Australia ranks last out of 64 countries on climate

PM Scott Morrison and Energy Minister Angus Taylor (Australia ranks last)
Image: Lukas Coch/AAP

Australia’s climate policies have been ranked last out of 64 countries and the country is among the worst offenders for emissions, renewables and energy use.

Australia’s strategy to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 has been deemed insufficient to decarbonise the economy, cut fossil fuel use and promote renewables, according to the latest Climate Change Performance Index unveiled at the COP26 summit in Glasgow.

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The index criticised Australia for its vague 2050 target of net-zero emissions that involved no new policies or plans, with the technology investment roadmap deemed “insufficient”.

“This failure to promote renewables … is exacerbated by inadequate infrastructure investment despite subsidies for fossil fuel production and promotion of a ‘gas-led’ economic recovery following COVID-19,” the ranking said.

“The country’s international standing has been damaged by climate denialism by politicians, refusal to increase ambition and refusal to recommit to international green finance mechanisms.”

Designed by German environmentalists, the index has compared the performance of countries responsible for 90 per cent of global emissions since 2005 across four key categories.

Countries are given one of five ratings from “very high” to “very poor”. No country was given an overall “very high” rating because “no country is doing enough to prevent dangerous climate change”.

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The top five performing countries overall are Denmark, then Sweden, Norway, the United Kingdom and Morocco. The bottom five are Kazakhstan, followed by Saudi Arabia, Iran, Canada and Taiwan.

The world’s second-highest emitter, the United States, climbed six places from last year’s position, however, its response was rated “very low” overall and ranked 51st among individual countries. China, the world’s biggest emitter, was 33rd.