Article publié par Der Spiegel
COMMITMENT TO CLIMATE
Sweden First, US almost Last, Says Study
A new report rates the climate-protection performance of 56 countries that account for 90 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions. While Germany came in at second best, the US ranked second worst.
gathered in Bali this week
When government policy and long-term trends are considered, Germany rises all the way to second place on the list, which ranked the biggest emissions offenders in the industrialized world -- meanwhile, weak policies in the US are only enough to lift it from last place to second-to-last.
The index, compiled by Germanwatch, a nonprofit climate research institute based in Berlin and Bonn, evaluates and ranks the climate-protection performance of 56 industrialized nations that account for 90 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions. On this year's list, Sweden retained the top spot, while Saudi Arabia was deemed the most irresponsible emitter among the world's major economies.
The weighted system explains how Germany can place so well despite being the world's sixth-largest producer of carbon dioxide. The nation moved from fourth to second on this year's ranking
thanks to projections of reduced future emissions and a strong governmental commitment to climate change policy. Earlier this week the cabinet of Chancellor Angela Merkel approved a €3.3 billion ($4.8 Billion) policy package
Anika Busch, a spokeswoman for Germanwatch, said that Germany's leadership on climate change within the EU and at the G-8 Summit last summer in Heiligendamm helped it earn a high ranking. "The trend of emissions in Germany is quite good compared to other countries. Although the overall level is of course quite high, it is already going down," said Busch.
Germanwatch evaluates a country's climate change policy on a scale from one (very good) to five (very poor) -- the average among the 56 countries considered was 3.9. Policy was deemed
particularly poor in nations that are also among the world's biggest emitters -- countries like
In a comparison of this year's list to the index last year, Denmark, Japan, and Ireland lost the most ground, while Mexico, Spain and China made marked improvements.
According to a press release from Germanwatch, Mexico's rise to number four can be attributed to "constructive international and national climate change policy and its relatively favorable emissions trends."
Just behind Mexico is India, one of the world's most rapidly growing economies. Despite fears that the nation of a billion-plus people could become a major polluter as it develops, it earned the high ranking because its explosive population growth has not caused a parallel increase in emissions. Per capita energy consumption in India remains quite low compared to trends in China, which also has over a billion residents and a rapidly growing economy.
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