Australia’s climate policies rank dead last in global climate change report

Australia has ranked last for policy response to climate change in the latest Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI) report.

The CCPI report said Australia is failing to “take advantage of its potential” and “trailing many developed economies” after receiving a very low rating across the board.

The rankings, issued by Germany-based group Germanwatch annually, rank the performance of around 60 nations and the EU based on greenhouse gas emissions, renewable energy, energy use, and climate policies.

The Mt Piper coal-fired power plant. Credit: EnergyAustralia

The performance index is measured by experts in each country and evaluates every nation’s progress in working towards goals set by the Paris Agreement.

Australia ranked 55th overall in the categories, but was dead last in climate policy, and was the only country to receive a score of zero in the category.

“The government does not have any policies on phasing out coal or gas, but CCUS [carbon capture, utilisation and storage] and hydrogen are being promoted as low-emissions technologies,” the report said.

“Even though the renewable electricity is growing, the experts believe that Australia has failed to take advantage of its potential, and other countries have outpaced it.”

Australia’s best-performing category, renewable energy, saw us 49th on the rankings, one spot ahead of the US, but we’re still failing to promote new technologies according to the report.

“Australia has fallen behind its allies and its inaction even attracted public criticism in the run-up to COP26”, the report said. “The country’s lack of domestic ambition and action has made its way to the international stage.”

“The experts describe that the country’s international standing has been damaged by climate denialism by politicians, refusal to increase ambition, and refusal to recommit to international green finance mechanisms.”

Australia dropped down four places in the overall rankings compared to last year, when it ranked 51st.