The United States and Canada are some of the worst climate performers in the world. None of the countries reviewed in the 2020 Performance Index have demonstrated that they are on a path that is compatible with the goals laid out in the Paris Climate agreement. Sweden leads the group of high-performing countries, as it did in the 2018 and 2019 Indices. The other four top performing countries in the top five are Denmark, Morocco, the UK and Lithuania. The US is in last place. The 2020 Climate Change Performance Index tracks the performance of 57 countries and the EU on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, renewable energy, energy use and climate policy. The 2020 Index finds that “no country performs well enough in all index categories to achieve an overall very high rating,” meaning that no country is yet “on a path compatible with the Paris climate targets.” Countries are assessed based on their compatibility with ambitions to keep temperatures from warming beyond 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial norms.
On GHG emissions, 31 out of 57 high-emitting countries recorded decreasing emissions. Sweden received a very high rating and Egypt received a high rating for its comparatively low level of current GHG per capita emissions, additional emission reductions over recent years and an ambitious 2030 target. The UK is classified as medium for current per capita emissions, but achieved high ratings for the other three GHG emissions indicators, including a high rating for its 2030 GHG emission target. The bottom performers in this category include the Republic of Korea and Saudi Arabia.
Overall, no country received a very high rating for all the renewable energy indicators, which indicates that there is significant room for improvement in mitigating emissions by accelerating deployment of renewable energy. However, the Index states that, “additions of renewable power generation outpaced net installations of fossil fuel and nuclear power”. Sweden, Latvia and Denmark were the top performers in renewable energy. The bottom performers on renewable energy are Malaysia, Iran and the Russian Federation. The report emphasizes that Malaysia has failed to make any improvements in renewable energy, and the Russian Federation has a very low rating for its ambition in the 2030 target. On energy use, Malta, Morocco and Mexico are the top performers. Saudi Arabia, Canada and the Republic of Korea are the bottom three performers.
On climate policy, no country received a very high rating for the category, although Portugal, Finland, Sweden and Norway achieved a very high rating for their international climate policy performance. Portugal ranked first, followed by Finland, recognized for its target to become carbon neutral by 2035 and its ban on burning coal by 2029. Morocco ranked high based on its ambitious 2030 targets. The bottom three performers are Turkey, the US, and Australia.
The Index is prepared by a group of thinktanks comprising the NewClimate Institute, the Climate Action Network and Germanwatch. To read the complete report click here (PDF).
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