Australia ranked last on climate action in UN report

The United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland (ranked)

Australia has been ranked last for climate action out of nearly 200 countries in a report assessing progress towards global sustainable development goals, RenewEconomy reported.

The Sustainable Development Report 2021 scored Australia dead last out of 193 United Nations member countries for action taken to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.

Australia scored a dismal 10 out of 100 in an assessment of fossil fuel emissions, emissions associated with imports and exports, and policies for pricing carbon.

Second last was Brunei, which was ranked behind Qatar and Norway.

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Richie Merzian, a climate expert at the Australia Institute, told The Guardian the result was to be expected.

“Australia has received similar rankings from other comparable studies, including the Climate Change Performance Index, which last year ranked Australia second last behind only Trump’s America,” he said.

“The federal government has no climate and energy policy and instead has cherry-picked technologies, many of which support the fossil fuel industry.”

The report noted Australia had not committed to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison instead signalling Australia’s aim to achieve carbon neutrality “as soon as possible” and “preferably” by 2050.

The Sustainable Development Report 2021 tracks countries’ progress towards the UN’s 17 sustainable development goals, which include quality education, gender equality, wiping out poverty, creating sustainable cities and communities, and affordable and clean energy.

Related article: Kohler says PM “running out of room” on Net Zero 2050

Australia ranked 35th overall, performing well on health and wellbeing, economic growth, education and clean water and sanitation.

For clean energy, Australia was listed as having “major challenges” but recorded a moderate improvement over the past 12 months.

The report says countries should not allow the COVID-19 pandemic to lead to a prolonged reversal in progress towards the goals.

“International commitments, for instance towards climate neutrality, must be rapidly accompanied by transformative actions and investments,” the report says.

“Large fiscal packages of major economies present an opportunity to foster a green, digital, and inclusive recovery.”