12 December 2019
No Country on Path Compatible with Paris Climate Targets, 2020 Climate Index Warns
UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe
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The 2020 Climate Change Performance Index measures countries’ performances on GHG emissions, renewable energy, energy use and climate policy.

Overall, the top five performers are Sweden, Denmark, Morocco, the UK and Lithuania; the US is placed last.

New Climate Institute, Germanwatch and the Climate Action Network (CAN) released the 2020 Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI), which tracks the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of 57 countries and the EU. Published annually since 2006, the CCPI aims to enhance transparency in international climate politics by highlighting countries with best practice climate policies and noting those countries that have failed to take ambitious climate action.

The 2020 CCPI measures countries’ performance in four categories: GHG emissions; renewable energy; energy use; and climate policy. The GHG emissions, renewable energy and energy use categories each include four indicators: current level; past trend; well-below-2°C compatibility of the current level; and well-below-2°C compatibility of the countries’ 2030 target. The climate policy category has two indicators on national climate policy and international climate policy, which are assessed through a qualitative research study.

The 2020 Index finds that “no country performs well enough in all index categories to achieve an overall very high rating,” meaning that no country is yet “on a path compatible with the Paris climate targets.” Sweden leads the group of high-performing countries, as it did in the 2018 and 2019 Indices. The remaining top five countries are: Denmark, Morocco, the UK and Lithuania. The US is placed last. 

There is significant room for improvement in mitigating emissions by accelerating deployment of renewable energy.

On GHG emissions, 31 out of 57 high-emitting countries recorded decreasing emissions. Sweden received a very high rating for the country’s well-below-2°C compatibility. Egypt received a high rating for its comparatively low level of current GHG per capita emissions, additional emission reductions over recent years and an ambitious 2030 target. The UK is classified as medium for current per capita emissions, but achieved high ratings for the other three GHG emissions indicators, including a high rating for well-below-2°C compatibility of its 2030 GHG emission target. The bottom performers in this category include the Republic of Korea and Saudi Arabia.

On renewable energy, the Index states that “additions of renewable power generation outpaced net installations of fossil fuel and nuclear power” for the fourth year in a row, with substantial growth in the offshore wind sector. No country received a very high rating for the all renewable energy indicators, which the report suggests, means there is significant room for improvement in mitigating emissions by accelerating deployment of renewable energy. Sweden achieved a very high share of renewable energy and is one of the countries rated high for well-below-2°C compatibility. Latvia achieved high ratings for its share of renewable energy and its well-below-2°C compatibility. Denmark is rated high for the well-below-2°C compatibility of its renewable energy and its 2030 target. The bottom performers are Malaysia, Iran and the Russian Federation. The report emphasizes that Malaysia has failed to make any improvements in renewable energy, and the Russian Federation has a very low rating for its ambition in the 2030 target.

On energy use, Malta, Morocco and Mexico are the top performers. Saudi Arabia, Canada and the Republic of Korea are the bottom three performers.

On climate policy, no country received a very high rating for the category, although Portugal, Finland, Sweden and Norway achieved a very high rating for their international climate policy performance. Portugal ranked first, followed by Finland, recognized for its target to become carbon neutral by 2035 and its ban on burning coal by 2029. Morocco ranked high based on its ambitious 2030 targets. The bottom three performers are Turkey, the US, and Australia.

The organizations presented the CCPI at the 25th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 25) to the UNFCCC. [Publication: Climate Change Performance Index 2020] [New Climate Institute Press Release] [SDG Knowledge Hub Story on 2019 CCPI

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