None of the 57 countries scored high enough for the top three spots in Germanwatch and Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe’s sixth annual Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI).
The top three spots are reserved for countries that are doing enough to stay below the goal of a 1.5- degree average global warming limit, indicating that no country is doing enough to prevent dangerous climate change.
Sweden was hampered by the government’s climate policy actions in recent years, both within the EU and by stating that there will be no increases in carbon taxes, according to the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (Naturskyddsföreningen, SSNC).
“We hope now that the government will regain the top position by imposing tougher economic means of control on the domestic front and through showing another initiative push on the international stage,” wrote Svante Axelsson, general secretary of SSNC, in a statement on Monday.
“Sweden also needs to drop the view that climate action must be cost-effective in the short term and instead look to long-term competitiveness,” he added.
CCPI 2011 evaluates and ranks the world’s 57 highest carbon dioxide (CO2)-emitting countries based on their emissions and climate policies. More than 190 experts from the respective countries assisted in compiling this year’s index by analysing national regulations.
Brazil remained on “top,” matching last year, when it became the first developing country to rank the highest on the list, knocking off Sweden, which had led in 2007, 2008 and 2009. Norway, Germany and the UK rounded out the top eight, while Saudi Arabia came in last.
The world’s two largest CO2 emitters, China and the US, dropped several ranking compared to last year, with China now ranked 56th and the USA 54th.
“China has recently started improving its national climate policies, including legislation on renewable energy, which has already made it the world leader in wind energy investments,” Matthias Duwe, director of CAN Europe, said in a statement.
Because emissions are weighted heavier in the index than policy, China’s ranking was still lower than last year based on overall emissions trends.
However, in the US, the Senate’s blockage of climate legislation resulted in a lower ranking.
“The Obama Administration will now have to utilise existing clean air laws to regulate emissions and reverse the US’ downward trend in this index,” Duwe observed.