Australia’s failure to produce a coherent emissions reduction plan has seen it slump to dead last in a new ranking of climate policy, and fall four places to 58th out of 64 in the annual Climate Change Performance Index.
The ranking follows Australia refusal to do more in the crucial coming decade on emissions reductions, and its insistence on retaining the Abbott era policy targets of a 26-28 per cent cut in emissions from 2005 by 2030.
The plunge to 64th on climate policy was accompanied by a fall in the overall index, where it is ahead of the likes of Republic of Korea, Chinese Taipei, Canada, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Kazakhstan – and only because of the strong uptake of renewables driven mostly by state and territory governments.
The index is a joint assessment by NGOs Germanwatch, the New Climate Institute, and the Climate Action Network.
It ranked Denmark, Sweden, Norway, the United Kingdom, and Morocco as the five highest-ranked nations on the Index, although it left the first three places on its ranking empty to illustrate the fact that no country is really doing enough.
But it is Australia’s consistent political failures which are starkly highlighted in this new report, with very low performance ratings across all four Index categories – emissions, renewable energy, energy use, and climate policy.
Australia is a consistently bad performer in such reports, having also ranked last in the latest Sustainable Development Report published in June by the UN-backed Sustainable Development Solutions Network.
“Although renewable energy is booming in Australia, all the work has been done by state and territory governments and the private sector, which is why Australia is rock bottom on the table of national climate policies,” said Gavan McFadzean, the climate and energy program manager at the Australian Conservation Foundation .
“While 130 countries have lifted their near-term climate ambition, Australia has not, relegating us to the bottom of the pack with the likes of Saudi Arabia and Iran.
“The Australian government’s refusal to budge on 2030 targets has been widely criticised in Glasgow and is out of step with public opinion at home, with a major poll this year showing a majority of Australians, in every federal seat, wants stronger climate action this decade.”
According to the Index, Australia’s Technology Investment Roadmap is “insufficient” for decarbonising the economy, reducing the use of fossil fuels, promoting renewable energy, and setting out how national [greenhouse gas] emissions will be reduced.
“When it comes to climate policy this year’s Climate Change Performance Index has ranked Australia dead last, showing that nobody has fallen for the Morrison Government’s fraud of a Net Zero plan,” said Richie Merzian, climate & energy program director at the Australia Institute.
“Australia tries to deflect its own inaction by pointing to other high-emitting countries. Yet our ranking on this index shows that we are doing much worse than the countries we like to point the finger at on climate.
“COP26 was squarely focused on increasing short-term action and the Australia Government won’t even consider improving its weak, dated emission reduction target for 2030. No wonder Australia is slipping further in the global rankings.”