Doha, Qatar – Denmark, Sweden and Portugal were ranked top in a climate protection performance of the 58 highest emitters worldwide, according to the eighth annual Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI), published by Germanwatch and the Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe.

“With Denmark, Sweden and Portugal on top, it is not a black and white picture we see here. While Denmark and Sweden show better policy ratings and relatively low emissions, Portugal’s high rank is mainly derived from lower emissions due to the economic crisis. But the EU as a whole presents a mixed picture here, with the Netherlands and Poland ranking below average,” says Jan Burck, Team Leader for German and European Climate Policy at Germanwatch.

“Also, the emission trends in some countries benefitted from the economic crisis entailing a decrease of emissions for a short time. But there is no time to lean back.”

Wendel Trio, Director of CAN Europe, adds, “As long as the European Union stalls on raising its own climate target to minus 30 percent by 2020, the positions of EU countries as frontrunners are at stake. Having met their Kyoto targets already, a move to a more ambitious target would send a strong signal for the Doha negotiations as well.”
Once again, no country made it into the first three spots on the list due to a lack of ambition to reach the goal of keeping global warming below 2 degree Celsius, according to the Index, released on the sidelines of the UN Climate Change conference taking place in the Gulf Arab state of Qatar.

For the first time, the index used deforestation data, which resulted in a rankings drop of countries with high forest emissions such as Brazil and Indonesia.

According to the index, the two biggest emitters, the US and China, are still ranking comparably low.

The United States climbed up in this year’s Index, but partly due to decreased emissions through the economic crisis and the massive exploration of shale gas.

“The indirect emissions of shale gas are not taken into account in this Index, as only energy and forest emissions are included. With a shift towards renewables and more efficiency, the US could climb up even more. China’s emissions level has risen, but as the massive investments in renewable energies are expected to show an effect shortly, its emissions trend could slow down in the near future and lead to better results,” Burck adds.

This year’s host country Qatar did not make it onto the list.

“Qatar’s emissions are even worse than that of the last ranked country on our list, Saudi Arabia,” Trio explains.

“Including them in our ranking would have distorted the ranking of all other countries. We hope that Qatar will use the opportunity of the climate summit to pledge both emissions cuts and financial support for mitigation and adaptation in developing countries in the coming years.”

Linda Hutchinson-Jafar is Editor of Earth Conscious Magazine

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