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CPEC Project: Is CPEC an Environment Friendly Project?

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The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has become one of the most talked about event in Pakistan and is deemed as an economic anthem for the country. CPEC is a tool for boosting the economy, keeping in lines with the international consensus on Climate Change. CPEC is also slated to be an absolute development and Environment-friendly package for the energy sector and will be a boon for Pakistan’s crippling economy. It includes various road, railway, energy, infrastructure and industrial projects.

In order to meet the energy crisis, Pakistan has suggested various energy projects and coal power plants are one of them. In Sindh, the CPEC is starting numerous energy projects compared to any other province in Pakistan. Coal power plants in the Thar area are being constructed – Thar-I coal power plant with 6600 MW and Thar-II coal power plant (consists of two power plants each of 330MW) will be using the indigenously produced coal through local coal mines. According to an estimate, these local coal mines will be providing 3.8 million tons of coal on yearly basis. Port Qasim coal power plant is another coal-based power plant constructed in Sindh worth $2billion. Moreover, in Sahiwal, coal power project of 1320MW is to be built along with another project of a coal mine worth $589 million. A 330 MW of coal plant will also be built in the Punjab Salt Range. In Baluchistan and Gwadar; coal power plants of 660 MW and 300MW will be constructed respectively, to meet the energy demands

Also Read: China trying to Convince India to Join CPEC

The CPEC Impact on Environment

However, with such huge investments in the energy projects, a major concern is the possible impact on environmental sustainability and climate change. It is being argued that it will introduce a new set of problems because the coal power plants are considered to be one of the major contributors of greenhouse gases, which cause global warming. It is also being said that these projects ignore the aspect of an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). Although Pakistan is responsible for a mere 0.43% of global greenhouse gas emissions, it is among the world’s 10-most vulnerable countries to climate change. Moreover, it can cause significant damage to eco-tourism and the glaciers, which are diminishing due to expanding infrastructure. The wildlife of the region could also be affected by changing natural landscapes. These are some of the impacts which should not be taken lightly.

Poverty also has a direct relation to environmental degradation and climate change because people turn to cheap resources. However, CPEC is not just about the energy generation projects but the concerned authorities have also considered the best means to considerably reduce the environmental damage. It has been formally agreed that one should not completely take for granted the impact of the carbon footprint on the ecosystem. Unfortunately, coal use has attracted a lot of criticism due to its environmental impact. An analysis shows that Pakistan’s energy mix contains a minimum share of coal and it will remain even less despite the investment in new coal-fired power plants.  It is pertinent to note that developed economies like the USA and Germany are still at the forefront in carbon footprint, as compared to Pakistan. Furthermore, for Pakistan, it is important to overcome the problem of the energy crisis and invest in renewable energy.

Also Read on EurAsian Times: CPEC Project To Greatly Benefit Pakistan: Pak Media

CPEC Focuses on Renewable Energy

Both China and Pakistan are aware of the harmful impact of coal and have decided to offset the impact by focusing more on renewable energy projects. It is explicitly explained in the Long Term Plan (LTP) that in the future the renewable energy sector will be the major area of investment. The Federal Minister for Power Division, Sardar Awais Ahmed Khan Leghari, has also proposed to establish a renewable energy institute in the country. This would be a good step to control the carbon footprints. It also promises to bridge the energy gap by constructing numerous hydro, solar, wind power and Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) projects to reduce the greenhouse emission.

In order to sustain the energy need and keeping in mind the climate effects, the CPEC energy projects not only engage in generating power from coal but focus on other renewable sources of energy too, such as hydroelectric power. For this, a hydropower plant, Suki Kinari, with total capacity 870MW worth US $1802 Million is to be constructed in Mansehra district of KPK. On 10th of January 2016 construction of another hydropower plant famously known as “Karot Hydropower Plant” was on track. This US $1420 Million power plant will be finished by the year 2020 and will be able to produce 720 MW of power from river Jhelum. These hydropower projects altogether will produce 7190 MW of electricity.

Also Read: Indian State of Tamil Nadu To Become Global Leader in Wind Power

Similarly, the CPEC places solar and wind energy projects on the forefront to avoid the greenhouse emission effect as they not only produce cheap electricity but are also better for the environment and are more sustainable in the long run. Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park in Bahawalpur (US $1302 Million) is a 1,000 MW. solar energy generating plant whose first phase was completed by the year 2015 and the second phase was completed by the end of 2016.The commercial operation date (COD) of 300 MW was attained in August 2016.

To further overcome the coal emissions, a wind power plant at Jhimpir is constructed. It is producing 50 MW of electricity by wind power and another plant of 100 MW is likely to produce electricity through wind power with a cost of US $250 million through the CPEC.

Moreover, it is important to note that Pakistan has planned some LNG energy projects planned to be carried out as part of the CPEC project. Among the LNG projects under CPEC, a 711KM long gas pipeline is to be built which will provide 1 billion cubic feet of LNG per day. The total cost of this project will be $2.5 billion. Along with reducing the carbon emission, this project will supply gas to Pakistan and China will also get benefit from this project for its trade activities.

Also Read: Despite Indian Pressure, China to Complete Karot Hydropower Project

China Offers Complete Support to Pakistan to Make CPEC Successful

China has adopted strict measures and it has developed a network of 1500 air quality monitoring stations in over 900 cities to control air pollution. Likewise, to further make CPEC an environment-friendly project, Pakistan and China can collaborate on a greenhouse trading mechanism, which will offset environmental cost of carbon emission in Pakistan. However, it has also been stated in the LTP of CPEC, that China will also help Pakistan excel in the production of renewable energy-related technologies. Under global scrutiny, and for all that it promises in the Paris agreement, Pakistan is firmly committed to the purpose and objectives of the Climate Convention; thus Making CPEC an environment-friendly project.

Opinion Penned by Qurat Hashmi, Pakistan. The author can be contacted 
at quraathashmi@gmail.com

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EurAsian Region

India’s Ambitious Third Aircraft Carrier ‘INS Vishal’ Cancelled Over Financial Woes?

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What is the status of INS Vishal – the proposed third aircraft carrier for the Indian Navy? INS Vishal had remained stalled since 2017, with India’s ministry of defence (MoD) rejecting to grant financial clearance over its exorbitant cost.

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The carrier, INS Vishal, was envisaged as a much more formidable warship to be fielded alongside the Navy’s sole serving carrier, the INS Vikramaditya, and the upcoming INS Vikrant.

The INS Vikramaditya was a laid down in the Soviet Union in the 1980s and was comprehensively refurbished in Russia and equipped with advanced MiG-29K fighters. It has a displacement of approximately 45,000 tons.

The lighter INS Vikrant, at around 40,000 tons, was built in India with Russian assistance and has been behind schedule. Both carriers are comparatively light and rely on ski-jump launch systems – similar to that of the British Queen Elizabeth Class and Russian Kuznetsov Class – which reduce the maximum takeoff weights of fighters operating from their decks.

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“We are expecting the delivery of IAC Vikrant by February 2021. Then, its aviation trials will take at least a year to complete before its induction into the Navy’s fleet. We expect the shipyard to meet this new deadline,” the Indian Navy official said while adding that the long-delayed warship was scheduled to be ready by the end of 2018, but due to delay in procuring multiple equipments from Russia, the delivery date has been extended.

The difficulties enveloping the INS Vikrant, according to experts talking to the EurAsian Times, is believed to have dissuaded the Indian Navy from seeking to commission more indigenous carriers – particularly those with more ambitious designs like the Vishal.

The INS Vishal was initially planned to have a displacement of over 65,000 tons and would integrate an electromagnetic catapult system (EMALS) to allow fighters to deploy with considerably more fuel and munitions. EMALS would also better facilitate the deployment of more advanced carrier-based support aircraft including airborne early warning platforms such as the E-2 Hawkeye and KJ-600.

China Launches Power Surface Warship, A Day After India Achieves Naval Landmark

The lack of EMALS on current Indian carrier designs will place them at a disadvantage against next-generation American and Chinese carriers but has also made them considerably economical both to develop and to operate. EMALS technologies were to be purchased from the US, which is currently endeavouring to make them compatible with its new generation of F-35C fighters on the carrier USS Gerald Ford.

The high-end capabilities planned for INS Vishal led to it being widely termed a supercarrier – rivalled only by the American Gerald Ford Class and Chinese Type 002 and Type 003 Classes. Several warships from each respective class are expected to be in service in the U.S. Navies and Chinese by the time the Vishal would have entered service.

INS Vikramaditya – Russian Build Aircraft Carrier Is A Disaster? OpEd

While cost estimates for the Indian program were reduced considerably after plans to blend a nuclear propulsion system were scrapped, the warship’s development and operational costs and additional costs of high-end carrier-based fighters and other aircraft are conclusively still deemed unreasonable.

While the decision could be reversed, experts talking to EurAsian Times speculate that the Indian Navy could stick to a two-carrier fleet as maritime threats remain relatively low.

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EurAsian Region

India, Russia Discuss Syria, Libya And Middle-East Peace Plan

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Special Representative of the President of the Russian Federation for the Middle East and Africa, Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov met the Indian Ambassador in Moscow, Bala Venkatesh Varma. This was reported by the Russian Foreign Ministry.

Why Palestine Rejected The Trump Peace Plan To Resolve Israel-Palestine Conflict?

The Russian Foreign Ministry noted that the meeting was initiated by the ambassador. During the meeting, Varma and Bogdanov discussed the situation in the Middle East and North Africa. Particular attention was paid to the situation in Syria, Libya and the Palestinian-Israeli settlement.

“During the conversation, the current situation in the Middle East and North Africa was discussed with a focus on the problems of resolving crises in Syria and Libya, as well as the prospects for a Palestinian-Israeli settlement,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

On January 28, US President Donald Trump, in the presence of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, presented his American plan for a peaceful settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict in the Middle East and creation of a Palestinian state. The Trump Plan is a 180-page document called Peace for Prosperity.

According to the highly criticized plan, parts of the West Bank with Jewish populations and established Jewish settlements from the entire Jordan Valley are also included in Israel. And the rest of the West Bank, along with the Gaza Strip, will be transferred under the control of the Palestinians, for whom something “smaller than the state” should be created.

Modi-Government Quietly Working To Revoke The Indus Water Treaty With Pakistan – Reports

The Kremlin noted that the so-called “deal of the century” is contrary to the UN Security Council resolution. Press Secretary of the President of the Russian Federation Dmitry Peskov doubted the viability of the plan of the American president, drawing attention to the fact that the Palestinians themselves have already expressed their disagreement with the Trump plan.

India had said that the solution to the Israeli-Palestinian issue has to be “acceptable to both” sides, even as it urged both to actively engage with the US’s proposals. In its official response, India urged that the final status should be “resolved through direct negotiations between the two Parties and be acceptable to both”.

India Endorses, Pakistan Rejects Middle-East Peace Plan Between Israel & Palestine

However, India urged that both sides should also consider the US proposal as part of various other solutions that would necessitate “direct negotiations”. “We urge the Parties to engage with each other, including on the recent proposals put forward by the United States, and find an acceptable two-state solution for peaceful coexistence. We will continue to follow developments in the region and engage with the Parties concerned,” said MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar.

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Pakistan Blames Iranian Gangs For Violence In Karachi

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Pakistan police on Tuesday stated that an Iranian gang has been involved in street crime activities in the Karachi. Karachi is notoriously famous for street crimes and is the most populated city in Pakistan.

Karachi, Delhi Emerge as Leaders in Cannabis Consumption

According to police, the gang comprising of eight members and worked in various parts of Karachi while the same gang had also committed robberies and other criminal activities in Italy, Turkey and Indonesia. Police claimed it has acquired the complete data of the gang members and teams have been formed to arrest them as soon as possible.

It is not that other cities are immune to the menace of street crimes; however, according to reports, the scale in Karachi is simply terrifying.

According to police reports, between January 2015 and October 2019, a total of 92,889 people were robbed at gunpoint in streets, roads and parking lots. What the criminals took away include 82,417 cell phones, 11,305 motorbikes and 1,167 cars. Most of the victims didn’t resist, but 220 of those who resisted were killed by armed robbers.

Now People Can Be Declared Terrorists, Property Seized Under New Anti-Terror Law

The scale of street crime in Karachi, according to experts is alarming, especially when it remains largely unchecked. But it is not entirely unusual given the city’s demographics fabric, vast unemployment besides a poor law enforcement agency.

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