Carbon tax to tackle climate change

Carbon tax to tackle climate change

ISLAMABAD:

The government has taken a significant step by implementing a carbon policy that involves taxing carbon-emitting industries and utilizing the sale of carbon credits. Furthermore, an initiative to offer electric bikes to citizens in convenient instalments has been introduced.

These developments were disclosed during a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Climate Change, which was chaired by Senator Seemee Ezdi.

Officials from the Ministry of Climate Change provided insights into the new policy, emphasizing the taxation of carbon-emitting industries and revenue generation through carbon credit sales.

The primary objective of this policy is to tap into investment opportunities within the global carbon market, regarded as the world’s largest market with an estimated value of $3 trillion. To ensure the effectiveness of the carbon credit system, the government will establish guidelines, governance mechanisms, a carbon market registry, and monitoring systems. This initiative aligns with global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change.

Read also: Climate financial tightrope

During the session, Ministry of Climate Change (MOCC) Secretary Asif Haider Shah expressed concerns about the limited cooperation from banks in promoting electric bikes. He highlighted the disparity between the increasing number of conventional motorcycles entering the market and the relatively small number of electric motorcycles. Banks have been hesitant to provide loans for electric vehicles and bikes. While the government has sought the State Bank’s intervention, it cannot compel private banks to cooperate.

The Senate committee was also informed about the encouraging progress of the 10 Billion Tree Tsunami project, with a success rate exceeding 60%. The project has thus far led to the planting of three billion trees, resulting in an estimated reduction of 147 million tonnes of carbon emissions. However, the project does not currently qualify to sell carbon credits.

In terms of international climate commitments, MOCC Secretary Asif Haider Shah informed the committee that Pakistan had pledged to transition to 60% renewable energy by 2030 at COP26. The country also committed to converting 30% of its transport to electricity by the same year and established a “loss and damage” fund during COP27.

Regarding the persistent smog issue in Lahore, the committee’s chair acknowledged that despite Pakistan’s low carbon emissions, smog remains a challenge. The Ministry of Climate Change clarified that Pakistan’s greenhouse gas emissions are less than 1%, whereas China and India contribute significantly more, at 26% and 11%, respectively. As noted, even if Pakistan achieves carbon neutrality, it would not prevent glacier melting.


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