As Pakistan Powers Down, Protests Mount: Climate Change A Root Cause


"Solar powered street lights - Gwadar - Alternate energy services" Image credit:Flickr, wetlandsofpakistan

After Pakistan's extensive hydroelectric power resources dried up in 2008, Australian coal was marketed to satisfy the growing power consumption of a burgeoning population. Think it's a stretch to attribute Pakistan's constant power troubles to climate change? Last year thousands died from record flooding, after roasting in record high temperatures - 53.5°C (128.3°F).)

Three years on from finding power reservoirs dead-empty, Pakistan's daily "load shedding" problem has worsened because of...well there's plenty of blame to go around.International water rights squabbling will make hydro-power recovery even more difficult. Evidence: China built a dam on the head water's of the Indus River, not even bothering to tell Pakistan first.
Industrial productivity falling.
As coverage in the Asia Times indicates, Pakistani factories are closing from the lack of reliable electric power.

"Almost 800 units of a total of around 2,000 factories in Punjab province have closed down and many more are likely to be shut," Sheikh Abdul Qayyum, former head of the Faisalabad chamber of commerce, said this week, Agence France-Presse reported. "Around 500,000 workers lost their jobs in the province - about 100,000 in Faisalabad alone due to the closure of the factories."
It is hard to imagine why, with power management a total snafu, international bankers would lend any money to help fix things.
Growth has since declined to 2.4% in the fiscal year that ended last month, from 3.8% in the 12 months to June 2010. Even so, the energy crisis has worsened over the past three years, due to continuing poor investment, rampant theft as electricity prices rise, and a problem with circular corporate debt that has debilitated the production capacity of power generation companies and refineries.
Making matters worse for climate, the US is reported to oppose import of natural gas from Iran - obviously for ideological reasons - which means importing more Australian coal.

After the Arab Spring, Asian Fall?
Power reliability in Pakistan has gotten so poor, according to one source, even the militarily important city of Abbottabad, where Bin Laden had his hidy-roost, powers down for hours at a time.

Protests against the load shedding are a daily event in Pakistan. Search on "power load protests Pakistan" and you'll see dozens of recent reports such as this one.

Videos of the power failure protests on YouTube, like this one, feature signs Americans can't read. So, Fox News is free to say whatever they want. Gratefully, some things that control government remain steadfast.

Next up: diplomats and politicians the world over admitting publicly that climate change can, indirectly, erode government stability. We won't even need a Julian Assange to intercept the coming climate change chatter.

More solar powered streetlights, as pictured above, might be a good idea.

Tags: Pakistan

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