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Climate Change Performance Index 2020: No Country does enough to put a Break on Global Warming

The 2020 edition of the annual Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI-2020) published by Germanwatch, the New Climate Institute and the Climate Action Network ranks 57 countries and the EU within four categories that were established in 2017: greenhouse gas emissions, renewable energy, energy use and climate policy. CCPI evaluates the performance of the countries on their way to 2030 targets and the well-below-2°C compatibility. The overall ranking places the countries in one of five groups: very high, high, medium, low and very low performing countries. According to the report, the countries being examined are responsible for more than 90% of global greenhouse gas emissions. This year, for the first time, Chile was evaluated in the CCPI.

Meanwhile, it is to be expected that no country has performed well enough and the first three places of the rating remain traditionally unoccupied. For the third year in a row, Sweden with 77.75 points is ahead of high performing countries. In comparison to last year, Denmark (71.14) has caught up ten positions and occupied second place, displacing Morocco (70.63) into third position. The driver of this positive development was Denmark’s climate policy, in particular a 70% emission reduction target by 2030. Other countries down the list are UK (69.80), Lithuania (66.22), India (66.02), Finland (63.26), Norway (61.14), Luxembourg (60.91), Malta (60.76), Latvia (60.75) and Switzerland (60.61). The only Latin American country evaluated in the index which entered the group of high performers is the newcomer of CCPI-2020, Chile, with 62.88 points. Though Chile’s national climate policy performance is evaluated as low, its GHG Emissions are still well below the global average. Ukraine, with 60.60 points, closes the list of high performers. According to the report, this is not due to a high performance of the country in climate policy or GHG emissions, but rather to the disruption of the coal sector and energy-intensive industries caused by the conflict in the Donbas region.

Last year, the EU as a whole moved from the medium to the high performance group, but this year it falls six places back to the group of medium performers (55.82). Although the EU’s climate policy is evaluated as high, the Union is currently far away from the implementation of the 2030 targets. Due to a slight improvement in its GHG Emissions, Ireland, which used to be the worst performing country in the EU, managed to improve its position and moved up to low performers. Meanwhile, Bulgaria and Poland slipped into the very low performing group of CCPI-2020.

In the group of the middle performers the picture is similar to the previous edition of CCPI. Due to positive signals in its climate policy, Germany (55.78), has slightly improved its results and moved up from 27th to 23rd position. At the same time, experts emphasize that the country’s efforts on the way to a well-below-2°C status are still insufficient. China has also improved its ranking by 3 places, putting a lot of effort into developing renewable electricity and achieving emissions 2030 goals. On the other hand, China still invests heavily in the coal industry, which has a negative impact on GHG emissions. Estonia’s success should be noted as it climbed from 45th to 31st position, making it into the group of medium performers, albeit taking last place in it.

Among the countries which have the weakest performance in preventing climate change are the Islamic Republic of Iran (28.41), Korea (26.75), Chinese Taipei (23.33), Saudi Arabia (22.03) and the United States (18.60). It is worth noting that for the first time in CCPI Saudi Arabia managed to cast off its title as “the worst performing country”, allowing the USA take the very bottom of the index.
In general, the experts observe contradictory trends in the global climate politics and energy developments. On the one hand there are important positive trends in energy storage and technologies, for example, an increasing presence of renewable energy and continued declining costs of its technologies make green energy becoming cheaper than coal; on the other hand, present global commitments to hold back climate change are insufficient, additional urgent measures and rapid changes are needed to keep warming to less than 2°C.