Press Release | 06 December 2010

National climate action overtakes international action for the first time

Cancún, Brussels, 6 December 2010: Today, Germanwatch and CAN Europe released the sixth annual Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI), a joint research project, at the climate summit in Cancún. The CCPI 2011 evaluates and ranks the 57 highest-emitting countries based on their emissions and climate policies. This year, more than 190 experts from the respective countries have assisted in creation of the index by analysing national policies.
Germanwatch’s Jan Burck, author of the index, explained, "After disappointing results at the international level in Copenhagen, it is a pleasant surprise that the awareness of climate change has increased and national actions have improved in a number of countries.” Burck continued, “For the first time, national policies have been graded better than international policies. We will see whether Cancun will be able to translate these national actions into a positive international dynamic.”

This year’s Index ranks Brazil, Sweden and Norway fourth to sixth respectively, followed by Germany. Saudi Arabia, Kazakhstan, Australia, and Canada ranked last. It is good to see Brazil hanging on to the “top” spot (4th) this year, as last year it was the first developing country to have this honour. But the CCPI 2011 once again demonstrates that no country deserves to be placed in the top three spots, which are reserved for countries that are doing enough to stay below the goal of a 1.5- degree average global warming limit.
The world’s two biggest emitters, China and the USA, have dropped a few ranks compared to last year, with China now ranked 56th and the USA 54th.
“China has recently started improving its national climate policies, including legislation on renewable energy, which has already made it the world leader in wind energy investments,” said Matthias Duwe, Director at CAN Europe. “This represents a trend toward strong national climate policy that we have seen throughout the CCPI this year.”

Since emissions are weighted heavier in the index than policy, however, China’s ranking was still lowered from last year’s based on its overall emissions trends. But the visible improvement of China's national climate policy will hopefully lower its emissions trend in the future and raise its ranking accordingly.
A clear exception to 2011’s trend toward strong national climate policy is the USA, where the Senate’s blockage of climate legislation resulted in a lower ranking. The US shows a very poor performance concerning per capita emissions and climate policy.
“The Obama Administration will now have to utilise existing clean air laws to regulate emissions and reverse the USA’s downward trend in this index,” Duwe concluded.


For more information, contact:

Larissa Neubauer, Press Officer, Germanwatch, +49 (0) 151 252 11072 (in Bonn),
Jan Burck, Senior Advisor, Germanwatch, +49 (0) 177 888 92 86 (in Cancun),

Matthias Duwe, Director, CAN Europe, +521 998 1081 271 (in Cancun),
Vanessa Bulkacz, Communications Manager, CAN Europe, +32 494 525 738 (in Brussels),
Editors’ notes:

With over 140 members in 25 European Countries, Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe is Europe’s largest coalition of NGOs working to stop the most dangerous effects of climate change. CAN Europe is the European node of CAN International, a global coalition representing millions of citizens worldwide united in the fight against climate change.
Germanwatch was founded in 1991 to promote global equity and the preservation of livelihoods. Following the motto "observing, analysing, acting", its work focuses on the politics and economics of the North with their worldwide consequences. The situation of marginalised people in the South is the starting point for its work. Together with members and supporters as well as with other actors in civil society it intends to represent a strong lobby for sustainable development.