Energy Poverty

Energy is the backbone of any country’s economy. It plays a significant role in socio-economic prosperity of a country. Energy can be in any form, such as oil, natural gas, or LNG. These resources of energy are in high demand as they produce electricity too. These non-renewable resources of energy are used in automobiles, industries, households, and offices in different forms. In modern times, human security is highly related to energy security because, with the increase in energy poverty, human insecurity is increasing, which leads to wars and conflicts.

In order to achieve more energy resources, there is a rigorous competition going on between states. A surge is witnessed in energy poverty due to unsustainable production and consumption of energy resources. There are several other reasons that play role in decreasing energy resources, such as, increase in population, rapid urbanization, disturbances in the supply and demand chains, and more dependency on non-renewable resources.

Energy shortages disturb the socio-economic structure of a country. The oil-producing countries are about to reach their “peak oil,” which means fewer resources are available but more expensive. Another reason for the energy shortage is the highly globalised world where transportation has become easy. So countries have easy access to the resources of another country. In case of any conflict, the whole chain gets disturbed. Nowadays, in the whole world, inflation is at its peak and resources are scarce because of the Russia-Ukraine war. European countries are highly dependent on Russia for natural gas. In the new paradigm of war and conflict, resources are used as weapons against each other.

The developing world has sufficient resources to buy even expensive non-renewable resources. But developing countries suffer because they do not have a strong financial system to afford expensive resources. Countries like Pakistan suffer from this situation. In winter, the gas crisis brings hue and cry to the public. Similarly, in summer, electricity power cuts of six to eight hours become rampant. The main issue lies in the dependency on non-renewable resources for the production of electricity, etc.

Pakistan imports 85% of its oil and petroleum. 64% of the electricity is produced from non-renewable resources such as natural gas, furnace oil, and coal.

Pakistan’s energy sector is highly dependent on imported fuel. The onset of winter brings news of a gas shortage for the public. Government officials announced sixteen hours of load shedding and said households will get gas three times a day for cooking purposes. Even in January 2022, ex-energy minister Hammad Azhar pointed out that every year Pakistan faces a 9% depletion of its natural gas fields. Gas unavailability is also disturbing industries, which is ultimately decreasing exports and negatively impacting the economy.

Gas shortages are the result of an increase in population, industries’ dependency on gas, international conflicts, eleventh-hour decisions of the government, and political and economic instability. In a globalised world, anything happening in one part of the world sends shockwaves throughout the whole world. The Russia-Ukraine war has created an emergency situation for the world. The attention of the Middle Eastern countries has been diverted towards the European countries. This situation has pushed the developing world into a dark alley.

Political instability repels companies from investing in Pakistan for the extraction of resources. The urban population is growing at a greater pace, and the resources are not enough to meet the requirements. Renewable resources are not in much use. Pakistan only produces 4% of its electricity from renewable resources such as solar and wind energy. Industries have not moved towards an alternative, but rather they keep their eyes on the government to fulfill their needs.

Sustainable development is the need of the hour. Countries are moving toward renewable resources to decrease their dependency on natural resources. It is estimated that the world will run out of oil by 2050. The developed world has gradually started to move towards sustainability with technologies such as solar panels, wind electricity, electric automobiles, and alternative resources of natural gas in the winter.

Energy conservation steps should be taken in order to stop wasting energy at all levels. Energy-efficient steps should be applied to safe energy. In the general public, awareness should be propagated to stop energy wastage. In order to resolve an issue, only the government can play its role. Instead, the public should be aware of the problem and its severity. Renewable sources of energy should be promoted in the public by providing subsidies. The government should make contracts with large companies to invest in Pakistan for sustainable production of energy.

Energy poverty lies at the root cause of the depleting economy. It creates hindrances to the prosperity of every sector. Resources like oil, natural gas, and coal can have alternatives, which are solar and wind. The Russia-Ukraine issue made it clear to the developing world that resources will be provided on the basis of interests and alliances. So the developing world should find alternatives for itself.

Samreen Raza
Samreen Raza
My name is Samreen Raza. I am an undergraduate student in National Defence University. I am currently studying in the 5th semester of International Relations.