A major global assessment of the efforts of over 50 countries to cut pollution has ranked Australia fourth-last. The Climate Change Performance Index uses four key categories to rank nations: greenhouse gas emissions, energy efficiency, clean energy, and climate policy.
In this year’s assessment Australia was found to be in the ‘Very Low’ category for emissions, energy efficiency and policy and in the ‘Low’ category for clean energy.
Only Iran, Republic of Korea and Saudi Arabia performed worse than Australia on overall performance in tackling climate pollution. The assessment takes into account pollution per person, developments in the last five years in absolute pollution and how Australia’s pollution reduction target compares to the action needed to keep global warming below 2 degrees.
The index was prepared by Germanwatch, Climate Action Network Europe and the NewClimate Institute and released at the latest round of major UN climate change negotiations in Bonn, Germany. The Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) was an adviser to the policy assessment.
ACF Chief Executive Officer, Kelly O’Shanassy, said: “Australia’s continued failure to put in place a robust and comprehensive national plan to cut pollution is raising alarm bells around the world.
“This assessment has found Australia has the highest level of climate pollution per person. Our continued reliance on burning coal and gas for power contributes significantly to dangerous climate change and our polluting fuel exports makes more climate pollution offshore.
“Australia’s climate pollution is on the rise. This is a national embarrassment for a wealthy nation with so much at risk from climate change and such abundant sun and wind that could be harvested for clean energy.”
The assessment comes as territory, state and federal energy ministers head to Hobart next week for a COAG Energy Council meeting to consider the Turnbull Government’s new energy policy, the National Energy Guarantee (NEG).
“Australia needs to seriously lift its game, but in the NEG proposal we have an anti-renewables policy from an anti-renewables government. Our elected representatives need to put in place a comprehensive plan to cut climate pollution, swiftly transition to clean energy and end the burning of coal and gas,” Ms O’Shanassy said.
“It’s no surprise that Australia not only ranks near bottom on climate pollution, we also have an embarrassingly low position on climate policy. Only seven countries rank lower including Turkey, the United States, Bulgaria and Kazakhstan.
“This report card should give the Turnbull Government the push it needs to deliver a strong climate plan.
“A national review of climate policies is due next month. We are heartened that tough pollution standards for cars are being considered as part of that process, but much more is needed if Australia is to stop being a climate laggard that’s trashing our planet.”
The Climate Change Performance Index can be found here: http://germanwatch.org/en/ccpi