From Growth To Building Pathways For Green Growth In Pakistan In The Light Of Sustainable Development Goals
Author: Asma Jabeen


The Fifth Ministerial Conference on Environment and Development provided a regional implementation plan to pursue economic development in Asia-Pacific in 2005. In the ministerial declaration, green growth is defined as the strategy of sustaining economic growth and job creation, necessary for poverty reduction while coping with natural resource constraints and climate crisis. Based on the importance of green growth, the study investigates the likelihood of the simultaneous existence of three fundamental pillars of sustainability in Pakistan from 1990 to 2019. The constituents of sustainable development are selected from the Seoul Initiative Network on Green Growth (SINGG) presented in MCED-5. The first objective of the study employs Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) to determine the direct effects and indirect effects of the variables from the green growth model adopted in the MCED-5. The results indicate the importance of employment as the key link between sustained growth and poverty alleviation. The growth of the net national income of the country drives resource-efficient technologies that reduce the carbon intensity of production, but it does not save the natural resources from depletion. The study also reveals that natural resources are being exploited in the quest for higher living standards and sustainable economic growth. An increase in net national income with the increase in natural capital degradation indicates that Pakistan is on the path of weak sustainability. Thus, it is needed to improve the stock of natural capital to transform the economy from the path of weak sustainability to strong sustainability.

In order to successfully implement mitigation policies, it is also necessary to identify the contributing factors to carbon emissions. The second objective of the study investigate the driving forces of energy-related carbon emissions in Pakistan from 1990 to 2019 using the Logarithmic Mean Divisia Method 1 (LMDI-I) decomposition technique based on extended Kaya identity. The decomposition results reveal that the population size effect and affluence contributed significantly to accelerating carbon emissions from energy consumption throughout the period of analysis. The effect of fuel quality used and energy intensity effect is relatively minor (as the index value is less than 1) for most of the time period. The renewable energy penetration effect also contributed positively to increasing carbon emissions in many periods (with effect values greater than 1). The cumulative effect of renewable energy penetration in total primary energy consumption on carbon emissions has increased from 0.998 in 1990 to 1.034 in 2019 due to Pakistan’s less mature renewable energy technologies. Fuel switching is a factor that reduces carbon emissions as the index value decreased from 0.945 in 1990 to 0.918 in 2019.

The analysis of the third research question based on Tapio’s decoupling status of economic growth and energy-related carbon emissions indicates that Pakistan has experienced four decoupling states from 1990 to 2019. However, the most prominent state is expensive negative decoupling, which points towards much faster growth of carbon emissions than the country’s economic growth. In a few years, expensive coupling, weak decoupling, and strong decoupling are also observed. The prominent status of expansive negative decoupling among the other decoupling states highlights the need for measures of specific policy action that will cut carbon emissions and foster economic growth that is sustainable. The results of the study contain helpful information for lowering carbon emissions.

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Supervisor: Saud Ahmed Khan

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