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The Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI) 2018 – the EU ranked for the first time

The annual Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI), produced by Germanwatch, the New Climate Institute, and Climate Action Network, is an instrument designed to enhance transparency in international climate politics. The 2018 index evaluates the climate protection performance of 56 countries and for the first time includes the EU as the only supranational entity, which are together responsible for more than 90 percent of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Besides measuring the efforts countries have made to avoid climate change, 2018 CCPI evaluates the performance of states regarding sufficient implementation of the Paris Agreement 2015 in national legislation.
The climate change performance is measured via 14 indicators within 4 categories: 40% of the total score falls in the category GHG Emissions, the remaining 60% is divided equally between renewable energy (20%), energy use (20%), and climate policy (20%). With each new version of the index the methodology of its compilation varies to some extent. Besides improvements in the weighting and smaller modifications within the calculation method, the major changes of CCPI 2018 are related to measuring the progress of countries on their way to implementing the 2015 Paris Agreement. In this respect one of the important achievements is that the CCPI now also evaluates to what extent the countries are taking adequate action within the categories’ emissions, renewables and energy use to being on track towards limiting global warming to well below 2°C.
Despite decreasing growth rates in GHG emissions, no country has still performed well enough to reach the rating “very high” and therefore, as in all past editions of the CCPI, the top three ranks remain unoccupied. The best country of 2017, France, has lost the lead and moved to 15th position. Experts criticize the country because of its medium performance in GHG emissions and insufficient policy on track to be well below 2°C. This year Sweden, with a comparably high performance in the index emissions category, is leading the list, followed by Lithuania, Morocco, Norway, and the United Kingdom. The group of medium-performing countries consists of countries such as Brazil, Germany, Mexico, and Ukraine, while New Zealand, the Netherlands, and Austria are classified as low performers in the overall rating.
With its decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, the USA ranking continues to fall and the country occupies one of the lowest positions. It forms the bottom five of CCPI 2018 in company with Australia, the Republic of Korea, the Islamic Republic of Iran, and Saudi Arabia, which all score "low" or "very low" across almost all categories. Due to policies promoting renewables and coal phase-out, the world’s largest emitter of GHG emissions, China, has slightly improved its position, but because of negative emission trends the country can still be found in the group of very low performers.
Being evaluated as an entity in the CCPI for the first time, the European Union ranked in 21st place. As the union consists of 28 nations, there are wide differences in the performance of individual member states. The EU as a whole accounts for about 8% of global GHG emissions. EU experts emphasize the union‘s constructive role in international climate diplomacy, but criticize the slow progress in putting in place new and more ambitious policies and targets. Ireland is the worst performing country in Europe for taking concrete action to tackle climate change.
In general, the index confirms that greater efforts are being made globally to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to support renewables and energy efficiency, but global progress is still not in line with the Paris Agreement commitments and that countries must deliver stronger policies to prevent dangerous climate change.