In the much-awaited Elections 2024 manifesto of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), there is a dedicated and rather detailed chapter titled “Climate Change- A Silent Killer”.
What stood out for us is the former ruling party’s focus on reducing the carbon emission levels in the country. Of all the party manifestos The Citizenry read, it is only the PTI that has specifically talked about ‘advocating for climate justice’. The manifesto states that the climate change policies will be tailored to each industrial sector. It specifies that it will push for Environment Impact Assessments (EIAs) on all major industrial projects to evaluate their carbon footprint.
The manifesto discusses the party’s flagship project Billion Tree Tsunami- a tree plantation project launched during its tenure, under various sub-sections such as Bypasses and Sustainable Roads, Climate Change Mitigation and Sustaining Reforestation. The project will be extended to be implemented throughout the country.
It also discusses various other climate mitigation and adaptation related projects that the Party intends to usher in if and when it returns to power. However, as one peruses through the document, it becomes obvious that the manifesto essentially revolves around carbon taxation and emissions reduction related incentives.
PTI plans to incentivize households and firms alike to reduce carbon emissions. It also plans to introduce a carbon tax on fossil fuels, not only as a revenue generating measure but also to offset environmental impacts.
The seriousness to reduce carbon footprint is also evident when we look at another measure – to impose higher taxes on heavy polluting industries, encouraging them to reduce their carbon footprint and transition to more sustainable practices. The Party further plans to promote the adoption of energy-efficient and low-carbon technologies in industries through research and development grants and technology transfer programs.
Talking about energy sector, PTI (rightly) believes that fossil fuel-based energy production is a major contributor to carbon emissions. Transitioning to cleaner energy sources is crucial. PTI will encourage the shift to renewable energy sources like solar and wind power by providing incentives such as tax breaks and subsidies for renewable energy. PTI has also expressed interest in establishing solar and wind power plants, especially in Sindh and Balochistan to adopt renewable and clean ways of producing electricity. There is also the mention of indigenous sources of energy which we think is a euphemism for coal mining and usage although surpassingly the manifesto does not mention the Thar Coal project anywhere. Like other mainstream parties, the PTI too has also promised to promote policies that will help foreign companies to set up Electric Vehicles manufacturing in the country with ease and facilities of business, in order to reduce carbon emissions from vehicles.
Subedited by Maleeha Hamid Siddiqui
The story is a collaborative effort between The Citizenry and The Times of Karachi, in partnership with the Climate Action Center.