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Prof. Adil Najam, Vice Chancellor of the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) and a noted international expert on sustainable development and environmental policy, was quoted in an article in the British newspaper, The Guardian, on the energy challenges faced by Pakistan. The article, titled ‘Pakistan energy shortfall fuels row over coal power plants’ looks at the energy crisis in Pakistan through the lens of the environmental arguments against using dirty coal for meeting the country’s energy needs.

Prof. Adil Najam, who is a leading international authority on environmental policy in developing countries and also serves as a Trustee of WWF-International and the Chair of the Board of LEAD-Pakistan, is quoted in the article as saying that “We [Pakistan] are probably the world’s most energy-poor country and also the most wasteful.”

However, Dr. Najam points out that this does not mean that Pakistan has no options. Indeed, he suggests that because the situation is so bad Pakistan has the opportunity to make a leapfrog to the cleanest energy sources even more than countries that are deeply locked into dirtier energy production: “We are in a bind and I know coal can never be clean; we have been forced to make difficult decisions but perhaps the saving grace can be to make the cleanest decisions possible, such as using relatively cleaner technologies and how we use and conserve energy we produce.”

Prof. Najam added that amongst the biggest and most easily accessible source of new energy available to Pakistan was conservation itself, especially including better energy use practice by consumers throughout the country and cutting line losses and theft by distribution companies. Earlier this month Dr. Najam had spoken to the energy challenges to Pakistan at the National School of Public Policy in Lahore where he had suggested that while the rest of the world was engaged in vigorous debates and intense discussion on the latter, Pakistan was stuck in the quagmire of the first crisis. Unfortunately, the latter cannot be tackled until the first is addressed.

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