In a press conference on Thursday 12 December, the Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison reacted on Australia’s very low ranking in the Climate Change Performance Index 2020. Our comment.
The Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI) presented today at the climate summit in Madrid reflects opposing trends in global climate action: Australia, Saudi Arabia and especially the USA give cause for great concern with their low to very low performance in emissions and renewable energy development as well as climate policy. With these three governments massively influenced by the coal and oil lobby, there are hardly any signs of serious climate policy in sight. On the other hand, global coal consumption is falling and the boom in renewable energy continues. In 31 of the 57 high emitting countries assessed, collectively responsible for 90 percent of emissions, falling emission trends are recorded.
Severe heat waves, drought and flooding: Extreme weather events are massive challenges especially for poor and vulnerable countries - but also high-income countries are threatened more and more by climate risks. The Global Climate Risk Index, published today by the environmental think tank Germanwatch, shows that in 2018 industrialized countries like Japan and Germany were hit hardest by heat waves and severe drought. The Philippines were hit by the most powerful typhoon recorded worldwide in 2018.
Carbon emissions from the world’s 20 biggest economies are rising. None of the G20 countries have plans that will put them on track to limit global warming to 1.5°C, despite the fact that most are technically capable and have economic incentives. To keep the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C goal within reach, G20 countries will have to increase their 2030 emission targets by 2020 and significantly scale up mitigation, adaptation and finance over the next decade.
Jan Burck, Germanwatch, one of the authors of Climate Change Performance Index 2019: „Our Climate Change Performance Index is based on standardized scientific criteria. The data for 12 of our 14 indicators is drawn from official statistics. Germanwatch and the NewClimate Institute in cooperation with national experts undertake the assessment. The criticism of Prime Minister Leo Varadkar falls short as he only refers to one out of the 14 CCPI indicators. Emissions in Ireland are still increasing if one looks at a five-years trend, no matter if 2016 or 2017 is taken into account as the latest data reference.”
After three consecutive years of stable CO2 emissions, emissions are rising again. The Climate Change Performance Index 2019 (CCPI), published today at COP24 in Katowice, shows only few countries have started to implement strategies to limit global warming well below 2 or even 1.5°C. While there is a continued growth and competitiveness of renewable energy, especially in countries that had low shares before, the CCPI shows a lack of political will of most governments to phase out fossil fuels with the necessary speed. Because of that, in most countries the climate policy evaluation by national experts is significantly lower than in the last years.
Tropical cyclones have heavy impacts on an increasing number of countries. In 2017, the hurricane season in the Caribbean Sea was particularly strong and left several islands destroyed. Furthermore there are some developing countries that have difficulties to recover as they are regularly hit by weather catastrophes. Especially poorer countries like Sri Lanka, Nepal or Vietnam are facing great challenges. All in all, in 2017 11.500 people died because of extreme weather events. Economic damages amounted to approximately US$ 375 billion (calculated in purchasing-power parity, PPP). So it was the year with the highest weather-related losses ever recorded.
Most G20 countries including several of emerging countries enhanced their conditions for investments in low-carbon energy in the past year. Nonetheless, more renewable energy investments have to be undertaken in order to meet the Paris climate targets. In addition, the G20 would need to develop and implement more ambitious, consistent and transparent long-term strategies to improve the investment climate for renewable energies. These are the key findings of the Allianz Climate and Energy Monitor 2018, published today.
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82% of the G20’s energy supply still comes from fossil fuels, according to the 2018 Brown to Green Report, released today. In Saudi Arabia, Australia and Japan fossil fuels make up even more than 90% of the energy supply, with little or no change in recent years. The 20 major economies play a key role for achieving the Paris targets because they alone account for 80% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
The decision announced today by the Higher Regional Court Hamm (Germany) to enter into the evidentiary stage in the case of Saúl Luciano Lliuya against the german utility RWE is of great legal relevance. It is the first time that a court acknowledged that a private company is in principal responsible for its share in causing climate damages. This applies if concrete damages or risks for private persons or their property can partly be assigned to the activities of the relevant company.