Are we really serious about energy conservation? And, by ‘we’ I mean all of us, not just the government.
The government is making a high profile move on the subject by announcing new policies for energy conservation, better policing of energy abuse, and of new power generation. We have written about energy often (here, here, here, here, here) and our post on solar energy continues to get much attention.
As someone who works in this area, I know that (a) this is the single most important economic leverage available to economic decision makers in Pakistan, and (b) while not easy, this – unlike other pressing issues, like water, for example – is an area where something could actually be done; because technically and even fiscally there is a real set of useful things that are actually doable.
And, yet, I find my self sadly cynical that things will change. Not just because I am still not convinced that this is a priority for the government and decision-makers but also because I know that our media is too interested in the ‘sexy’ stuff of politics to care much about this, and frankly given all we see in our own energy usage (rich or poor) I am not sure if even we consumers are willing to do anything more than crib (specially, since much that needs to be done for conservation needs to be done by us). Sadly, we pay attention only when things go so very bad that people revert to energy violence.
I feel bad about being so cynical. And I sincerely hope that I am wrong.
P.S. On a related note, here is an op-ed I just published on Pakistani environmentalist Dr. Tariq Banuri’s run to be the next United Nations climate change chief.