The new edition of the Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI), which ranks the climate protection performance of the 58 largest emitting countries worldwide, was released by Germanwatch and CAN Europe this week. The report shows worldwide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions continue to climb, and not a single country is on track to deliver their fare share of emission reductions.
But there are some rays of hope this year. There appears to be a slowdown in the rate of increase for global CO2 emissions. And China, the highest emitter on a national basis, improved its performance.
While no country performed well enough to earn a coveted top-3 ranking, Denmark led the league table, improving their score in nearly every sector. The UK took 5th place, up from 10th, due to an emissions decrease of 15% in the last 5 years plus improvements in energy efficiency.
But you won’t be surprised that Canada and Australia are the bottom ranked performers among industrialised countries, while Japan also dropped several notches. Australia is ranked 57th but its recent election produced a government that is backtracking even from there. Canada still shows no intention of moving forward with meaningful climate policy and remains at a humiliating 58th position. Only Iran (59), Kazakhstan (60) and Saudi Arabia (61) have worse ratings.
For the first time Germany has dropped out of the top ten, sliding from 8th to 19th position, one of the biggest losers in this year’s index. The main reason is the country’s dithering on EU climate policy. And to no one’s surprise, Poland’s overall performance (45th place) remains one of the worst in the entire EU.
Every country can endeavour to improve its CCPI ranking by addressing a few critical factors. Improvements in renewable energy must continue; efficiency levels must increase; countries must take bold national climate policy decisions; and effective coalitions between front-runner nations should be strengthened. Those are exactly the same actions needed to close the pre-2020 emission gap so that an international climate agreement worth the name can be finalised in 2015.