The top three positions on the Climate Change Performance Index 2018 again remain unoccupied since no countries are currently on a Paris Climate Agreement-compatible pathway, leaving Sweden to top out at fourth while Australia continues to occupy one of the lowest positions and is joined by the United States.
Over 13 years, the Climate Change Performance Index has been monitoring the various efforts being made to combat climate change, issued by Germanwatch, the NewClimate Institute, and the Climate Action Network. The report ranks 56 countries and the European Union, which together are responsible for 90% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Countries are ranked across four categories — Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Renewable Energy, Energy Use, and Climate Policy.
Interestingly, one of the highlights of the Climate Change Performance Index 2018 report is the author’s claim of “decreasing growth rates in CO2 emissions.” While I am not sure of their specific methodology, it is unfortunate that the report was published only days after at the University of East Anglia (UAE) and the Global Carbon Project (GCP) published three separate studies that showed that global carbon emissions will increase in 2017 by around 2%, after three stable years of little to no growth.
The end result is the same, however, with no country taking any of the top spots from the Index, and Sweden coming in at the highest rank of fourth, followed by Lithuania, Morocco, Norway, and the United Kingdom as the highest-ranked five countries included in the Index.
Conversely, the bottom rankings — deemed to have a rating of “Very Low” — were filled out, respectively, by the United States, Australia, Korea, the Islamic Republic of Iran, and Saudi Arabia. While Australia holds the same spot as it did last year, the United States fell into freefall, dropping from 43rd to 56th.
“We continue to see very positive developments regarding renewables and energy efficiency,” said Stephan Singer from the Climate Action Network (CAN) and co-publisher of the CCPI.
“The data show encouraging growth in renewable energy, ever cheaper prices for solar and wind energy, and successes in saving energy in many countries. This was responsible for stabilising global energy CO2 emissions in the last three years. But progress is achieved much too slow for a fully renewable energy based world economy in a few decades because growing oil and gas consumption is higher than the welcomed reduction in coal use.”
Sweden stepped into first place after coming in fifth (second) last year thanks in particular to “a comparably high performance in the index’ emissions category” thanks to a drop in the country’s Land Use, Land-Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) driven by “net forest growth but also natural fluctuations in emissions from the agricultural sector.”
Last year’s fourth (first) place leader was France, but a “medium” ranking on greenhouse gas emissions and a “low” ranking on energy use caused the country to fall to 15th position.
Unsurprisingly, the United States’ freefall to 56th position was due primarily to the Trump Administration’s backwards policies, causing the country’s ranking in the policy section to fall to “very low.” Thankfully, “A ‘high’ ratedgrowth rate of renewables over the course of the past years led to a slightly more positive rating in the renewables category compared to the other index categories.”
“The gap in mid- and long-term ambition of the evaluated countries is still too high,” added Professor Niklas Höhne from the NewClimate Institute, co-author of the CCPI, explains.
“In terms of GHG emissions, we see better 2030 targets in countries like Sweden, Norway, or India; comparably good targets for renewable energy, we see in for example Italy, Norway, Sweden or New Zealand. No country has a particularly outstanding energy efficiency target. Korea, Saudi Arabia, and the United States generally have to drastically raise their 2030 ambition.”
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