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:
JOURNALIST: Prime Minister just on climate change, you said there's a global effort, but Australia ranks last in the world on climate policy in a new global index. Isn't that an indictment of your Government's response?
PRIME MINISTER: No, I completely reject that report. We don’t accept that.
JOURNALIST: You don't accept the report?
PRIME MINISTER: No.
JOURNALIST: Why not?
PRIME MINISTER: Because I don't think it's credible.
(... Full transcript)
Comment by Germanwatch
Ursula Hagen, Germanwatch, one of the authors of Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI) 2020: “Our Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI), published since 2005, is an independent monitoring tool for tracking countries’ climate protection performance. It is based on standardized scientific criteria and the data for 12 of our 14 indicators is drawn from official statistics. Germanwatch and the NewClimate Institute - fully independent organisations that do not work for profit - in cooperation with national climate and energy policy experts undertake the assessment. All ratings and indicators are described in a detailed and transparent manner (please refer to our Background and Methodology brochure for more details). For Australia, the national experts’ assessment shows a worsened performance at both national and international level under the newly elected government. Experts observe a lack of progress to reduce the country’s very high level of emissions. With GHG per capita emissions of 21.1t, Australia ranks last for the indicator on current levels in the GHG Emissions category. Further, experts observe that the government is playing an increasingly regressive force in international negotiations.”
Detailed explanations on methodology and Australia’s performance
The CCPI is based on standardized scientific criteria and a comparative measure evaluating a country's climate protection performance in relation to the other countries included in the assessment. The method used in the preparation of the index follows OECD guidelines for the development of composite performance indicators. The CCPI is an independent monitoring tool for tracking countries’ climate protection performance and assesses countries’ performance in four categories and a total of 14 indicators.
- GHG Emissions (40% of overall score)
- Renewable Energy (20% of overall score)
- Energy Use (20% of overall score)
- Climate Policy (20% of overall score)
While the policy evaluation thus accounts for 20% of the overall score in the CCPI, 80% of the assessment of countries' performance is based on quantitative data on GHG Emissions, Renewable Energy and Energy Use. The data are taken from the national GHG inventories (submitted to the UNFCCC), the International Energy Agency (IEA) and PRIMAP, all internationally recognized and accepted data sources. The data for the category “Climate Policy” is assessed annually in a comprehensive research study. Its basis is the performance rating by climate and energy policy experts from non-governmental organisations, universities and think tanks within the countries that are evaluated. In a questionnaire, they give a rating on a scale from one ("weak") to five ("strong") on the most important measures of their government. Within each of the covered policy areas (GHG Emissions, Energy Supply and Renewable Energy, Energy Use, Future Targets, Non-Energy Sectors) experts evaluate both strength and the level of implementation of the respective policy framework. Further, the questionnaire asks experts to assess the recent performance of their country in international fora. Climate policy experts who closely observe the participation of the respective countries at climate conferences also rate the latter.
As it comes to Australia’s climate policy performance, ranked last in this year’s index, the CCPI experts’ assessment shows a worsened performance at both national and international level under the newly elected government. National experts observe a lack of progress with the government failing to clarify how it will meet the country’s insufficient 2030 emission reduction target and inaction in developing a long-term mitigation strategy. While the government is not proposing any further targets for Renewable Energy beyond 2020, it continues to promote the expansion of fossil fuels and in April 2019 approved the opening of the highly controversial Adani coalmine. Experts note that the new government is an increasingly regressive force in negotiations and has been criticised for its lack of ambition by several Pacific Island nations in the context of this year’s Pacific Island Forum. The dismissal of recent IPCC reports, the government not attending the UN Climate Action Summit in September, and the withdrawal from funding the Green Climate Fund (GCF) underpin the overall very low performance in the Climate Policy category.
Further, it has to be noted that the overall "very low" rating of Australia's performance, which results in the country ranking 56th in this year's index, is due to the country's "low" to "very low" performance in all index categories. The country continues to receive "very low" ratings in the Energy Use category and ranks at the bottom of "low" performers in both the GHG Emissions and Renewable Energy categories. With GHG per capita emissions of 21.1t (incl. LULUCF in 2017, base year of data for CCPI 2020) Australia’s has the highest per capita GHG emissions (incl. LULUCF) of all countries assessed in the CCPI and ranks last for the respective indicator in the GHG Emissions category.
A detailed overview on Australia’s performance can be found in the country scorecard.