None of the 57 most polluting countries is on track to reduce the necessary emissions to reach the targets of the Paris Agreement, according to a report introduced at the COP25 climate summit. The “crown” goes to the United States, which rank as the worst climate performer according to the report.
The Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI) is a ranking of 57 countries which account for about 90% of global GHG emissions. The four categories assessed are greenhouse gas emissions, renewable energy, energy use, and climate policy.
The report showed opposing trends in climate action. The United States, Australia, and Saudi Arabia were ranked with low to very low performances in emissions but at the same time, global coal consumption is dropping while investment in renewables continues.
“The report shows signs of a global turnaround in emissions, including declining coal consumption. However, several large countries are still trying to resist this trend – above all the USA. We see opportunities for a halt to rising global emissions,” said Ursula Hagen, one of the authors of the report.
The first three places on the index were symbolically left vacant as none of the countries assessed is on a trajectory compatible with the Paris Agreement, signed in 2015. Countries committed to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius.
The performance of European Union countries in the index varied significantly. Eight countries were rated high, eight low and two very low. Bulgaria and Poland were the worst performing ones in the region because of low results on renewable energy and low policy rating.
“The EU has lost a few ranks but could move up again if it were to follow the recommendation by the new president of the European Commission to increase the emission reduction target from -40% to -55% by 2030 compared to 1990 and adopt a long-term strategy for reaching climate neutrality by 2050”, said Prof. Dr. Niklas Höhne from NewClimate Institute.
Now the main global emitter, China improved its ranking slightly, with good performance because of its largest share of renewables and good policy ratings. Nevertheless, a potential expansion of coal-fired power plants could put the country at the bottom of the ranking.
Only two countries of the G20 group, the United Kingdom and India, were ranked in the “high” category, while eight ones remain in the “very low” category. The US was the worst performer for the first time, ranking low with Saudi Arabia and Australia. During the Trump administration, the US always ranked low or very low.
“This science-based assessment shows again that in particular the large climate polluters do hardly anything for the transformational shift we need to deep emissions reductions to curtail the run to potentially irreversible climate change”, Dr. Stephan Singer from the Climate Action Network (CAN), co-publisher of the CCPI, said.