In Pakistan the energy crisis is the concern that global demands on limited natural resources that are used to stimulate industrial society are diminishing as demand grows. These natural resources have a limited supply.
Although they occur naturally, it can take hundreds of thousands of years to replenish stores. Governments and stakeholders are working to make the use of renewable resources as priority and to reduce the irresponsible use of natural resources through greater conservation.
Pakistan has been confronted with severe and looming energy crisis since its inception, as far as a nation, what we can contribute globally to address this emerging issue? Most people do not feel connected to their reality unless the price of gas in the pump goes up or there are lines at the gas station. The energy crisis is something that continues and worsens, despite many efforts. The reason is that there is no broad understanding of the causes and complex solutions of the energy crisis that will allow an effort to solve it.
As “real” the energy crisis is in the world, not only in Pakistan. Some will always say that it is based on faulty science and politics; the other will argue its discoveries on undesirable scientific and political interests. The best way to summarize the reality of the energy crisis is that it cannot have increasing demands for limited resources without finally running out of resources. It’s just common sense. What is really at stake in the discussion of the reality of the energy crisis is the perception of responsibility for the future. There is no real energy crisis if you are not worried about life after your time on Earth. There is a real energy crisis if you care about the future that future generations will inherit.
There are many causes of the energy crisis and when there is some cause; solution is also running behind. It would be easy to point a finger at a practice or industry and blame the entire energy crisis on its door, but it would be a very naive and unrealistic interpretation of the cause of the crisis. The energy crisis is the result of many different tensions in our natural resources, not just one. There is pressure on fossil fuels such as oil, gas and coal because of excessive consumption, which in turn can put pressure on our water and oxygen resources by causing pollution.
Another cause of the crisis has been the steady increase in the global population and its fuel and product needs. Regardless of the type of foods or products you choose to use, from fair trade and organic to those made from petroleum products in a mill, none of them are manufactured or transported without expense important for our energy resources.
The aging infrastructure of power generation equipment is yet another potential reason for energy shortages. Most energy companies continue to use obsolete equipment that limits energy production. It is the responsibility of the departments to continue to update the infrastructure and establish a high level of performance.
Renewable resources are still not used in most countries. Most of the energy comes from non-renewable sources such as coal. Though, it’s always the best option to produce energy but if we do not think seriously about renewable energy, the problem of the energy crisis cannot be solved. Renewable energy sources can reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and also help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
In some countries, including Pakistan there is a significant delay in the commissioning of new plants that can bridge the gap between demand and energy supply. The result is that old plants are under great stress to meet the daily demand for energy. When the supply does not match the demand, load-shedding and failure occurs.
In most parts of the world, including Pakistan, people do not realize the importance of energy conservation. It is limited to books, the internet, newspaper ads, lip service and seminars. Unless you think seriously, things will not change soon. Simple things like turning off fans and lights when not in use, using maximum daylight, walking instead of driving short distances, using CFL instead of traditional bulbs. ‘Read here about 151 ways to save energy’. Frequent travel and outages are the result of a poor distribution system. Serious accidents such as gusty winds and natural disasters – the volcanic eruptions, floods and earthquakes like 2008 earthquake in Pakistan can also lead to interruptions in energy supply. The huge gap between supply and demand for energy can drive up the price of essential items that can lead to inflation.
Inter-country wars can also hinder the supply of energy, especially if it occurs in Middle Eastern countries such as Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates or Qatar. This occurred during the 1990 Gulf War, when the price of oil reached its peak, causing global shortages and creating a major problem for energy consumers. Tax increases, strikes, military coup, political events, hot and harsh summers or cold winters can also cause a sudden increase in energy demand and can stifle offer. A labor strike in an oil company can certainly cause an energy crisis and all these causes extend a hard blow to energy supplies.
Now this is our national liability to find out the possible solutions to the energy crisis. Today there are many possible solutions, but they have not been widely adopted in developed as well as underdeveloped underdeveloped countries like Pakistan. The best solution is to reduce the world’s dependence on non-renewable resources and improve overall conservation efforts. Much of the industrial era was created using fossil fuels, but technology is also known that uses other types of renewable energy, such as steam, solar and wind. The main concern is not so much that we run out of gas or oil, but the use of coal will continue to pollute the atmosphere and destroy other natural resources in the process of coal extraction. It must be replaced as a source of energy. This is not easy because many of the big industries use coal, not gas or oil, as the main source of energy for manufacturing.
By replacing traditional bulbs with compact fluorescent and LED bulbs are effective response to energy crisis. They use less watts of electricity and last longer. If millions of people around the world use LED and compact fluorescent lamps for residential and commercial purposes, the demand for energy can decrease and an energy crisis can be avoided exterminated. There are number of new technologies that make lighting controls much more attractive and save a lot of energy and money in the long term. Pre-set lighting controls, slide lighting, touch attenuators and integrated lighting controls are just some of the lighting controls that can help save energy and reduce lighting costs.
Energy simulation software can be used by large companies to redesign the construction unit and reduce the current energy cost of the company. Engineers, architects and designers could use this design to build an energy efficient building and reduce the carbon footprint. The energy audit is a process that helps you identify the areas where your home or office is losing energy and the steps you can take to improve energy efficiency. An energy audit conducted by professionals can help reduce energy loss and can also be beneficial in saving money and redressing energy crisis.
Developed and developing countries should adopt a common position on climate change. They should focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions through an effective cross-border mechanism. With the current population growth and excessive consumption of resources, the consequences of global warming and climate change cannot be excluded. Developed and developing countries should focus on reducing emissions in order to reduce their emission levels to half of current levels by 2050.
There are many global initiatives to address the energy crisis. This took the form of greater regulation and restrictions on carbon emissions, the promotion of greener construction and manufacturing projects, financing for hybrid technology research and more sustainable technologies, among others. Locally, more communities are seeing more trash and recognizing that the way the community uses its local resources is also important. More and more community gardens, parks and farmers markets are emerging not only as a means to introduce more sustainable elements into the population, but also as an important part of educating the public about the importance of resources.
The writer is a freelance columnist based in Quetta.