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Pakistan, an emerging economy in South Asia, suffers from extremely poor air quality with total concentrations of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) frequently exceeding the World Health Organization’s recommended guidelines for the protection of human health (WHO 2021). Exposure to air pollution has a significant health burden on the population of Pakistan and is the second leading risk factor resulting in premature mortality in the country, resulting in an estimated 236 thousand premature deaths in 2019 (GBD2019). Without interventions to deal with those emission sources that drive air pollution in Pakistan, these impacts could worsen over the next decades, and contribute to other environmental impacts, such as climate change. Many of the same sources of air pollutant emissions are also the major sources of greenhouse gases and short-lived climate pollutants that result in rising global temperatures. Consequently, the implementation of policies and measures which target those major emission sources, could achieve multiple benefits, including for achievement of Pakistan’s international climate change goals, improved local air quality, public health and other development priorities.
Pakistan joined the Climate and Clean Air Coalition in 2017 and has since made substantial progress in integrating air pollution and climate change planning into its national and international commitments. In 2021, Pakistan’s updated Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) set a target to reduce total GHG emissions by 50 % by 2030, conditional on international support. Pakistan has also signed up to the Global Methane Pledge, where participants agree to work together to achieve a 30% reduction in global methane emissions by 2030 compared to 2020 levels. It also identified two actions that would be undertaken to further integrate air pollution and health co-benefits from climate change mitigation within its planning and policy making on climate change. First, it committed to updating Pakistan’s Clean Air Plan to establish new air quality targets and aligning these with their climate change goals. Secondly, it committed to the development of an integrated assessment of air pollution and climate change mitigation, to identify the air pollution co-benefits that could be achieved from implementation of its climate change commitments.
This report fulfills the second commitment and presents the results of an integrated assessment of air pollution and climate change mitigation for Pakistan.