TODAY’S STUDY: Newest Numbers On The Stop Climate Change Work
Climate Change Performance Index 2019 November 2018 (Climate Action Network, GermanWatch, New Climate Institute)
Recent Developments: How Far Have Countries Progressed on Implementing the Paris Agreement?
The IPCC special report on Global Warming of 1.5°C underlines that the upcoming years are crucial in setting the world on track to achieve the targets agreed three years ago in Paris. We still see a huge ambition gap2 between countries' greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets and what is needed to keep global warming to well below 2°C, and to pursue efforts to aim for a 1.5°C limit.
Mixed signals on the decarbonisation of the global energy system: again rising emissions despite decreasing costs of renewable energy
The decarbonisation of energy systems plays a key role in limiting emissions and in reducing them in the future. After three consecutive years of being stable, global energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are on the rise again, showing an increase of 1.6% in 2017.3 This correlates with above-trend growth in primary energy demand of 2.2% in 2017.4 Last year, despite increasing coal prices, both coal production and consumption increased for the first time since 2013.5 Fossil fuel consumption subsidies rose by 12% in 2017, accounting for US$300 billion. Estimates are also seeing an increase for 2018 more likely than a decrease.6 Nevertheless, there are encouraging signs that a global energy transition is under way. The year 2017 saw the largest annual increase in renewable power generation capacity with the increase in added capacity from solar photovoltaic (PV) alone higher than net additions of coal, gas and nuclear combined.7 At the same time, the total number of people without access to electricity fell below 1 billion.8 Again, almost all countries included in the index maintained double-digit growth rates in renewable energy in 2017.9 Emerging economies as well as developing countries continue to play an increasingly crucial role in the global energy transition with Asia, accounting for 64% of new capacity in 2017.10 Shrinking costs of renewable energies further increase developing countries’ potential to leapfrog fossil fuel-based industrialisation. By 2020, all major renewable power generation technologies will be competitive or even undercutting fossil fuels in their generation cost.11 Solar PV, as the fastest growing renewable energy technology, is expected to overtake coal in terms of installed capacity before 2040.12 Improving supportive and transparent policy frameworks will be key to maintain the positive developments in renewables and to exploit the full spectrum of renewable energy potential.
The need for new ways of cooperation: the formation of frontrunner alliances
As a result of (geo)political dynamics and resistance against ambitious climate action in some countries, new ways of cooperating among (non-)state actors outside the formal climate negotiation context are gaining importance. After US President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement in June 2017, towns, states and companies in the United States, as well as actors on financial markets started to implement their own strategies to uphold the Paris Agreement.13 Further promising signals include an increasing number of countries that support the introduction of CO2 pricing and initiatives like the “Powering Past Coal Alliance”, with more than 50 member states, and the International “Solar Alliance” enhancing international cooperation for a global energy transition.
Growing global climate movement: increasing the pressure on governments for ambitious climate policy
The sense of urgency to take immediate action to protect the global climate is being increasingly taken up by a growing global climate movement. The extreme weather phenomena all around the globe with drought, fires and extreme rainfall have been a wakeup call for many citizens. The various ways in which civil society demands ambitious climate policy from governments – from demonstrations against coal mining in Germany and marches for more ambitious climate policy in Finland and Canada to legal action against governments and fossil fuel companies – are signs of hope in the efforts to limit global warming to well below 2°C.14 They increasingly put governments under pressure to make climate policy a priority. In recent by-elections in Australia and the US Senate elections, polls showed that climate and environment are increasingly important issues for voters.
Closing the emission gap: processes to establish an “ambition mechanism”
In order to encourage countries to close the gap between national emission targets and the Paris Agreement’s temperature limit, several processes are set to establish an “ambition mechanism”. This is a request to raise not only the mitigation target, but also the level of climate financing and innovative ways of cooperating, regarding technologies and other means. Within the UN negotiation context, the Talanoa Dialogue aims to inform the process of developing enhanced national climate targets, which countries must submit by 2020. UN Secretary-General António Guterres announced a Climate Summit for September 2019 to further facilitate ambition for climate action and finance. Countries also need to put forward their long-term strategies for moving towards CO2 neutrality by 2050…
Overall Results CCPI 2019
…In this year’s index, Sweden leads the ranking, fol¬lowed by Morocco and Lithuania. The group of medium-performing countries includes countries like France, Mexico, Germany and the Czech Republic. Among the low performers overall are Indonesia, Austria and New Zealand. The bottom five in this year’s CCPI are Saudi Arabia, the United States, Islamic Republic of Iran, Republic of Korea and Chinese Taipei, scoring low or very low across almost all categories…
Category Results–GHG* Emissions
…Considering emissions from LULUCF, Sweden is the best performing country regarding GHG emissions, followed by Egypt, Malta and the United Kingdom. Islamic Republic of Iran, Republic of Korea and Saudi Arabia are the bottom three countries, performing very low or low on every indicator of this category. Generally, mitigation targets for 2030 are too low and not on track for a pathway towards well below 2°C or even 1.5°C warming…
Category Results–Renewable Energy
…Since the energy sector contributes greatly to the CO2 emissions of a country, renewable energy is a key driver for mitigating emissions. Traditionally, relatively well-performing countries in this category are those having a high share of renewables. As in 2018, Latvia leads the ranking of the category, followed by Sweden and New Zealand. Morocco, with the greatest improvement in this category, now joins the group of medium-performing countries. The Islamic Republic of Iran, Saudi Arabia and the Russian Federation rank very low as the Bottom three…
Category Results–Energy Use
…Ukraine, Malta and Morocco as well as Romania remain the frontrunners in the Energy Use category, mostly due to low current levels of energy use and relatively good ratings regarding a 2°C-compatible pathway in this category. New Zealand, Islamic Republic of Iran, Canada, Republic of Korea and Saudi Arabia are again worst-performing countries in this year’s index, scoring low or very low across nearly all indicators. While emerging economies tend to perform well in this category, Thailand, Turkey, Algeria, India and Indonesia have been rapidly increasing their energy use in the past few years…
Category Results–Climate Policy
…This year the climate policy category of the CCPI is led by Portugal, France, the Netherlands, Sweden and Morocco which all score high regarding national and international climate policy. Australia, Turkey and the United States form the group of the worst-performing countries – not only performing low on national climate policy but also often hindering progress in international negotiations. It is noteworthy that many countries, including Germany, Canada and the United Kingdom for example, are performing relatively well on the international stage, yet seem to be failing to implement policy measures sufficiently at the national level…
Key Country Results
After achieving the historic milestone of the Paris Agreement in 2015, the measure of its success must now be judged by the implementation of mitigation targets at a national level. As in all past editions of the CCPI, the first three places in the ranking remain unoccupied. This is because no country has yet done enough in terms of consistent performance across all the indicators required to limit global warming to well below 2°C, as agreed in the Paris Agreement. The following overview highlights the performance of 33 selected countries and the EU. The colored boxes indicate a country’s rank in this year’s CCPI, while the grey boxes refer to its rank last year…