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The Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI) 2021: Sweden is the leading country for climate action, the USA ranked last

Since 2005 The Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI) from NGOs Germanwatch and the NewClimate Institute has been monitoring and comparing the climate protection performance of 57 countries and of the European Union (EU), which together are responsible for about 90% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The index, which is designed to increase transparency of international climate policy, enables comparison of climate change mitigation efforts and progress made by individual countries. The 2021 CCPI edition evaluates countries’ performance in four categories: GHG Emissions (40% of the overall ranking), Renewable Energy (20%), Energy Use (20%) and Climate Policy (20%). Because the CCPI-2021 uses 2018 data, it does not take into account the effects caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Traditionally, the rating divides countries into 5 groups according to the number of points – countries with very high, high, medium, low and very low performance.

As in all previous years, no country performed well enough to achieve a very high ranking in the index. Thus, once again, the first three places in the overall ranking remain unoccupied. For the fourth year in a row, experts give Sweden (74.4 points) the best position with a high rating in the categories Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Renewable Energy, and Climate Policy. In addition, Sweden is the only EU country with a very high share of renewables, receiving also a high rating for its 2030 target. However, the country is still unable to improve its low performance in the Energy Use category. The U.K. (69.7) with its plans to expand the use of renewable energy in the country, moved from 4th position last year to second, displacing Denmark (69.4) into the third position. Among the top ten in the ranking are three developing countries: Morocco (67.6), Chile (64.1) and India (64). Other countries in the high performer list are Norway (65.5), Finland (62.6), Malta (62.2), Latvia (61.9), Switzerland (60.8), and Lithuania (58). Last year, the EU as a whole dropped from the high-performance group to the medium performers, but this year, due to strong results in the Climate Policy Category, the EU (57.3) managed to get back ahead of Portugal (56.8), the country, which closes the list of high performers. Compared to last year, Portugal has made the most progress, climbing from 25th to 17th place, mainly because of its ambitious climate policy.

Croatia (56.7) leads the group of medium performing countries, ahead of Germany (56.4), Ukraine (55.5), Luxembourg (55.2), Egypt (54.3), France (53.7), etc. Germany is up three places from last year, reflecting its new efforts to reduce emissions and plans to phase out coal-fired power generation by 2038. Such countries as Mexico (48.8), China (48.2), Greece (48.1), Austria (48), Turkey (43.5), etc. are classified as low performers in the overall rating. Japan moved up six places (from 51st to 45th) and is rated "low" (last year: "very low").

At the bottom of the ranking, we find the Islamic Republic of Iran (24.6), Saudi Arabia (22.5), and once again, the United States (19.7) at the very bottom of the table. Four other G20 nations including Canada, South Korea, Russia and Australia are also ranked among the outsiders this year. The worst performing EU Member States, in the group of very low performers, are the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, the Republic of Cyprus, and Slovenia.

Overall, the report emphasizes that the climate crisis is a growing threat to our planet and, “even if all countries were as committed as the current frontrunners, it would still not be enough to prevent dangerous climate change”, which is why more drastic urgent measures must be taken to prevent a disaster.