Green CPEC & climate engineering
GREEN is the secret of human survival, sustainable development, social integration and above all environment friendly.
In this context, the China Pakistan Economic Corridor stands for an integrative mechanism to achieve green energies, socio-economic prosperity and massive sensible and environment friendly industrialization in the country.
Most recently, it was decided during a meeting held between Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam and a three-member delegation headed by China’s Ambassador to Pakistan Nong Rong to further transform the CPEC into a model green belt and road initiative to protect and preserve natural environment important issues i.e. environmental sustainability, climate resilience, renewable energy, green economic recovery, air pollution, water conservation and disaster risk reduction.
During the meeting Malik Amin Aslam showcased Pakistan government’s various diversified but integrated green policies not confine to an ambitious Protected Areas Initiative (PAI) under the flagship program ‘Clean Green Pakistan’ which aimed to expand the country’s protected area from 13 percent to more than 15 percent by 2023 and create 5,000 green jobs across the country.
He shared with the Chinese Ambassador that the Climate Change Ministry had initiated several flagship programs including the world’s largest Ten Billion Tree Tsunami Program (TBTTP), Clean Green Pakistan (CGP), Protected Areas Initiative (PAI), Plastic-Free Pakistan (PFP) and Recharge Pakistan Initiative (RPI).
The Chinese Ambassador reiterated his government’s full support to the green vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan and his remarkable green initiatives, including green stimulus and post-Covid-19 green recovery for restoring livelihood of the people affected by the corona-virus pandemic.
He admitted that Prime Minister Imran Khan’s vision of green Pakistan was perfectly aligned to Chinese President Xi Jinping’s vision of green China.
He added that Chinese government see a huge scope and opportunities of working jointly to promote the common green vision for enhanced environmental sustainability and climate resilience against adverse impact of climate change.
During a recent virtual webinar, Chinese Embassy’s Agricultural Commissioner, Dr Gu Wenliang, expressed his willingness to create a ‘Green Corridor’ under the CPEC phase-II.
He emphasized on accelerating cooperation in the agriculture field and to conduct agricultural cooperation on an advanced level under the CPEC.
As part of the second phase of the CPEC, China intends to build a green corridor in the country.
He highlighted the need for promoting cooperation in agriculture research, crops variety technologies, improvement in agriculture products and building a green corridor.
There is hue and cry in the western media about increasing ratios of carbon footprints in the ongoing projects of the CPEC in Pakistan, especially in coal power plants. All the coal power plants of the CPEC are very environment-friendly.
Independent monitoring agencies check the quality of air, water and soil in these areas and submit their reports to the Environmental Protection Agency of Punjab.
It meets the local and the World Bank standards of environmental protection and controlling hazardous elements from entering the atmosphere.
Moreover, coal power plants use bituminous coal which has high burning content and low in hazardous elements like sulphur and nitrogen, making it friendly to the environment.
To care for the environment more than 100,000 trees of the various classes have been planted over 200,000 square meters of area.
To preserve the ecological environment, different varieties of trees have been planted within the premises based on the climate in Pakistan.
China has been pursuing policies of Green Special Economic Zones (GSEZs) and built Eco-Industrial Parks which has reshaped its development orientation by conserving its resource bank, of both energy and physical materials.
Nevertheless, there are fears that the network of new roads from Kashgar to Gwadar will result in a massive tree cutting drive.
The addition of 7,000 trucks per day on the Karakoram Highway will also release up to 36.5 million tonnes of CO2 which may be reduced by using bio green-fuel.
The CPEC is the gateway to share trade and other industrial benefits between the two countries and beyond.
It seems that due to wide construction of roads “biodiversity” and “environmental” sustainability may be in the danger zone.
It will cause deforestation, floods, glacier melting, climate change, and global warming.
Being a prominent regional expert of the CPEC & BRI, I recommend innovative climate engineering to resolve the problems related to the environment and biodiversity in the country.
It proposes attractive and environment-friendly alternatives that are helpful to mitigate the impact of anthropogenic activities on the environment of both countries which include installation of CO2 scrubbers, construction of Algal ponds, and development of research stations across the roads and by introducing the concept of carbon canopy.
It will also help the legislators and policymakers of both countries to incorporate these solutions for sustainable development on each side.
It provides a practical comprehensive approach to cope with all potential threats. It incorporates solutions that are cost-effective having less ecological risks, high acceptance in public and are also within the scope of ethical concerns.
We should also follow and implement “The Belt and Road Ecological and Environmental Cooperation Plan” in its true spirits which is based on the “Concept of Ecological Civilization and Strengthened Policy Coordination”.
China has achieved positive progress and promising results by actively deepening bilateral dialogue, exchange and cooperation with countries along the Belt and Road, reinforcing eco-environmental information support services and advancing cooperation on environmental standards, technologies and industries.
To strengthen cooperation on eco-environmental protection and enable eco-environmental protection to serve, support and guarantee the Belt and Road construction towards environment-friendly routes, the Chinese Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) formulates the Belt and Road Ecological and Environmental Cooperation Plan, pursuant to the Vision and Actions on Jointly Building Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road.
Shifting of energy generation from coal to hydro may be an appropriate strategy to minimize the CO2 emissions.
Environment friendly policies, plans and implementation in the agriculture sector in the CPEC phase-II would bring the desired goals of biodiversity.
Rigorous national plantation drive especially on the banks and roads adjacent to all the CPEC projects may be an ideal policy in this regard.
First mega green house has been started in Gwadar seaport which is a gigantic step to cope with the climate change issue.
Development of varieties of veg-economy, horticulture, fisheries, hybrid farming and orchards may be effective to reduce CO2 emissions.
The Prime Minister of Pakistan has a noble mission to transform Pakistan into a green country which should not be prey of unfriendly massive industrialization.
Undoubtedly, CPEC stands for development not climate deterioration and destruction.
There is an urgent need to revisit, redesign and re-implement projects of the CPEC to make all of them environment friendly because our collective human survival is at stake and both countries realize it.