Germany tops the charts while Italy and Japan come close in second.

Europe tops the list.

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy is an organization which promotes energy efficiency policies, as well as programs, technologies, investments, and behaviors “in order to help achieve greater economic prosperity, energy security, and environmental protection.” Now, the organization has released the 2016 International Energy Efficiency Scorecard, rating the energy efficiency and performance of 23 of the world’s top energy-consuming countries. These 23 countries alone account for 75% of all the energy consumed on the planet, and they’ve all been ranked.

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The ranking goes like this:

  • Germany (1),
  • Italy (2, tied), Japan (2, tied),
  • France (4),
  • UK (5),
  • China (6),
  • Spain (7),
  • South Korea (8, tied), United States (8, tied),
  • Canada (10),
  • Netherlands (11),
  • Poland (12),
  • Taiwan (13),
  • India (14),
  • Turkey (15),
  • Australia (16),
  • Russia (17),
  • Indonesia (18),
  • Mexico (19),
  • Thailand (20),
  • South Africa (21),
  • Brazil (22) and
  • Saudi Arabia (23).

This ranking might come as a bit of a surprise, with countries generally considered eco-friendly (like the Netherlands or South Korea) beneath China for example, but you have to consider that this rating takes into consideration the policy as well as the energy-efficiency. Overall, China may be the world’s biggest polluter, but when you drop it on a per-capita basis, their impact is actually not that high. Also, recent green policies from China have certainly propelled the country higher than it would have been otherwise. Not surprisingly, Saudi Arabia is the lowest rated country among the 23, with countries such as Brazil, South Africa, Mexico and Australia also not doing too good.

The list seems to be dominated by Europe. Meanwhile, the United States comes in at the 8th place, lagging behind especially at the policy level. To put it simply, the US simply doesn’t have a long-term plan for renewable energy, unlike many other countries.

“Despite its leadership on a number of policies, the United States falls behind most of the EU countries on our list in addition to China and Japan,” the authors noted. “The United States still has no binding energy savings goals, unlike Germany, France, Japan, and other countries which have a national energy conservation plan in place. The United States could take advantage of existing efficiency opportunities by mandating building energy use disclosure polices and categorical labels for appliances.”

Meanwhile, Germany maintains its first position from a similar report in 2014.

“Energy Efficiency plays a key role in Germany’s energy policy, the Energiewende, which aims to achieve a highly efficient and almost carbon neutral economy by 2050 at the latest,” said Georg Maue, German Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy Senior Advisor for General Issues of Energy Efficiency.