Coal power projects – a mocking sustainability

“A project of a coal-based power plant is set for implementation”; news like this gives sudden death shock to a few people remaining on this planet who are genuinely concerned about their homeland, Earth.

Human beings are exploiting and severely damaging their Earth in various ways. In terms of destruction causing by development is top on the list. The worst damage is the result of emissions of harmful gases. It is mainly greenhouse gases that disrupts the natural balance of ecosystem.  

The human induced emissions are peaking after World War II and the industrial revolution that happen after 1960. The greenhouse gases (GHGs) keep on warming the Earth by not letting long wave radiations to escape in the space. The disturbing concentrations of atmospheric components then causing various terrible effects.

Climate Change

The most important phenomenon is climate change that is about the changing patterns of rainfall and increasing global temperatures. Climate change and global warming are undeniable facts that need attention to combat before it’s too late. The existence of the human race coming at stake.

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From the increasing level of temperatures, floods, glacial melt to the worst effects of rain pattern on crops and biodiversity; we just can’t get away from the outcomes of the luxury we are enjoying today.

Talking about the anthropogenic greenhouse gases (GHGs) emissions, it’s now a well-known fact that the world’s average temperature has been increased to 0.9oC due to unsustainable development actions since last century. The inter-government panel on climate change (IPCC) has suggested that the global mean temperature is likely to rise about 2oC if no mitigation measures are taken.

We may blame the most developed nations for creating this trouble but we can’t run away from the responsibility of playing our role for the sustainable and green environment. It has now become the sole responsibility of every person alive to fight and struggle against climate change and global warming.

Pakistan’s scenario

Pakistan being a developing country may escape the charge of causing high emission but it is held responsible for the initiatives and steps to-be-taken for the world’s green future. Pakistan is suffering from severe energy crises, causing effects to the economy, the lifestyle of the population, and industrial breakdown.

The current situation demands the immediate actions for the energy production to carry out the development projects. CPEC (China-Pakistan economic corridor) has been considered a boost for Pakistan’s declining economy. An important component of the project is energy production that includes various power plant projects.

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Coal power projects

Government is sponsoring coal-based power project at Gwadar. The project will rely on coal which they will import. This will be adding the footprint of shipping in overall damage.

Coal power plants possess a massive environmental footprint caused by extensive use of fresh water, emissions of GHGs and other harmful gases, and generation of excessive heat.

Gwadar, an important port of Pakistan, is located in Balochistan and is a significant part of the CPEC plan. It does demand a huge amount of energy. This coal-based plant will fulfill this need by providing 300MW electricity.

The project costs the US $6 million that means we are investing this much amount for a dark future. This enormous amount can be a lot more useful if utilize efficiently on renewable energy sources. Unfortunately we are ignoring this option due to their cost.

For a versatile country with huge potential of renewable energy, going for coal-based plant is nothing but a joke. Sadly it is more than a joke as the content of the joke will import from different countries.

I, realizing my responsibility, strongly condemn this proposal and request Pakistani government to opt for a renewable energy plant.

Alternative solutions

The alternates can be hydel power systems, tidal power systems, and wind turbines. Considering the location of Gwadar the tidal and wind power systems isa a good solution. We can effectively utilize the breezes of the coast and tidal energy for energy production.

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Discussing the problems and raising questions on such coal power plant projects is not common in our country due to lack of awareness and proper knowledge. An energy stressed country only sees one side benefit that is energy production from these projects, the other side of the coin is always unexposed until it becomes reality.

We as a nation look up to successful states. But their gift to the world is nothing then pollution and harmful emissions. And they are unable to understand this situation.

The Intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC) initially targeted developed countries only to ask them for reducing emissions. This include implementing solutions, but finding the need of cumulative efforts. Later the target expanded to all countries, all nations and all individuals. Anyone who can contribute even a little drop to fill up the sea come forward and do what s/he can.

I am aware of the consequences and want to have a safe and secure world for my future generations. I am playing my little role for a green world. Are you?


Hiba Ahmed

Hiba Ahmed

Space & Environmental Scientist

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