Australia has been rated third last out of the 58 countries assessed in the latest Climate Change Performance Index, released today at the UN climate talks in Paris.
The index, which is put together by Climate Action Network Europe and German NGO, Germanwatch, evaluates and ranks the climate protection performance of 58 countries that together are responsible for more than 90 per cent of global energy-related CO2 emissions.
“This report provides more evidence Australia isn’t doing enough in the global effort on climate change,” said the Australian Conservation Foundation’s CEO Kelly O’Shanassy.
“As a significant contributor to the problem and a country with a lot to lose from more heatwaves, droughts and bushfires, Australia should be a leader on climate action. Instead we’re right near the bottom of the list, with only Kazakhstan and Saudi Arabia below us.
“There is no reason for Australia to be performing so poorly – we’ve got a strong economy and some of the best solar and wind resources in the world – we should be right up at the top of the list, not lagging near the bottom.
“Since the last federal election Australia’s government has repealed a functioning price on pollution, which cut at least 17 million tonnes of CO2 from our electricity sector, slashed the Renewable Energy Target, scaring off investors, and has the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and renewable energy agency ARENA on death row.
“Prime Minister Turnbull’s decision last week not to sign a communique on phasing out fossil fuel subsidies has not improved Australia’s international reputation.
“Meanwhile back at home the Turnbull government recently approved Adani’s proposed Carmichael coal mine, which would be the biggest coal mine ever dug in Australia,* almost completely cancelling out the pollution cuts promised in Australia’s international target.
“ACF urges the Turnbull government to transform Australia from a laggard to a leader by reversing its commitment to coal and instead preparing Australia to make the most of the sun, the wind and our other abundant renewable energy resources.”
* ACF has launched a federal court challenge to Minister Hunt’s approval of the Carmichael coal mine