China and the United States, the two main emitting powers in the world (together they accumulate about 45% of greenhouse gases), are among the countries with the least robust climate change policies, according to the Climate Change Performance Index, created by the international organizations Germanwatch, NewClimate Institute and CAN International and which was presented this Monday at the COP27 climate summit held in the Egyptian city of Sharm el Sheikh. This analysis focuses on the 59 most emitting countries on the planet (whose economies expel 92% of gases), has been conducted since 2005 and analyzes four categories: emissions, renewables, energy use and climate policy.
Based on these four indicators, the classification of countries is made. In this year’s edition, the United States ranks 52nd, improving by three on 2021 thanks to plans approved by the president, Democrat Joe Biden. The big collapse occurs in the case of China, which drops 13 steps, to 51. Despite the strong expansion of renewables, the high dependence on coal and other fossil fuels, together with unambitious plans to cut emissions (which delay cuts to 2030) penalize this country. “The engagement between China and the United States continues to be crucial for the success of the COP, and the complex trade and geopolitical relations of the countries jeopardize the effective progress in the fight against the climate crisis”, notes the report presented on Monday at vertex.
In general terms, the authors of the analysis underline that the current energy crisis, fueled by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, “clearly demonstrates how the world continues to depend on fossil fuels”. Jan Burck of Germanwatch explains: “Countries should now use it shock focus on expanding renewable energy and increasing energy efficiency to rapidly reduce its reliance on fossil fuels.
In the case of the United States, while the new policies and goals announced by the Democratic administration are applauded, analysts criticize the fact that the country does not plan to stop “the national extraction of fossil fuels”. Also, “there are still subsidies for fossil fuels.” Finally, he warns against the filibustering role played “by the Republican opposition in climate policy”.
Denmark tops this again classification standing out in all the areas analysed, while not occupying any of the three highest positions, which remain vacant because no country has a “very high” overall performance. The European Union as a whole rises by three positions compared to the previous year, up to 19. The EU rises by three positions thanks to the new objectives it has set for 2030 and the package of measures it is implementing to achieve them.
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Spain moves forward with the promotion of renewables
Within the EU, one of the nations that advances the most in this edition (11 steps) is Spain, which rises to 23rd place Analysts appreciate the new objectives imposed by the law on climate change and energy transition and the push to renewables. But the experts “criticism the absence of a government commitment to gradually eliminate fossil fuel subsidies” and ask that “Spain includes the participation of civil society in renewable energy projects for a just energy transition in the country”.
The opposite case is that of France, which drops 11 positions to 28th place in the ranking. The collapse is mainly due to the low score that the country receives in the renewable energy section. In fact, France is the only EU member that has not met the targets the EU set for clean energy implementation in 2020.
Outside of Europe, the case of Chile stands out as positive, leading the ranking behind only Denmark and Sweden. Chile, already in a good position last year, moves up three steps, among other things, thanks to the new law on climate change, which establishes the commitment to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 and “policies to implement this goal” .
The last positions in this ranking are occupied by Iran, Saudi Arabia and Kazakhstan, which are heavily dependent on oil and also score very low in renewable energy. “Saudi Arabia is the country with the highest per capita greenhouse gas emissions among the G-20 nations,” the authors explain. “Russia, Turkey, Hungary and Brazil show a very low performance in terms of climate policies,” they add. But in the case of Brazil, the hope is expressed that with the return to power of Lula da Silva, “the ambition of the country’s climate policy” will increase and “the institutions to implement it” will be rebuilt. “Protecting the Amazon and phasing out fossil fuel production are key measures,” they explain.
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