Sweden tops climate action index, Ireland underwhelms

A craftsman adds parts to the sculpture 'Climate Tree' during the UN Climate Change Conference COP23 in Bonn. [Philip Guelland/ EPA]

Ireland is the worst performing EU member state on climate change action, according to a new report that has ranked 57 of the world’s major countries in order of commitment to emissions reductions and other tenets of the Paris Agreement.

According to a new performance index produced by European think tanks Germanwatch and the NewClimate Institute, Ireland was placed 49th out of the 57 countries evaluated.

The annual Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI), now in its 13th edition, has kept track of national contributions to climate change, taking into account their own strengths and weaknesses during that period.

Assessed areas included greenhouse gas emissions, renewable energy uptake, energy use and climate policy in line with the Paris Agreement targets. GHG emissions were given a 40% weighting in the evaluation.

Cities take up climate baton at COP23, make ambitious emission pledges

Mayors from 25 cities around the world, representing 150 million citizens, pledged on Sunday (12 November) to cut their carbon emissions to net zero by 2050, while boosting efforts to become more resilient to extreme weather and other pressures linked to climate change.

CCPI co-author Professor Niklas Höhne warned that “the gap in mid- and long-term ambition of the evaluated countries is still too high”, adding that “no country has a particularly outstanding energy efficiency target”.

On a sliding scale of ‘very high’ to ‘very low’ level of climate action, 11 EU members made it into the ‘high’ bracket, with Sweden topping the scale ahead of Lithuania, the United Kingdom, Finland and Latvia.

The EU’s performance overall was evaluated for the first time and was ranked 21st and placed in the ‘medium’ bracket.

Director of Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe, Wendel Trio, said “the report reveals that the EU vows commitment to the Paris Agreement but avoids real climate action at home. The EU needs to translate words into action and commit to deeper emission cuts than currently foreseen.”

How Europe performed. [Germanwatch]

The index left the top three places empty and concluded that no country worldwide has done enough across the 14 indicators evaluated in order to be classed in the ‘very high’ section.

Economic powerhouses Japan, China, the United States and Korea were all judged to have done poorly and prop up the index along with Russia, Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Bloomberg pledges $50m to help Europe bin coal

US billionaire media mogul Michael Bloomberg has promised $50m to the international effort to scrap coal power, following a similar domestic campaign that has seen 50% of American coal plants close since 2011.