Pakistan is situated at an important geo-strategic location, having various traditional and non-traditional security issues on its neck. The country has around 207m people, while 62 per cent people live in rural, and 48% reside in urban areas. Pakistan is passing through the climate crisis as well as energy’s poor infrastructure, and social issues. At the current pace, Pakistan can produce 35,975MW electricity formed of different energy sources such as fossil, renewable, hydropower, and nuclear energy. Pakistan is producing expensive electricity through the current resources, but it has vast resources to reduce the cost of production to achieve cheap and constant electricity flow. As suggested by the experts, nuclear energy is one of the best energy resources in the world. The government must focus on encouraging this step, to achieve better results in terms of energy as well as the environment.
According to the U.N projections, the world’s population is estimated to grow up to 8.5billion by 2030. However, Pakistan is one of the countries having a high birth rate at 3.51 births per woman. As estimated by the Ministry of Planning, Development, and Reforms, Pakistan’s population may increase up to 227million by 2025. Keeping the situation in view, it will be right to say that the growing population needs more energy and resources to survive. In the ubiquitous situation, Pakistan’s majority of the population, living in rural areas, is migrating to the cities to find the basic needs. The report cited that the urban population have higher chances of increase by 60% with 10million people living in megacities by 2025. According to the National Nutrition Survey, 60% of the population faces food insecurity. Although, 50% of the women and children are living under the shadow of malnourishment. The report by the ministry cited, about a 1.5million job capacity should be created per year, to stop the unemployment at the current ratio of 5% in 2021 (expected till the end of this year).
From the above-mentioned graphics data, we can assume that the unemployment rate has seen an increase from 2019.
Besides the social issues, Pakistan has been badly affected by the rapid change in the climate. Climate change is a non-traditional security threat to the country. According to research, the temperatures are expected to rise by 3degree Celcius to 5degree Celcius, by the mid of the present century. Simultaneously, food, water and migration issues have created social unrest, affecting the vulnerable people in Pakistan. Climate change is no doubt a serious issue and it requires proper attention.
Putting a glance at the energy mix in Pakistan. At present, the country is producing electricity by using gas, oil, coal, hydropower, nuclear energy, and renewables (wind-solar). Pakistan is currently in a condition to generate more than 38000MW, while in winters the demand is only 24,000MW, and in summers 29,000. But, due to the poor energy infrastructure, Pakistan’s energy sector can distribute around 22,000MW, amid 50million people living in a state of power shutdowns, or no electricity supply.
Pakistan must pledge to shift its energy sector from fossil to nuclear and renewable energy. As said by Dr Syed Javaid Khurshid in his article (Pakistan’s Nuclear Energy Programme) published in The Nation, has written that nuclear energy can help to mitigate the environmental issues as well as power deficits in the country. International Energy Agency (IEA) and International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), both are trying to apprise the governments to work upon nuclear energy. As currently, Pakistan is generating almost 3,350MW from nuclear energy that requires no re-fill for more than a year. Having said that, the writer has made sure that the government by increasing the capacity up to 16% of nuclear energy can achieve 8,800MW by 2030, and 40,000 MW by 2048. Many experts have raised concerns regarding PV energy (solar energy), as the solar panels are composed of 90% glass and a little amount of NF3 (Nitrogen Trifluoride) and plastics. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, NF3 is 17,200times more harmful than carbon dioxide. As it traps the energy with a great capacity to store. Nitrogen Trifluoride can stay for 740 years in the atmosphere. Also, the solar panels after completing their lifetime of around 12–14 years, are disposed of in the soil which may add more fuel to the climate risk.
Pakistan Atomic Energy proposed a plan named “Energy Security”, in 2005, to the government of Pakistan, and it was approved. But the late implementation and tidy steps towards adoption of the policy did make it pend. Pakistan has always remained last in the queue of the energy sector. The country must achieve the targets, by improving poor energy infrastructure, to meet the energy demand with a growing population soon. As projected, by 2025 the energy demand will rise by 42,000MW. It is up to the government’s steps and intentions that how it will tackle energy generation, climate risk, and social issues.