Sweden leads world in tackling climate change with US in free fall

Sweden has topped a list of 60 countries ranking their progress in tackling climate change, but no nation is doing enough to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.

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The Climate Change Performance Index 2018 measures countries' performance based on their greenhouse gas emissions, renewable energy, climate policy and energy use.

Lithuania, Morocco, Norway and the UK join Sweden in the five best performing countries, while Saudi Arabia is bottom of the pile, followed by Iran, Korea, Australia and the US.

“We continue to see very positive developments regarding renewables and energy efficiency, with CO2 emissions stabalising in the last three years,” Climate Action Network senior adviser, Stephan Singer, said.

”But progress is achieved much too slow for a fully renewable energy based world economy in a few decades, because growing oil and gas consumption is higher than the welcomed reduction in coal use.”

The Index was published by the European think tanks Germanwatch and the NewClimate Institute, with the countries studied representing approximately 90% of global CO2 emissions.

The low ranking for the US follows its decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement and a dismantlement of major climate legislation following the election of Donald Trump.

However, its high emission levels and energy use also contribute to its low position, with the bottom three nations said to be showing hardly any progress or ambition in tackling these areas.

India ranks 14th in the list with continued low emissions and energy use per capita, and although China is ranked 41st, it is expected to perform better in the years ahead as it phases out coal and promotes renewables.

However, the index highlights a general lack of ambitious targets and action to deliver the Paris Agreement throughout the world, with the EU coming in for particular criticism.

Climate Action Network director, Wendel Trio, said: “The EU vows commitment to the Paris Agreement, but avoids real climate action at home. It needs to translate words into action.

“Current discussions on the new clean energy policies and the EU budget offer excellent opportunities to increase ambition of the bloc’s climate action.”

 

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