The UK has once again ranked highly in the Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI), which rates the way each nation is tackling the climate crisis.
But does the nation deserve to be called a “leading country” by climate experts? Or does the ranking flatter the UK’s efforts?
What is the CCPI?
The CCPI is a ranking of the 60 countries that account for more than 90 per cent of the world’s emissions based on their climate change mitigation efforts.
The index assessed countries in four categories – greenhouse gas emissions, renewable energy, energy use and climate policy.
Where has the UK ranked?
The United Kingdom remains in the top 10, though it drops two places, to seventh, from last year’s CCPI.
The UK receives high ratings in three CCPI categories – GHG Emissions, Energy Use, and Climate Policy – though its rating for Renewable Energy falls from high last year to medium this year.
The report states: “The CCPI experts still regard the UK as a leading country for climate policy, despite its slight downgrade in the rankings.
“The country has substantial political and financial support to deliver its net zero 2050 target and the new interim target for a net zero power system by 2035, and to ensure that progress is made at this year’s rescheduled COP26.
“The government has also created policies to support development of hydrogen, carbon capture usage and storage (CCUS), carbon removal, and greater take-up of electric vehicles.
“The UK is rated high for the trend in renewable energy share, primarily owing to its offshore wind sector and phasing out of coal-fired power generation, with its power sector decarbonisation accounting for most of the emissions reductions in the economy.”
However, the report did have some criticisms, stating: “Although the government has announced support schemes for take-up of low-carbon heating and a future phasing out of fossil fuel heating, policies on energy efficiency are lacking and the heating sector remains a considerable source of carbon emissions.”
Does the UK deserve its high ranking?
Ms Thunberg’s remarks followed an announcement by Boris Johnson the UK has “managed to reduce its CO2 emissions by about 42 per cent on 1990 levels” at the Leaders’ Climate Summit in April.
The 18-year-old environmentalist, who spearheaded the global movement of school strikes for climate, challenged the claim, branding it “a lie” and disputing the veracity of labelling the UK a “climate leader”.
She accused the UK of cherry-picking its data to appear to have reduced CO2 emissions more than it actually has, saying: “Of course, if you don’t include all emissions, the statistics are going to look much nicer.”
Ms Thunberg said that the figure would not “look that good” if a number of excluded aspects had been factored in, listing “aviation, shipping, outsourcing, the imports of consumption... and the burning of biomass”
“They are very good at creative carbon accounting, I must give them that – but that doesn’t mean much in practice,” Ms Thunberg said.
Which nations performed badly?
The report ranked Australia, South Korea, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Kazakhstan among the worst performers.
Hungary and Slovenia are this year’s worst-performing EU countries.
The world’s largest emitter, China, has fallen down in the rankings to the 37th position with an overall “low” rating.
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