The latest Climate Change Performance Index has been released, and while the European Union can stand relatively tall, Australia, Japan, and Korea faired worst.
Compiled by non-profit Germanwatch and Europe’s largest energy coalition Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe, the Climate Change Performance Index for 2016 was published on Tuesday, with indications of a turning point, but still missing a steady trend. Recent studies have shown that global emissions have been nearing a stalling-point: A report published by PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency and the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (EC-JRC) showed that global CO2 emissions had slowed to a growth of only 0.5% in 2014, while figures released this week suggest that CO2 emissions could stall, or even decrease, for the first time in a long time in 2015.
“We see global trends, indicating promising shifts in some of the most relevant sectors for climate protection and important steps towards a transformation of the energy system,” said Jan Burck of Germanwatch, author of the CCPI. “The energy intensity of the global economy is further declining. In the next years, it will be crucial to decarbonise the energy sector on a global scale. The years 2013 and 2014 saw for the first time a higher amount of newly installed capacity from renewables than from all other energy sources combined; indicating that many countries have already started decarbonising their energy sector.”
Australia, Japan, and Korea were the worst performers out of all industrialized countries — and were only followed by Kazakhstan and Saudi Arabia, out of all 61 countries. Meanwhile, the globe’s two largest emitters, the United States and China, both improved their rankings this year thanks to better policy evaluations, increasing investment in renewable energy, and the beginnings of a shift away from coal.
Again, there are no countries filling the top three spots — the authors of the index explaining that “no country is acting enough to prevent dangerous climate change” — however, Denmark, the United Kingdom, and Sweden took out the first three available spots (4, 5, 6 respectively). France, just in time to host the COP21 United Nations climate negotiations, skipped up six places to sit at eight, thanks to low-level per-capita emissions and a decreasing emissions trend.
“EU countries still rank high, profiting from their early start in development of climate policies,” said Wendel Trio, Director of Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe. “However, as countries all over the world have now started to invest in renewable energy on a massive scale, the EU risks falling behind. Lack of leadership is reflected in cuts in support for renewables and the ailing Emissions Trading Scheme. The coming two years, when the EU will shape its future climate and energy policies, will define the speed of its transition to a fossil fuel free economy.”
“For decarbonising the energy system on a global scale, it will be important that the world’s emerging economies manage to decarbonise their energy sector before their economies are as dependent on coal as the ones from developed countries,” added Jan Burck.