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Aust 'worst-performing developed nation': global climate survey

10 December, 2014

Australia's actions against climate change have seen us ranked the worst-performing developed nation in a survey by European non-governmental organisations.

Climate Change Performance Index, conducted since 2005, ranked the nation 57 out of 58 other countries. Saudi Arabia came last.

Each country was ranked on indicators ranging from CO2 emissions per capita, share of renewable energy and energy efficiency.

The report attributed Australia's less than stellar rank – dropping 21 places since last year – to the "new conservative … government".

"The … government has apparently made good on last year's announcement and reversed the climate policies previously in effect," the report said.

"As a result, the country lost a further 21 positions in the policy evaluation compared to last year, thus replacing Canada as the worst performing industrial country."

Current situation 'to get worse'

Guy Ragen, a campaigner from the Australian Conservation Foundation and then adviser to former ALP Minister for Climate Change Greg Combet, said the poor ranking was a result of Australia's modest emission reduction goals and high per capita pollution.

Ragen said the Coalition's move to scrap the carbon price earlier in the year, along with its more recent attempt to slice the Renewable Energy Target through Senate support, would probably see the policy rating drop even more.

"While the developed world is going in one direction, Australia is going in the opposite," he said.

"You'll have to assume [the policy rating] will get worse."

Denmark, Sweden and the UK were ranked the top three nations in the survey; Canada and Kazakhstan occupied the slots above Australia.

The release of the report coincides with key climate talks currently taking place in Lima, Peru, where global leaders are working towards getting a climate treaty drawn for the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris late in 2015.

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Ken Goldsmith | Wednesday, December 10, 2014, 1:52 PM
Progress at last!!! But why is Julie Bishop even at the Lima conference, let alone giving yet more borrowed money to this c..p?
Goldie | Thursday, December 11, 2014, 9:21 AM
So even when we had the highest carbon tax in he world we still only ranked 36th out of 58, so what pray tell were the top 10 doing?. Lima is simply another gabfest like Copengagen and Paris will be no different, plenty of hot air, head shaking, empty promises and little else. The best thing Abbott can do is to jump on board and make meaningless 'trust me' promises like China and the US and then everyone will think he is wonderful. This 'highest per capita' notion is nonsense and deliberately misleading. Australia emits a little over 1% of global greenhouse gasses so any labelling of us by doomsayers as some sort of global outlaw are quite ridiculous. We could literally switch off the country tomorrow and there would be 1+% less greenhouse gasses, unnoticeable on the world stage and most likely made up within a week or two by others and everybody knows it to be true. There is no credibility in the per capita argument and even less in this 'most wanted' scenario. Take money making out of the 'climate industry' and interest would wane rapidly. There will be a continuing shift to solar by average people in Australia and I believe this is being driven more by excessively high power prices than any notion about supposedly saving the planet. System cost is another huge plus as prices have dropped by 50-75% making it affordable for many more people. Energy generation and distribution is used as a cash cow by their owners, mostly governments to bolster their bottom lines and their gouging has been relentless and it continues. Can't we have sensible comment on global pollution and not one sided hysteria that is grossly misleading.