Pakistan advances efforts for cleaner air —provincial action plans highlighted

A webinar hosted by Clean Air Asia in May 2024 offered insight into Pakistan's fight against air pollution. The discussion involved updates on the country’s first National Clean Air Policy, the development of Provincial Clean Air Action Plans (CAAPs), and the introduction of Pakistan’s National Methane Roadmap.

The Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) emphasized the multiple benefits that could be achieved through integrated climate and clean air planning. Mitigating short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) such as methane, black carbon, PM2.5, hydrofluorocarbon refrigerants, and precursors to tropospheric ozone, helps in halving the rate of global warming. This is an essential step in keeping the 1.5-degree climate threshold. It also helps in achieving net-zero CO2 emissions, a target for the second half of the century. 

Aside from its role in reaching climate targets, SLCP reduction also means providing better air quality, which decreases rates of disease. According to CCAC, an estimated 7 million people die from PM2.5 exposure every year. As such, mitigating SLCPs could save millions of lives each year over the next decade.

Focused Action: National Clean Air Policy and provincial CAAPs

Developed in 2023, the national policy sets air quality targets and identifies actions to address pollution from five key sectors: household, transportation, industry, waste, and agriculture.   The webinar highlighted the initiation of the local-level action following this as Pakistan developed clean air action plans for its provinces. Currently, Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab, and Sindh are the four provinces that have already developed their CAAPs. 

Miko Cosep, Clean Air Asia, identified four key steps in the development process of each provincial CAAPs:

  1. Identifying and engaging provincial focal points.
  2. Gathering province-specific data for assessment.
  3. Developing clean air action plans and consulting with stakeholders. 
  4. Endorsing for implementation. 

Cosep also assured the role of Clean Air Asia in the project, as a pillar of support to Pakistan’s Ministry of Climate Change, and a lead collaborator with the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) and its local consultants.

Towards Reduced Emissions: Pakistan’s National Methane Roadmap

Pakistan faces a growing threat from Methane, as it makes up around 28% of the country’s total GHG emissions. This potent gas traps about 80% more heat than carbon dioxide, exacerbating the effects of global warming. Its negative consequences are already being felt in the country. 

“Without action, air pollution is projected to worsen due to growing population and continuous economic activity”,  Chris Malley of Stockholm Environment Institute highlighted as he presented the emission projections. This is alongside the results of Pakistan’s LEAP assessment, which points to the five key emitting sectors mentioned above. 

Malley also touched on the potential of the CAAPs, as well as the specific measures under them, including implementing Euro V standards, banning crop residue burning, increasing waste collection, industrial upgrades, and cleaner cooking technologies.

As the 7th largest emitter of Methane globally,   Pakistan’s National Methane Roadmap showcased the country’s projected efforts to identify and implement strategies to reduce methane emissions in agriculture, waste management, and fossil fuel production. This is part of their commitment to the Global Methane Pledge which aims to reduce 30% of methane emissions globally by 2030. 

A feedback form was also introduced right after the roadmap to gather input from the stakeholders regarding the alignment of the initiative’s vision to Pakistan’s current laws and regulations, as well as the feasibility of the specified targets. At present, the Ministry of Climate Change aims to endorse a final document after the month-long feedback-gathering that commenced during the webinar. This highlights the importance of provincial feedback and the active engagement of stakeholders at all levels.

Dr. Saima Shafique of the Ministry of Climate Change and Environmental Coordination proposed the collaboration between the national team, SEI, and NDC Secretariat to align efforts. 

The project is a collaboration between the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) and the Ministry of Climate Change and Environmental Coordination (MoCC&EC), with technical support from Clean Air Asia and the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI).