Implications of The Energy Crisis For Pakistan

Implications of The Energy Crisis for Pakistan by Hamail Syed

CSS & PMS Solved Essays | Implications of The Energy Crisis For Pakistan

Hamail Syed, a Sir Syed Kazim Ali student, has attempted the CSS & PMS essay “Implications of The Energy Crisis For Pakistan” on the given pattern, which Sir Syed Kazim Ali teaches his students. Sir Syed Kazim Ali has been Pakistan’s top English writing and CSS, PMS essay and precis coach with the highest success rate of his students. The essay is uploaded to help other competitive aspirants learn and practice essay writing techniques and patterns to qualify for the essay paper.

Outline

1-Introduction

If the energy crisis in Pakistan is not dealt sagaciously, the country might experience a halt in the functioning of the agricultural, education, and health sectors. That can ultimately lead the country to economic downfall, rising inflation, increasing food shortages, and halting the work of research institutes and hospitals.

2-The significance of energy security for a country 

3-An overview of the current energy profile of Pakistan

4-Implications of the energy crisis for Pakistan 

4.1-Economic implications 

  • State bankruptcy
    • Argument: The interrupted energy supply to the industries can lead to an import-led economy, resulting in state bankruptcy. 
      • Evidence: According to the Asian Development Bank, “Sri Lanka now imports $3 billion more than it exports yearly, which is why it ran out of foreign currency.”
  • Skyrocketed inflation 
    • Argument: The higher energy prices may cause an increase in production costs, thereby causing inflation.
      • Evidence: Venezuela, the country with the highest inflation in the world, with an increase in consumer prices estimated at 360 percent in 2023, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF)

4.2-Social implications 

  • High death rate
    • Argument: Fuel shortages may cause an increase in mortality rates due to inoperable hospitals. 
      • Evidence: Numerous patients died in Al-Shafi Hospital in Gaza as incubators for premature babies and ICU devices for oxygen needed fuel to operate, but the hospital ran out of fuel. 
  • Severe food insecurity 
    • Argument: The energy crisis may not fulfil the energy needs of the agricultural sector and can fuel the food crisis.
      • Evidence: The significant reduction in agricultural production in Somalia, compounded by the rising prices of fuel and essential food items, has resulted in a food crisis in the country.

4.3-Educational implications 

  • Non-functional research centres 
    • Argument: Expensive energy may result in non-functional research centres. 
      • Evidence: According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, “The looming energy crisis and ongoing inflation could soon increase the pressure on academic research to find ways to save money and energy.”
  • Low-quality education 
    • Argument: The power crisis may affect the quality of education due to low budget allocation. 
      • Evidence: According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Report, 2022, “Pakistan’s education budget is 2.8% of its total GDP; it is still well short of the 4% target.”

 4.4-Psychological implications 

  • Frustration and social unrest 
    • Argument: Prolonged power outages may engender frustration and social unrest in Pakistan, as has happened in the past. 
      • Evidence: In 2015, violent protests erupted in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Islamabad over prolonged load shedding during Ramadan. 
  • Distrust between the citizens and the government
    • Argument: The energy crunch may arouse distrust between people and the government. 
      • Evidence: “In 2023, over a hundred protests were staged in South Africa due to the extreme energy insecurity in the country,” according to the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

 4.5-Environmental implications 

  • Air Pollution
    • Argument: The fuel crisis may lead to the intensification of air pollution. 
      • Evidence: According to Bioenergy Europe, a research institute, “Using solid fuels for heating releases pollutants, including dioxins, which damage lungs and exacerbate asthma.
  • Massive deforestation 
    • Argument: Energy shortages may trigger massive deforestation for the utility of wood to fulfil energy needs. 
      • Evidence: Due to the prolonged energy crisis, massive deforestation has been seen in the Brazilian Amazons in 2023

5-Recommendations to overcome the ongoing energy crisis 

  • To focus on using renewable energy resources at their maximum level. 
  • To upgrade the energy infrastructure. 
  • To curb the electricity theft. 

6-Critical Analysis 

7-Conclusion

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Energy is the backbone of economic prosperity, and it plays a vital role in the socio-economic development of any country. It is essential for lighting up cities, powering vehicles, facilitating agriculture, and running industries. Without it, the progress of a country can come to a screeching halt. Undoubtedly, the entire world is crippled by an energy crisis, but as a matter of fact, the poor and most vulnerable are likely to suffer the most; therefore, developing countries are engulfed in the deep energy crisis. Unfortunately, like developing states, Pakistan has been grappling with a severe energy crisis for a long time, and the situation seems to be worsening daily. The recent data from the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) shows that power generation dropped by 5% in December 2022 in Pakistan, and the gap between the demand and supply of power is still huge. Certainly, the energy crisis, if not addressed timely, has the potential to halt the functioning of the agricultural sector, education sector, and health sector of the country, ultimately leading to economic downfall, rising inflation, increasing food shortages, and halting the work of research institutes and hospitals in the country. However, the state can avoid such implications by adopting effective policies like the use of renewable energy sources. It is high time that the government took this issue seriously and addressed it urgently. The future of Pakistan’s progress depends on it.

Before analyzing the implications of the energy crisis, light has been shed on the importance of energy security for a country. Energy, the lifeblood of the modern economy, is central to almost its every day’s economic activity, from manufacturing to transport to schooling to communicating; hence, it is integral to a country’s development. Furthermore, energy security is vital for economic, social, and environmental domains. Unquestionably, energy security is essential to economic growth as it fuels industrial activity, empowers the business sector, and attracts foreign direct investment in a country. As per the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) Report, 2022, “France is the most energy-sufficient country with a score of 74.5 out of 100.” The fact highlights that energy sufficiency has a direct link with economic prosperity. As France is an energy-sufficient state, its economy is also strong enough to lead the nation towards progress. Besides that, energy security is also crucial for social stability because energy supplies are essential to support human activities like transportation, cooking, heating, etc. In short, energy security brings stability to a country. 

At present, Pakistan suffers from an acute energy crisis; its available domestic energy supplies are dwindling, and as a result, Pakistan relies on expensive energy imports that strain its feeble economy. In addition, the country’s generating capacity falls well below demand due to heavy reliance on oil, circular debt, and transmission losses. According to the Research and Advocacy for the Advancement of Allied Reforms (Raftaar) Report, “The average shortfall in the power sector is 4,000 megawatts and nearly two billion cubic feet per day in the natural gas sector.” The report highlights the severe energy shortage in the country. Moreover, the energy crisis disrupts the country’s socio-economic development, as it has halted industrial growth. Dr. Afia Malik, an energy expert at the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE), said, “Pakistan’s energy deficit has been a longstanding issue, causing power shortages, hampering industrial growth, and affecting the quality of life for its citizens.” Hence, Pakistan’s energy sector is in trouble, putting obstacles to the state’s economic growth. 

Amid the global era of competition among states regarding socio-economic advancements, the ticklish implications of the ongoing energy crisis cast a long shadow over Pakistan, having the tendency to affect its economic, social, educational, psychological, and environmental spheres. Some of them will be brought under discussion. To begin with the economic implications of the power crisis for Pakistan, the first and foremost is the risk of state bankruptcy. Indeed, energy is like oxygen for the survival of the industrial sector. The interrupted or expensive energy supply to the country’s industrial sector may force its industries to curtail output or even shut down. Unfortunately, this will impede its economic growth as its factories will no longer be able to boost its exports, making it dependent on imports. Indeed, the import-led economy of the country may make it bankrupt. The same is the case with Sri Lanka’s economy. According to the Asian Development Bank, “Sri Lanka now imports $3 billion more than it exports yearly, which is why it ran out of foreign currency and announced sovereign default.” Considering the statistics above, Pakistan may also become bankrupt as its industrial sector is in a state of emergency due to the continuous energy constraint, thus making its economy dwindle.

The second economic implication of the energy crunch for Pakistan is the risk of skyrocketing inflation. Increased gas, electricity, and petrol costs affect households and influence almost all goods and services. Therefore, the country may face a new wave of high inflation due to the current fuel crisis, as witnessed in Venezuela. The country with the highest inflation in the world has experienced an increase in consumer prices estimated at 360 per cent in 2023, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). This statistic reflects that the power crunch has the potential to jolt the economy of a state by increasing the prices of every good and service. In addition, Pakistan is the world’s fifth-most populous country. Its power demand is proliferating, as is its reliance on fossil fuels. Therefore, importing non-renewable energy resources will further engulf its Gross Domestic Product (GDP), resulting in skyrocketing inflation.

Furthermore, the fuel crisis also offers some eye-opening social implications for PakistanThe country’s fuel shortage may severely disrupt the functioning of its healthcare sector, causing an increase in mortality rate. In fact, the energy crisis has a dire effect on healthcare facilities, patients, and healthcare workers. Moreover, not to speak of operating rooms that account for most energy utilization in healthcare, lighting, air‐conditioning, and biomedical devices require energy for proper functioning. Indeed, the medical staff will be unable to undergo operations and treatment as most of the machinery is run by electricity, and prolonged power outages may impede life-saving medical procedures. This has been witnessed in Gaza, where numerous patients died in Al-Shafi hospital as incubators for premature babies and ICU devices for oxygen needed fuel to operate, but the hospital ran out of fuel. It is saddening to mention that the same can happen in Pakistan if efficacious strategies do not overcome the ongoing energy crisis.

Another worrisome social implication of the energy crunch for the state is the threat of severe food insecurity. Though Pakistan is an agrarian country, its crop yield is decreasing day by day due to numerous reasons. One of the most prominent reasons is the unscheduled shutdown and termination of electricity because its productivity profoundly depends on electronic machinery, especially tube wells, which can potentially cause food insecurity in the country. The power outages may also hinder the production of insecticides, pesticides, and fertilizers, thus declining crop yield. Evidently, Somalia is a glaring example of how the energy crisis causes a food crisis. The significant reduction in its agricultural production, compounded by the rising fuel and essential food prices, resulted in the country’s food crisis. In a word, Pakistan must take appropriate measures to tackle the impending food crisis.

Further, the energy crisis also forecasts daunting implications for the education sector. The most significant implication is the non-functional research centres due to the expensive energy. Indeed, research facilities generally consume significantly more electric power than similarly sized commercial buildings. This is because a typical research unit in the life sciences has various freezers and fridges, along with IT infrastructure and ventilation systems, which constantly draw power from the electric grid. Moreover, heaters, ovens, computers, incubators, and so on use a considerable amount of energy throughout the working day in addition to lighting. Power-hungry equipment, such as electron microscopes and greenhouses for plant research, can further boost overall energy consumption. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, “The looming energy crisis and ongoing inflation could soon increase the pressure on academic research to find ways to save money and energy.” Therefore, the energy crisis can reduce the research units to save energy. In short, Pakistan must minimize the current energy crunch to achieve the fruits of research and advancement.

Additionally, the energy crisis can also affect the country’s education system by lowering the quality of education due to a low budget allocation. To improve the country’s education quality, it is crucial to integrate the latest technology, such as LCDs for presentations, computers, printers, and basic facilities like electricity and clean drinking water, into the education system. In addition, a handsome budget is required to bring technology and facilities to the education sector. But when the country faces an energy crisis, the education system gets a low budget due to economic constraints. To the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Report, 2022, “Pakistan’s education budget is 2.8% of its total GDP; it is still well short of the 4% target.” This report highlights that Pakistan’s education budget is meagre due to a downgraded economy fueled by the energy crisis. Unfortunately, if this crisis is not addressed, then the quality of education may decrease further, and more illiteracy may prevail. Moreover, students may be unable to use computer labs; they cannot perform laboratory experiments or give presentations on LCDs because of long hours of load-shedding. Hence, these factors can further diminish the quality of education in Pakistan, thus hampering the country’s socio-economic development. 

Besides disrupting the educational sector, the energy crisis can disturb society psychologically. Frequent and prolonged power outages may fuel frustration and social unrest in Pakistan, as has happened in the past. As history has witnessed, the load-shedding of gas and electricity and the non-availability of oil for transportation have created agitation in society. For instance, in 2015, violent protests erupted in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Islamabad over prolonged load shedding during Ramadan. Therefore, it is imperative to reduce the energy crisis; otherwise, it may bring people to the roads to unbridle their frustration by damaging public and private property. Moreover, people may hold strikes and raise anti-government slogans. Such a chaotic situation can create a mental disturbance among the natives, and the negative image of the state can be shown to the world through the media. Thus, an unaddressed energy crisis can create frustration, ultimately disturbing the country’s peace. 

To add on, the energy crisis may engender distrust between people and the government. Verily, the energy crunch affects the people financially and socially, so they blame the government for their sufferings, ultimately causing political instability. Sri Lanka was a glaring example of such a situation. For instance, in 2023, over a hundred protests were staged in South Africa due to the extreme energy insecurity in the country, according to the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. This example signifies that an unmitigated energy crisis in the country may add fuel to people’s misery, such as being unable to get proper health care, getting basic facilities like gas for cooking, and running businesses because of a shortage of oil and electricity. These sufferings can incite people against the government; hence, the mistrust between the nation and the government may widen. The energy crisis can promote a trust deficit between the nation and the government, hampering the country’s progress. 

Another vital implication of the energy crisis is its influence on the environment, which cannot be ignored. The energy crisis may lead to an intensification of air pollution. Indeed, air pollution is the world’s most significant environmental health threat. Moreover, the energy crisis is an incentive to accelerate the process of damaging the environment. When people cannot get sufficient energy to fulfil their needs, they will switch to traditional energy methods, such as using wood and coal for heating. These methods can increase air pollution in the state. According to the Bioenergy Europe, a research institute, “Using solid fuels for heating releases a range of fine particulate pollutants into the environment, including dioxins, which are known to damage lungs and can cause asthma.” This fact highlights that air pollution has the potential to not only destroy the environment but also damage health. Unfortunately, Pakistan already faces air pollution. For example, Lahore city is hit by smog that causes lung, chest, and eye infections. So, the country cannot afford more pollution due to an uncontrolled energy crisis. Therefore, it is imperative to mitigate the crisis; otherwise, it may become difficult for people to survive in a polluted environment. 

Lastly, light has been thrown on the subsequent implication of the energy crisis: the massive deforestation due to the utility of wood and other biomass for fulfilling energy demands. Undoubtedly, the energy crunch can force people to use wood and other biomass to get energy. For instance, due to the prolonged energy crisis, massive deforestation has been seen in the Brazilian Amazons in 2023. The fact indicates that by adopting traditional means of getting heat, the demand for wood will increase, and deforestation will be multiplied in its surroundings. Unfortunately, deforestation may pose a severe environmental threat as it can cause soil erosion and flooding and increase the level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Therefore, minimizing the energy crisis in a country like Pakistan, facing the severe effects of climate change, is crucial. For example, the 2010 flood in Pakistan has already disrupted the country economically and socially. Hence, the state is not in a position to add more reasons that may increase deforestation, which can lead the state towards more climate-change-induced disasters. 

Moving ahead, history reveals that Pakistan has been plagued by internal and external problems, but the governing authorities and the masses never lost hope and instead offered their services to manipulate these problems. Similarly, the nation can materialize the quotation “there is always a silver lining in the dark cloud” to cope with the energy crisis. There is a dire need for quick and collective action in this connection. Some of the possible solutions are discussed here. To begin with, Pakistan should first go for alternative, renewable, and cheaper energy sources. The state should increase its reliance on solar, hydel, wind, and nuclear energy instead of heavy dependence on imported oil. Moreover, biogas plants should be encouraged to produce energy at a minor level. It is pertinent to note that Denmark is one of the unique countries that has achieved its ambitious target of shifting to 100% renewable energy sources by the year 2050. Pakistan should set targets like Denmark to minimize its energy crisis. Further, the government should exempt customs duty on imported solar panels and related equipment, such as inverters, batteries, photovoltaic modules, and solar lanterns. These devices can prove beneficial in controlling the energy crisis. 

Second, it is crucial to invest in energy infrastructure. This includes upgrading power generation capacity and enhancing transmission and distribution networks. Additionally, one of the major causes of the energy crisis in the state is transmission and distribution losses. As per the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) Report, 2023, “Distribution companies have caused a loss of over 838 billion rupees to the national exchequer.” This fact shows that a lot of energy is lost due to old infrastructure. Therefore, upgrading energy infrastructure to mitigate the energy crisis is vital. Indeed, developing modern and resilient energy infrastructure will ensure an uninterrupted power supply, enabling industries to operate efficiently. In this way, the country can address the energy crisis and attract foreign direct investment.

Third, the government should implement comprehensive reforms in the energy sector to curb electricity theft and enhance transparency. Unfortunately, electricity theft is another reason that amplifies the energy crisis in the state. People illegally make connections between wires and power lines, bypassing meters to avoid paying bills. This practice is common in Pakistan, causing a loss of billions. Therefore, the government should implement strict policies and high accountability mechanisms to minimize electricity theft. 

Critically, Pakistan’s energy is in the doldrums, having severe implications for Pakistan. Unquestionably, energy sufficiency has been the basis upon which a country’s sovereignty, progress, and prosperity standstill, manifesting a nation’s fate worldwide. However, its absence has been a significant culprit in destabilizing the state. Moreover, the energy crisis does not grow automatically; there are many reasons behind this menace, such as circular debt, more reliance on expensive imported oil for energy generation, electricity theft, transmission and distribution losses, increased demand for energy, a fragile economy, and mismanagement of resources. Unfortunately, the energy crisis has already negatively impacted the country, as the country’s industrial and agricultural exports have diminished. Further, the tourists in the country were also affected by the crisis, and above all, investors’ confidence was shattered; they did not want to invest in the state because of power shortages. In short, the country is already grappling with the negative impacts of the energy crisis; thus, it is not in a position to bear more implications of the unaddressed crisis. So, the collective efforts of the government and the nation are required to mitigate the crisis and put the country on the path of prosperity. 

Conclusively, Pakistan is entangled in the energy crisis due to many factors. Verily, the energy crisis can potentially jolt the state financially, socially, environmentally, and psychologically. Therefore, it is high time to address the crisis by shifting to clean energy generation sources, improving infrastructure, and curbing electricity theft. On the flip side, if the energy crisis remains unsolved, it may have severe implications for the state, such as increasing the risk of default, rising inflation, making hospitals inoperable, closing industries and research institutes, and causing hunger by disrupting the agriculture sector. Hence, to save the country from encountering these implications, taking the necessary steps to mitigate the issue is vital.

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