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Climate Change Performance Index 2021: Still no country good enough;  EU stands at a crossroads

New ranking of 58 countries with the highest emissions published today:
– None of the countries surveyed are on a path compatible with the Paris Agreement goals
– Emissions are decreasing in more than half of the countries analyzed
– Seven EU states and the EU as a whole receive a “high” rating for climate protection, but five EU countries are in the “very low” category
– Portugal and New Zealand are among the big climbers; Sweden leads the way
– Second time in a row, USA is at the bottom of the ranking, below Saudi Arabia

Berlin/Bonn (Dec. 7, 2020). The Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI) 2021 published today paints a mixed picture of progress by the European Union (EU) on climate action. While the Scandinavian EU countries, Portugal and the EU as a whole rank high on the index with relatively  good indicators,  Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic stand out as outliers on climate progress within the bloc.

In the overall ranking, the EU has improved from the 22nd place last year to the 16th place this year, almost exclusively thanks to a much better rated climate policy.

The CCPI analyzes and compares climate protection across 57 countries (plus EU as a whole) with the highest emissions, which together account for 90 percent of global emissions. The current index analyzes emissions before the coronavirus crisis and does not reflect emissions reduction during this unusual situation.

“The latest  Climate Change Performance Index clearly shows that the EU stands at a crossroads,” says Jan Burck, one of the authors of the Index, published by his organization Germanwatch in cooperation with NewClimate Institute and Climate Action Network (CAN).

This report comes a few days before the EU summit on the climate targets for 2030 and the UN Climate Ambition Summit to mark the Fifth Anniversary of the Paris Agreement on December 12.

“The EU can become a role model in climate protection with green recovery measures after the coronavirus crisis, by setting an ambitious climate target for 2030 in line with the 1,5°C-limit and a good implementation and further development of its Green Deal. But it can also stumble badly if it pursues greenwashing instead of green recovery and implements inadequate targets and instruments in the European Green Deal,” Burck added.

Only three G20 members lead in the rankings, with six at the very bottom

The G20 also presents a split picture. The United Kingdom (5th), India (10th) and the EU score high on the index. The vast majority of G20 countries, however, are trailing in the rankings. The USA (61st), Saudi Arabia (60th), Canada (58th), Australia (54th), South Korea (53rd) and Russia (52nd) are all rated “very low”.

While a turning point in global emissions seems to be within reach, five years after the Paris Agreement no country is on a path compliant with the Paris Agreement goals. Overall, greenhouse gas emissions have increased slightly, but are actually falling in more than half of the countries (32) surveyed. In two-thirds of the countries (38) more than ten percent of the total primary energy required now comes from renewable sources and in twelve countries renewables account for more than 20 percent.

“It is now all the more crucial that worldwide economic recovery does not only support reviving economies, but is also preparing for a zero-carbon global economy at the same time. Whether the majority of recovery actions surveyed for the index are reducing or increasing greenhouse gas emissions is still unclear. But there is still room to shape the recovery packages and many good measures are under discussion,” says Prof. Dr. Niklas Höhne of NewClimate Institute.

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