Pakistan Takes a Step Towards Cleaner Energy


Pakistan is highly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change, including rising temperatures, changing precipitation patterns, and increased frequency of extreme weather events. These impacts pose significant challenges to the country’s agriculture, water resources, and overall socio-economic development

Each year, Pakistan sees approximately 3.6 to 5 million tonnes of crop residues being burned in fields. This practice not only contributes to air pollution but also exacerbates climate change. By utilizing biomass energy, which is derived from organic materials like crop residues, wood, and animal waste, the country can transition away from carbon-intensive fossil fuels and move towards a more sustainable energy source. By channeling biomass energy.

Pakistan has launched an ambitious initiative called the Pakistan Environment Trust (PET), having a project called BioVentures, aimed at harnessing biomass energy to reduce emissions and improve air quality. The initiative is under Net Zero Pakistan (NZP), a project of the Pakistan Environment Trust (PET). This is an initiative of the nonprofit organization’s focus on sustainability, which seeks to establish a national-level biomass supply chain. BioVentures aims to replace the carbon-intensive fossil fuels used in industries with cleaner and more sustainable alternatives.

Pakistan is highly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change, including rising temperatures, changing precipitation patterns, and increased frequency of extreme weather events. These impacts pose significant challenges to the country’s agriculture, water resources, and overall socio-economic development.

By reducing emissions and improving air-quality through the adoption of biomass energy, BioVentures directly contributes to mitigating climate change. It helps Pakistan in its efforts to achieve its nationally determined contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement, which involve reducing emissions, increasing renewable energy capacity, and promoting sustainable development.

Furthermore, the BioVentures project aligns with Pakistan’s broader climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies. The country’s Climate Change Policy Framework and the National Climate Change Policy highlight the importance of promoting clean and renewable energy sources to address the challenges posed by climate change. BioVentures, by utilizing biomass energy, supports these policy objectives and contributes to Pakistan’s overall climate change resilience.

By reducing emissions from biomass burning and promoting sustainable energy practices, Pakistan Environment Trust, not only helps mitigate climate change but also enhances Pakistan’s climate resilience. It provides an opportunity to diversify the country’s energy mix, reduce dependence on fossil fuels, and strengthen its climate change adaptation efforts.

Pakistan is grappling with pressing climate change challenges, characterized by a complex interplay of contributing factors and far-reaching impacts. Understanding these factors is crucial for devising effective mitigation and adaptation strategies.

Contributing Factors to Climate Change and Their Impacts:

SectorPercentage ContributionImpacts
Greenhouse gas emissions50%Drive global warming, alter precipitation patterns, accelerate glacier melting, affect water availability, exacerbate coastal erosion
Deforestation15%Carbon sink loss, biodiversity depletion
Agriculture25%Methane emissions from livestock and rice cultivation, land degradation, water scarcity
Energy20%Reliance on fossil fuels, air pollution, energy price vulnerability
Industrial processes10%Greenhouse gas emissions, pollution
Inadequate waste management5%Methane emissions, environmental contamination
TransportationVariableGreenhouse gas emissions, air pollution, energy consumption, traffic congestion
Buildings and ConstructionVariableEnergy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, material waste, environmental footprint
Land Use and Land ManagementVariableDeforestation, habitat loss, soil degradation, carbon storage depletion, biodiversity loss
Water and WastewaterVariableWater pollution, energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, water scarcity
Manufacturing and IndustryVariableGreenhouse gas emissions, air pollution, water pollution, waste generation, resource depletion
Waste and Circular EconomyVariableMethane emissions, landfill pollution, resource recovery, recycling, circular economy promotion
Renewable EnergyVariableReduction in greenhouse gas emissions, energy diversification, sustainable power generation
UrbanizationVariableIncreased energy consumption, habitat fragmentation, pollution, demand for infrastructure
Oceans and Marine EcosystemsVariableOcean acidification, coral reef bleaching, marine pollution, habitat destruction, loss of biodiversity
Air QualityVariableParticulate matter pollution, smog, respiratory and health issues, ecosystem degradation
Technology and InnovationVariableDevelopment of clean technologies, efficiency improvements, sustainable solutions

Note: The percentages mentioned for each sector are approximate and can vary based on different studies and sources.

Greenhouse gas emissions, accounting for approximately 50% of the problem, drive global warming, alter precipitation patterns, and accelerate glacier melting, thereby affecting water availability and exacerbating coastal erosion. Deforestation, responsible for 15% of emissions, leads to carbon sink loss and biodiversity depletion. Agriculture, contributing 25%, emits methane from livestock and rice cultivation while also experiencing land degradation and water scarcity. The energy sector, accounting for 20%, is heavily reliant on fossil fuels, raising concerns about air pollution and energy price vulnerability. Industrial processes (10%) emit greenhouse gases and contribute to pollution, while inadequate waste management (5%) leads to methane emissions and environmental contamination.

This understanding emphasizes the need for targeted actions to tackle these factors and mitigate their impacts on Pakistan’s environment and society. As climate change is a complex issue with many contributing factors, both natural and human caused. Some of the complex contributing factors to climate change in Pakistan include:

  • The location of Pakistan: Pakistan is located in a region that is already prone to extreme weather events, such as floods and droughts. This makes the country more vulnerable to the effects of climate change.
  • The country’s topography: Pakistan is a mountainous country with a diverse range of ecosystems. This makes it difficult to manage the impact of climate change on the environment and human health.
  • The country’s population: Pakistan has a large and growing population. This puts a strain on the country’s resources and makes it more difficult to adapt to the effects of climate change.
  • The country’s economy: Pakistan is a developing country with a relatively low per capita income. This makes it difficult for the government to invest in climate change mitigation and adaptation measures.
  • The country’s political instability: Pakistan has a history of political instability. This makes it difficult to develop and implement long-term climate change policies.

These are just some of the complex contributing factors to climate change in Pakistan. It is important to note that these factors interact with each other in complex ways, making it difficult to predict the exact impact of climate change on the country.

Pakistan’s contributing factors to climate change in terms of impact and percentage contribution:

FactorImpactPercentage contributionReferenceDetails
AgricultureIncreased frequency and intensity of floods, droughts, and heat waves; decreased crop yields; water scarcity43%[1]– Methane is produced by livestock, and nitrous oxide is produced by the use of fertilizers. – Deforestation, which is often associated with agriculture, can lead to increased soil erosion and flooding. – Forests play an important role in absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, so deforestation reduces the amount of carbon that is being removed from the atmosphere.
EnergyGreenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels for heat, transport, and electricity generation; air pollution46%[1]– Pakistan’s energy sector is heavily reliant on fossil fuels, such as coal, oil, and natural gas. – When these fuels are burned, they release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, such as carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide. – These greenhouse gases trap heat in the atmosphere, which contributes to climate change. – Pakistan’s power grid is inefficient, which results in additional greenhouse gas emissions.
DeforestationLoss of forest cover, which leads to increased soil erosion, flooding, and drought; decreased carbon sequestration9%[2]– Pakistan has lost a significant amount of forest cover in recent decades. – This deforestation has led to increased soil erosion, flooding, and drought. – Forests play an important role in absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, so deforestation reduces the amount of carbon that is being removed from the atmosphere.
Industrial wasteRelease of greenhouse gases and air pollutants into the atmosphere; water pollution2%[3]– Industrial waste can contain greenhouse gases and air pollutants that contribute to climate change. – In addition, industrial waste can pollute water bodies, which can have a negative impact on the environment and human health.


  1. Climate Change Profile of Pakistan:
  2. Global Warming in Pakistan and Its Impact on Public Health as Viewed:
  3. Climate Change:

Pakistan Environment Trust’s (PET) project BioVentures aligns with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and reinforces the country’s commitment to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The project directly contributes to several SDGs, including Goal 7 (Affordable and Clean Energy), Goal 13 (Climate Action), and Goal 15 (Life on Land). By promoting renewable biomass energy, Pakistan can make significant progress in achieving these goals.

The SDGs provide a comprehensive framework for countries to address social, economic, and environmental challenges while promoting sustainable development. Pakistan recognizes the importance of aligning its initiatives with the SDGs and has integrated them into its national development plans and policies. The BioVentures project exemplifies Pakistan’s dedication to taking concrete actions that support the SDGs and contribute to the global effort of achieving a sustainable future.

Furthermore, Pakistan has made a commitment to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050, in line with the global Net Zero movement. Through initiatives like BioVentures, Pakistan demonstrates its determination to transition towards a low-carbon economy and reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. By actively pursuing clean and sustainable energy solutions, Pakistan is positioning itself as a leader in climate action and showing its commitment to the international community’s collective goal of limiting global warming.

How the NetZero framework aligns with specific targets & indicators of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals:

SDGDescriptionNet Zero Pakistan Alignment
SDG 7: Affordable and Clean EnergyEnsure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all.Net Zero promotes the transition to clean and renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power, to achieve carbon neutrality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
SDG 9: Industry, Innovation, and InfrastructureBuild resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization, and foster innovation.Net Zero focuses on transforming industries and infrastructure towards sustainable practices, reducing carbon-intensive processes, and encouraging innovation in low-carbon technologies.
SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and CommunitiesMake cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable.Net Zero supports the development of sustainable and climate-resilient cities, including energy-efficient buildings, sustainable transportation, and integrated urban planning.
SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and ProductionEnsure sustainable consumption and production patterns.Net Zero encourages sustainable practices throughout the value chain, including reducing waste, promoting circular economy approaches, and adopting eco-friendly production methods.
SDG 13: Climate ActionTake urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.Net Zero is a comprehensive approach to climate action, aiming to achieve carbon neutrality, mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, and adapt to the impacts of climate change.
SDG 15: Life on LandProtect, restore, and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation, and halt biodiversity loss.Net Zero emphasizes the preservation and restoration of natural habitats, the promotion of sustainable land management practices, and the conservation of biodiversity as part of climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies.
SDG 17: Partnerships for the GoalsStrengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.Net Zero recognizes the importance of collaboration and partnerships between governments, businesses, civil society, and international organizations to achieve the goals of sustainable development and combat climate change effectively.

By integrating the principles of Net Zero with the specific targets and indicators of these SDGs, the framework ensures a comprehensive and coordinated approach towards sustainable development, climate action, and achieving a carbon-neutral future.

The successful implementation of the BioVentures project will not only contribute to Pakistan’s national goals but also serve as a model for other countries striving to achieve net-zero emissions. It showcases Pakistan’s dedication to sustainability and highlights the country’s potential to become a frontrunner in renewable energy adoption.

With the SDGs as a guiding framework and a commitment to the Net Zero agenda, Pakistan is poised to make significant strides in addressing climate change, improving air quality, and promoting sustainable development. The BioVentures project is a testament to Pakistan’s determination to create a greener and more resilient future, and it sets a positive precedent for other countries to follow suit.

BioVentures has the potential to bring about significant environmental benefits. The project aims to reduce emissions by around 15 MtCO2e over a 10-year period, thereby mitigating the country’s carbon footprint. Moreover, by replacing the burning of crop residues with biomass energy, air quality in Pakistan is expected to improve, addressing one of the country’s pressing concerns.

NZP has enlisted the expertise of industry leaders and advisors to guide the implementation of BioVentures. Their collective knowledge will ensure the project’s success and impact. The initiative has already secured an initial investment of $100,000, demonstrating the commitment and support it has garnered.

Currently, in the feasibility study phase, BioVentures is projected to be completed by October 2023. Upon successful outcomes, a pilot project will be launched towards the end of 2024, setting the stage for broader implementation.

NZP’s focus extends beyond BioVentures. The Pakistan Environment Trust (PET) the parent body of NetZero Pakistan (NZP) is actively involved in various other sustainability initiatives, including knowledge creation, international collaboration, and industry events. By promoting sustainable practices and fostering partnerships, PET aims to drive positive change in Pakistan’s energy and climate change landscape.

The launch of BioVentures marks a significant milestone in Pakistan’s journey towards cleaner and greener futures. By leveraging biomass energy, the country can take meaningful steps to reduce emissions, combat air pollution, and pave the way for a more sustainable and prosperous future.  

Amir Jahangir
Amir Jahangir
The writer is a global competitiveness, risk, and development expert. He leads Mishal Pakistan, the country partner institute of the Centre for the New Economy and Society Platform at the World Economic Forum.

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