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Climate Change Performance Index warns not enough political will to prevent dangerous climate change

The Climate Change Performance Index 2019 (CCPI), published at COP24 in Katowice shows after three consecutive years of stable CO2 emissions, levels are rising again.

The Climate Change Performance Index, developed by Germanwatch and the NewClimate Institute and published together with the Climate Action Network (CAN) is a ranking of the 56 countries and the EU, together responsible for about 90% of global GHG emissions.

The CCPI 2019 shows only a few countries have started to implement strategies to limit global warming well below 2 or even 1.5°C.

The four categories examined are:

  • GHG emissions (40%)
  • renewable energy (20%)
  • energy use (20%)
  • climate policy (20%)

The latter is based on expert assessments by NGOs and think tanks from the respective countries.

The CCPI evaluates to what extent the respective countries are taking adequate action within the categories emissions, renewables and energy use to being on track towards the global Paris-goal of limiting global warming to well below 2°C.

The Index ranks the USA (59) and Saudi Arabia (60) as the poorest performers – the countries occupy the places at the bottom of the index.  The USA again lost several places due to its low to very low-rated performance in the GHG Emissions, Renewable Energy and Energy Use. The experts from the USA rated the climate policy of the Trump administration very low, but they highlight some positive signals because of climate action in several states and cities and because of the Democrats promise to push climate policy with their new majority in the House of Representatives.

According to the CCPI, the gap between current emission levels and what is needed to put the world on track for a well-below-2°C or even 1.5°C pathway is widening – demonstrating “a lack of political will of most governments to phase out fossil fuels with the necessary speed.”

“Before Paris the world was heading to 4-5°C of global warming. Now we are still on a path to more than 3°C, still a catastrophic perspective,” Prof. Niklas Höhne, co-author from NewClimate Institute, added.

In 40 of the 56 analysed countries, the emissions decreased between 2011 and 2016. However, investments in fossil fuel infrastructure are leading to a high risk of a lock-in into high emissions pathways.

Key results of CCPI 2019 – none of 56 countries clearly on a pathway well below 2°C

The top three of the CCPI 2019 are still unoccupied, because none of the 56 countries or the EU are clearly on a well below 2°C pathway in their overall performance.

With comparably good ratings in emissions and renewables Sweden again leads the climate change ranking (Rank 4), followed by Morocco which significantly increased its share of renewable energy capacity and has an ambitious national climate target. India moves to rank 11 as a result of an improved performance in renewable energy, comparatively low levels of per capita emissions and a relatively ambitious mitigation target for 2030.

Germany has fallen yet again from place 22 to place 27 and is now in the middle of medium-performing countries. The country shows a relatively low performance in the emissions category, emissions have not decreased since 2009 and is rated medium regarding renewable energy and climate policy.

Jan Burck explained that decisions on a coal phase-out in Germany or a strategy to decarbonise the transport sector are still lacking and a CO2-pricing scheme to ensure for emissions reductions across all sectors is likewise not yet in place.

“It is very important now that EU needs to enhance its current climate commitment to show leadership”, Dr. Stephan Singer from the Climate Action Network (CAN), co-publisher of the CCPI, said.

China moves into group of medium-performing countries for the first time

The CCPI shows China has climbed to rank 33 and is now in the group of the medium-performing countries for the first time. China performed relatively well regarding its emissions trend from 2014 to 2016, but emissions started to increase again recently. The overall high rating in the climate policy category reflects the government’s progress on regulating industrial emissions, building emissions and a successful renewable energy support scheme.

In contrast, almost half of the G20 countries are in the group of very low performers, including:

  • Japan (49)
  • Turkey (50)
  • Russian Federation (52)
  • Canada (54)
  • Australia (55)
  • Korea (57)

Jan Burck, co-author of the CCPI at the independent development and environmental organisation Germanwatch which lobbies for sustainable global development, commented:

“Based on techno-economic developments in the last years, delay in implementation of low-carbon solutions can hardly be justified. While the G20 summit has shown strong support of 19 countries to support the Paris Agreement, the political will of those Governments to set the right frameworks and incentives for its national implementation is not yet reflected in these words.”

Click here to download the Climate Change Performance Index in full

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