Saturday April 01, 2023

‘Energy consumed by cement sector generates 45pc emissions’

By Our Correspondent
February 05, 2023

Islamabad : The government is contemplating to release energy saving certificates and energy conservation bonds to encourage technological upgradation in the industries, said Dr Sardar Mohazzam, the Managing Director of National Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (NEECA).

Dr Mohazzam was addressing public-private dialogue on ‘Decarbonising Pakistan cement sector: pathways to lever net zero targets’ organised by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) here Friday. Dr Mohazzam said that the cement sector holds immense potential for decarbonisation and energy efficiency and “we must analyse and take inspiration from policy initiatives being implemented in India and China.”

He reiterated that energy security is a top priority for the government, but pricing remains a pertinent challenge in the uptake of renewables and decarbonisation of hard to abate sectors. He observed that a designated consumer regime equipped with benchmarks and energy audits to catalyse uptake of renewables and emission reduction from industrial sector is in the pipeline and will soon set the right regulatory direction for the sector.

Talha Khan, executive director, Pakistan Environment Trust (PET), said that the carrot and stick approach will not work as the government has not announced any tax incentives for cement sector. He added that the insignificant foreign investment is not enough to bridge the financing gap needed for the decarbonisation of the sector. Syed Fawad Hussain Shah, senior assistant manager, Centre for Industrial & Building Energy Audits, (CIBEA) said that energy use by the Pakistan’s cement sector generates 45% emissions, which is much higher than global average. He elucidated that high carbon intensity of the sector can be traced to 85% coal consumption while share of biomass and waste-to-energy is merely 0.02%. He stressed the need for improving public awareness regarding green cement and updating Building Code of Pakistan to influence the sector to shift from grey to green cement, which is eco-friendly.

Farrukh Ahmad, Head of Environment, Bestway Cement, said that globally, the cement sector is sitting back on the issue of decarbonisation and will take some years to realise why it is important to make significant reduction in CO2 emissions. He further said that amidst financially testing times, the pressure on industrial sector for emission reduction in the absence of tax exemptions and incentives is rather a utopian thinking. He called for the simpli­fication of regulatory envi­ro­nment and incentives to promote growth in the sector. Deepak Krishnan, Associate Director, World Resource Institute (WRI), urged the governments and international institutions to facilitate emissions reduction by lowering the cost of technology and equipment and improving access to finance for industries. He stressed on developing practical and adoptable interventions that must be baked into planning from the start.

Mahmoud Abouelnaga from Centre for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES), United States, asked the civil society and research organisations to play their role in harmonising the lifecycle analysis of cement sector to design effective policy interventions for decarbonisation in consultation with stakeholders. Ubaid ur Rehman Zia and Dr Sajid Amin Javed, from SDPI also spoke on the occasion.