ISLAMABAD: Amid concerns over global warming change and transition to clean energy, political parties have pledged support for power generation through renewable sources to reduce electricity prices and address climate change.

Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI) organised an All-Parties Conference on Friday to secure commitments from political parties for ‘Just Energy Transition (JET)’.

Former minister of state for petroleum, Dr Musadik Malik said energy generation is needed to increase economic activity.

“Environment and energy generation are closely linked,” he said, adding that pollution is a side-effect of energy production. “We need to look at the complexity of the energy problem.”

Dr Malik, who is also a PML-N senator, stressed the need for using solar energy, hydel, wind, and hybrid solutions to reduce the dependence on fossil fuels.

PTI’s Muzzamil Aslam suggested measures to rescue the energy sector from its current crisis.

The utilisation of local resources for energy production, privatisation of energy sector infrastructure and steps to reduce circular debt were some measures proposed by Mr Aslam.

PPP’s Palwasha Khan claimed her party has always focused on renewable energy. PPP will continue “its legacy of facilitating pro-people development models in every sector of the economy”, she said and supported the idea of reducing dependence on fossil fuels.

Rehan Hashmi, who belongs to MQM-P, emphasised the importance of investing in cheap and renewable energy.

However, he criticised previous governments over their failure to keep energy prices low. Due to the high energy costs, Mr Hashmi said, people were forced to use firewood for heating and cooking.

He added that high energy costs were taking a toll on trees and forests at a very fast pace and called for large-scale tree plantation drives across the country through local governments.

Jamaat-i-Islami’s Dr Farid Paracha questioned the high energy costs. “Energy prices have robbed people of their economic well-being, and it is a serious problem,” he said, adding that the country “will not take dictation from the World Bank or IMF” and make policies in the people’s interest.

He announced that his party would support cheaper energy production for development, especially from local sources.

Shahida Akhtar Ali of JUI-F said those with vested interests misallocated resources, which led to the exploitation of people. She called for improving governance and management in the energy sector and formulating policies that benefit poor people.

In his address, CPDI Executive Director Mukh­tar Ahmad Ali said the current situation calls for a robust political commitment to urgent measures to reduce fossil fuels dependence and substantially increase the share of renewable energy sources like solar, wind and small hydropower stations in the overall energy generation.

Published in Dawn, December 2nd, 2023

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