Who’s Doing What to Prevent Climate Change

November 26, 2021

The latest Climate Change performance Index is something of a mixed bag. In some countries, climate performance is improving, whereas in others, it is stagnant. Of particular concern, is the revelation in the recent Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI) 2022 report, that the sixty-one largest emitters are not doing enough to maintain the rate of climate change to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

There is hope, however, even if it is being dashed because of the recent energy crisis across the world, in the form of commitments to phase out coal power and redouble efforts to improve climate change policy. Nonetheless, the pace of transformation remains abysmally slow, and the world is lagging behind what is required to stem the tide of runaway global warming. An example of this is China, which had recently promised to stop funding coal projects across the world and also in the country itself, but that fell apart terribly because of the energy crisis. As a result of the energy crisis, a record amount of coal is being mined in the country. And while this will likely alleviate the energy crisis, it will also set back climate change programs.

The Paris Agreement warned that any warming above 1.5 degrees Celsius would be unsustainable for the planet and would likely prove disastrous for the earth’s ecology. This year, like last year, no country has done enough to meet the target. The Paris Agreement warning was issued after an assessment of sixty countries, plus the EU, all of whom are responsible for over ninety percent of global carbon dioxide emissions.

How It Works

The CCPI has four major categories that it uses to measure progress. These are as follows:

  • Greenhouse gas emissions
  • Renewables
  • Consumption
  • Policy

A country must score on all four points from a scale of one to five. The scale is distributed according to action taken on each of the progress indicators. The higher the score, the better. The scale is distributed as follows:

  • Very low
  • Low
  • Medium
  • High
  • Very high

A country’s performance will be measured as an average, based on its performance in all four of the aforementioned categories. For example, Norway scored a ‘very high’ on ‘renewables,’ but a ‘high’ on all other categories, earning it a rank of ‘high’. The scale of adoption also plays a crucial role in the measurement. The CCPI examines the environmental impact of the sixty-four countries, plus the European Union (counted as a whole), which are the largest carbon emission emitters in the world. The rankings are determined by ‘positive engagement with the environment.’

The Frontrunners

Scandinavia, the United Kingdom and Morocco are currently leading the charge against climate change, and they occupy the second-tier position – high. Fifteen countries got this ranking, as compared to fourteen last year. The report cites Denmark (with a score of 76.92), Sweden and Norway as role models in dealing with climate change, because of the strides they have made in combatting climate change. This progress is a mixture of investment in green energy technologies and more comprehensive and robust climate change policies. These Scandinavian countries got the fourth, fifth and sixth positions, respectively. While Scandinavia, the UK and Morocco are doing much better than the rest of the world, the pace at which the change is taking place is alarming and a tad too slow.

Other Noteworthy Mentions

Germany moved up to position thirteen along with France and Luxemburg. These countries are now in the ‘green zone’ on the index table. Since 2013, Germany had been languishing in the middle of the table, so this bouncing back is a welcome change. While Germany has ambitious climate change reduction goals, German policy has still not caught up, and it provides no recourse on how to achieve those goals. Greece came in at number 24 on the index, in the ‘yellow zone,’ denoting a ‘medium’ level of engagement with the climate. India came in at number ten, same as it did last year, Brazil dropped eight points from twenty-five and came in at thirty-three. The second-highest carbon emitter in the world, America, jumped six places, coming in at number 51, while the world’s largest carbon emitter, China, came in at 33.

Australia dropped four places, coming in at 54 this year. Australia’s poor showing in the climate policy section earned it a score of zero, while it performed marginally better than other countries in the remaining three areas. Australia’s overall compliance with the Paris Agreement was rated as ‘very low.’ Not a great showing from the land down under.

The Worst Offenders

The bottom five nations were:

  • Kazakhstan
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Iran
  • Canada
  • Taiwan

The Growing Threat of Climate Change

The latest CCPI rankings should be considered a warning bell if nothing else. Many countries stand exposed in their lack of participation in curbing climate change. According to the World Meteorological Organization, the greenhouse gas levels reached an all time high in 2020, with carbon dioxide levels peaking at 413.2 parts per million. This happened in spite of the coronavirus pandemic, which saw many countries impose lockdowns across the globe to stem the tide of the pandemic. Unless decisive action is taken soon, the impending climate disaster will spiral out of control. Violent weather events will become more commonplace, as the earth’s atmosphere struggles to return to regain balance. The disruption of the natural equilibrium began in 1705, with the industrial revolution, and even with a 1.5-degree Celsius rate of increase, we will not return to pre-industrial era levels of environmental stabilization. Nevertheless, a 1.5-degree increase presents our best hope at controlling, if not reversing, climate change. That window, however, is closing fast.

Solar Power to the Rescue

Solar energy represents one of the best (if not the best) hopes humanity has, to fight climate change. Many nations across the world are investing as much as possible in solar energy, and adoption rates are record high. But the process can be faster, it must be, if we hope to secure our future generations against the dangers of climate catastrophe. The single largest use of fossil fuel is electricity generation. Curbing this through solar energy will drastically reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions in the world, and it will also pave the way for cheap, clean energy, which will make electric vehicles an even more attractive option. Combining clean cheap solar energy with EVs is the winning recipe, one that will curb most of the world’s carbon emissions. Without throngs of motor vehicles giving off toxic fumes and without coal, diesel, and petroleum powered generators, we can expect the world to see substantial reductions in CO2 emissions. But the door for this is closing fast, and the world is not doing enough. Countries like India have given themselves broad, decade spanning deadlines (2070) to meet their climate targets. If recent events teach us anything, we cannot rely on these deadlines to always be met without fail. Given that Europe and North America are struggling so much, what chance does a country like India have to meet its goals? While it is true that India ranks far better than America and also better than some European countries, the size of its economy is nowhere nearly as large either. When India’s economy booms, as it has been for the past decade, it will need more and more power. The same holds true for any growing economy, and these economies often turn to the cheapest source of energy to keep themselves running. What India is doing right, is that it has already begun the large-scale adoption of solar power. While solar energy is still expensive to adopt in the beginning, its benefits are many, and not limited to the environment. More countries need to follow suit. And we have not even gotten to Africa yet. The challenges are many, and the only solution is to invest in making solar energy cheaper, cleaner, and more easily accessible. You can do your part by picking up the phone and calling Prosun Solar today. We guarantee you will find something you like.