India outperforms Netherlands and Austria on climate

Traffic jam in Hyderabad. India has outperformed nine EU countries on climate action. [Charlton Clemens/Flickr]

India’s climate protection performance has been ranked above nine European Union countries, including the Netherlands, Austria, and Poland, by climate campaigners.

India has a very low level of per capita emissions but its overall CO2 emissions have risen over the last five years to about 40%. Although it has announced a new renewables program, its coal sector is experiencing immense growth.  

Despite that, it was placed 31st on the index of the 58 nations responsible for more than 90% of global energy-related CO2 emissions. It ranked higher than Finland (32), Latvia (33), Croatia (34), Greece (35), Austria (36), Poland (40), Bulgaria (41), the Netherlands (42) and Estonia (46).

The Netherlands plummeted eight places from last year, while Austria dropped five. Austria’s emissions are not decreasing and it is likely to miss its 2020 climate and energy targets, despite its high renewables and energy efficiency potential.  It is also one of the few EU countries to have not yet contributed to the Green Climate Fund, experts told EURACTIV.

The Netherlands’ ranking was down to a combination of an industry shift to cheaper coal energy and a lack of progress on efficiency measures and renewables, partly due to last conservative coalition government. The Dutch will meet their 2020 targets, according to researchers.

About 300 experts worldwide contributed to the index, which rates countries on emissions, development of emissions, energy efficiency, and climate policy.

The lowest ranked member state on the annual list was Estonia, which scored below China (45) and the United States (44).

Denmark, Sweden, the United Kingdom, were the three best performing countries in the Climate Change Performance Index. All three saw their Co2 emissions decrease.

Denmark retained its top spot last year, while Sweden’s residential emissions reductions of about 70% over the last five years.  

France was 12th, and Germany was 22nd, the same as the last year.  Germany was in the top ten largest CO2 emitters on the index.

Data for ten largest CO2 emitters.Data for ten largest CO2 emitters.


The tenth edition of the index was published today (8 December) at the United Nations Climate Conference in Lima by Germanwatch and Climate Action Network Europe.

The meeting is a precursor to the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris in 2015. World leaders there will try to secure a legally binding agreement to keep global warming below two degrees Celsius.

Only Denmark and Sweden were doing their share to reach that goal, campaigners said. For the first time, both had done enough to pass the benchmark to be given the top three places.

Those three were left unawarded, because no country has consistently surpassed the benchmark.

“Many EU countries ranked high this year, but others, like Poland ( 40) and Bulgaria (41) scored poorly because of their opposition to further steps nationally and in the EU,” said Wendel Trio, director of CAN Europe.

EU member statesEU member states


Global emissions

Global emissions have reached a new peak, but recent developments indicate a new readiness for action on climate protection, the NGOs said.

“We see global trends, indicating promising shifts in some of the most relevant sectors for climate protection,” said Jan Burck of Germanwatch.

“The rise of emissions has slowed down, and renewables are rapidly growing due to declining costs and massive investments,” he added.

This emphasised the need to reach an ambitious agreement in Paris. The deal must inspire confidence for investors to shift to low and zero carbon emission investment, the report said.

China, the world’s biggest emitter, has improved energy efficiency, and invested heavily in renewables.

Last month, China and the US announced a landmark deal to reduce their greenhouse gas output that, following on from the EU’s 2030 Climate and Energy package in October, raised hopes for a global deal in Paris.

Canada and Australia

Canada (58) and Australia (60) were the two lowest ranked developed nations, worse than the Russian Federation (56) and the Iran (57). Saudi Arabia kept its bottom spot (61) from last year.

Australia’s new conservative government had rolled back many climate policies, while Canada had made little or no political progress on climate, the report said.

Morocco (6) reached the top ten in the ranking for the first time, by far the best result for a developing country.  It had adopted ambitious renewable energy targets and upped its number of solar and wind projects.

The country is one of the global forerunners in renewable energy policymaking, the report said.  

Climate Change Performance Index.Climate Change Performance Index.


Negotiations on climate change began in 1992, and the UN organises an annual international climate change conference called the Conference of the Parties, or COP.

The 20th COP is taking place in Lima, Peru, from 1 to 12 December 2014, and Paris is hosting the 21st conference in December 2015.

  • December 2015: UN Climate Change Conference in Paris.

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