Australia Ranked Among Worst Developed Countries for Climate Change Action

World | Climate Change

Photo-illustration: Pixabay

Australia has been singled out again as a climate laggard, being ranked fifth-worst for emissions and policies among developed countries and among the six worst countries in the G20 when it comes to climate action.

In the climate change performance index, released overnight at the UN climate talks in Marrakech, Australia comes ahead of only Kazakhstan, South Korea, Japan and Saudi Arabia.

The 58 countries assessed by Climate Action Network Europe and Germanwatch are responsible for 90% of global energy-related carbon pollution. They are then ranked according to their emissions level, the trend in emissions, the deployment of renewable energy, the energy intensity of the economy and climate policies.

Australia is near the bottom of the countries, labelled as having “very poor performance”.

Australia’s hostile relationship between federal and state climate policies was noted in the report, which said: “While the former were rather unambitious and uninspired, the latter managed to some extent to take independent action.”

The finding came following comments from the prime minister and federal ministers, criticising state-based renewable energy and emissions targets.

Since previous rankings, Australia improved slightly with its emissions trend but dropped in energy efficiency.

The Australian Conservation Foundation’s chief executive, Kelly O’Shanassy, said: “The government spruiks its climate credentials but Australia remains a laggard on cutting climate pollution.

“The world is watching as our pollution rises and governments support new mega-polluting coalmines.”

O’Shanassy said Australia must not proceed with Adani’s Carmichael coalmine.

Meanwhile, the federal minister for energy and the environment, Josh Frydenberg, used his time in Marrakech to lobby the US in favour of Adani’s Carmichael coalmine, complaining about US activists funding a campaign to stop the huge project from proceeding.

In a separate study from the London School of Economics, researchers examined the consistency of actions of G20 countries, compared with the goals of the Paris agreement.

It found Australia – as well as Argentina, Canada, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the US – were “falling behind with their national climate mitigation action”.

“These countries lack overall framework legislation or regulation on climate change, need to move from sectoral to economy-wide targets and extend the timeframe of their targets to 2030,” the report said.