As the climate crisis accelerates and dramatically impacts human lives to the core in many ways, a great number of countries are not on a compatible path with Paris climate targets, according to the Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI) 2020 on Tuesday.
The CCPI is an independent monitoring tool for tracking countries' climate protection performance published by Germanwatch, the NewClimate Institute and the Climate Action Network (CAN). The CCPI monitored 57 high emitting countries and the European Union on their performances in emissions standards, renewable energy, energy use, and climate policies.
According to the index, emissions decrease in 31 out of 57 high emitting countries. However, the first three places of the ranking remain unoccupied because no countries could rank their performance as "very high," the index showed.
Thus, Sweden is leading the group of "high" performing countries, as it has in the past two years. Denmark moves up ten ranks to become the second "high" performing country. The official coal phase-out target of the country by 2030 further leads to the overall high rating for its national climate policy.
Morocco ranked as the third "high" performing country although it fell one place behind compared to last year's index.
The index showed that the bottom three countries are Chinese Taipei, Saudi Arabia and the U.S. However, Saudi Arabia for the first time is not the worst performing country thanks to a positive trend in the recent development of renewable energy.
However, the U.S. after falling three positions in last year's ranking, continues its downward trend, sinking to the bottom of the ranking. The country received "very low" ratings throughout all categories.
"The very low performance is further underpinned by the Trump administration officially having started the process of withdrawing from the Paris Agreement, due to be finalized on 4 November 2020," the study showed.
The U.S. President Donald Trump's administration official began the process of withdrawing from the Paris Agreement by notifying the United Nations, a move that has incited much criticism from many countries and institutions.
"For the first time, the United States of America is ranked at the very bottom of the CCPI. The country receives very low ratings throughout all categories without exception. Experts' comments show a highly problematic picture of the U.S. climate policy in all areas," the study warned.
The implementation phase of the Paris Agreement enters a crucial phase in 2020, where countries are due to submit their updated Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).
- Emissions continue to grow
Globally, despite declining emissions in some countries, greenhouse gas emissions continue to grow.
"Between 2009 and 2018, emissions have risen by 1.5% per year, with only the years 2014-2016 showing a slight slowdown. Preliminary data for 2018 suggest that global greenhouse gas emissions grew by 1.9%," the index found.
Sweden, Egypt, the U.K. and India are among the top "high" performing countries for their per capita emissions with well below 2 degrees Celsius compatibility.
Canada, China, Korea, Saudi Arabia and the U.S. occupy the ranking as the worst performing countries in terms of high per capita emissions.
- Brazil and Turkey perform high among G20 countries in renewable energy
The index showed that although the global renewable energy capacity is continuously increasing, investments in the renewable sector still need acceleration to meet the growing demand in a compatible way with the Paris Climate Agreement.
Latvia, Sweden and Denmark lead as "high" performing counties in terms of renewable energy investments, while Turkey and Brazil have been rated as countries that need to do better.
Turkey ranks in 48th place and remains on the list of "very low" performing countries, with a "low" ranking performance in greenhouse gas emissions and energy use categories.
However, in terms of rapid renewables growth, the country is among the high performing countries with renewables deployment over the past years.
"Turkey ranks quite low in the CCPI 2020 mainly because the methodology weighs greenhouse gas emissions and country targets most. While Turkey has increased the share of renewables in the last year, the country's emission reduction targets are still incompatible with the current level of climate crisis," Climate and Energy Policies Coordinator for Turkey at CAN Europe, Elif Gunduzyeli, told Anadolu Agency.
She said this year CCPI also shows how a rich country like Japan, who has announced an ambitious emissions reductions target for 2050, drops down the ranking due to lacking a concrete road map to achieve its long term plans, in addition to the increase of its overseas coal investments and finance.
"The current state of climate crisis does not leave any space for countries to increase their emissions. All countries must immediately step up, increase their climate ambition and put a realistic roadmap, supported by adequate climate policies, to achieve that," she emphasized.
- Climate becomes important issue for voters
The index also drew attention to the fact that increasing public awareness, harnessed by a growing global climate movement, is putting pressure on governments to make climate policy a priority.
"The run-up and outcomes of elections in several countries this year underlined that climate is an increasingly important issue for voters. Yet, the ambition put forward by countries at international level as well as their national-level implementation of policies are not sufficient," it said in the index.
By Firdevs Yuksel and Nuran Erkul Kaya