Australia Has Ranked Dead Last For Climate Action Worldwide, So Thanks Scotty

"Even though the renewables electricity is growing, the experts believe that Australia has failed to take advantage of its potential."

australia climate change

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Well, there it is. Australia has officially ranked dead last for our climate action policies in the latest Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI).

Despite committing — in theory — to net zero carbon emissions by 2050, Australia has scored a perfect zero in the annual rankings, which are published by German-based group Germanwatch.

The Climate Change Performance Index scores the climate action of 63 nations, based on greenhouse gas emissions, renewable energy infrastructure, and climate policy. And shock horror, Australia is doing really badly.

“The government does not have any policies on phasing out coal or gas, but CCUS [carbon capture, utilisation and storage] and hydrogen are being promoted as low-emissions technologies,” the report said of Australia. “Even though the renewables electricity is growing, the experts believe that Australia has failed to take advantage of its potential, and other countries have outpaced it.”

Australia ranked “very low” across the board, coming in at 55th overall. However, we ranked dead last when it comes to climate policy, making our mark as the only country to score zero in the category.

Our best performance was in the renewable energy category, where we came in at 49th — just one spot above the US. However, the report notes that we are still failing to promote new, renewable technologies.

“The country’s lack of domestic ambition and action has made its way to the international stage,” the report said. “The experts describe that the country’s international standing has been damaged by climate denialism by politicians, refusal to increase ambition, and refusal to recommit to international green finance mechanisms.

“Australia has fallen behind its allies and its inaction even attracted public criticism in the run-up to COP26.”

It goes without saying that a zero score isn’t the greatest look for our new net-zero policy, which has made us the laughing stock of COP26. It’s also worth noting that despite our new commitment to net zero (well, sort of commitment), Australia has actually dropped four places on the performance index.

Obviously, this report isn’t the be all end all of climate change, but ranking so badly on an index put together by experts in the field really speaks volumes about our climate action — or lack thereof.

Interestingly, no country came in 1st, 2nd or 3rd place, on account of the fact that none of the surveyed countries received an overall ranking of “very high.” Denmark received the highest score, beating the 2020 winner Sweden, while The Netherlands and Greece saw the greatest improvement year-on-year.

The news comes as Morrison asserted that climate change will be solved by “can do capitalism, not don’t-do governments.” “The world does not need to be punished for climate change, we just need to fix it,” he said on Wednesday. “It will be fixed…by risk takers. That’s the Australian way.”

As it currently stands, the Australian Government is still yet to provide the modelling on which our net-zero policy is based.