development and reflective of Pakistani priorities: energy, economic growth, stabilisation, education and health.

Over the last year, USAID has streamlined the number of projects from approximately 150 to less than 70 and has also chosen to implement over half of all funding through local organisations in Pakistan – both government and non-government.