Govt urged to minimize reliance on costly LNG import

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ISLAMABAD: As Pakistan is facing with severe natural gas shortage for
the last couple of years, it has started relying heavily on Liquefied
Natural Gas (LNG), however, the government needs to explore other
energy sources to save environment as well as financial spending on
the LNG import. There are other green energy options like solar and
wind that can provide cheap environment-friendly energy sources and
the country needs go for these options.

This was the crux of one of the two reports “Gas Monitor – Pakistan” &
“Tabeer LNG Terminal, Socio-Economic & Environmental Analysis”
launched by the Indus Consortium held about the gas provision as an
energy source in the country at a ceremony here on Friday.

The reports launch was attended by representatives of academic
institutions, member of GROW Green Network, which is an umbrella of
environmental organizations of Pakistan working for the promotion of
renewable energy, independent researchers, member of Renewable Energy
coalition Pakistan and alliance for climate Justice and clean energy.

Sharing findings of the Gas Monitor – Pakistan report, Dr. Amanullah
Mahar, Director, and Center for Environmental Sciences, University of
Sindh, Jamshoro, said that since LNG, fossil gas is a very high carbon
intensive fuel and cannot be called “transition” fuel source to a
cleaner energy system. He explained that fossil gas (methane) can be
leaked from the re-gasification, transport, and consumption and
processing of it. After carbon dioxide (CO2), methane is the second
most abundant anthropogenic greenhouse gas and responsible for 20% of
worldwide atmospheric emissions. The methane is 25 times more potent
than CO2 at absorbing atmospheric heat.

While presenting findings of another report on “Tabeer LNG Terminal,
Socio-Economic & Environmental Analysis”, an independent
sustainability consultant Fatima Fasih said that keeping the global
LNG markets and their volatility in consideration, it is clear that
LNG is no longer a financially-viable source of fuel. She said,
“Instead of focusing on short-term monetary gains and quick gains in
energy for the economy, public and private institutions should focus
on building stronger energy security within Pakistan and develop a
greener economy through a just and equitable energy transition towards
renewable energy.”

She suggested that solar and wind power have shown remarkable success
in Pakistan from an economic perspective and should be invested in to
increase their ratios within the country’s energy mix and help the
country transition towards a just and sustainable energy transition.

Iqbal Hyder, Board member of Indus Consortium and Executive Director
Laar Humanitarian Development Program (LHDP), while concluding his
remarks, said that the livelihood of population inhabiting along the
coastal areas is directly dependent on mangrove forests. He said
cautioned that any additional construction or industrial operations in
these areas will exacerbate the declining socio-economic conditions of
the local communities. “We need to recognize the valuable indigenous
knowledge for local fishing and rejuvenate the current worsening
fishing populations.”

The Gas Monitor – Pakistan report focuses on the case of the
development of Pakistan’s gas sector, especially LNG. It discusses how
increasing reliance on LNG is posing challenges to the country’s
economy on one hand and the release of methane gas emissions is
deteriorating the environment on the other. The monitor also comes up
with a set of recommendations that present a potential way out of this
entrenched dependence and its associated impacts.

An analysis of the socio-economic and environmental impacts of the
Tabeer LNG terminal, Port Qasim, Karachi, investigates the
Environmental Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) and explores the
Corporate Social Responsibility criterion with a set of
recommendations.

Indus Consortium is an umbrella organization of over 60 civil society
organizations across Pakistan, working on DRR, climate change, green
development, and green finance. It also envisions a democratic and
equitable society where all citizens enjoy equal economic, cultural,
and political rights, with a mission to work for local communities to
enhance their resilience and participation in green development.