An index of the world’s most polluting countries has indicated where the most ecological progress is being made.
The Climate Change Performance Index shows which industrial countries are in the lead, although all nations are failing to match the Paris climate agreement targets of keeping global temperature rises below 2°C.
No country is classified as meeting the Paris requirements. Sweden, Denmark and Morocco came top and Taiwan, Saudi Arabia and the US were the bottom three performers.
No country is classified as meeting the requirement to pursue actions containing global temperature increase to 1.5°C, the central requirement of the Paris agreement.
The index published by the NewClimate Institute, Germanwatch and Climate Action Network compared the progress toward the 2°C cap in 57 countries, plus the European Union as a whole. Together, these nations are responsible for more than 90 per cent of global emissions.
In 31 of the 57 most-polluting countries, emissions are falling and it is the first time a majority of nations have moved in the right direction. But emissions increased overall when they needed to halve in the next 10 years.
They were ranked on greenhouse emissions, the share of energy generated by renewable sources, energy consumption per capita and climate policy.
Ireland’s performance in addressing climate change improved over the past year although it remains behind other European countries in cutting emissions.
Ireland moved up seven places to 41st place, shifting from “very low” to “low performers”. Last year Ireland was in last place among EU nations.
The report praised the Irish Republic’s long-term carbon-neutral target for 2050, increasing carbon taxes and plans to phase out fossil fuels.
Catherine Devitt, head of policy at the Stop Climate Chaos Coalition, said: “Ireland’s polluting emissions remain on an upward trend, the government has yet to join other member states in calling for the EU to urgently raise its ambition in line with the Paris agreement, and the scale of 2 per cent emissions cuts per year presented in the government’s action plan is wholly inadequate.
“The science and the mounting evidence clearly demonstrates that we need far-reaching transformation across all aspects of society.”
Sweden came top with its target of 100 per cent renewable supply by 2040 and the world’s highest carbon tax at €114 for a metric tonne. Germany, in 23rd place, is planning to introduce a tax of €10 on a tonne of carbon in 2021.
Poland, in 50th place, was the lowest placed European Union country and China climbed the rankings from last year to 30th place.
Sweden is the “least-failing” state in the index. Picture credit: Flickr