US, China among worst climate performers

US, China among worst climate performers


Compiled by Germanwatch, a think tank, and the Climate Action Newtork (CAN), an alliance of environment pressure groups, the annual Climate Change Performance Index ranks countries based on their climate protection performance, comparing 57 industrialised countries and emerging economies.

This year’s edition was published on the sidelines of the key UN climate change talks in Copenhagen.

Brazil was the biggest upward mover in the ranking, making it to fourth place with an overall score of 68 and knocking the traditionally strongest player, Sweden, into fifth place.
No country made it to the top three spots, while China and the US were ranked 52nd and 53rd, respectively.

“Since no country is thus far adequately on the path towards halting dangerous climate change, the three top spots are empty once again this year,” said Jan Burck of Germanwatch.
Brazil was rewarded for its ability to cut its deforestation rate by 50 per cent in the last year. But, the study’s authors said it was unclear whether the cut was solely the result of falling demand for products such as soy and palm oil owing to the global economic crisis.
“It’s great to see emerging economies like Brazil moving up the ranking, sending a clear signal during these negotiations that they are more and more committed to combating climate change,” said Matthias Duwe, director of CAN Europe.

Burck, one of the study’s authors, explained that countries are ranked against one another as well as against the criteria of keeping average temperature increases below the dangerous level of two degrees celsius.

The poor performance of China and the US was explained by the fact that, while each country is responsible for about a fifth of global emissions of carbon dioxide, its leaders have announced what most experts describe as insufficient greenhouse gas emission targets. Saudi Arabia was by far the worst performer with a score of 28.7, ranking a distant last behind 59th-place Canada.

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