The Australian government’s policy response to the climate crisis is placed last in an assessment of 60 countries released at the global climate summit in Glasgow.
The Morrison government’s lack of policies, high per capita greenhouse gas emissions, weak targets, low levels of renewables and high levels of energy use, saw the country given an overall ranking of 54 among individual countries.
As a major fossil fuel exporter, Australia’s resources minister, Keith Pitt, said this week the country will continue to produce as much coal as other countries will buy.
Australia refused to sign a pledge not to emit potent greenhouse gas methane. It also rejected calls for the elimination of coal and refused to increase its 2030 targets. has promoted gas, carbon capture and storage and hydrogenThese are the solutions.
The Climate Change Performance Index, which also includes the European Union, covers 92% of global emissions of greenhouse gases and assesses countries across four categories – policy, emissions, renewables and energy use.
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”.
Denmark, Sweden, Norway and the United Kingdom are the top five countries that perform overall. The bottom five countries are Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Canada.
The world’s second-highest emitter, the United States, climbed six places from last year’s position but its response was rated “very low” overall and ranked 51st among individual countries. China, the world’s biggest emitter, was 33rd.
Overall, Australia lost four places on this year’s index. It was also the only country to receive a zero in the climate policy category. However, it did slightly better in three other areas.
“The country’s lack of ambition and action has made its way to the international stage,” the report says.
“Australia has fallen behind its allies and its inaction even attracted public criticism in the run-up to Cop26.”
Australia’s best performance came in the renewable energy category, where it narrowly missed an overall “low” rating.
While renewable energy use was growing in Australia, the report says the country has “failed to take advantage of its potential [in renewables], and other countries have outpaced it”.
In two of 12 sub-categories, Australia received a “high” ranking – one for the trend on energy use per capita, which is falling, and another for the trend in renewable energy uptake.
Australia’s ranking includes consideration of the government’s pledge to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and the release in October of a long-term emissions reduction strategy.
“No new policies and plans were announced to go along with this [October] announcement,” the report says.
The prime minister Scott Morrison, told reporters in Glasgow that “if we want the whole world’s emissions to go down” then a focus needed to be on reducing the costs of technologies.
Australia’s emissions reduction minister, Angus Taylor, left the summit last week saying he was proud to have represented the nation and there had been “enormous interest” in the country’s approach.
“This is doing it the Australia way,” he said.
Suzanne Harter, a climate and clean energy campaigner with the Australian Conservation Foundation was one of seven experts who provided an evaluation for the category Climate Policy of the index. This category looked at both national and international policy performance.
She said: “There’s no genuine strategy, no reasonable interim targets or any appropriate investment. There’s no phase-out plan for fossil fuels, no carbon pricing and the technology roadmap relies on technologies that don’t even exist yet.
“There’s no national renewable energy policy and we’re one of the last OECD countries without efficiency standards for vehicles.
“Not only do we not have a policy, but the government is promoting the opposite direction. If anything, the government is giving more money to fossil fuels, such as with the gas-fired recovery.”
The index is produced jointly by thinktanks NewClimate Institute, Germanwatch, and Climate Action Network International (CAN International), a group of climate campaign groups.
Stephan Singer, of CAN, said: “The same countries that are among those with the worst climate performance, are identical with the globally largest fossil fuel exporters and large fossil fuel users like US, Saudi Arabia, Russia and Australia.
“They also belong to the group of those countries that have the highest per capita energy consumption and CO2 fossil fuel emissions as well as much lower renewable energy and energy efficiency achievements.”
Tuesday, February 13th: Morrison government released an electric vehicles strategyThe industry called for subsidies, tax exemptions, and targets to increase EV adoption and range. However, the focus was on increasing the number charging stations.