We are investing heavily in energy development when these precious resources could be used more effectively in such vital sectors as education and health. Energy conservation is our cheapest supply option, so the time to act is NOW.
Protection of our environment has become one of the most important global issues of our time. Unfortunately, it is mankind’s most economically essential activities which are causing dangerous and unprecedented alterations in the earth’s climate. This is why energy conservation plays a major role in combating environmental degradation by minimizing the harmful effects of energy consumption.
By far the single most important source of greenhouse gases is the burning of petroleum, natural gas and coal, which releases massive quantities of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The presence of C02 and other greenhouse gases is changing the way the atmosphere absorbs the suns’ energy and threatening to upset our climate’s delicate balance.
The link between environmental degradation and energy consumption has been established beyond doubt. Since industry began consuming fossil fuels some 200 years ago, annual fossil fuel emissions of carbon dioxide have risen from insignificant quantities in 1850 to almost 6,000 million tons of carbon today. As a result atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide have risen to a level higher than any time in the past 100,000 years.
Over the past 200 years, most fossil fuel energy use has occurred in the industrialized countries of the North, and this is till the case today. For example, Pakistan, the eleventh largest nation was over 2 per cent of the world’s population, is responsible for only 0.2 per cent of mankind’s fossil fuel emissions of carbon dioxide, while the US is responsible for almost 25 per cent, China for around 10 per cent and Japan for around 5 per cent.
Clearly the major responsibility for taking the lead in reducing greenhouse gas emissions rests with the developed countries. However, the developing countries must also adopt for energy conservation in order to protect their relatively less damaged environments and to ease the financial burden caused by their dependence on imported fossil fuels.
As Pakistan’s economy continues to grow, our energy demands will continue to double every seven years. Although possessing large conservation resources. Pakistan’s conventional energy resource base is limited. Domestic production, although increasing, is still not keeping space with the economy growing at 6 per cent per year and a population increasing by 3 per cent annually.
Pakistan cannot afford to continue spending 2l percent of its foreign exchange earnings on imported oil and losing 2 per cent of its annual GDP due to load shedding necessitated by a 25 per cent gap between peak electricity demand and supply. Under the present circumstances, energy conservation is the cheapest, most readily available and most abundant energy supply option which has the added advantage of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Pakistan’s conservation resource is calculated to equal size to the country’s oil resource. A comprehensive national level energy conservation effort could increase available energy supplies by 15-25 per cent in a relatively short time a cost ranging between 1/4 and 1/50 of current energy prices.
Unfortunately, even though energy efficiency often pays for itself, economic distortions and hard-to-break habits too often get in the way. To convince government, industry, business and individual consumers to take the necessary steps, the National Energy Conservation Centre (ENERCON) was established in 1986 to plan, demonstrate and execute a comprehensive nationwide energy conservation program.
In the six years the ENERCON has been operating, it has made outstanding progress in demonstrating the economic and environmental benefits of energy conservation to industrial, agricultural, commercial and domestic consumers.
ENERCON has been particularly successful in the energy-intensive industrial sector, where the greatest savings can be achieved. Today ENERCON responds to over 60 requests per month for information and technical advice and has also succeeded in training several private sector firms to deliver such services. To date, ENERCON has identified Rs. 1,500 million in energy savings and realized savings of Rs. 500 million through specific energy conservation measures in various subsectors of the economy.
Many of ENERCON’S programs have dramatic environmental impact. For example, car engine tune-up programs regularly conducted by ENERCON not only improve fuel efficiency by 10 per cent, but also reduce emissions by 50 per cent. Now ENERCON, in partnership with the UNDP, is launching a new three-year project early next year to increase energy efficiency and reduce pollution in the road transport section. Funded by a 7 million dollar loan from the Global Environment Facility, the project envisages tuning up 600,000 petrol-powered vehicles and 100,000 diesel-powered vehicles, resulting in a savings of 207 million liters of petroleum, 272 million liters of diesel, and reduction of greenhouse gases equivalent to 0.32 million tons of carbon.
Similarly, ENERCON’s boiler replacement and tune-up programs for industry reduce energy consumption by 5-10 percent and cut hydrocarbon and carbon dioxide emissions by over 50 per cent. ENERCON’s tractor energy audits, driver training and tune-up programs produce energy savings of 18 per cent and a 50 per cent reduction in emissions. In fact, ENERCON’s programs in all four main economic sectors – industry and power, transport, buildings and agriculture – while aimed at achieving large-scale energy savings, all have a positive environmental impact in reducing emissions and in making wise use of scarce resources.
A recent study conducted in 1990 gives a clearer idea of the tremendous potential of energy conservation in reducing C02 emissions. The study, based on some European countries, concludes that there is a 45 percent potential for CO2 reduction available simply by taking measure to use energy more rationally. Broken down sector-wise, the study identified a 90 per cent savings potential in buildings. 70 per cent in electrical appliances, 60 per cent in cars and aircraft, 50 per cent in water heating and 25 per cent in industry, power stations, refineries, and heavy road transport.
At the policy level, the National Building Energy Code prepared by ENERCON and introduced in the building sector for voluntary compliance will later be made mandatory. its adoption makes Pakistan one of the few countries in the world with such a comprehensive building energy code. Existing law already requires environmental impact studies to be conducted for all large public sector projects, and efforts are in hand to extend this requirement to the private sector. Meanwhile ENERCON’S draft National Energy Conservation and Management Law, which seeks to give legislative cover to energy conservation, is in the approval process.
Energy conservation means making the most of our energy resources by using our natural endowments wisely, getting the greatest return from our energy investments, and investing in clean energy. This will help us avoid the hidden costs of pollution – wastage of our non-renewable resources, poor management of our renewable resources, and loss of the productivity of our land and people. Conservation not only saves us millions in valuable foreign exchange; it also give our children a cleaner, pollution-free atmosphere to breathe and brings our apparently national concerns into line with a larger respect for the global environment.
We have ignored the economic and environmental potential of conservation for a long time. As a result, we are losing international competitiveness, and our quality of life stands threatened. We are investing heavily in energy development when these precious resources could be used more effectively in such vital sectors as education and health.
Energy conservation is our cheapest supply option, so the time to act is NOW.
This Article is Written by “Baseerat Taseer” Author at “Envirocivil.com”