newsCO.com.au–Australia near the bottom of the heap for climate action

November 15, 2017

Australia ranks as one of the world’s worst performing nations when it comes to climate action, with only South Korea, Iran and Saudi Arabia faring worse among 56 countries scrutinised by 300 international analysts. 

The annual Climate Change Performance Index, led by Germanwatch and other groups, listed Australia as “very low-performing” for its greenhouse gas emissions, energy use and climate policy. It scored a “low’ rating for renewable energy.


Trees in Australian cities threatened by climate change

Research from the University of Melbourne has found that street trees and urban forests are facing a grave threat if emissions keep rising.

The results were released as talks in Bonn, Germany, aimed at shoring up support for the 2015 Paris climate accord enter their final few days.

As in the past three years, Australia has foundered near the bottom of the major tables, prompting the commentators to call on the Turnbull government to “sufficiently implement credible policies” to meet its Paris targets.

Environment and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg, now in Germany, earlier this week declared Australia remains committed to its pledge to slice 2005-level emissions by 26-28 per cent by 2030.

Kelly O’Shanassy, chief executive of the Australian Conservation Foundation, said Australia had the highest per capita greenhouse gas emissions of those assessed, and was also one of the world’s largest exporters of fossil fuels.

“Australia’s continued failure to put in place a robust and comprehensive national plan to cut pollution is raising alarm bells around the world,” Ms O’Shanassy said, noting emissions have been increasing since 2013.

“This is a national embarrassment for a wealthy nation with so much at risk from climate change and such abundant sun and wind that could be harvested for clean energy,” she said.

Sweden was the top-ranked nation, marked highly for its efforts to boost low-carbon sources of electricity and its increasing forest cover. 

The US was among the big movers in the ranking, sliding from 35th two years ago to just one slot above Australia this year.

It got marked down for its declaration to exit the Paris agreement – a move that left it isolated after Syria – the last nation holding out – recently signed up to the accord.

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